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UBI (3). Taxes, income and Welfare

Written By: - Date published: 12:46 pm, January 25th, 2014 - 68 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, Economy, equality, Politics, poverty, quality of life, tax, welfare - Tags:

Continued from. http://thestandard.org.nz/ubi-2-why-should-we-push-for-a-ubi-universal-basic-income/

An often repeated argument against increases in welfare, including UBI, minimum wages, or payments to alleviate poverty, is that it will fuel inflation and most will end up no better off. (More market advocates don’t seem to have the same faith in “the market” to hold prices down for the poor, as they do for the rich). We never see that argument made against the 17 to 20% increases at the top end, which are already fuelling inflation, in food, transport, health and housing, making prices too high for poorer people.

The answer is, to make the rich less wealthy.

The Laffer curve theory, the idea that Government share of the economy displaces private share, is often cited as a reason for not expanding the size of Government spending. The theory is generally given as an argument against higher taxes along with the idea that higher taxes will simply be avoided. The evidence shows, however, up to a certain point, Government spending on infrastructure, education, health, services, welfare and social policy helps the private sector as well. The worlds most successful economies generally have a Government share of the economy greater than ours. We have a lot of room to move in this direction.

However, a UBI is a change in distribution of incomes, not an increase in the size of Government. WINZ will shrink, for a start. So will tax compliance costs for small business.

Higher progressive taxes are inevitable. As Obama said “it is math”.

We cannot have a viable economy/society, while reducing Government services below a minimum, and continuing to borrow, so a few wealthy people can pay less tax. We cannot afford the compounding interest, on the billions required over time, for Nationals unaffordable tax cuts.

Middle to upper middle income PAYE earners claim, with some justification, they are paying a disproportionate share of taxes. They are in the middle, between the better off, who can use tax dodges, and the poor, who do not have enough to pay tax.

A more even distribution of taxes, maybe, with capital gains taxes, financial transaction taxes, wealth/land taxes, which share costs more fairly around all sources of income/wealth, will  allow us to reduce PAYE income taxes share.. Broader definitions of income, for tax, makes the system fairer.

The psychological effect of universality. “I am getting something back for my taxes, even if I am paying more tax than I am getting back” should not be underestimated. If New Zealand super was not universal, it would have been steeply reduced, or gone, 2 decades ago.

The highest marginal tax rates are paid by those on the lowest incomes. Then there are regressive taxes such as GST.  At the bottom end high marginal rates really are a disincentive to work. Abatement rates, plus work and transport costs means a welfare recipient that does some work is often worse off.

At the other end I do not know of anyone who will turn down an extra million dollars in income, because they may have to pay 600 thousand in tax. Certainly didn’t stop me from trying to work harder to raise my income, when marginal tax rates were 60%, in the early 80’s..

I have no sympathy at all with those on high incomes who complain they use the same services as those on low incomes, but are paying a greater dollar amount of tax. They are benefiting the most from the society, NZ taxpayers and workers have built, and from Government services.

That is how they became  wealthier! It is only fair that they pay the most. Chances are,  if they had been born in a country without our education, infrastructure, social and health systems, they would be the one in the cardboard box on the street.

Progressive taxation  is the price of living in a well resourced, pleasant, and cohesive society.

If you don’t like it, move, to a tax free paradise, like Somalia!

But first, Please be consistent with your principles, and give back to New Zealanders all the proportion of your wealth that you gained because of our  efforts and support.

68 comments on “UBI (3). Taxes, income and Welfare”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Good on ya KJT. Succinct as always

  2. RedLogix 2

    Thanks KJT. We’re totally on the same page here and I really appreciate your sustained contribution. It finally feels like the UBI concept is gaining some traction.

    I’ve always thought that there were important aspects of the UBI which have a broad political appeal. What makes sense to your typical conservative Nat voter are:

    1. It treats ALL taxpayers equally. Gareth Morgan spent sometime exploring the importance of vertical and horizontal equity. In other words it treats small and large taxpayers the same (vertical equity) and similar cases the same (horizontal equity).

    2. We can eliminate almost ALL targeted benefits. The entire system is essentially managed via the tax system. Righties understand tax. They might not like it, but they do understand that it is one of life’s universals. Benefits they implacably hate.

    3. No more bene bludgers. No-one can scam the system.

    4. It eliminates an enormously large and expensive bureaucracy (does anyone have the latest admin costs for WINZ? Last I looked it was in the order of $800m pa.) They really love the idea of cutting out administrative waste.

    • karol 2.1

      Yep – universality just plain better all round – reduces admin, is less likely to demonise those on low incomes….

    • weka 2.2

      “We can eliminate almost ALL targeted benefits.”

      What do you mean by almost all? Ill and disabled people, and single parents, to name three, are not insignificant groups.

      Because of that I don’t think WINZ can be completely disbanded. The MoH or the DHBs can manage the supplementary benefits. I would prefer to have my income managed by WINZ, separate from my health care. There are really good reasons for keeping those two things separate. Or did you have a different dept in mind? Maybe it would be good to revert the payments part back to something like the MSW, and have a different dept that assists people finding work.

      • karol 2.2.1

        So, on top of UBI, what kind of targeted benefits would be necessary for the ill, disabled, injured & single parents… and who else?

        Ill, disabled, ACC claimants – medicines, surgery, and rehab, etc. Cost of living supplements?

        Single parents – extra income for the children?

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1

          The children would be getting their own universal payment (although paid to the parent(s)).

        • Mike S 2.2.1.2

          “Single parents – extra income for the children?”

          Wouldn’t each child’s ubi (administered by their parent) be the extra income for the children?

          The inflation side of things could be a little tricky. The income increases at the top end as mentioned in the article do increase real inflation in that all additional money coming into the overall money supply inflates the money supply. However, those increases are concentrated in a small number of hands so they would have a different affect on the CPI or price inflation, which is what matters most to people, especially those on lower incomes.

          With the introduction of a ubi for every natural person in the country, there would most certainly be a sharp increase in demand for things like food, which are relevant to the cpi. (With more money in people’s pockets, they are going to want to buy things that they previously couldn’t afford) The result of increased demand is generally increased prices (an increase in the cpi or published inflation rate)

          So, in my opinion, a ubi would lead to an initial increase in prices (cpi), which would stabilize over time. However, assuming that the ubi is funded from the existing money supply via taxes (i.e doesn’t require government borrowing) then it theoretically should have no direct effect upon real inflation, as the existing money supply is not being inflated.

          In simple terms, there would be the same amount of money for all of the goods and services in the economy, but due to the change in distribution and spread of that money, it would theoretically be inflationary (in terms of consumer price inflation) due to increased demand for the goods and services.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.2.1

            You’ll also need to include the dynamics of sufficient competition and under utilised (spare) productive capacity. Put simply, if competition for each dollar is fierce, and there is considerable productive slack still to be taken up, price rises will be highly constrained.

            In addition, for a lot of people, extra dollars on hand will not necessarily go into consumer spending. Retiring bank or credit card debt, and increasing savings are examples of activities which will not fuel consumer item price inflation.

          • geoff 2.2.1.2.2

            @Mike S
            Can you explain how food price inflation could occur? What’s the mechanism?

            • KJT 2.2.1.2.2.1

              This probably deserves a whole post on its own, but, briefly.

              As a general rule inflation occurs when you have too much money chasing too little goods and services.

              The idea is that if you give poor people more money to buy food then the price of food will simply increase offsetting the advantage of the increase.

              We see the effect all ready with accommodation supplements pushing rents up. The landlord gets the benefit not the tenant. The price stays up because the housing stock available for rent is limited. Which is why a UBI needs to be paired with other initiatives, such as state housing.

              In a “market economy” an initial price rise triggers more production of food, and the price drops back towards equilibrium, so long as the capability to produce more food exists (elasticity of supply).
              New Zealand most definitely does have the capability to produce much more food. We feed many times our population already.

              It is funny that the same people who claim an absolute faith in “the market” don’t have the same faith when it involves people at the bottom end, instead of the top, having more spending power.
              It can work just as easily for food as it does to reduce the cost of flat screen TV’s and airline flights.

              It may mean some rebalancing, from dairying to pay for unneeded imported junk, to market gardening for local consumption. Which is good for local economics and our balance of payments.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ask anyone who works in a supermarket and they will tell you that bins full of fresh produce, baked goods and other food gets disposed of every day. Plenty of hungry kids in NZ; no shortage of food. Fucking market economy.

                • greywarbler

                  We could all phone a nearby supermarket/s and find out what they do with their dated goods. Then write a letter to the paper advising. And ask if there are groups who could collect the food box it and deliver it to houses where there are people having difficulties with cost etc.

                  Get people thinking and put some pressure on supermarkets. Get groups formed to do this. Don’t rely on foodbanks to do it. They will be fully loaded with what they are doing.

                  And they are under WINZ thumb. WINZ often won’t provide the food themselves through various options like vouchers, or only part of what is needed, but they try and control the distribution of this community food. People can get turned away from food help that people have provided for other people, not for the government to withhold at their will. Or they have to go through some budgeting advice thing, where they have to expose their miserable lives and management of money to smarter people who can tell them what they can do without so they don’t need regular help. As the song goes ‘Nobody knows you when you’re down and out.’
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O24KixmFFc

                  • Molly

                    I had an idea after watching a couple or programmes about supermarket waste.

                    1. Set up a charitable trust.
                    2. Coordinate with supermarkets – and get them to donate their expired goods on the day before expiry. Give them a receipt for goods donated.
                    3. Supermarket then avoids disposal costs AND can claim back from tax on that charitable donation.
                    4. Now here is the kicker – arrange for the supermarket to donate half of that tax rebate back to the charity to pay for admin/transport/operational costs etc. The supermarket then can claim on that donation for a further 30% tax rebate.
                    5. Food can then be:
                    – distributed via food banks,
                    – used to contribute towards community meals – with a nominal payment or koha,
                    – used to supplement composting schemes in community gardens etc
                    – used to run free/or minimal fee classes about healthy cooking, with participants taking the results home to family – or sharing them on site
                    – used to set up a soup group etc.

                    What appeals to me about this idea is that regardless of which government is in – they will continue to be assisting by funding the operational/admin costs via the charitable tax rebate.

                • weka

                  “Ask anyone who works in a supermarket and they will tell you that bins full of fresh produce, baked goods and other food gets disposed of every day. Plenty of hungry kids in NZ; no shortage of food. Fucking market economy.”

                  Indeed. And fucking capitalist state backed up by the police/’justice’ system. If any of us were to go and take food that’s been dumped from the skips at the back of a supermarket we would be charged with theft. Property rights trump rights to be healthy and well-fed.

                  I’d be interested to know where this has been tried before, what the supermarket owners thinkg about donating food that would otherwise be dumped. Do they believe that they are doing themselves out of customers by making some food ‘free’?

              • geoff

                I’m much more inclined to think it is a situation where the supermarkets will charge what the market can bear rather than some actual supply/demand.

                I think that the global food market from which NZ’s two main supermarket companies draw their stock is so large that the idea that extra demand from any UBI scheme could cause price increases is absurd.

                Much more likely that the supermarkets oligarchs would just charge more because they can .

                Just one of many reasons why UBI is not a panacea.

      • RedLogix 2.2.2

        Because of that I don’t think WINZ can be completely disbanded. The MoH or the DHBs can manage the supplementary benefits.

        That is a worthwhile question. My brother is deaf-blind so I’m pretty aware of the issues. He’s quite keen on any specific costs relating to his disability being managed by his health care providers. From his perspective they are the ones who know and understand what he requires, therefore they are the best placed to fund it.

        One of his biggest frustrations is the constant ‘pass the parcel’ and finger pointing that goes on in the current system.

        I would prefer to have my income managed by WINZ,

        The UBI vision I have in mind completely eliminates WINZ. The whole system is greatly simplified if every person has one single IRD-linked bank account.

        IRD simply credit that account weekly with the UBI – for everyone. Call it ‘negative taxation’ if you like.

        Many features of the current system are there simply because of the limitations of slow paper-based, clerk-driven accounting systems we had to use decades ago.

        • Sacha 2.2.2.1

          “From his perspective they are the ones who know and understand what he requires, therefore they are the best placed to fund it.”

          I have to say that’s not a common belief in my experience. I’d bet most disabled New Zealanders would rather separate out provision of their support services from income management. Could split responsibilities between providers and some form of regional coordination agencies like the current NASCs and DHBs. Should be possible for different models to coexist anyway.

          • RedLogix 2.2.2.1.1

            I’d bet most disabled New Zealanders would rather separate out provision of their support services from income management

            I’m not quibbling with your experience, but I think you’re missing the core point here – under the UBI model it is your income management.

            Nothing else needed.

            • weka 2.2.2.1.1.1

              If there is one UBI per person, how do ill/disabled people live when they have higher needs? Someone has to assess how much extra income they need, based on individual circumstances. At the moment it is done poorly by WINZ, but the health system manages such things poorly as well, we just don’t see it because there is no health system ‘bludger’ culture in NZ (I can tell you many power and control, treating people like shit stories from the health system)

              In the 90s, the funding for homecare and personal cares for ill/disabled people was restructured into what was called the funder/provider split. DHBs, who get the money from the govt to provide services, were not supposed to be assessing who needed the services because that was seen as a conflict of interest ie if they needed to cut their budget they could just start reassessing people as having less need (which is apparently what was happening in some areas before the change).

              There are many things wrong with how the new system was set up (not least that the provision of services was set up to be provided by private, profit-driven, businesses in competition with each other, of the huge excess of management positions that exist now), but the fundamental principle is sound. My GP is qualified to say what my medical needs are. She is not qualified to put those needs in the context of what the govt can afford to pay. Likewise, I don’t want someone in the MoH, who has an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach to health, AND a budgetary imperative, overriding what my GP and I know about my health care.

              • RedLogix

                If there is one UBI per person, how do ill/disabled people live when they have higher needs?

                The idea is that the UBI should be an adequate baseline for everyone, which IRD can readily manage without any evaluation or targeting.

                Those extra higher needs that arise from a disability are probably best managed by those organisations best able to evaluate and assist. As a disabled person you would receive a baseline UBI as of right – anything over an above that, specific to your disability, would be managed via the health system.

                I’ve no especial position around how that breaks down within the health system – I’d happily defer to your experience.

                • McFlock

                  I think it’s a bit inconsistent to argue that WINZ can be eliminated completely, when part of the proposal is to simply redistribute the more complicated cases amongst several different organisations. So we save on WINZ, but MoH, DHB, HousingNZ etc all have increased administration (not to mention the pass-the-parcel between organisations).

                  It’s like arguing pay increases for elite teachers to spend a fifth of their time mentoring others, but saying nothing about how schools are to replace that time that had been spent actually teaching.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Nevertheless, to be seen as getting rid of govt bureaucracy, simplifying systems and eliminating the need for a highly paid chief executive is a vote winner.

                    • McFlock

                      Ah, so we should lie to win votes.

                      I merely thought we were considering the actual merits and efficiencies of the policy, rather than discussing how to con people into accepting it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      which of the above point(s) is the lie?

                    • RedLogix

                      Not to mention a fair chunk of those 800,000 non-voters might just turn up on the promise of getting rid of WINZ.

                    • weka

                      “Ah, so we should lie to win votes.”

                      I would phrase it as “ah, so we should compromise disability policy to win votes”. Which is pretty fucked.

                      “Those extra higher needs that arise from a disability are probably best managed by those organisations best able to evaluate and assist. As a disabled person you would receive a baseline UBI as of right – anything over an above that, specific to your disability, would be managed via the health system.”

                      That’s just taken us around in circles. My original comment assumed a base UBI for everyone, with topups for those that needed it. You assert that topups would be managed via Health. I’m saying they shouldn’t be.

                      “I’ve no especial position around how that breaks down within the health system – I’d happily defer to your experience.”

                      Yes, and at least two of us with experience are saying don’t put income provision into the health system. I wonder if you are thinking that the topups are health services. They’re not, they’re income. Not something that the health system is designed to deal with, nor should be dealing with.

                      What are your reasons for wanting to completely disband WINZ?

                    • RedLogix

                      Having IRD manage the UBI gets rid of at least 90% of what WINZ does in pure dolllar terms.

                      The whole idea is to eliminate targeted benefits, and that will never happen as long as WINZ exists.

                      Better to get rid of it and transfer any remaining rump functions onto those govt organisations whose actual purpose is to provide them.

                    • weka

                      You’re not making sense Red. Either we agree that targeted supplementary benefits are needed, and then we decide who should deliver them. Or they’re not needed, in which case people with disabilities will be disadvantaged.

                      But you are saying that targeted benefits should be eliminated AND provided for by a govt dept. Which is it?

                      Why do you think that the Health system should be involved in income provision?

                    • RedLogix

                      In order to work the UBI would have to be set at a level that would replace all existing benefits.

                      Of course not all benefits are the same. The DPB for example is higher because of the cost of the children and their extra housing needs. Easily managed with a lesser UBI for each child and the extra housing provision via HNZ.

                      Now I’ve no idea specifically how much more than this you would require to meet your higher disability related needs – but IRD would be in the worst position to evaluate them. But the Health system is and therefore they should provide them.

                      Does this make you worse off or not? I have no idea, it really just depends on exact policy settings.

                      To my mind getting rid of the whole idea of benefits and beneficiaries and getting to universality is worth any re-organisational costs.

                    • McFlock

                      which of the above point(s) is the lie?

                      ” getting rid of govt bureaucracy, simplifying systems ”

                      All very well in theory, but not so hot for complex cases. Lots of opportunity for people in the real world to go to appointments with MoH to be told that the DHB handles that function, or not know that they need to go to IRD to get a top-up for clothing assistance, and so on.

                      I get that the UBI might solve problems for the bulk of people, but there will still be exceptions to that rule. And as soon as there are exceptions, someone needs to take on extra paperwork. Basically, a complete removal of WINZ might end up placing more barriers in front of people truly in need, rather than solving their problems.

                    • RedLogix

                      I’m trying to avoid making assumptions about your disability and the higher needs you refer to.

                      But I’m imagining that they involve a bundle of extra expenses spent of various services and needs that are personal to you and you alone.

                      All I am suggesting is that the Health system simply provides them to you gratis. Just like they provide largely free health and emergency care to the rest of us.

                      Of course this may well leave a cash gap of some kind which is what I’m thinking is the nub of what you are concerned about. Fair enough – but it should not be so very large that we couldn’t think of a some innovative ways to cover it. You would be in a better place to propose them than me.

                      A similar problem arises with Superannuation. Using Gareth Morgan’s figures the UBI for two people would be somewhat less than current Super for a couple .. but he goes on to outline a number of ways the gap could be bridged.

                    • weka

                      “In order to work the UBI would have to be set at a level that would replace all existing benefits.”

                      Why?

                      “Now I’ve no idea specifically how much more than this you would require to meet your higher disability related needs – but IRD would be in the worst position to evaluate them. But the Health system is and therefore they should provide them.”

                      I think you are confusing health services and income. Why do you think that the Health should provide income? Currently my GP assesses my disability needs and WINZ pays income based on that. Why should the MoH take over the role of my GP and WINZ? Income provision isn’t something they do, and they currently contract out needs assessment to private organisations for the support services that aren’t medical (eg home help and personal cares). Did you read what I wrote about the funder/provider split? Do you understand what I meant in the context of the UBI?

                      “Does this make you worse off or not? I have no idea, it really just depends on exact policy settings.”

                      I believe that I personally would be much worse off if Health was assessing my needs rather than my GP. That’s not true for everyone, but you are very naive if you think that Health is somehow good at supporting people with disabilities. We as a country fuck this up quite badly alot of the time.

                      “To my mind getting rid of the whole idea of benefits and beneficiaries and getting to universality is worth any re-organisational costs.”

                      The thing that concerns me is that that sounds ideological. However you’re not talking about universality. You’re suggesting ghettoising disability costs so that they don’t look like a benefit.

                    • weka

                      “I get that the UBI might solve problems for the bulk of people, but there will still be exceptions to that rule. And as soon as there are exceptions, someone needs to take on extra paperwork. Basically, a complete removal of WINZ might end up placing more barriers in front of people truly in need, rather than solving their problems.”

                      Spot on McFlock.

                      RedLogix:

                      “I’m trying to avoid making assumptions about your disability and the higher needs you refer to.

                      But I’m imagining that they involve a bundle of extra expenses spent of various services and needs that are personal to you and you alone.”

                      Don’t know what you mean there. If you mean each person has needs specific to their disability, then yes. If you mean no-one else has similar needs to me, then no.

                      “All I am suggesting is that the Health system simply provides them to you gratis. Just like they provide largely free health and emergency care to the rest of us.”

                      But many things currently covered by disability allowance under WINZ are not provided by the Health system. I really think you are confusing income and services.

                      I also wonder how people with disabilities not related to health would feel about having to got to Health for income. You are making massive assumptions by saying that income should be placed under Health.

                      “Of course this may well leave a cash gap of some kind which is what I’m thinking is the nub of what you are concerned about. Fair enough – but it should not be so very large that we couldn’t think of a some innovative ways to bridge it.”

                      All I can say is that based on this conversation so far, I really hope that people with disabilities don’t end up sitting across the desk from you when they need to get their income sorted out. Sorry, but I think you are arguing from a place of relative ignorance.

                      “A similar problem arises with Superannuation. Using Gareth Morgan’s figures the UBI for two people would be somewhat less than current Super for a couple .. but he goes on to outline a number of ways the gap could be bridged.”

                      What does he say about disability?

                    • RedLogix

                      But many things currently covered by disability allowance under WINZ are not provided by the Health system.

                      Such as? And does WINZ actually provide them?

                      If you have extra housing needs then HNZ are the obvious actual provider. Extra transport costs – the taxi driver just bills the DHB according to an agreed schedule.

                      And so on. If you think about it, WINZ don’t provide anything, they merely fund it. The actual provision of your specific disability needs always come from somewhere else – and they can be readily funded to provide them.

                      Now this doesn’t leave you entirely at the mercy of a heartless bureaucracy – you still have the same UBI cash to spend that everyone else gets.

                      As for being ignorant – you tell us what the exact problem is here. You claim extra costs because you are disabled. Fine I’m more than happy provide those services and meet those expenses gratis.

                      Now what have I missed?

                    • McFlock

                      Redlogix:
                      under a UBI with no WINZ at all, if a poorer family has a house fire and looses all their bedding and groceries, who do they go to for replacements?

                    • RedLogix

                      I agree I’m being a little ideological about getting rid of WINZ.

                      However if the UBI is set high enough it should cover the big majority of ‘exceptions’ – at least 90% of them I would imagine. That leaves only a rump of cases that I argue could be readily absorbed into existing government entities who are far better placed than WINZ to actually provide those needs.

                      The introduction of the UBI would be the single most radical political act since the First Labour govt’s first 100 days. I’m challenging people to put their thinking caps on and come up with better ways to provide the other 10% of remaining functions that would need to be met if we completely dismantled WINZ. There’s nothing sacrosanct about the organisation.

                      The other point everyone keeps overlooking is that the UBI system makes it much more attractive to earn extra part-time income. Many disabled people (my brother remarkably so) can undertake work or self-employment of some kind and the UBI would eliminate the high marginal tax rates this entails at present. Ideally everyone would be on the same flat tax rate (somewhere between 30-40%). Even an extra few hundred dollars a week gross income would make a big difference.

                      The other aspect is that the whole stand-down period currently applicable to many benefits would also disappear.

                      As for emergency benefits as you mention McFLock – surely you can think of some ways around this? How about funding some NGO’s like the Salvation Army to do this? They’ve a pretty good track record in this area. Or the govt simply funds it’s own insurance scheme to cover these kinds of needs?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I think McFlock and Weka are pointing out some important issues to consider.

                      The bottom line being is that there will be an ongoing need in society for social workers who will advocate for clients, help co-ordinate services and additional payments, as well as provide other professional support.

                      There are of course lots of different ways that this provision of social support services can be structured and located.

                    • weka

                      we’re getting out of synch here, not sure which of my comments you have read…

                      I agree I’m being a little ideological about getting rid of WINZ.

                      I think we could move this conversation along ALOT if you just stopped saying ‘move the issues to Health’

                      However if the UBI is set high enough it should cover the big majority of ‘exceptions’ – at least 90% of them I would imagine.

                      Ok, so me without a disability gets $100. I can choose to spend that on my basic needs and still have some discretionary income. Me with a disability gets the same $100, I get to spend that on my basic needs, my disability realted needs, but I have no discretionary income. How is that fair? (by me, I don’t really mean me, I mean anyone in that situation).

                      btw, some UBI advocates suggest setting the rate at below a living wage.

                      That leaves only a rump of cases that I argue could be readily absorbed into existing government entities who are far better placed than WINZ to actually provide those needs.

                      <*bangs head on desk*. Can you please understand that this is about INCOME, not service provision. Which other department is better suited to income provision than WORK AND INCOME NZ?

                      The introduction of the UBI would be the single most radical political act since the First Labour govt’s first 100 days. I’m challenging people to put their thinking caps on and come up with better ways to provide the other 10% of remaining functions that would need to be met if we completely dismantled WINZ. There’s nothing sacrosanct about the organisation.

                      No, there isn’t. But you have made a poor and potentially damaging suggestion of the alternative.

                      The other point everyone keeps overlooking is that the UBI system makes it much more attractive to earn extra part-time income. Many disabled people (my brother remarkably so) can undertake work or self-employment of some kind and the UBI would eliminate the high marginal tax rates this entails at present. Ideally everyone would be on the same flat tax rate (somewhere between 30-40%). Even an extra few hundred dollars a week gross income would make a big difference.

                      Yes, but you can remove the abatement issue when the UBI gets introduced. You don’t have to disband WINZ to do that.

                      The other aspect is that the whole stand-down period currently applicable to many benefits would also disappear.

                      Again, you don’t have to disband WINZ to do that, just remove the policy.

                      As for emergency benefits as you mention McFLock – surely you can think of some ways around this? How about funding some NGO’s like the Salvation Army to do this? They’ve a pretty good track record in this area. Or the govt simply funds it’s own insurance scheme to cover these kinds of needs?

                      See my previous point about it’s better to fund people in need directly, than it is to pay someone else to manage that funding.

                    • weka

                      The bottom line being is that there will be an ongoing need in society for social workers who will advocate for clients, help co-ordinate services and additional payments, as well as provide other professional support.

                      There are of course lots of different ways that this provision of social support services can be structured and located.

                      Yep, and the last bit is especially important. We shouldn’t be pre-empting how taht could be done by just lumping it into Health because we want to get rid of WINZ. Let’s look at how it could be done in the best way (and that might or might not be via WINZ).

                    • McFlock

                      As for emergency benefits as you mention McFLock – surely you can think of some ways around this? How about funding some NGO’s like the Salvation Army to do this? They’ve a pretty good track record in this area. Or the govt simply funds it’s own insurance scheme to cover these kinds of needs?

                      So your simplification of bureaucracy is to replace a government department with contracting out social assistance or aother government department (for insurance)?

                      The devil is in the details – if WINZ was replaced by the UBI in one fell swoop, and our rough arsetimate of 10% without met needs is accurate or an undercount, that’s a policy failure the tories will exploit to nuke the entire thing. Yes, administration costs will be reduced, but I’d be expecting by the area of 30%, not anywhere near a compete elimination.

                    • RedLogix

                      Somewhere along the way you seem to have gotten the wrong end of the stick.

                      The UBI I have in mind would have to replace all current benefits and Super. That’s a LOT more than $100 per week. Probably somewhere between $200-300 pw. In addition BOTH partners get it unconditionally. Children get a smaller one.

                      The gap between this and your extra needs can be funded or provided in any number of ways – you just no longer need WINZ to do it. Nor does it have to imply any loss of choice or agency on your part.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      under a UBI with no WINZ at all, if a poorer family has a house fire and looses all their bedding and groceries, who do they go to for replacements?

                      HNZ and state insurance?

                      Can you please understand that this is about INCOME, not service provision.

                      No it’s not as you point out in the same comment:
                      Me with a disability gets the same $100, I get to spend that on my basic needs, my disability realted needs, but I have no discretionary income.
                      Your disability needs will be covered by the provider and so you would still have the same discretionary income.

                      Now, I agree that some unscrupulous bastards will try to rort the system which is why such provision would be completely transparent.

                      Why do you think that the MoH should be the ones to help a family with bedding and groceries? They’re not health service issues.

                      A) Nobody has said that the MoH should
                      B) The UBI will more than cover those

                      You really are not getting the difference here. I’ve explained this ad nauseum.

                      Actually, the problem is that you’ve misunderstood everything that RL has said ad nauseam and not made any suggestions yourself – as per usual.

                      After all that I suspect that we’ll end up with a small government department that covers a few small extraneous expenses such as fire lost groceries but it won’t be called WINZ but something more along the lines of Social Security.

                    • McFlock
                      under a UBI with no WINZ at all, if a poorer family has a house fire and looses all their bedding and groceries, who do they go to for replacements?

                      HNZ and state insurance?
                      […]

                      After all that I suspect that we’ll end up with a small government department that covers a few small extraneous expenses such as fire lost groceries but it won’t be called WINZ but something more along the lines of Social Security.

                      I suspect the latter, too. But to be accessible it will also have to have locations or at least representatives all around the country, just like WINZ. And hell, they might as well provide assistance finding work, too.

                    • weka


                      “Can you please understand that this is about INCOME, not service provision.”

                      No it’s not as you point out in the same comment:
                      “Me with a disability gets the same $100, I get to spend that on my basic needs, my disability realted needs, but I have no discretionary income.”

                      Your disability needs will be covered by the provider and so you would still have the same discretionary income.

                      Can you please clarify (provider of what?). Are you saying that I won’t be funded directly (as per current system), but that lots of different people and agenices will meet my disability needs directly and the state will pay that person?

                      “Why do you think that the MoH should be the ones to help a family with bedding and groceries? They’re not health service issues.”

                      A) Nobody has said that the MoH should
                      B) The UBI will more than cover those

                      Red is suggesting that all this be done through Health. If that’s not via the MoH, what dept would do it?

                      The bedding/groceries was McFlock’s example of losing those things in a fire. I agree that state insurance is one way to go. Presumably free of premium cost to the person who needs cover, because someone on an income of $200 a week won’t be able to afford that.

                      “You really are not getting the difference here. I’ve explained this ad nauseum.”

                      Actually, the problem is that you’ve misunderstood everything that RL has said ad nauseam and not made any suggestions yourself

                      But I have given a reason for why I’m not making those suggestions yet in the conversation with him. Did you understand that?

                      – as per usual.

                      Please take your shit about me somewhere else, it’s not helpful.

                      After all that I suspect that we’ll end up with a small government department that covers a few small extraneous expenses such as fire lost groceries but it won’t be called WINZ but something more along the lines of Social Security.

                      yes, exactly, and this fits with what CV has said too at 8:47pm (which I agreed with). Reverting WINZ back to something like the Ministry of Social Welfare and scaling it down is one way to go. Separate work/employment support from other welfare. I have made this suggestion in other threads.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      But to be accessible it will also have to have locations or at least representatives all around the country, just like WINZ.

                      Seen the WINZ site lately? They’re slowly getting to the point that you can do it most of it online. If this is successful then offices become even smaller and it may actually be better for any face to face to be done at your place.

                      And hell, they might as well provide assistance finding work, too.

                      If the government is going to run a recruitment agency make it a dedicated department. WINZ is actually too broad as it tries to do everything.

                      Are you saying that I won’t be funded directly (as per current system), but that lots of different people and agenices will meet my disability needs directly and the state will pay that person?

                      Yes.

                      Red is suggesting that all this be done through Health.

                      No he didn’t – he used health as an example of greater needs that would be supplied to those that needed them. He didn’t say that all greater expenses would be met through MoH.

                  • RedLogix

                    But that’s exactly how the heath system works for all of us. Your GP or specialist determines what you need and the system then pays to provide it.

                    It works because it is universally available to everyone and yet neatly adapted to each person’s need. If for (a silly) example I need a boil lancing I don’t get booked for a heart-transplant. It meets my specific targeted needs without anyone thinking of it as a benefit.

                    • weka

                      You still don’t understand the difference between income (where I get to choose where, when, and to an extent how I spend the money) and service (where other people tell me how I will get my needs met, tell me who will meet them, when etc, and then often fail to meet those needs). Big difference.

                      “But many things currently covered by disability allowance under WINZ are not provided by the Health system.

                      Such as?”

                      eg Costs of extra heating. WINZ currently do an assessment based on where you live and what the average costs are for that area. Nothing to do with health provision. The service is provided by private power companies, and is funded by the state via WINZ.

                      eg Phone and line rental (not sure if this is available to new applicants). It’s a set amount, paid into the beneficiaries bank account each week. Nothing to do with health provision, service provided by private telcos.

                      eg health services not provided by the public health system or ACC (for instance massage therapy, accupuncture).

                      eg counselling (and no, the MoH should definitely not be getting involved in this. Individuals should be free to choose the counsellor they want to see).

                      “And does WINZ actually provide them?”

                      GP writes on form that Jane needs x, y, z. Jane provides proof of how much x, y, z cost. WINZ pays money for x, y, z into Jane’s bank account. Jane spends money on her needs as she sees fit.

                      btw, I’m not seeing the GPs as part of the public health system here. Despite the subsidy, they are independent practitioners.

                      “If you have extra housing needs then HNZ are the obvious actual provider. Extra transport costs – the taxi driver just bills the DHB according to an agreed schedule.”

                      Not all disabilities are health related. I think you will find that many people with disabilities don’t want to be dependent on Health (ie a system designed around illness for their income). Disability is not equivalent to illness.

                      “And so on. If you think about it, WINZ don’t provide anything, they merely fund it.”

                      YES. I’ve been saying that all along. I need INCOME, not service provision.

                      “The actual provision of your specific disability needs always come from somewhere else – and they can be readily funded to provide them.”

                      Ok, so what you are saying is that the MoH can take over the administration of delivering income to people with disabilties. Not health services, but income. Right?

                      “Now this doesn’t leave you entirely at the mercy of a heartless bureaucracy – you still have the same UBI cash to spend that everyone else gets.”

                      You’ve missed again.

                      “As for being ignorant – you tell us what the exact problem is here. You claim extra costs because you are disabled. Fine I’m more than happy provide those services and meet those expenses gratis.”

                      Yes, we already established that. I’m saying don’t do it via Health (whose job is healthcare, not income provision).

                      In general, it is better to fund people to manage their own needs than it is to hand that management over to a bureaucracy, unless the person is unable to manage it for themselves (and even then there are other options). You might appreciate the irony of me having to argue this point given the rights’ rhetoric about how beneficiaries can’t be trusted to use their money properly.

                      There are ways of doing this, but until you get past the idea that this is all about health provision and should be via MoH, we can’t discuss them.

                    • weka

                      “It works because it is universally available to everyone and yet neatly adapted to each person’s need.”

                      In theory. In practice it often doesn’t work like that. In many cases people get failed badly.

                      Why do you think that the MoH should be the ones to help a family with bedding and groceries? They’re not health service issues.

                      “It meets my specific targeted needs without anyone thinking of it as a benefit.”

                      And yet you’ve said we should be doing away with health targeted benefits. Or are you suggesting that someone from the MoH goes out and buys the new bedding and groceries? Why would you pay someone to do that when you could give the money directly to the person in need?

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I do understand the difference between income that you have the choice in how you spend – and a service provided that is provided with no choice.

                      First of all when it comes to health care, unless you have private health insurance – you are in exactly the same boat as the rest of us.

                      Secondly – as with all the rest of us – it is you and your GP or Specialist who negotiates with the health system for the services that will best meet your needs. That’s the point at which you retain your power of choice.

                      Thirdly – you overlook the obvious possibilities for private sector providers of your choice to simply invoice a department for the extra services you are entitled to. For example your electricity company applies a discount to your power bill and then invoices the DHB for the balance according to an agreed schedule. Same for counselling.

                      Fourthly – you still have your UBI income as of right. Same as everyone else.

                      And yes there is a real opportunity here to change the nature of some major government functions like health and housing. Imagine if they were properly designed to assist with peoples welfare instead of just their illness?

                      Yes the UBI is a radical change. Lot’s of things might change – it’s a chance to think through the possibilities and come up with new ideas.

                    • weka

                      Yes I do understand the difference between income that you have the choice in how you spend – and a service provided that is provided with no choice.

                      First of all when it comes to health care, unless you have private health insurance – you are in exactly the same boat as the rest of us.

                      No. See my example above re the $100. If you don’t accept that then you are saying that able bodied people are more entitled to support, because they can afford it.

                      And I would really love to know who you mean by ‘you’ and who you mean by ‘the rest of us’ in that sentence. Please claridfy.

                      Secondly – as with all the rest of us – it is you and your GP or Specialist who negotiates with the health system for the services that will best meet your needs. That’s the point at which you retain your power of choice.

                      No. At the moment my GP and I document my medical needs and WINZ pays for them. It’s not a negotiation between my GP and the health system (where is the client in that statement btw?). You really are not getting the difference here. I’ve explained this ad nauseum. Try rereading my comments, or asking for clarification.

                      Thirdly – you overlook the obvious possibilities for private sector providers of your choice to simply invoice a department for the extra services you are entitled to. For example your electricity company applies a discount to your power bill and then invoices the DHB for the balance according to an agreed schedule. Same for counselling.

                      No, I’m not overlooking that. It’s just problematic because it introduces another layer of accounting for the govt dept, and it takes power away from the client. Also, how does the private power company or counsellor know what the entitlement is?

                      Please answer this yes or no. Are you ok with the MoH providing FUNDING to people with disabilities? ie they don’t get involved in needs assessment or service provision, they’re just accountants.

                      Fourthly – you still have your UBI income as of right. Same as everyone else.

                      No idea why you said that, because it’s been a given right from the start.

                      And yes there is a real opportunity here to change the nature of some major government functions like health and housing. Imagine if they were properly designed to assist with peoples welfare instead of just their illness?

                      Yes, but that’s not going to happen with the kind of thinking you are displaying here. And it’s certainly not going to happen from within the MoH as it functions currently.

                      Yes the UBI is a radical change. Lot’s of things might change – it’s a chance to think through the possibilities and come up with new ideas.

                      And on that particularly patronising note I will leave this discussion.

                      And you know what? I don’t speak for people with illness or disabilities, and those voices are hugely diverse. But I do have a huge amount of experience in this area, not just my own personal situation, but many other peoples and many of the politics involved. You could have used this thread as an opportunity to pick my brains (and other peoples) in thinking through the possibilites and new ideas. Instead you are choosing to entrench in your idea that this is all about Health and how YOU see this should work. I’m telling you that what you are suggesting is likely to be problematic, and that there are better ways to approach this, but I don’t get the sense that you are listening. IMO that will be a stumbling block for deveoping the UBI further in this forum.

                    • RedLogix

                      Just above I was pointing out that the UBI I have in mind would have to be in the $200-300 range in order to eliminate all other benefits. That’s point – to eliminate the targeting which is the root cause of so many fatal flaws in the current system.

                      Bear in mind that it’s Universal, every adult in the household gets it, it’s not subject to standown or abatement. Bear in mind that there is no barrier to earning part-time income.

                      This eliminates in dollar terms at least 90% of what WINZ does. It’s a chance to radically restructure how government delivers services and real welfare for the community.

                      As for playing the ‘patronising’ card. I repeatedly asked you for suggestions that were not simply a defense of the status quo with WINZ. There are plenty of ways to implement disability policy without WINZ that don’t impinge on your choice or agency – but you point blank refused to countenance any of them. I put up half a dozen suggestions and with all your experience and knowledge you put up nothing new at all.

                      Interesting how the moment someone suggests a change that actually impacts on your life and you suddenly get all conservative on me. Disappointing.

                    • RedLogix

                      And I would really love to know who you mean by ‘you’ and who you mean by ‘the rest of us’ in that sentence. Please claridfy.

                      We are discussing the difference between the needs of of disabled people and non-disabled people in terms of income support. It’s your distinction – not mine.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      RL, I think that weka has got much invested in terms of hard-won understanding and knowledge about how the current system works, and can be made to work practically.

                      With the major changes that you are envisaging, not only is much of that working knowledge being threatened, but it’s not easy to envisage how the new system would fairly and equitably deal with the edge cases requiring more attention and support.

                    • McFlock

                      RL,

                      What I think you’re forgetting is that assistance needs to be easily accessible for the person in need, not for the system.

                      $300p.w. will help a lot of people, but we cannot forget the people for whom it is insufficient either chronically or in occasional emergency circumstances. Waving a hand and assuming the DHB will handle individual objections we might think of here is insufficient – we need a system that can handle the problems that we can’t think of here. That means a service that people can go to for social assistance, reimbursement for eye tests or footwear, and so on. Nobody’s clinging to WINZ per se, but there’s a real threat of a kafka-esque situation of “falling through the cracks” (as they say when someone not getting what they urgently need is always the fault of some other department).

                    • weka

                      CV,

                      With the major changes that you are envisaging, not only is much of that working knowledge being threatened, but it’s not easy to envisage how the new system would fairly and equitably deal with the edge cases requiring more attention and support.

                      I support racial change of various systems including the introduction of a UBI.

                      Fwiw,

                      Instate a UBI as discussed (but whether that is a liveable income or a sub-liveable, benefit replacement makes a huge difference to the disability issues and how they could be resolved).

                      Separate out work/employment issues from social security/welfare (not my area, but put support finding work in the same department as job creation?)

                      Get rid of the name WINZ (and all the neoliberal incarnations of the last 20+ years). I don’t know if WINZ should be disbanded entirely, or just rejigged to be smaller and better managed (I’m not sure what the precedents are for removing a whole dept and then creating a new one from scratch. WINZ is a pretty dysfunctional dept, but there are probably salvageable things there, esp in some staff that have been there a long time). Either way, make it about social security rather than Health (this includes the kinds of examples McFlock was talking about). If the problem here is that social security is part of the bene bashing/resentment culture, then come up with a new name and concept.

                      Use an individualised, self-managed funding model (MoH have a system of this for some disability clients to access homehelp and personal cares). This means the person with the disability is funded directly (from a social security dept), and is accountable for how that funding is spent. They can get support for developing a plan if needed. Prioritise client centred models rather than using professionals who think they know best (which is what you will get if you put all this into Health).

                      Funding under a certain amount is accessed via the client with support from a primary medical practitioner or other suitable professional (current WINZ system, but no cap) ie the client applies with GP support and is paid weekly or whatever. This give the client a great deal of control over how to manage their life. This is one of the ways that the current WINZ system works well, when staff implement it correctly (the problem is that they often don’t).

                      Funding over that might need to be via a needs assessment, but there are some problems with how this is already done by the state in some areas (am happy to outline those if needed). I’m assuming this will be needed because the govt will want to control large payments more closely.

                      Entitlements (but probably find another name if this is about changing the bene bashign culture) can be reviewed periodically, depending on the individuals circumstances (eg long term or temp disability).

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah all that makes sense weka. Without trying to be provocative let me explore this theme for a moment…

                      There are a lot of govt services that we all receive, like infrastructure, education, health, justice, etc over which we have very little agency. Yet we accept this because it makes sense from an egalitarian perspective that the state should treat people alike as far as possible.

                      By contrast arguing that the individuals should be given the income to manage their own services is not all that far removed from ACT’s old ‘school voucher’ system in principle. That was based on the same idea that people would know best how to manage their own choices for their children’s education.

                      The left very strongly rejected that one yet interestingly at the same time the left has been very strong in defending the right of beneficiaries to determine how they spend their income. Same idea but a different response.

                      How to resolve this apparent contradiction? At one level I’m happy for beneficiaries (who are generally already the most dis-empowered people in society) to have full agency over the very modest incomes they do have. At another level I’m willing to go with the idea that most beneficiaries are not in that position as a matter of choice – therefore there is no reason to deny them the same agency to spend their income (derived from the state as it is) as non-beneficiaries enjoy.

                      A UBI eliminates the notion of ‘beneficiary’ altogether. Essentially it represents a very real increase in personal agency over that portion of your income. It’s now essentially indistinguishable from any other income from any other source and a lot of positives flow from this.

                      I guess my approach above embodied something of a political balancing act, that in return for this very real increase in personal agency due to the nature of the UBI itself – this was a reasonable basis to potentially trade-off some existing agency around additional support specific to disability. Which is probably how I instinctively arrived at my original suggestions around the health system being the primary provider/funder.

                      I’m not trying to be dogmatic over this – but I think it’s worth thinking about these aspects and how they might play out.

                      Finally I do agree that neither WINZ nor the Health system are designed for the welfare purpose I think we both have in mind. Radical change and re-design would be necessary over time.

            • weka 2.2.2.1.1.2

              “Nothing else needed.”

              So are you saying that someone with an illness or disability that prevents them from working should have the same income as an able bodied person?

              I assume you are arguing for a UBI set at a living wage rate? Not everyone in these discussions agrees with that. What happens to disabled people that can’t live on that?

              • KJT

                I know all to well the difficulties of getting disability help from a fragmented and underfunded system.
                Something that also needs to be addressed.

                It is a side issue to the UBI. The problem is the way we fund, allocate,and advocate, disability services

                I would envisage with a UBI that the total of the UBI is a disabled persons income, AFTER extra needs due to the disability are met..

                So that any extra services or income required to meet their extra needs (Mobility, house adaptation, home help, health care etc) would be extra. provided either, as a fund for the disabled person (adjusted for actual needs) or through state provision. Or a combination of both.

                • weka

                  “So that any extra services or income required to meet their extra needs (Mobility, house adaptation, home help, health care etc) would be extra. provided either, as a fund for the disabled person (adjusted for actual needs) or through state provision. Or a combination of both.”

                  That’s good, thanks. If I get the chance, I might see if I can summarise the issues that have arisen so far along with potential solutions.

                • greywarbler

                  KJT
                  I was thinking of someone I know who has an allowance to draw on for needed prostheses. So when need occurs there is a balance of credit to drawn on that has an end date. Spending choice has to be judged by the person and the provision of service is paid for from the allowance that is renewed on a two year budget. There is an approved provider, and the service is good quality but not expensive, standard.

                  This is very useful, one doesn’t have to go cap in hand. The decision ability is with the citizen and empowers him/her. This would cut out a lot of the bureaucracy and the feelings of depression that overtake many when they have to go down to the factory that is the s(laughter) house of positivity and empowerment. There ain’t no laughs there, no acceptance and appreciation of people as good citizens doing their best despite having some disadvantage.

                  Vouchers have a number of uses and a number of detractors I should think, as a result. But ones given to someone with a need that the government has agreed to assist with, and allowing a reasonable budget for buying services limited to the need, and limited to a suitable provider who is monitored for value and standard, would be a useful adjunct to UBI. The person would get checks from time to time as to need, BUT not more often than once a year, and it would be to see the level of requirement not the threat of pulling it away altogether without discussion.

                  This would do away with the soul-destroying approach by charity workers in WINZ, who are not professional community workers in their attitudes, which can vicious, and disdainful. But I think it is management’s attitude is reflected by the people at the coalface. And behind government services is the attitude of the employing government body who chooses the type of CEO deemed suitable, and the Minister, and also Treasury no doubt, looming in the background.

              • greywarbler

                I thought that the point made by Colonial Viper at 26 January 2014 at 10:32 pm
                was a good done where he points out Weka that you have a lot of background in this area. While the UBI sounds good I fear that it is another effort to produce a simple system without exceptions, (or bypassing or overlooking real needs) that is so beloved by those interested in economic efficiencies.

                When the almost open access to physiotherapists in ACC was introduced by Labour, it ballooned and there was the feeling that it was being rorted. Now the poor have trouble finding the first say, $20 required to get the bodywork needed to keep them mobile or whatever. As I have said elsewhere this morning we tend to go from one extreme to another when the answer lies near the middle. And sometimes simple economics are not satisfactory to find where that point actually is.

                • weka

                  Thank-you greywarbler, appreciate your and CV’s comments. I agree about the middle. The conversation in the last 24 hours was important I think, because it makes visible some of the issues that need to be resolved amongst the left in order to move the UBI idea forward (assuming we don’t want to leave some people behind). I think it’s easy to see the UBI as a panacea, so we have to look at how it might work at the pragmatic level.

  3. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3

    Are those of you from Wellington aware that Perce Harpham is doing a lecture on UBI in Wellington?

    http://binews.org/2014/01/wellington-new-zealand-reducing-inequality-through-universal-basic-income

    DATE: Friday, 31 January
    VENUE: Rutherford House, Lecture Theatre 3, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
    TIME: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

    I would love to hear about this if anyone is going and could report back here on The Standard :)

    [I mistakenly put this on the earlier UBI thread ]

    • greywarbler 3.1

      I don’t see that there would be any reason why it would not be okay to repeat details of this sort of meeting. After all different people read different things on any day. Perhaps for a final reminder one could get brief details in early on the day in Open Mike, so it’s an early bird position for anyone scanning the latest brain bursts on that thread.

  4. Daniel 4

    This is a good idea and we should be doing it.

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    Redline
  • Friday fun: Overseas beer ads
    It's 3:30 on Friday and astoundingly I'm thinking about beer. Here are some of the best beer ads from Not Here, IMHO. Enjoy. Love the kung fu! "Sharks have a week dedicated to him." Gold. The whole Errol Morris /...
    Polity
  • Johnny and Andy
    Looking ahead a little bit Just a thought we haven’t had much good stuff lately so when very we plainly see Johnny, the shitty little playground bully suddenly shit copiously in his pants and the teachers say hey whooooo fuck...
    Redline
  • Johnny and Andy
    Looking ahead a little bit Just a thought we haven’t had much good stuff lately so when very we plainly see Johnny, the shitty little playground bully suddenly shit copiously in his pants and the teachers say hey whooooo fuck...
    Redline
  • Utter contempt for the OIA
    The OIA is very clear: requests must be answered "as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days [of receipt]". While that time limit can be extended, that can only be done if a...
    No Right Turn
  • Success!
    Earlier this year, the government effectively banned legal highs by withdrawing all interim certifications for them. How's that worked out? The front-page of the Manawatu Standard today tells me that "Meth use on rise after legal high ban":Former methamphetamine addicts...
    No Right Turn
  • John Banks isn’t (yet) innocent
    The news that the Court of Appeal has overturned the guilty verdict against John Banks' for knowingly filing a false election return in relation to his failed 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign is not surprising. To understand why, you need to...
    Pundit
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Good ideas that don’t work
    Stinky Jim has been playing a rather engaging cumbia version of New Order's 'Blue Monday' on his 95bFM radio show. Having tracked down the Soundcloud stream, I thought that I would quite like, in my old-fashioned way to, you know, buy...
    Public Address
  • And the Banks saga rolls on…
    It’s just been reported that John Banks has been successful in his appeal, with the Court of Appeal overturning his conviction and ordering a new trial. The appeal hinged on the evidence of two US-based businessmen, David Schaeffer and Jeffery...
    Occasionally erudite
  • Tonga votes
    Tongans went to the polls yesterday in their second election since the 2010 democratic reforms - and threw out most of their Parliament, returning only five of their incumbent People's Representatives (and only one PR Cabinet Minister). Unfortunately this doesn't...
    No Right Turn
  • What if a technology revolution happened and nobody noticed?
    A new NZIER research report, entitled “Disruption on the road ahead! How auto technology will change much more than just our commute to work“, makes the case that new technologies will upend urban transport systems: Near autonomous cars followed by...
    Transport Blog
  • Submission on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Below is my submission on John Key's Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. Hopefully some of you made your own as well. I oppose the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill and ask that it not be passed. I also oppose the...
    No Right Turn
  • River story winner Bill Kerrison – Saving NZ’s longfin eel
    The Award winning River story for the 2014 New Zealand River awards story is about one man, Bill Kerrison, who has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years trapping and transferring eels and other native fish species past the dams...
    Gareth’s World
  • Little Expecting A Lot
    Great Expectations: Labour's new leader, Andrew Little, is expecting a lot more from his Shadow Cabinet than the standard neoliberal commitment to keeping the books in the black. He will not be judging the worth of Labour’s economic policies by...
    Bowalley Road
  • Prolongation of Life and the Quality of Life.
    A couple of comments to an earlier column asked questions about the quality of life versus the prolongation of life....
    Pundit
  • Saving Peatland With the President
    Today we made history in the protection of Indonesian peatlands. I’ve just got back from a monitoring trip to Sumatra’s devastated peatland forests with Indonesia’s new president Jokowi, where the president witnessed firsthand ongoing peatland and rainforest destruction and took...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • Submission on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Submission of the Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee on the “Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill” Introduction The Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa (TEU) welcomes this opportunity to respond to the proposed...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Gordon Campbell on Andrew Little’s debut, Mockingjay, and drunk texting
    John Key’s credibility has taken a hammering this week – at least among the 50% of the electorate who have always had doubts about him on that score. The other substantial story of the week has been about Andrew Little’s...
    Gordon Campbell
  • Five houses
    Labour's Phil Twyford says: The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were...
    Polity
  • Round up the usual suspects
    This post is just to keep track of all the people Cameron Slater has accused of being involved in the conspiracy to hack his computer and kill him. As Giovanni Tiso has pointed out, when Slater posts about Rawshark he...
    DimPost
  • The Soya Moratorium lives on – but what will follow after it?
    For eight years, the Soya Moratorium has protected the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. It has just been renewed for the eighth time. But what happens when it ends for good, 18 months from now?The Soya Moratorium was the industry’s answer to our campaign...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • 2014 New Zealand River Award Winners
      Two Canterbury rivers – the Otukaikino and Cam – took out 1st and 3rd place in the 2014 New Zealand River Awards for the most improved rivers in the country. The Oroua River in the Manawatu was the 2nd...
    Gareth’s World
  • Neetflux: Leak absorbent
    ...
    On the Left
  • Housing Accord first year results
    The results for the first full year of the Housing Accord between the government and Auckland Council have just been released. It’s a politically charged topic – witness the government talking it up (“First year Auckland Housing Accord target exceeded“),...
    Transport Blog
  • Armchair psychoanalysis of the day
    A week ago I was having coffee with some fellow politics nerds, scoffing at the idea that newly elected Labour MP Andrew Little could defeat Key in 2017. ‘The best he could hope for’, I pontificated, ‘Is to get up into...
    DimPost
  • Doctors support call for independent health assessment
    Press Release – Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Senior doctors and dentists are formally throwing their weight behind growing calls for a formal independent health assessment of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). A recommendation about the TPPA was put...
    Its our future
  • Mercury Rising: 2014 Likely to Surpass 2010 as Warmest Year on Record
    The monthly global analysis for October has been released at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and it reveals that global surface temperature for October 2014 is the warmest October in 135 years of record-keeping. This follows on from the 2nd...
    Skeptical Science
  • Legal Beagle: A rather incomplete submission on the Countering Terrorist Fi...
    I've been busy lately, and have been unable to prepare the submission on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill that I would have liked. I also have a half-written blog post fact-checking claims made before the bill was released by...
    Public Address
  • US Report shows zero Australian economic growth from TPP
    ...
    Its our future
  • Stuart’s 100 #59: Missing from the City Centre Series: Street Kiosks
    59: Missing from the City Centre Series: Street Kiosks What if there were flower sellers on Queen Street? Our city centre is really starting to burgeon with pedestrian activity and public life through the day and well into the evening,...
    Transport Blog
  • The Law Society on the spy bill
    At the moment the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee is hearing submissions on John Key's Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. One of the first submitters was the Law Society. So what did they think of it? It is a...
    No Right Turn
  • John Key’s TXTs and the Public Records Act
    Today in Question Time, in response to further questions about the Prime Minister's communications with sewerblogger Cameron Slater, Steven Joyce (on behalf of the PM) informed the House that Key deletes all his text messages, "in case his phone is...
    No Right Turn
  • No freedom of speech in Pakistan
    Veena Malik is a Pakistani actor. In May this year she played a role in a historical wedding scene based on the marriage of one of Muhammed's daughters. For this, she has been sentenced to 26 years in jail for...
    No Right Turn
  • John Key’s Immoral Governance
    I was in Wellington last weekend, alternating between spending time with my two student children and attending our Green Party executive meeting. Being with intellectually engaged and compassionate people was a useful foil to the depressing events that hit me...
    Local Bodies
  • Council washes hands of pensioner housing
    Hamilton City Council is washing its hands of its social responsibility to care for its elderly residents by selling off its homes for pensioners, Labour’s Hamilton-based MP Sue Moroney says. “The Council’s decision to sell its remaining 344 pensioner housing...
    Labour
  • Bold response required to Blueprint
    The Government must give urgent consideration to recommendations in The People’s Blueprint if it is serious about tackling New Zealand’s deplorable record of child abuse and domestic violence, Labour’s Justice and Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The ‘one family, one judge’...
    Labour
  • Private prisons poaching in state jails
    The Corrections Department-sanctioned poaching of public prison officers for the new private prison at Wiri has to stop, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It is unacceptable that prison staff are being trained by Corrections and then being poached by...
    Labour
  • Climate report- a must read for all New Zealanders
    A strong scientific analysis of rising sea levels in New Zealand by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment makes climate change the number one issue for our city planners, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “Dr Jan Wright’s report...
    Labour
  • Exports drop puts more pressure on surplus
    A 5 per cent fall in exports shows National’s reputation for economic management is taking a hit and even puts its golden surplus target at risk, say Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Exports Growth spokesperson David Parker. “Bill English’s...
    Labour
  • Fourth housing report confirms failure
    The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special...
    Labour
  • Fourth housing report confirms failure
    The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special...
    Labour
  • Ministers all over the place on Smith passport
     Ministers responsible for the Phillip Smith debacle are at  odds over the passport he used to escape, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It  beggars belief that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the passport issued to Smith, under his...
    Labour
  • Ministers all over the place on Smith passport
     Ministers responsible for the Phillip Smith debacle are at  odds over the passport he used to escape, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It  beggars belief that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the passport issued to Smith, under his...
    Labour
  • Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman’s speech – Rod Donald Memorial Lect...
    It's been nine years since Rod's tragic death. I'd like to start out by talking about what Rod achieved. Then I want to talk about the things that I think he might want us to achieve in his absence. We...
    Greens
  • Hard road ahead for thousands more Kiwi kids
    News that there will be 8000 more students in low decile schools next year reinforces the absolute failure of the National Government’s economic approach, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing....
    Labour
  • Hard road ahead for thousands more Kiwi kids
    News that there will be 8000 more students in low decile schools next year reinforces the absolute failure of the National Government’s economic approach, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing....
    Labour
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    Greens
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    Greens
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    Greens
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    Greens
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    Greens
  • Key’s vile smear machine questions left unanswered
    The report into Judith Collins’ involvement in undermining the former Serious Fraud Office boss leaves major questions unanswered about the smear machine run out of John Key’s office, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “This report has deliberately narrow terms of...
    Labour
  • Key’s vile smear machine questions left unanswered
    The report into Judith Collins’ involvement in undermining the former Serious Fraud Office boss leaves major questions unanswered about the smear machine run out of John Key’s office, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “This report has deliberately narrow terms of...
    Labour
  • Govt must make up lost time on sexual violence law reform
    The Government must prioritise any recommendations from the Law Commission to improve criminal process for sexual violence cases after it stalled reform work for two years, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour is pleased Justice Minister Amy Adams has...
    Labour
  • Govt must make up lost time on sexual violence law reform
    The Government must prioritise any recommendations from the Law Commission to improve criminal process for sexual violence cases after it stalled reform work for two years, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour is pleased Justice Minister Amy Adams has...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • Report confirms John Key abused power of PM’s Office
    Today's Inspector General of Intelligence and Security's (IGIS) report confirms that the Prime Minister's office engaged in a serious abuse of power, says the Green Party.The IGIS report looked at the release of an Official Information Act request to disgraced...
    Greens
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • The Deep State Surfaces
    IT IS EIGHTEEN YEARS since education lecturer, Denis Small, surprised two Security Intelligence Service (SIS) agents attempting to break into the home of the anti-free trade activist, Aziz Choudry. The SIS was to pay dearly (quite literally as it turned...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why bother joining a union?
    This past couple of weeks Unite has had a number of graphic examples on why it can make a huge difference in you work life whether you are a union member or not. 100 cleaners jobs at SkyCity were saved...
    The Daily Blog
  • Ferguson – it just ain’t cricket
    Why do white men fear young black men? Why in this country do we continue to struggle with this? Asked by an old black guy in Ferguson, the crafty questions were answered by an abrupt end to the story to...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: If we want to understand the world around us, we might be bett...
    Psychologist Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Prize winner and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, a depressing but impressive book that is the culmination of his life’s work. Kahnemann proposes that people think in two different modes – ‘fast’ and ‘slow’....
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep 2.
    TDB Video: The Daily Blog Breakfast Club, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week Activist and blogger Jessie Hume and political commentator Keith Locke. This Week: Topic...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Slater-Key Txt-Messages Trip-Up – Did Cameron Slater Plan this?
    . Cameron Slater (L) and John Key (R) . Timeline Sunday 23 November: John Key apologises to right-wing blogger Cameron Slater over the publication of an email that forced Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation. Monday 24 November: John Key and...
    The Daily Blog
  • When the teflon is stripped away…
    . . To re-cap something I wrote on 13 September, regarding a hard-hitting interview between “The Nation’s” Lisa Owen and John Key; For possibly the first time since Stephen Sackur interviewed Key on Hard Talk in May, 2011, this [...
    The Daily Blog
  • My Select Committee submission against the “terrorist fighters” bill
    This morning I gave this “oral submission” to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee opposing the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill.  It is a pity only Greens are against the Bill. It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Pixies in the Garden? Making money
    In 2009, John Key said “there aren’t little pixies at the bottom of the garden printing cash” (John Armstrong, Colin Espiner). He was wrong of course. Just about every country has its own pixie-in-chief, though not at the bottom of the...
    The Daily Blog
  • AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE – Government must allow further scrut...
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • Tension inside the Blue Tent – questions that should be asked
    With Andrew Little on fire taking a straight shooting no crap approach to Key’s dead eyed duplicity, the tensions inside the Blue Tent of National are at risk of erupting again. When the TeamKey brand falters, National’s factions sharpen their knives....
    The Daily Blog
  • FiveAA Australia: Is NZ’s PM a Liar? + Kim Dotcom Says He’s Broke
    5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.In this week’s Across The Ditch bulletin on FiveAA.com.au Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey discuss how allegations of dirty politics continue to dog the Prime Minister John Key’s third term in government. Also, internet tycoon...
    The Daily Blog
  • Cam’s ‘Slightly Left of Centre’ sock puppet threatens Key in public
    What did Judith Collins say about payback? Looks like Slater has taken that lesson to heart as he uses his sock puppet over at Slightly Left of Centre to drop threats and hints that he has recorded conversations with Key that has...
    The Daily Blog
  • Justice System Changes Must Ensure No More Roastings In Court
    On Monday there was good news for rape survivors and this blog was supposed to be about the success of our advocacy, and it is about that success, but today’s events have brought into stark focus the real-world importance of...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Electio...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Election...
    The Daily Blog
  • Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key
    So Cam texted Key before the report came out despite Key claiming no contact? Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key 5 – I still have all the photos 4 – Yes my shapeshifting Lizard Master Overlord 3 – Max isn’t talking to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Hold on – did NZ just have a coup?
    Ummmmm. Wait a minute here. Just so that we all understand what’s been revealed. The Prime Minister’s Office used the Secret Intelligence Service to falsify classified information to smear the Leader of the Opposition via a far right hate blogger...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lisa Owen interviews Glenn Inquiry chair Bill Wilson
    Lisa Owen: Family violence in this country has been described as the slow-burning disaster. It accounts for half of homicides and takes a third of police resources. The Glenn Inquiry's final blueprint was released on Friday, calling for a designated...
    Scoop politics
  • Lisa Owen interviews Finance Minister Bill English
    He’s still “confident” the Government will make its forecast surplus in the 2014/15 year although dairy prices have dropped “further and faster than expected”...
    Scoop politics
  • Q + A 30/11/14: Spying, Family Violence, Texts
    We'll debate why the State needs new powers to spy on Kiwis and the controversial laws that are being rushed through Parliament....
    Scoop politics
  • Arrival of Phillip Smith in New Zealand
    On arrival with his police escort at Auckland Airport tomorrow morning Phillip Smith will be met by other police staff and complete customs and immigration formalities....
    Scoop politics
  • UNICEF Calls on NZ Youth to Apply for Youth Ambassador Roles
    UNICEF NZ Calls on NZ Youth to Apply for Youth Ambassador Roles UNICEF NZ has once again launched its nationwide search for six new Youth Ambassadors and is calling on enthusiastic young people to apply before Friday, 12 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwifruit Claim Filed in High Court in Wellington
    The Kiwifruit Claim’s statement of claim has been filed in the High Court in Wellington this afternoon....
    Scoop politics
  • Judgment: John Banks Dotcom Donation Appeal
    A The application to adduce the evidence of Messrs Schaeffer and Karnes is granted. B The application to adduce evidence of Mr Dotcom’s driving conviction is declined. C The appeal is allowed. D The conviction is set aside and a...
    Scoop politics
  • Doctors support call for independent health assessment
    Senior doctors and dentists are formally throwing their weight behind growing calls for a formal independent health assessment of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). A recommendation about the TPPA was put to 134 public hospital specialists...
    Scoop politics
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau: Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 November 2014
    Broadcast on Waatea 603AM Saturday 12.00 - 12.30pm Sunday 12.00 - 12.30pm Both shows repeated 5.00pm – 6.00pm On Sunday Saturday 29 November 2014 | The new Minister for Maori Development is taking a fresh look at the Te Reo...
    Scoop politics
  • Anti-speeding campaign based on phony science
    Ticketing ordinary motorists will have no effect on the groups who cause most road deaths, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics
  • Human Rights lawyers’ concerns over Terrorist Fighters Bill
    The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill will dramatically erode human rights and civil liberties if passed in its current form, said the Human Rights Lawyer’s Association Aotearoa New Zealand (HRLA)....
    Scoop politics
  • Privacy Commissioner’s naming policy
    Following a period of public consultation, the Privacy Commissioner is implementing a new policy on naming agencies that are in breach of the Privacy Act. The change takes effect on 1 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Need for whole-of-government approach to family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says The People’s Blueprint report by the Glenn Inquiry makes a strong case for a whole-of-government approach to combatting family violence, and highlights some of the ways we could do things better....
    Scoop politics
  • Stop Fracking in Our Big Blue Backyard – Frack Free Kapiti
    Evidence given at the EPA hearing of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at sea blows the industry accepted line that fracking is not happening offshore in New Zealand right out of the water....
    Scoop politics
  • Solidarity with West Papua on 1 December
    Below are the details of the solidarity events in Aotearoa New Zealand to mark West Papua Independence Day, 1 December - there are four events this year: one in Christchurch, one in Wellington and two in Auckland. If you are...
    Scoop politics
  • No charges laid over piggeries investigations
    No charges laid over piggeries investigations 28 November 2014 The Ministry for Primary Industries did not have sufficient evidence to lay charges following two animal welfare investigations into incidents at piggeries earlier this year. The investigations...
    Scoop politics
  • Deep Sea Drilling in Rising Seas
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on the effects of rising sea levels and climate change adds another argument against this Government's expansion of fossil fuel exploration....
    Scoop politics
  • Slower population growth in the long term
    New Zealand's population will likely grow by 1.4–1.8 percent a year during 2014–16, but growth will be lower in the long term, Statistics New Zealand said today....
    Scoop politics
  • Big Buddy on the Glenn Inquiry People’s Blueprint
    November 28, 2014 The inclusion of robust screening as a tool to prevent child abuse, highlighted in the Glenn Inquiry’s People’s Blueprint, is welcomed by Big Buddy CEO Richard Aston. “It’s heartening to see this high-calibre report come out...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint for tackling Family Violence
    The recently Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence (DCAFV) is pleased to support the fundamental changes in the way our legal system deals with family violence that the report calls for. We need to do more to support victims, and ensure...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint – Both Good News and a Wake-Up Call
    The Patron of the Glenn Inquiry, Dame Catherine Tizard, says there is some good news in The People’s Blueprint, after the shocking picture painted six months ago in The People’s Report....
    Scoop politics
  • Glenn Inquiry Funder Keeps His Promise
    The founder and funder of the Glenn Inquiry, Sir Owen Glenn, said today he has kept the promise he made when he set up the independent inquiry in 2012. “I set up the Glenn Inquiry because it was clear to...
    Scoop politics
  • Support for Blue Print call for a stand-alone agency
    Human Rights Commissioner lead on family violence, Dr Jackie Blue welcomes the Glenn Inquiry, ‘The People’s Blue Print’, which places at its heart that being safe and free from violence is a fundamental human right....
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint Offers Solutions to Family Violence
    New Zealand has a fresh opportunity to reduce child abuse and family violence and save and restore lives under a powerful new model for combating the problem proposed by the Glenn Inquiry....
    Scoop politics
  • Submission: Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    My three key areas of concern relate to: • The duration of visual surveillance warrants; • The controls around warrantless surveillance powers; • Clarifying the continuation of controls around access to Passenger Name Record (PNR) data under...
    Scoop politics
  • The case is clear for climate action that supports health
    The need for rapid action on climate change in New Zealand in order to protect health is clear, according to a group of climate and health experts. Countries elsewhere in the world are already taking significant action, while New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • EDUCANZ Debate Ignores Teachers
    The legislation for the creation of the new EDUCANZ to replace the former Teachers’ Council body is now undergoing its second reading. Without warning, it was promoted to the top the queue this week....
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith en-route back to New Zealand.
    Police confirm that Phillip Smith has been deported from Brazil and is en-route back to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Scaremongering and Showing Contempt for Democracy
    The government has been accused of fabricating an increased risk to New Zealand security to justify new invasive powers in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. And its decision to allow just 48 hours for public submissions on the Bill...
    Scoop politics
  • Legislation “a travesty of democratic process”
    Peace Movement Aotearoa today called on the government to put the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill on hold - pending a comprehensive review of existing legislation - in a written submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee,...
    Scoop politics
  • Bill needs amending to better protect human rights
    The Human Rights Commission submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee this afternoon on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill makes specific recommendations relating to passport denial; increasing safeguards around visual...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ’s gender equality issues in international forum
    New Zealand faces similar gender equality issues and opportunities to those of its neighbouring countries, according to the latest international conference on women’s empowerment....
    Scoop politics
  • Countering human trafficking is an ongoing challenge for NZ
    At first glance, it is difficult to believe that human trafficking is an offence that is taking place in New Zealand. It is a harsh reminder that the rule of law sometimes does not reach far enough....
    Scoop politics
  • Government must allow further scrutiny of bill
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    Scoop politics
  • Calling on anti-violence activists to step up
    Māori Party co-leaders believe every individual, whānau, hapū and iwi can help stop the high level of family violence that exists in our country....
    Scoop politics
  • More effective social services inquiry update Nov 2014
    The Productivity Commission’s More effective social services inquiry aims to shed light on how commissioning and contracting influence the quality and effectiveness of social services, and to suggest actions government agencies and others could take...
    Scoop politics
  • Keith Locke presentation on Countering Foreign Fighters Bill
    It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to members of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee again, and remember my 12 years on your committee. However, I don’t wish my submission today to be taken as endorsement of...
    Scoop politics
  • Significant issues for NZ in sea level rise report
    Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has recognised findings of Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright’s report released today on the impact of rising seas as significant for coastal areas of New Zealand, aligning well with work the...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Campaign Shocked at Fatal Stabbing
    The White Ribbon Campaign extends its condolences to the family of a women fatally stabbed in Auckland's North Shore....
    Scoop politics
  • One Plan signing is “historic moment” for the environment
    The signing of the Horizon Regional Council’s One Plan after a decade of debate, legal action and controversy is being hailed by Fish & Game as a landmark in the battle to protect the nation’s water quality. Horizons councillors approved...
    Scoop politics
  • Look at the Road, Not the Speedo
    Responding to the Fairfax article that police will be issuing tickets over the summer to anyone driving 1km/h or more over the speed limit, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Worker immunity critical to safety in Meat Industry
    The Meat Workers Union has today urged the Select Committee hearing submissions on the Health & Safety Reform bill to strengthen provisions that protect the rights of workers to be involved and speak out, saying that it’s becoming increasingly...
    Scoop politics
  • PCE report brings home impacts of climate change
    Youth climate organisation Generation Zero has welcomed the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's ' Changing Climate and Rising Seas ' report and says it demonstrates climate change will affect all of us....
    Scoop politics
  • Law Society urges reduction of terrorist fighter bill powers
    The New Zealand Law Society says powers proposed in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill should be reduced to ensure they are strictly limited to countering the threats that have arisen....
    Scoop politics
  • Sea level rise won’t only affect infrastructure
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is asking the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) to widen the focus of her next report on climate change-driven sea level rise....
    Scoop politics
  • Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science
    During my seven years as Commissioner, I have consistently said that climate change is the biggest environmental issue we face. This investigation has provided an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what is causing climate change and one of...
    Scoop politics
  • Council refuses to take part in farcical submissions process
    The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties refuses to take part in the submissions process around the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill....
    Scoop politics
  • Laws of War to Be Debated at Wellington Event
    The political and human consequences of war and civil unrest are widely covered in themedia but International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the body of law which exists to protect all parties to armed conflict, rarely gets attention....
    Scoop politics
  • Forum Compact Development Partner Peer Review of New Zealand
    Following the completion of the first leg of the review of New Zealand’s development cooperation in the Pacific, the Forum Compact Review Team is now visiting Kiribati to assess the effectiveness of New Zealand’s assistance in the small island developing...
    Scoop politics
  • YWCA Auckland award for long-time women’s role model
    New Zealand’s first female Governor General and Mayor of Auckland has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by YWCA Auckland, for her services to the Auckland community and acting as a role model for Kiwi women nationwide....
    Scoop politics
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