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A matter of “confidence”

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, January 21st, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: capitalism, cost of living, economy, employment, greens, labour, news, poverty, same old national, spin - Tags: ,

Many MSM news outlets have been running National Party election promos, talking up the rising “confidence” in economic indicators.  I have heard it said that the economy often responds positively to a belief that it is working OK, while lack of public and “market” confidence can result i n some financial nose dives.  Apart from making economics looking more like astrology, and snake oil “power of positive thinking” promotions rather than a science, the question is , “Whose confidence is being heeded to?”

A press release and a “Business Desk” article on Scoop yesterday highlight that it is the confidence of the banks, “neoliberal” economists, corporates and middle income groups that tends to be highlighted most in the MSM and by those on the right wing of politics.

From the Scoop Business Desk, Suze Metherell’s article: ‘NZ employment confidence rises in 4Q, wary on wages‘ shows a division between confidence in “business growth” and confidence in employment conditions for workers:

While the latest index remains at the second highest level in the past two years, the reading remains subdued with on-going concern around labour market conditions and earnings growth, Westpac said.

She also reports on indicators that job seekers are finding it a little easier to find jobs. However, the increases tend to be in Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland, with job decline in many rural regions.  The real kicker is in the last line of the article:

The rise in confidence was focused in middle-income groups, those earning between $30,000 to $70,000. Confidence rose for those aged 30 to 50, while the under-30s felt pessimistic about future employment options.

A press release from Andrew Little of the NZ Labour Party is more circumspect, although it curiously accepts the faming of a “booming economy” with the headline, ‘Booming economy will test labour market‘: after all the “labour market” is part of the economy.  And I’d also question referring to workers as a “market”: this dehumanises their struggles for fair wages and working conditions.  Missing also from that headline is any reference to those unable to participate in paid employment.

However, the main content of the press release does move a bit away from such framing.

“But a survey released by Westpac today suggests less confidence amongst workers, however, with many feeling less job security and fewer expecting a pay rise.

“The economy isn’t just investors and business owners, it is working people too – whether they are on a wage or salary or a contract fee – and in a properly functioning economy they should also see decent pay rises and better incomes this year.

The press release goes on to criticise Bill English’s faux concerns for workers.

Bill English reviews the economy

In contrast the government’s changes to employment legislation during the last 6 years have made employment more precarious and less well paid.

“The real test of how fair our labour market rules are is the level of pay increases working New Zealanders will get this year, especially those not under a collective agreement.

On 17 January, Sue Moroney also questioned the way Paula Bennett has talked up the decrease in those on benefits, when people’s benefits are being cut whether or not they have paid jobs.

“We know that less than half of people coming of benefits each week are going into jobs. Unless the Minister can show that these 17,000 people have got decent jobs we have nothing to celebrate,” says Sue Moroney.“There are still 35,700  more people on benefits now than there were in December 2008, when Labour was the Government.”

Also on January 17, Green MP Jan Logie put the focus on another aspect of the economy that “rock star” reports ignore, the inequality gap.  She begins with a reference to a World Economic Forum’s risk assessment that cites income inequality as having the potential to cause serious damage globally during the next decade.

stop robbing poor to feast rich

Logie rightly blames right wing economic polices for the increase in the income gap in NZ between the mid 1980s and the mid 2000s. She argues that inequality is not a “natural state” but the result of choices made by politicians.  And the National government is doing nothing to decrease income inequalities.

New Zealand had a proud history of being an egalitarian and relatively equal country. However that has changed and we now have big income gaps which are now acting as a barrier to most New Zealanders getting ahead.

[…]
“The average New Zealand is not getting a fair return on improvements in the economy. The wealth is going to only a few, otherwise wage growth would be better.

As Logie says, a strong economy is not indicated because the benefits will go to the wealthiest, while wages are expected to rise only by 1%.

If an inclusive, relatively egalitarian and sustainable future for New Zealanders hangs on the “confidence” of banksters, corporates, mainstream economists, right wing politicians and the comfortable middle classes – well, not a lot to inspire the confidence of the large number of people on meagre incomes and in precarious circumstances.

41 comments on “A matter of “confidence””

  1. shorts 1

    “A confidence trick (synonyms include confidence scheme and scam) is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, in the classical sense of trust. A confidence artist (or con artist) is an individual, operating alone or in concert with others, who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty, honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, naïveté, or greed.” Wiki

    you nailed it at astrology – unfortunately many see these sorts of stories as indicators of good governance, rather than PR fluff pieces

  2. Skinny 2

    I heard Bill English talking to Garner recently. English said something along the lines that with a stronger preforming economy that we are now seeing, workers can expect reasonable pay rises this year. Ok Billy boy as Minister of Finance you start the ball rolling for the public & state sector workers. You walk the talk by not offending these workers with anything under 4%. a

    While your in such a upbeat mood for the welfare of workers incomes, how about you implement the living wage into these sectors, talking and then walking the talk in election year shouldn’t be that difficult even for a snake oil merchant such as yourself.

    • Ad 2.1

      Well said

    • MrSmith 2.2

      Fuck 4% because by the time they negotiate it down to 2% and then piss around working out a date for the rises it will all be gone, gobbled up by inflation, 20% sounds like a better starting point.

      Who came up with 4% ? Let me guess the employers and tories most likely, but if it came from Labour then you make up your own mind.

      Leading you down the garden path with the promise of an ice cream that’s melting in the sun.

    • David H 2.3

      Sorry. Billy boy’s got selective deafness.

  3. Armchair Critic 3

    The fact that a significant proportion of the population accept that either economics is a science or climate change is a religion, or both (when the evidence suggest the opposite is true) shows how far we have yet to go.

  4. Bill 4

    Apart from making economics looking more like astrology, and snake oil “power of positive thinking” promotions rather than a science, the question is , “Whose confidence is being heeded to?”

    erm..economics is basically astrology. Well, it has the same scientific foundation at any rate – ie, none.

    Better than that, given present day realities (AGW etc) seeking to apply classical economics (the discipline economists adhere to these days) is akin to trying to tackle/explain the field of quantum physics with newtonian physics. (So I’ve heard say)

    Still – all power to the astrologers. Where would we be without them? 😉

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    As you have identified, the confidence of the corporate, financial oligarchic elite is the only confidence which matters. The “middle class” are only brought along to the extent necessary to engage their instincts of self interest and of course, their block vote. (In the US the middle class is already being roundly sacrificed however, as their votes are no longer important).

    S&P’s opinion of how well NZ treats foreign bondholders is seen as far more important to the political class and NZ’s deep state than the confidence of those million or more working class and precariat who are losing (or have lost) their jobs.

    This can be seen over and over again, and very obviously, in countries like Greece, Spain, and France. Where the “socialist” Hollande has said that state spending must be cut back even further.

    In fact, to win over the confidence of banksters and their ratings agencies, a country absolutely MUST suppress government spending, suppress wages, suppress employment, and suppress worker organisations.

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      A lot of what is called the middle class in the US and A would be more accurately known as working class, e.g. autoworkers, plumbers, and teachers. They gained the name not by any change in their relationship to the means of production, but by being able to buy houses and cars, and by having pension funds. Now their mortgages have been foreclosed, their pension funds have been stolen, and I don’t know what has happened to their cars, but they were not really middle class. They were working class in a booming economy with Keynesian policies, albeit based on exploitation of most of the rest of the world.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        You point to the simple fact that almost everyone, from accountants to web developers to mechanics to chiropractors are more correctly considered working class, even if that’s not the way they see it themselves. They are primarily paid through the labour hours they put in during a day, and cannot depend on investment income from capital assets to live on and pay the bills.

        • Murray Olsen 5.1.1.1

          I like my facts simple, CV. It comes with being a physicist – we try to explain everything as simply as possible, unlike politicians, economists, and poets, who like to make everything far more complicated than necessary. With poets, at least, there is sometimes an aesthetic payoff.

          Or maybe I’m just thick.

      • karol 5.1.2

        Yes, exploitation of the rest of the world – offshoring the working clases that keep the US industries in profits. It remined me of this wikileaks, then withdrawn and leaked by others, about Obama working to suppress the minimum wage in Haiti. Obama was apparently bending to the will of some major multinationals, like Hanes and Levi Strauss, in doing this.

        I’m a little confused by the timing – the latest post/article on this from Jan 2014, makes it seem vlike a very recent leak – but it links to some articles about it in 2011.

  6. Jan 6

    As far as I have been able to understand it, the economic success is in large measure due to the Christchurch rebuild. In what parallel universe do we live when fixing up a horrible mess like that can be considered a positive – was the study of economics developed by martians?
    The huge problem the left faces in trying to establish a government which is more likely to create a just society is that what we may call ‘ordinary citizens’, the most vulnerable, are easily persuaded to vote against their own best interests. This article is very interesting on that subject, especially keeping in mind the current Colin Craig circus:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/jun/05/why-working-class-people-vote-conservative

  7. greywarbler 7

    There has just been a spirited comment on Radionz about the need to change from the present sequestering of billions of tax free dollars by the few. There’s a meeting about this in Dohar or somewhere. Another excuse for the few to gather and act important and have some fine drinks and nibbles and entertainment, or make contact with other pharoahs so they can buy bits to decorate their pyramids, while they are still able.

    They should know said the Indian sounding speaker that the filthy rich are being hurt by their own behaviour depressing business, enterprise and earnings, as well as the poor being deprived of earnings giving enough money to buy their needs and so provide jobs.

    (Concerning the media there was a comment that the Bauer magazine vacuum machine is likely to buy the rights to NZ Listener and NZ Womans Weekly and will probably combine them. Sick making – I’m sick of inspecting women’s white teeth and round firm breasts or indeed their sagging ones – accompanied by fault-finding by the scurrilous women’s mags – on the front of mags available to the masses.)

    • Jan 7.1

      Hardly matters what happens to the Listener now anyway – it’s last decent days were when Finlay McDonald was editor – it’s been sneaking, not so subtly, to the right ever since. Now (see latest headlines) it has descended into pop-psychology American-style and articles by Richard Prebble and Josie Pagani – whoopee!

  8. greywarbler 8

    Jan +1 Whoopee! But I must note something worthy of gratitude. The help that Pamela Sitrling and the Listener gave Rebecca Macfie (excuse spelling?) in preparing her book on The Tragedy of Pike River. That was a sterling effort to a good end!

  9. alwyn 9

    I guess one could say, Karol, that you are calling John Maynard Keynes an astrologer and a snake oil salesman. Perhaps you are right but I don’t really think so.

    There are two groups actions one can look at when looking at “Confidence”

    It can be said, as a very, very potted version on Keyne’s economics, that because the future is basically unknown the people who are investing do so based on their confidence in the future.
    As Keynes put it “Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as a result of animal spirits – a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities”.
    This animal spirits is what investors, who are not the same as savers, see as the future prospects for what they are investing in. If their confidence is high they will invest. If it is low they will not. They cannot of course KNOW what the outcome will be.

    Confidence for workers operates in a different manner, although the results are similar. If they are confident that their employment is safe, and that their purchasing power will not drop they will consume more, rather than increase their savings.

    Thus, if these groups are confident about the future, output is likely to increase and people will become better off. If people, of either group, have their confidence destroyed they will withdraw from the market and jobs will be lost and firms be unable to sell their goods.

    It is people’s confidence that can, to a limited extent, be boosted by politicians. On the other hand it can, to a large extent, be destroyed by politicians. Would a company expand, and make investments, if they thought that the Government would destroy their business in the near future?

    There, a view of what Keynes said in 200 words. (Note Keynes not Keynesian)

    • karol 9.1

      Thanks, alwyn. This then.

      Animal spirits is the term John Maynard Keynes used in his 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money to describe the instincts, proclivities and emotions that ostensibly influence and guide human behavior, and which can be measured in terms of, for example, consumer confidence. It has since been argued that trust is also included in or produced by “animal spirits”.

      Well, the whole “animal spirits” thing does sound very subjective to me and open to interpretation – kind of like astrology.

      And the “consumer confidence” these days tends to be measured by amount of spending people do – even though there may be little evidence of why people are spending. e.g. a spending boom during the sales last December/January may not be an indication of confidence, but just the opposite – getting some bargains when they are available because there’s no certainty re- the future.

      • alwyn 9.1.1

        Blimey, reading that does make one think of it as Astrology.

        Keynes did think that the future, in any detail, was essentially unpredictable. Thus he was at odds with what became known as Keynesian economics which had its genesis in John Hicks’ work. Hicks’s approach was more that the future was uncertain, rather than that is was largely unknowable.

        There is little evidence, at least that that I can remember, that would support the view in your last column that spending shows a lack of confidence. Studies have certainly shown that people on the same level of income spend a greater proportion of it the longer they have been receiving it. That is they spend a greater proportion as their confidence that they will continue to get it increases.

        Incidentally if you have never read Keynes, and in particular “The General Theory” as it is often abbreviated you should do so. He was a wonderful writer. If you have no Economics background just ignore any of the (few) formula and anywhere where he gets a bit too technical.

        Who could not enjoy such gems as
        “The game of professional investment is intolerably boring and over-exacting to anyone who is entirely exempt from the gambling instinct; whilst he who has it must pay to this propensity the appropriate toll”.

        There is a sample chapter at
        http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/keynes/general-theory/ch12.htm
        for anyone who is curious.

        For Bill, whose commment follows I would have to say that I think that Economics has vastly more to offer than Astrology. Mumbo jumbo by the high priests of economics indeed!

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1

          Incidentally if you have never read Keynes, and in particular “The General Theory” as it is often abbreviated you should do so. He was a wonderful writer.

          Gah, I haven’t managed the first chapter because his writing style is too flowery. IMO, It’s actually worse than reading the dust dry Capital.

          I’ve actually been looking for his 1937 essay which he wrote after he realised that everyone had actually misinterpreted what he’d said. It explains the whole thing in far simpler terms. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find it and have only heard it mentioned by a few economists such as Steve Keen.

          I would have to say that I think that Economics has vastly more to offer than Astrology.

          Well, it would have if the present theory was based in reality and explained economics rather than being based upon delusion (assumptions that aren’t even close to reality and the idea that you can always get more out if it than you put in) and is nothing more than a justification for capitalism.

          • Macro 9.1.1.1.1

            Well, it would have if the present theory was based in reality and explained economics rather than being based upon delusion (assumptions that aren’t even close to reality and the idea that you can always get more out if it than you put in) and is nothing more than a justification for capitalism.

            Yep! QFTT

          • Macro 9.1.1.1.2

            Well, it would have if the present theory was based in reality and explained economics rather than being based upon delusion (assumptions that aren’t even close to reality and the idea that you can always get more out if it than you put in) and is nothing more than a justification for capitalism.

            Yep! QFTT

          • alwyn 9.1.1.1.3

            The Cambridge University Press published the complete works of Keynes and if you are near a University they may have a set in their library. I thought about buying a set once but it is in 30 volumes. I forget what it cost then but it is about 550 pounds sterling these days.
            I read Marx in an edition that was published in a USSR Government subsidised edition. As you say it was dry as dust.
            I consider you have insulted “The Master”. A duel throwing sets of GDP figures at a range of 10 metres is called for.

    • Bill 9.2

      So okay, outside of scientific predictions, the future is basically unpredictable.

      But confidence in terms of economics would seem to be more about boosting belief in the integrity of the entire facade, rather than in individual events/trajectories (though sure, there is an element of that – thinking dutch tulips)

      I could have confidence in astrology and be encouraged to have confidence in astrology. That individual events didn’t always materialise as predicted wouldn’t necessarily mean that I lost confidence in the entire system of astrology. I could comfort myself by believing that some things within the field were unpredictable or subject to external factors while retaining an overall belief in the efficacy or predictive nature of the thing.

      Which would be delusional – madness.

      In economics, just the same as in astrology, patterns are discernible. The only difference is that most of us order our lives according to the mumbo-jumbo about patterns and cycles spouted by the high priests of economics, while far fewer of us do likewise in light of the comparable mumbo-jumbo spouted by astrologers.

      Strange creatures, we are.

      • Stuart Munro 9.2.1

        The problem is not in our stars but in our current accounts deficit.

        • Bill 9.2.1.1

          And what is the ‘current account deficit’ without the belief that sustains the economic jiggery pokery that produces such ‘crises’ as ‘current account deficits’ in the first place?

          Put another way – the problem of me having no money left in my pocket is less to do with ‘Number 34′ not coming up on the wheel, then on my continued belief that roulette is ‘the way to go’.

  10. Will@Welly 10

    Sadly, we have no one but ourselves to blame, myself included. When Labour lurched to the right, many of us were spell-bound by Lange, or else did not want to appear divided, so we let many of the “reforms” happen until we realized too late, that these were not just simply reforms, but the wholesale destruction of the New Zealand way of life.
    John Key, et al, are just continuing the path that Ruth Richardson/Jim Bolger carried on after the Langer/Douglas partnership terminated.
    The question that has to be asked of the left, and it has to be re-iterated time and again till they get the message, are they prepared to undo many of these so-called reforms that has seen New Zealand be transformed into one of the most unequal societies in the western world?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The question that has to be asked of the left, and it has to be re-iterated time and again till they get the message, are they prepared to undo many of these so-called reforms that has seen New Zealand be transformed into one of the most unequal societies in the western world?

      Good question: h/t to SHG (not CV)

      http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2014/01/nothing-left/

  11. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 11

    Thanks [again] Karol for another brilliant article – highlighting the casuistry of the term ‘confidence’ – a term which I am starting to despise and shudder when I hear it – for the reasons you articulate.

    I do wish to note that Andrew Little’s press release was not ‘curiously circumspect’ in my view.

    He was highlighting the issue of distribution of wealth – a major problem – how the economy may be said to be ‘booming’ however there is a problem with ‘state of economy’ ratings having no connection to the conditions or prosperity of New Zealanders – prosperity is not being shared. The wealth or poverty of the country as a whole makes no difference to large swathes of New Zealanders.

    Note the first line of the media release “If recent economic forecasts of a “rock star” New Zealand economy are correct “ – he is not even stating that our economy is ‘rock star-like’ -[ sigh]- just making the point that if it is then we still have a major problem that requires addressing.

    • karol 11.1

      bl, thanks,

      I think Little is being kind of diplomatic, and giving some credence to the “booming economy” headlines, using booming in his headline without quote marks.

      In an earlier draft of the post, I did make the same point about “rock star” being in quote marks, meaning he was less accepting of it – “circumspect” is this conflict in meanings, plus being a little diplomatic in saying “if these reports are true”… kind of thing. – but the post was getting too long so I deleted the “rock star” bit.

      But in the guts of the statement, Little is more directly critical of the “rock star” reports, the inequalities, and the lack of confidence among workers, etc.

  12. fambo 12

    Popped through Palmerston North a couple of weekends ago and it certainly wasn’t looking/feeling as prosperous as it has in the past.

    Make your opinion “the norm” and then paint those who disagree with you as being “negative”

  13. bad12 13

    ‘Rockstar economy’???, only if you consider it a two hit wonder, take out the Christchurch rebuild and the Auckland house price inflation, both areas of economy which will soon prove to be merely transient anomalies and the ‘real’ growth figures will be shown to be 1-2.5%,

    One of those extolling this rubbish,(a bank economist on National Radio this morning),gushed over unemployment coming down from 6 to 5%,(a victory of the pathetic), i had to wonder listening to such gushing, if this is an indicator of rock-star status for the economy would this have made the previous Clark Government’s economy with far lower unemployment a ‘super-nova’…

  14. tricledrown 14

    I have talked to a lot of business
    People and they are saying its no where near pre 2008 levels of economic activity this is a beat up by a few elite.

  15. Macro 15

    What’s all this bullshit about a “rock star” economy! According to the latest set of statistics our 1% ers are back in 8th place in gaining control of the world’s wealth – this is NOT good enough!
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/20/oxfam-85-richest-people-half-of-the-world
    More incentives are required!

  16. MrSmith 16

    “New Zealand will be the “rock star” economy of 2014, says a leading global bank.
    HSBC chief economist for Australia and New Zealand Paul Bloxham says New Zealand’s growth is set to outpace most of its developed markets peers, American news channel CNBC reported .”

    Should we trust HSBC? No we bloody well shouldn’t, but don’t take my word for it.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/hsbc-case-senators-prosecution-free-zone-big-banks/story?id=18678686
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/may/23/hsbc-court-threat-money-laundering-charges
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/dec/11/hsbc-fine-prosecution-money-laundering
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/08/08/hsbcs-1-9-billion-money-laundering-fine-and-the-somalian-cost-of-bank-regulation/
    http://sevenpillarsinstitute.org/case-studies/hsbc-money-laundering-case-too-big-to-fail-does-not-mean-too-big-to-jail

  17. dave 17

    yeah man bullshit bills super book cooking house of cards full speed ahead straight off the cliff.

  18. Tracey 18

    Is the gfc and the crash of the 80’s evidence of a failure of socialism or capitalism?

    • karol 18.1

      Maybe the failure of corporatism?

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.1

        Not a failure at all, in fact a very successful rouse to suck trillions out of governments into private hands. They are great at turning crisis into capitalist triumph. Which the big banks have deftly done.

  19. philj 19

    If Labour are serious, they must get serious with the banks. Kiwibank has a major role to play. Why do we put up with billions going out of NZ to Ozzy banks in profits. Sure, The BNZ was an utter fiasco, that was never clearly explained to the masses. Time for a major change in our financing. They are rorting NZ, big time.

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    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    3 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    3 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    3 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    3 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    5 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    5 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    6 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    7 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    1 week ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    1 week ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    2 weeks ago

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