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Another win for union members

Written By: - Date published: 7:50 am, July 26th, 2010 - 53 comments
Categories: Unions, wages - Tags: ,

The Herald reports that Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members have won the right to a substitute holiday to make up for the fact that Anzac Day and Easter Monday fall on the same day next year as well as a three percent pay rise for this year and another next year.

You read that right, at a time when the government is attacking workers rights two thousand EPMU members are increasing their holidays and getting a pay rise.

And according to the EPMU National Secretary, Andrew Little, the union plans to negotiate the extra day’s holiday into all of its collective agreements.

As you’d expect the employers’ rep Alasdair Thompson is saying such a deal for all workers would hurt productivity. That’s because business thinks productivity is about Kiwis working harder for less and under the government’s new laws they’ll be able to push that vision even further.

Like Irish said yesterday the new laws are going to hit non-union workers the hardest. I can’t think of a better time to be a union member.

53 comments on “Another win for union members”

  1. It is interesting that these pro union posts over the past week have attracted huge numbers of comments. What is the bet that Tsmithfield, Gosman, fisi, Neil et al will now argue vociferously but without evidence that it is not actually true and that Unions are not only not good for wage increases but also cause lung cancer?

    • Bored 1.1

      How can you raise such a vile and baseless accusation against these upstanding members of blogdom? These people of big hearted generosity and kindness to their fellow citizens, these inclusive fiar minded types. Shame on you MS……..not.

  2. sean14 2

    Good on the EPMU and I’m sure they won’t have any trouble attracting new members with that sort of performance.

  3. jcuknz 3

    Of course Alastair Thompson is correct, it would hurt productivity. But do we need that productivity consuming earth resources and shouldn’t we be working towards a stage of zero increase or decrease.
    Though in my work when we had a day off that just meant the deadline had to be met with less time to do it. So I don’t think that uniform acceptance of the holiday swop would result in uniform loss of output. But AT has to spout this stuff just as the Union leaders have to and we simply ignore it for what it is, unproductive garbage.

  4. TightyRighty 4

    where is the rest of the graph? why does it stop at a 5% increase? is it because non-union workers have the best chance of getting an awesome pay rise for working to best of their abilities and not just to rule?

    • george 4.1

      Do you mean like the EPMU members in Taranki that got a 26% pay rise TR? I’m a union member and I’ve negotiated above the collective agreement in my office. That’s because a collective agreement sets a floor, not a ceiling. You shouldn’t make comments on things you know nothing about.

      • TightyRighty 4.1.1

        Precisely like the 26% pay rise. Did i mention anything about collective agreements george? nice name incidentally. I didn’t, so I wasn’t commenting on it, even if I do know something about it. Being, in addition to a trained economist, a trained performance and renumeration specialist with a side offering in industrial relations.

        An example of working to rule is the old habit of dropping tools at 5pm, no matter what is on the table. A famous old habit of union workers, that I’m fairly certain has died out.

        All I said was that non-union workers have the best chance of getting an awesome pay rise for working to the best of their abilities, not the only chance. So why get so upset about it?

        • felix 4.1.1.1

          Being, in addition to a trained economist, a trained performance and renumeration specialist with a side offering in industrial relations.

          Of course you are, dear. Of course you are.

        • toad 4.1.1.2

          TR, your “dropping tools at 5pm” reference harks back to the 60s – times have moved on, and unions have moved with them. FYI, the union movement strongly supported the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act. Do try to keep up.

          • TightyRighty 4.1.1.2.1

            Why only read half the paragraph toad? The original comment was a not-to-subtle dig at unions at times gone by. I know the practise has largely died out. You only really see it in retail these days.

            felix, if lprent can be a know-it-all on climate change because he took earth sciences at least a hundred years ago, I can do a little bit of the same for graduating only 3 years ago.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1.1.2.2

            At 5PM in Quay St in Auckland youll get run over by high powered SUVs heading out to the Eastern Suburbs.
            And there was the old saying
            ‘burlington bertie arises at 10.30′

        • burt 4.1.1.3

          All I said was that non-union workers have the best chance of getting an awesome pay rise for working to the best of their abilities, not the only chance. So why get so upset about it?

          Because the graph shows CPI level increases, an area where one size fits all dominates.

          • TightyRighty 4.1.1.3.1

            The graph, on first inspection shows the percentage of workers on the vert, and the percentage pay rise on the horiz. but this stops at 5% along the horiz, which is a bit dubious.

            But what is even more dubious, is your claim burt that the graph shows CPI level increases. Since when did this graph, purporting to show the distribution of pay rises amongst union and non-union members, become explicitly about the consumer price index and the level of it’s rises and falls. While wage changes can have an impact on prices (higher costs mean higher prices or lower profit and vice versa), there are other forces at work as well. you should have stuck to just upset, rather than stupid and upset. upset will just make the stupid worse.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.3.1.1

              There is a ‘plus’ sign after that last 5%. What does that usually mean, oh wise one?

              • Puddleglum

                Beat you to it! But only by seven hours… : )

                (see below)

                Still waiting for TR to catch up though..

    • Puddleglum 4.2

      I think you’ll find on closer inspection, TR, that the category on the right hand side of the graph is “5%+” – i.e., all increases of 5% or more. (Either that or there’s a speck on my screen – the font size IS very small).

    • Alwyn 4.3

      Does anyone have a graph which compares the wage rises in the public sector with those in the private sector, rather than lumping all union members together against the non-union sector.
      It is my understanding that the great concentration of union members is in the public sector and that they have been under a great deal less pressure than in the private sector.
      Thus the increases for union members may only reflect the area where they work rather the actual work done by the union itself.
      This is likely to change with the current government but was probably the case for the period that this graph covers.

  5. Julie 5

    Well done EPMU members and staff, that’s a great result.

  6. vto 6

    Oh that looks good. Do you need to be an engineer, printer or manufacturer to join? And what about an employer – suppose one of them is needed too… dang. Oh well, let them negative rises continue.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    More motivation for unionised businesses to transfer their manufacturing to China then?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      Ask Honda , who have a lot of parts manufacture, about Chinese workers. seems they have rights too. TS has run out of low paid countries for his sweatshops.

      • tsmithfield 7.1.1

        Just talking about the sad reality that I see here very often. There has been a lot of manufacturing lost to the likes of China over recent years. F&P were a recent high-profile example but there have been a lot more.

        Anything that increases costs for businesses locally will give them motivation to seek cheaper options elsewhere. Do you seriously disagree with this proposition?

        • Roger 7.1.1.1

          This is not caused by unions. There is also minimum wage laws, regional free trade agreements, advances in technology etc. The only way to really ensure that this does not continue would be to push New Zealand’s manufacturing wages down to parity with developing nations like China and remove environmental legislation and resource management processes to create the same conditions. Is that the path you suggest to improve our economy and manufacturing capability?

  8. george 8

    You are taking a low-wage, low-skill approach there smithfield. That’s the one that ends up with NZ being a third world nation. Ambitious much?

    • tsmithfield 8.1

      Not an outcome I want. Its just the reality we face. It will be interesting to see the proportion of those unionised to compared to non-unionised businesses that end up relocating overseas. Increasing local costs are a common reason for relocating. Therefore, there should be more motivation for unionised workplaces that have just incurred these increased costs to shift.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    That’s because business and NACT thinks productivity is about Kiwis working harder for less than it costs to live and participate in the community and under the government’s new laws they’ll be able to push that vision even further.

    FIFY

    • Bored 9.1

      That is the key to he whole thing Draco….the reality is as TS so nicely puts it capital will go where wages are least. Productivity as percieved by NACT in effect means maximising profit by cutting wages. Some heartless deluded misanthropes see this as a good thing, pain will they reckon be replaced with gain. Myself I always regard somebody talking about “necessary” pain with some degree of doubt. Its easy to make “hard” decisions if you are not personally recipiant of the associated “pain”.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    George “That’ll be why Germany and Scandinavia have no manufacturing.”

    So you haven’t been keeping up with trends in the Euro lately then?

    • george 10.1

      Yes because the crash has driven European living standards much lower than South East Asia’s and Mexico’s.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        So, with the low exchange rate, many Europeans will be paying a lot more for petrol and other imported items. Therefore, their actual internal wage rates might not be as good as they look. Correct?

        • Lanthanide 10.1.1.1

          Petrol is not anywhere near as big an expense on european countries with proper public transportation systems, compared to NZ. Many europeans don’t own cars or even have drivers licenses.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    Whatever. The fact remains that imported goods will be costing Europeans a lot more.

    The other point, in response to Georges original comment, is that Europe is a substantially larger and closer market for countries in that region. So for Germany, for instance, they have local cred, few barriers in Europe due to a common currency etc, a large common market, and are highly competitive with exports at the moment due to the low Euro.

    Contrast this with NZ that has to add more substantial freight costs on to the things we produce and has a relatively high exchange rate. Therefore, we are behind the eight-ball to start with. So if our costs (including wages) for manufacturing keep going up, then it is natural for companies will seek to relocate where those costs are cheaper, and closer to their markets to boot.

    • george 11.1

      Freight costs next to nothing and if it does go up it will aid import substitution as the freight-component of imports increase. The exchange rate is high as the result of policy failure. Your problem is you’d rather see wages pushed down than see basic changes to the reserve bank act that might make our currency price closer to its value and in turn stop you buying imports.

      Your argument makes sense from a finance sector point of view but few others. You’re not a currency speculator or a loan-shark are you?

  12. tsmithfield 12

    George “Freight costs next to nothing and if it does go up it will aid import substitution as the freight-component of imports increase.”

    But it does cost more. Also longer delivery times etc from NZ due to relative distances from the market. This is only a small aspect of my argument though. The relative size and accessibility of the European market compared to NZ means that manufacturers have a very viable local market regardless of what the exchange rates do. NZ is not so lucky.

    “The exchange rate is high as the result of policy failure”

    Na. It because we are seen as a better risk than those countries that got into major trouble with their banks and still have interest rates at near zero and are still printing money in one way or another. Ever heard of the carry-trade?

    “Your argument makes sense from a finance sector point of view but few others. You’re not a currency speculator or a loan-shark are you?”

    No. Just from the point of view of hedging for stuff we import.

    • george 12.1

      No, the exchange rate is high because we use the cash rate to control inflation. But you’re an importer which means you’ll never admit this because manufacturing exporters are effectively subsidising your income.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        “No, the exchange rate is high because we use the cash rate to control inflation.”

        Na. At the moment it is the relative differential between the exchange rates. That is more to do with the carry trade. Your argument would only hold true if you could show that we should also have our rates set at virtually zero and should be printing money as well. Its not our reserve bank that is causing the problem. Its the deplorable economic state of other countries.

        “But you’re an importer which means you’ll never admit this because manufacturing exporters are effectively subsidising your income.”

        A lot of our equipment gets fitted to processes used in exporting. I would rather the exchange rate be low because then our export manufacturing customers are busier and need to buy more from us. So I don’t disagree there.

        • george 12.1.1.1

          The carry trade relies on a high interest rate. Which is what using the cash rate to control inflation does. You’ve got your cause and effect mixed up smithfield.

          • tsmithfield 12.1.1.1.1

            Its relative interest rates. So, care to answer my question. Should we be at near 0% and printing money as they are in the US et al?

            • george 12.1.1.1.1.1

              The cash rate should be a lot lower than it is and it would be if we had another way to control inflation. There should also be a tobin tax.

              • tsmithfield

                “The cash rate should be a lot lower than it is”

                Ummm… so what level between 2.75% and 0 would you suggest as a suitable rate and why?

                “There should also be a tobin tax”

                Would have to think about the “tobin tax” concept. However, the problem is always unintended consequences. For instance, could this become a drag on the “good guys” like ourselves who are simply looking to hedge to fix our costs.

                • george

                  I’d suggest the level needed to control inflation after other measures were taken. That could well be zero.

                  In an economy that was less strictly monetarist you wouldn’t have to spend so much time on the finance side of things. It’s absurd that so many NZ exporters spend so much time currency speculating, fuel hedging and the like.

                  • tsmithfield

                    “I’d suggest the level needed to control inflation after other measures were taken. That could well be zero.”

                    I would be interested to here what other measures you have in mind. Bear in mind that if these impact directly or indirectly on the money supply then interest rates will be affected.

                    “In an economy that was less strictly monetarist you wouldn’t have to spend so much time on the finance side of things. It’s absurd that so many NZ exporters spend so much time currency speculating, fuel hedging and the like.”

                    So long as we have differential exchange rates between countries there will be a need for hedging.

                    Another point to consider is that very often when someone is speculating on the direction the currency might trend, there is often someone on the other side taking a hedging position on the same transaction. Its not always win-lose. Quite often everyone can be happy. The exporter/importer can fix there costs and the speculator might make some money all on the same transaction. Another unintended consequence of tobin type taxes might mean that speculators are driven away and it becomes harder or more expensive to take hedging positions.

                    • george

                      Bear in mind that if these impact directly or indirectly on the money supply then interest rates will be affected.

                      Wrong. You’re assuming a fixed demand situation in which reduced supply creates a higher price (i.e. interest rate) debt demand is more elastic than that. Also there are a lot of different inflationary pressure in an economy and they are best dealt with in a targeted manner for instance a housing bubble can be dealt with via an adjustable capital gains tax, a debt bubble can be dealt with via an adjustable compulsory super scheme, a wage bubble can be dealt with through income tax adjustments.

                      So long as we have differential exchange rates between countries there will be a need for hedging.

                      Wrong. You can have a stable differential which does not require hedging. It’s fluctuations in the differential that matter.

                      The exporter/importer can fix there costs and the speculator might make some money all on the same transaction. Another unintended consequence of tobin type taxes might mean that speculators are driven away and it becomes harder or more expensive to take hedging positions.

                      Businesses that trade internationally from New Zealand have to hedge far more than they would if we had a stable, correctly priced currency. A tobin tax, along with sensible fiscal policy, would help flatten the peaks and troughs in the dollar and significantly reduce firms exposure and their need to hedge. If that gets rid of a few currency speculators then all the better.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “Wrong. You’re assuming a fixed demand situation in which reduced supply creates a higher price (i.e. interest rate) debt demand is more elastic than that”

                      Of course. And what I said was based on the implicit assumption of all things being equal. What you say could also apply to controlling interest rates given that in reality all things are seldom equal.

                      “For instance a housing bubble can be dealt with via an adjustable capital gains tax, a debt bubble can be dealt with via an adjustable compulsory super scheme, a wage bubble can be dealt with through income tax adjustments.”

                      Not necessarily opposed to any of these things. However, what you are proposing involves high levels of complexity in implementation and control. Also probably replete with unintended consequences.

                      “Wrong. You can have a stable differential which does not require hedging. It’s fluctuations in the differential that matter.”

                      For this to work then it would require countries on both sides of any given transaction to have fixed their currencies. It is not enough just for NZ to have done so. But that state of affairs is outside the control of NZ and unlikely to happen any time soon. So, you are really only arguing from a theoretical perspective, not from any conceivable practical reality in the near future.

                      “Businesses that trade internationally from New Zealand have to hedge far more than they would if we had a stable, correctly priced currency.”

                      See my comment above. It takes two to tango.

                      “A tobin tax, along with sensible fiscal policy, would help flatten the peaks and troughs in the dollar and significantly reduce firms exposure and their need to hedge. If that gets rid of a few currency speculators then all the better.”

                      Not necessarily opposed to this idea. How it would work in practical reality would be the key thing. Have any countries you know of actually tried this?

    • loota 12.2

      Massive inflows of hot speculative money (the ones John Key used to direct) damage our productive sector by pumping up the value of the NZD and making our goods artificially more expensive on foreign shelves.

      • george 12.2.1

        And foreign goods artificially cheap on ours. Which is why we have such a large amount of private debt and such a poor current account balance.

        • loota 12.2.1.1

          On the upside, it helps us fill our houses with cheap **** from The Warehouse* even as our standard of living and relative income goes down the toilet.

          * I mean the generic idea of The Warehouse, understanding that the actual The Warehouse tries to source some NZ made stuff these days.

  13. george 13

    what I said was based on the implicit assumption of all things being equal. What you say could also apply to controlling interest rates given that in reality all things are seldom equal.

    You haven’t made an argument her. Or if you have you’ve not been clear.

    Not necessarily opposed to any of these things. However, what you are proposing involves high levels of complexity in implementation and control. Also probably replete with unintended consequences.

    No what I’ve suggested here involves adding a few more focused tools to deal with inflation. Arguing the law of unintended consequences without specifying any is a cop out. There are plenty of unintended consequences of using the cash rate as your only fiscal tool. Such as debt driven inflation.

    For this to work then it would require countries on both sides of any given transaction to have fixed their currencies. It is not enough just for NZ to have done so. But that state of affairs is outside the control of NZ and unlikely to happen any time soon. So, you are really only arguing from a theoretical perspective, not from any conceivable practical reality in the near future.

    New Zealand has a particularly exposed currency stabilise the NZ dollar a bit and the changes in differentials shrink. Especially in relation to other currencies which are more stable than ours. There are a lot of these.

    Not necessarily opposed to this idea. How it would work in practical reality would be the key thing. Have any countries you know of actually tried this?

    Ever done business with China?

    • tsmithfield 13.1

      “No what I’ve suggested here involves adding a few more focused tools to deal with inflation. Arguing the law of unintended consequences without specifying any is a cop out.”

      I was just trying to work out how a landlord could calculate their taxes with a floating capital gains tax.

      “New Zealand has a particularly exposed currency stabilise the NZ dollar a bit and the changes in differentials shrink. Especially in relation to other currencies which are more stable than ours. There are a lot of these.”

      Not that exposed. We do tend to move approximately in step with the Auz. I would have no objection to pegging to the Auz or US. Bear in mind that these are also fiat currencies so the concept of “fixing” a currency doesn’t work. The only way to fix a currency would be to have a single world currency.

      BTW, the concept of a tobin tax does have some fairly major problems.

      • george 13.1.1

        I was just trying to work out how a landlord could calculate their taxes with a floating capital gains tax.

        I didn’t say floating I said adjustable, like income tax has been over the last three budgets. Housing booms move slowly enough that an annual correction would be likely to be enough.

        Not that exposed. We do tend to move approximately in step with the Auz. I would have no objection to pegging to the Auz or US. Bear in mind that these are also fiat currencies so the concept of “fixing’ a currency doesn’t work. The only way to fix a currency would be to have a single world currency.

        I didn’t say fixing or pegging. That is altogether different from taking measures to stop the dollar from being priced higher then its value. You’ve probably noticed that the dollar has surged over the course of this conversation. Not because of any strong underlying New Zealand economic fundamentals but because overseas equity markets have picked up. From Stuff:

        Against a backdrop of rising equity markets and improved risk appetite, investors had shunned safe haven currencies such as the greenback and yen last week in favour of growth sensitive currencies such as the NZ and Australian dollars, Mr Jones said.

        If we didn’t have a monetarist policy boosting interest rate differentials and we did have a tobin tax adding some drag to the velocity at which our currency traded this “surge”, which just made it that much harder for exporters, would never have happened or would have been moderated.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    “I didn’t say floating I said adjustable, like income tax has been over the last three budgets. Housing booms move slowly enough that an annual correction would be likely to be enough.”

    Fair enough. But the idea that increased house values do nothing productive for the economy is not correct. My business partners and myself, and I suspect a lot of other small businesses, have used increased values in our properties to borrow and invest into our businesses, and as a result employ people. So in these cases the capital gain on property is being used productively to grow the economy. An unintended consequence of a capital gains tax could be to stifle some of this productive investment.

    “That is altogether different from taking measures to stop the dollar from being priced higher then its value.”

    A few years ago the RB used millions to try and reduce the value of the dollar. It had a slight effect. However, it only created a buying opportunity for speculators who have much more available to them than our government does. The rate went up again within days, and I think, even higher than it was before. The problem is we don’t have the muscle to take any effective action in this respect.

    “If we didn’t have a monetarist policy boosting interest rate differentials and we did have a tobin tax adding some drag to the velocity at which our currency traded this “surge’, which just made it that much harder for exporters, would never have happened or would have been moderated.”

    Perhaps. But the article I pointed to demonstrated the opposite problem. Because traders margins can be very thin, the effect of a tax might be to drive them all away and cause a major flight of capital that could be even more problematic.

    • george 14.1

      A few years ago the RB used millions to try and reduce the value of the dollar. It had a slight effect. However, it only created a buying opportunity for speculators who have much more available to them than our government does. The rate went up again within days, and I think, even higher than it was before. The problem is we don’t have the muscle to take any effective action in this respect.

      You’ve got the wrong end of the stick altogether. I was talking about not using the cash rate to control inflation. I would have thought you’d realize that considering it is what I’ve been saying in all of my previous comments.

      Only an sucker would suggest the RB should try to outbid the speculators and the only reason they did it was because it was the only intervention option they had under their monetarist purview.

      But the article I pointed to demonstrated the opposite problem. Because traders margins can be very thin, the effect of a tax might be to drive them all away and cause a major flight of capital that could be even more problematic.

      The article you cited was the usual capital flight scaremongering. The reason we have capital problems in NZ is our monetarist position undermines saving and investment in NZ by pushing our dollar up.

      If we had a compulsory savings scheme like Australia and Singapore do we would have less of a need for imported capital and the problems, like profit-shipping and the loss of economic sovereignty, that it brings. We would also have the advantage of being to adjust contributions to that scheme to buffer inflation without increasing interest rates.

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    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    21 hours ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    22 hours ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    22 hours ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 day ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    1 day ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    1 day ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    2 days ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    2 days ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    2 days ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    16 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    17 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    17 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    20 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    20 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    22 hours ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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