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Beyond the middleclasses

Written By: - Date published: 8:29 am, December 16th, 2012 - 81 comments
Categories: benefits, child welfare, class, class war, employment, poverty - Tags: , ,

There is plenty of evidence that political parties tend to target their campaigns and policies on the middle-classes, while low income strugglers have become increasingly disenfranchised.  This is strongly influenced by the tendency of the MSM to focus on the middle and upper-classes, especially in  front page and prime-time coverage of political news.

An article on Stuff this morning, at first seemed to be following the standard middle-class focus.  But then, as it progressed it developed a critique of the relative impact of current economic realities on people in different class or income bands.  The impact of the GFC on the middle classes, may not be as expected:

So with a recession, spiralling inner-city house prices and a rising cost of living, is the Kiwi middle-class also feeling the squeeze? You might think so, but some economists reckon the numbers tell us we’ve never had it so good.

“They don’t know how lucky they are,” declares analyst Matthew Nolan of Wellington’s Infometrics.

The author/s refer to various theorists, studies and statistics, providing more evidence than I have time to analyse before I head to work.  But here are some extracts:

Jean-Pierre Du Raad, chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, agrees. The middle-class squeeze is “a bit of an urban myth”, he says.

Since 2001, our middle-class median income has risen by 21 per cent. Yes, the recession has hit, but it’s arguable the middle class has suffered less than the poor and the rich. In part, that’s because of Director’s Law.

Named after the late American economist Aaron Director, it suggests the middle class will always have undue political influence because of its size and aggregate wealth.

“The middle class has political power, so the things they are concerned about are acted on,” says Nolan.

And this:

So where did the myth of the middle-class squeeze come from? Well, says Nolan, the middle class knows how to make a noise, everyone’s feeling the recession, and many have paid attention to the noises coming from America.

Of course, this is about statistics – the average. This isn’t you, living from pay cheque to pay cheque, scraping together the school donation, the football subs, the car repayment, the Sky bill, the rent for the bach this Christmas.

Department of Statistics figures show, in the past five years, substantial climbs in the cost of insurance (home insurance by 130 per cent, contents by 41 per cent and health by 43 per cent), most foods (by about a fifth), rates (30 per cent) and electricity bills (26 per cent).

But remember, says Du Raad, rising prices hit everyone, but reduced mortgage rates are more likely to help the middle class (if, crudely, you presume the rich own their homes outright and the poor rent). And house prices? That’s merely young middle-class people paying more to older middle-class people.

But here is the real crunch:

What all three economists do agree on is the growing level of inequality in New Zealand – it’s this chasm between our poorest and richest that’s probably the real issue.

Du Raad says the squeeze has actually come strongest on low-income households earning between $30,000 and $40,000 a year.

“There are social issues we should be looking at, not a blanket claim that the middle class are struggling – it’s not in the data,” argues Nolan.

“We’d be better to focus our attention and efforts on people hit by the recession – the long-term unemployed; child poverty.”

The article humanises the issues by presenting some thumbnail sketches of different individuals and families.  Some, like the unemployed 59 year old job seeker, and the quake survivors struggling in difficult circumstances.  However, the examples tend to undercut the main argument in the article, and re-focus attention on the middle-classes. It doesn’t include any people who are really doing it tough, like Bernadette Connell, contemplating Christmas on the breadline.

Nor does it include people who will be contemplating attending Christmas celebrations or foodbanks organised by the likes of the Auckland City Mission:

Each Christmas the Mission supports thousands of people who have no-one else to turn to. Throughout December we expect to provide 2000 emergency food parcels, distribute approximately 20,000 Christmas presents and host around 2500 people at New Zealand’s largest community Christmas Lunch.

Or the Christchurch City Mission.  These are the organisations that I know of.  You may be able to provide links to others.

And, given the amount of detail in the above Stuff article, you may have more time to ponder on it and provide some insights, than I do right now.

81 comments on “Beyond the middleclasses”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    Thanks Karol, lots to think about here. I am no longer very sure as to whom we are referring when we speak of middle-classes. There seem to be middle-classes and middle-classes. Some of these (a majority still) are “comfortably off, thank you”, others (still the minority) are hit by the recession and punitive measures. Plenty are left, regrettably, to assure the Tories of their vote (the “I’m all right Jack” type and the Nat’s take great care not to offend (too much) these wealthier middle-classes persons (when it came to offences against teachers or mining conservation land, for example, the government pulled in its horns). For all the very real problems, sorrows, even despair, that the country is experiencing, in the end this remains a reasonably prosperous country if only by a small margin. The Nat’s count upon it. The thing to notice, however, is that currently the government IS beginning to make inroads on upsetting its customary supporters, thus there is hope on the horizon yet (of being shot of it)

    Don’t know that I am making much sense – hard to express it clearly.

    • just saying 1.1

      Comfortable urban professional/business people have come to sense a degree of entitlement previously only seen in farmers and the gentry.
      The griping and sense of aggrievement we see expressed by them – memes such as: impossibly, unsustainable x number of taxpayers supporting x number of bludgers; the Maori grievance industry robbing taxpayers blind, the idea that they are the backbone burdened with supporting everybody else and deprived as a result, these to me smell of a a preemptive strike against the dirt-poor, the struggling, Maori, assorted other oppressed. –   They know in their hearts that they have for than is fair, oftentimes more than they themselves actually expected to have compared with the more modest middle-class they grew up in.  They know in their hearts that the many luxuries and freedoms they enjoy must inevitably be somewhat curtailed.  They know that there comes a point in which suffereing inflicted on large numbers of less fortunate others will reach a critical mass and that they will have a fight on their hands.  They know all this and they are still getting in first and belligerently declaring that they are entitled to everything they have and more.  And they aint compromising one jot.

      • Neoleftie 1.1.1

        Urban professional and business types are not inclusive terms,  urban professional covers range of jobs etc that might lend itself to a social conscious and awareness whereas business types usually imbedded into the neolib investment capital constructed systeURL

        • just saying 1.1.1.1

          Of course Neolefite, I expressed myself badly. There are no homogenous groups obviously.  I was trying (unsuccessfully) to describe members (and not all of them) of a group of particular asset wealth, disposable income and social resources.
           
          A friend of mine used to send me emails circulated amongst her middle-class friends-friends in Auckland. God knows who originally wrote them.   The emails bitched about all the things I mentioned and made out they (the prosperous middle class) were some kind of precious endangered species under imminent threat.  They were in an unattributed, apparently authorative newspaper column-type format, but full of untruths half-truths and other kinds of deception.
           
          My friend found the emails offensive but fascinating.  There were a massive number of names on the mailing list.  When she finally said what she thought about them she stopped receiving them.  It was amazing how hard done by such wealthy people felt in regard to others so much less advantaged.  How angry they were.
           
          I came upon similar ‘newsletters’ via wealthier friends and acquaintances down here in the South Island.  I assume they are the sorts of things that are informally distributed quite widely.  That famous quote from the US tea party that Mallard recently posted on his facebook page about the middle class slaving away to pay taxes to enable bludgers to loll around doing nothing (I paraphrase, I can’t remember the exact words) was of a similar genre.
          I wasn’t suggesting all of the middle class think similarly.   I’m not actually poor myself.

          edit: I don’t think most middle class professionals are liberals though I know many who are.

          • Neoleftie 1.1.1.1.1

            I remember two brothers one new off the boat from Auckland , the other a dunedinite conservative local councillor and business suit type. The Aucklander was rude classist and devoid of any respect or understanding for those perceived as his inferiors by earning of position, his brother had to take him to task and state that it’s not the done thing in the deep south.
             

  2. Descendant Of Sssmith 2

    For me it can be put quite simply.

    I’m not wealthy and still have a reasonable mortgage which I’ll pay off by the time I retire.

    I can pay all my bills on time and have a reasonable spend on luxuries or choose to pay a bit more off my mortgage.

    I’m in a similar position to my grandparents generation who simply aimed similarly to have bought a house and paid their mortgage off before retirement.

    I don’t change my house cause I bought it to live in and I’ll never own a rental property. I raised my kids rather than chasing the dollar and am happy with that choice.

    Did I need tax cuts – no.

    Am I happy for my tax to be increased – yes.

    Am I happy for those increases to be spent on poor people absolutely.

    Do I think non-judgemental societal welfare via taxation is better than charity via benefactors – by a country mile.

    Do I wish Labour would off anything like this – yes

    Do they – No.

    • Neoleftie 2.1

      Me I want a progression to a state where mega corporation no longer and either co ops or SOE with all their profit retaimed, bye bye ruling class, no entity is more powerful than the state.
      The Fabian society has some intersting articles on the next way outa the more we are in and face so very very soon.

  3. BM 3

    NZ is well down the path to becoming a meritocracy.
    People expect others to make an effort, just giving money to poor people, annoys most people intensely.
    Like the Americans, if you’re not making enough money, get educated, work harder, don’t just sit around with your hand out expecting some else to provide.

    You may not like it but this is modern NZ.

    • rosy viper 3.1

      How about you tell that to the person who cleans your office toilet. Who has a low status job because s/he had to leave school at 14 due to being kicked out of home after s/he was being beaten up by parents or something?

      • BM 3.1.1

        Well if she’s moaning about not making enough money I’d say.

        Get educated, work harder, don’t just sit around with your hand out expecting some else to provide.

        • Foreign Waka 3.1.1.1

          Good morning BM
          I belief your answer is a bit too simplistic. As everything in life, there are a great number of variants playing a part in income levels. I would say, that the greatest number of people that our society could call lower class or poor are women with their children. As long as there is no pay parity they will stay poor. Or would you say that cleaning a toilet is less worth than cleaning your desk? Most of these manual nondescriptive jobs are filled by women and it is too easy to say that they sit around. Far from it! It’s just that they work and work and get nowhere for the sake or their kids. At the same time, yes there are some who use the very benefit system to take advantage. But I also know people who have finally landed a job only to say after 2 months they are now enttitled to far far more. One has to be carful not to lose perspective. The few are not representitive of the many. It is sooo easy to make blanket statements as these are the best defence to keep the status quo. So please look closer, make sure you understand the human circumstance before your judge. Have a great Christmas.

        • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 3.1.1.2

          BM
          You and people like you are the main reasons why NZ can’t get ahead and isn’t developing strategies to maintain adequately paying jobs and reasonable standard of living.  You breakfast, lunch and dine on your own stupid ideas all day so they are an integral part of you and so you can’t understand the wide society outside your little cave and shopping patch and echo chamber where you sit with your chosen companions listening to each other’s prejudices and slogans critical of practically everyone.

        • rosy viper 3.1.1.3

          Obviously you’ve been in a similar situation and know how simple your prescription is.

          Btw as an accidentally middleclass person I have no problem at all paying people a decent wage for performing the lowest status jobs. Including those jobs that improve the working environment of office workers who have never been toilet-trained.

        • QoTViper 3.1.1.4

          It’s a great piece of propaganda, the “meritocracy”.  It allows people like BM to assume that people doing shit jobs like cleaning toilets don’t deserve anything better, because hey, if they just tried hard enough they wouldn’t have to clean toilets.
          “Meritocracy” thus involves the assumption that people who clean toilets are scum.  Otherwise questions like “so who the fuck cleans your toilets when we’re all bootstrap millionaires?” would be a bit tricky.

          • Colonial Weka 3.1.1.4.1

            You’re forgetting there are no toilets on Planet Key,

            • xtasy 3.1.1.4.1.1

              Hence there are also no guts and stomachs in people living on Planet Key, as the “shit” that is made through there simply does not get created on his planet, so they all live off nectar and ambrosia, leaving nothing to pas through, as the body will fully absorb it all and only sweat out tiny residual stuff, aye?!
               
              Or would we not believe that Planet Key, if it was more “real life” is covered in shite and piss all over, as there is no special, organised place to put it, when it comes out of the body?
               
              Not a pleasant place to be in, I must say! Too smelly and slippery for my well being.

            • rosy viper 3.1.1.4.1.2

              ahh, Weka, you found the fatal flaw in my example.

        • bad12 3.1.1.5

          You just don’t ‘get it’ do you, perhaps you don’t ‘get it’ because you have not the intellectual where-with-all or perhaps you have for too long been availing yourself of sucking the scum from the trough of priveledge and you no longer care to ‘get it’,
           
          Your whole pathetic argument falls over at the first hurdle of the unemployment figures, 170,000 unemployed in New Zealand means just that, the economy is short of 170,000 jobs, so, even if every jobless person in New Zealand educated themselves to university degree level there would still be a New Zealand economy with a shortfall of 170,000 jobs,(unless you are laughably suggesting that there are 170,000 people out there wilfully avoiding employment),
           
          Your argument, pathetic as it is, falls at the second hurdle in that someone has to do the jobs of Labor where the burgers get flipped, the trash gets taken out, and, the gas gets pumped, should the 170,000 unemployed and the 400,000 low waged workers avail themselves of the education system and all become degree graduates WHERE EXACTLY do you think that would leave them or an equal number of degree graduates currently in employment at a level that goes some way to express due respect to the degrees they have sought and gained???
           
          What we would have is a highly educated workforce clamoring to be rewarded for their personal educational qualifications without having an economy capable of meeting such expectations, in other words university qualified burger flippers….
           

          • BM 3.1.1.5.1

            Nobody gives a fuck that people clean toilets or do any other menial job, I’ve done a few in my time.The issue is when people don’t live within their means and moan that they haven’t got enough money.
            You cannot live the life of an accountant,scientist,programmer etc, if you’re a cleaner, that’s the facts of life. if that’s all you can do learn to live a fairly basic existence,you’ll be a lot happier.

            • QoTViper 3.1.1.5.1.1

              Nobody gives a fuck that people clean toilets or do any other menial job, 
               
              You probably should, those jobs are kind of vital to all the “important” jobs which you think deserve big money.
               
              Not to mention that it often isn’t actually possible to “learn to live a fairly basic existence” on minimum wage, unless you think food and electricity are luxuries only accountants should be able to afford.

              • BM

                Have you ever had to?, I have, it’s hard but it’s acheivable.
                If you have very little money you need to learn to budget, look at ways to cut costs,It’s all about controlling your expenditure
                 
                 

                • QoTViper

                  Oh, well, if you managed then I’m sure the countless people living in poverty who literally cannot make ends meet just aren’t trying hard enough!  Anecdata is awesome!

      • anthony bull 3.1.2

        So, Rosy, does their life end at 14 then?  Are they incapable of upskilling or choosing a career or working hard from that point onwards?
         
        I know people who have made career changes at the age of 60 after being made redundant after working for firms for 30+ years, and then being laughed out of interviews for being too old – and they managed to completely change their careers and start new professions without prior training or skills in that profession.
         
        So why, can’t someone who is a young adult do the same?  Because their parents kicked them out of the house at some point in the past?  Is that their story for the rest of their life?

        • rosy viper 3.1.2.1

          So, anthony bull would you suggest a young person who leaves school with no qualifications, and a who had dysfunctional relationship with parent/s starts would start a working life on an equal footing with someone who finished school and has learned the communication skills they might need to make their way successfully in the adult world?

          Further, would you suggest that someone who might be unaware of how to make the most of life’s chances e.g. the aspirations the parents for the child is zilch, would have the same chance of making successful life choices as people who followed supported educational routes?

          Would you suggest that all young people who start out with such disadvantage will all have the same set of skills to successfully negotiate it?

          Do you suggest that a person with 30+ years work experience is at the same disadvantage as someone who didn’t learn any work skills at all, and that someone brought up in a violent home has the same communication skills and positive outlook as someone with 30 years work experience? Don’t you think the chance of a slip-up in a life plan is a little greater for someone with this background, so that person might require a little more input from ?? to make it happen, and that input might just reduce that chances of that person costing society a whole lot more in the long run?

          Even the Nats profess to believe in equality of opportunity.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 3.2

      And you somehow think people don’t do that?
      You somehow don’t think that people work when work is there?
      You somehow think that moving GDP distribution away from wages to profits has made things better for people.
      You somehow think that those increased profits are being used to create innovate businesses that light up the sharemarket?
      You somehow think that those reduced taxes are doing the same?
      You somehow think that if tomorrow you had a car accident and suffered a brain injury that meant you could never work again that you would be OK.
      You somehow think that people on benefit is a fixed group of people who stay there forever?
      You think that some of those people you despise already work hard often holding down 2 jobs to just get by?
      You think everyone has the same capability, skill and circumstances – that no-one has disabilties, that employers aren’t racist or sexist, that men don’t beat and abuse their wives or suddenly leave them for no reason.
      You think get your shit together is the ONLY solution?
       
       
       

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 3.2.1

        btw a true meritocracy would have all people starting off with nothing. I look forward to your promotion of 100% death duties.

    • vto 3.3

      BM “People expect others to make an effort, just giving money to poor people, annoys most people intensely”

      You need to think that it may be possible your lenses are a particular shape and your view is a result of that lens.

      You see, you assume that the reason poopr don’t have enough money is because they are not educated enough, don’t work hard enough, don’t get off their backside enough. You have expressed this view many times before.

      Has it occured to you that the reason poor people do not have enough money is because the parameters around the distribution of society’s wealth (and make no mistake – all money is “distributed” or “redistributed” by way of rules and regs and systems and settings. It has little to do with work or “earning”.) have been adjusted away from the poorer workers? Example: tax cuts for the upper income earners. Another example: lack of a capital gains tax means businesses aim for “earning” their wealth by way of capital rather than income. Example: a minimum wage that is less than slave wages (it costs more to keep a slave than to pay minimum wage. Did yo know that BM?)

      • BM 3.3.1

        I used to be on the dole with no money.

        Everyone that I got on the piss with every Thursday never wanted to work, took too much effort.Most enjoyed the dole life style, lack of money sucked but not been answerable to any one out weighted that and there were other ways you could make an extra bit of coin.

        Wasn’t until I applied myself learnt some skills, that life started moving forward.

        Most of the people I run into from this time, were the same.

        • vto 3.3.1.1

          Fair enough BM, and there are without doubt those types around. But they always will be around. They used to be on the railways and wharves in the 70’s, now they sit on te dole (generalisations taken).

          But your post there confirms my point above, namely that your lens is shaped to too great an extent by your own life’s circumstances. You should stop judging through your own lens and try the others that exist out there. The distribution of NZ’s wealth has little to do with hard work and education and most to do with the current distribution settings. It is these settings which need adjusting so that hard working poorer people get a greater share – like they used in the good old days…..

          Here is another related question – NZ is at its most wealthy today, yet we cannot adequately look after all our brothers and sisters. Why is that BM?

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 3.3.1.2

          And that everyone was what 10-15 people, 20-30 people, 500-600 people?
          And at what point did you decide you wanted something different, at what point did you decide to stop behaving in the same way? And what made you change?
          Some of us make decisions that others don’t make. What makes me more resilient that others who had similar enviornments to myself? Is it genetic is it enviornment? Is it an individual that inspires me? Is it a lifechanging experience? Is it the depths of despair or a change in medication? Is it an opportunity that came along out of the blue?
          There’s multiple answers and multiple solutions. One size cannot fit all.
          Simply thinking that all you have to do is get off your arse is not either realistic or pragmatic.
          Creating opportunty is much more likely to be successful particularly for those who are disadvantaged in the labour market to start off with.
          You’ll note one of the points of meritocracy is to identify young people with intelligence and talent and to develop them. This would mean you would go to a bright as a button school because you were bright as a button and you would go to a thick as pigshit school because you were thick as pigshit.
          The notion of meritocracy that you think we are moving to would have lots of poor ( and Maori and Pacific Island ) people at Auckland Grammar and lots of wealthy children somewhere ese. IQ geniuses they are not.
          Who you know would no longer be important and we’d have a much larger public service amongst other things.
          I’m not sure how you think we are moving to that.
          Here’s a good view of such a party.
          http://gmpuk.ucoz.co.uk/ 
           
           

    • Neoleftie 3.4

      Funny that unemployment in real terms is over 10 percent in America the land of the free. More like the land of the slaves to coportations.

  4. Colonial Weka 4

    Defining the middle class is difficult now. I know people with working class backgrounds who live middle class lives. Is class socio-economic or cultural or both.
     
    I wasn’t aware that a big deal had been made in NZ about the middle class squeeze, I thought NZ had gotten off quite lightly compared to other places in the world.
     

    Since 2001, our middle-class median income has risen by 21 per cent. Yes, the recession has hit, but it’s arguable the middle class has suffered less than the poor and the rich.
     

    Well duh, of course the poor are the worst off. Not sure about the rich, I guess he is talking purely in financial terms. The median income… isn’t that just the mid point? Doesn’t tell us how many people below that point are struggling compared to before.
     
    My upper middle class family don’t appear to have been affected by the recession in any noticeable way. But I do know people who I would have thought were well off who have no cash. All their income is tied up in debt repayment (including mortgages and increased rents) and increases in the cost of living. Some of those people are losing ground and/or using savings for daily living costs. Their incomes haven’t gone up by 21%, so me thinks there is something off about the measuring.
     
    I think Chch is an important part of the picture. Living in the South Island, it’s hard not to see people whose fortunes have changed in various ways.

  5. Coronial Typer 5

    I would not dare decry the virtue or necessity of one strata of society over another. I would only stress how important a middle class is to New Zealand.

    Some typical markers of being middle class are this:

    – Home ownership. Declining consistently and substantially in New Zealand.

    – University degree. Young people now think hard before taking on that scale of debt.

    – A career path into a good salary. New Zealand is too hollowed-out in both public and private sectors to see this too often.

    – Savings, for income to retire with, even after a health scare in mid-60s. Perhaps in a rental property, in an accelerated Kiwisaver, bonds, shares, or shares in a business. Whole sectors of society spectacularly shunted down-market by the mezzanine finance wipeout over 5 years.

    – Holidays with travel. Check out the pressure of our local tourist sector

    As Deng Xiaopeng, China’s greatest Premier famously said: “To be rich is glorious”.

    People with the above attributes are the people that keep the New Zealand economy going, because they spend locally, they raise debt, they aspire and are often aspired to. They are attractive as prospective mates. The don’t own much of the economy, but they are at the core of New Zealand.

    It is smug. It is comfortable. It is tidy and hygienic. It is its own regime, so finely calibrated you can see it in every property rating table. You know where you are, and that’s precisely part of its neurosis and its definition.

    There’s a really good reason Labour and the Greens need to regain more of the middle class in New Zealand, and why they need to focus the economy on building more of them: they are the definition of getting a fair chance in life, and National presumes they have a lock on them. They generate aspiration and dynamism.

    I am middle class. I will never be bottom 10% or top 1%. Probably the only thing that makes me stay in New Zealand, rather than leave and come back to retire, is it’s hard to get the same strata of career for my partner in one shift. No party yet compels me to want to stay.

    • just saying 5.1

      No other reason you would want to live in NZ? It’s all about getting more money?
      <i>There’s a really good reason Labour and the Greens need to regain more of the middle class in New Zealand,…</i>
      These two attitudes always seem to together.
      just saying.
       
       
       

      • Coronial Typer 5.1.1

        “Career” is different from “more money”, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that mere patriotism will span the difference between the two. There’s a minor segment here of real outsiders whose lives can do without either, but they are by definition not in the middle class.

        • just saying 5.1.1.1

          Who said anything about patriotism?
          For me its about the land itself, the wildlife, the people (esp my people), and on a day like today – the weather.
          Thought you said you had a career – but that you could make more money at it oversaeas?
          Of course power usually comes into the mix with the more money.

          • Coronial Typer 5.1.1.1.1

            Sorry patriotism is my shorthand code for all of that stuff. Land, 100% Pure, etc etc, whole Hobbiton mythology. Totally buy it.
             
            Yes I could make more overseas, and provided a clear explanation why I was still here.
             
            And yes the greater available power would naturally also be attractive. 
             
            Plan is to retire to Wanaka. Haute-bourgeoise enclave of The World’s Chosen.

            • just saying 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Stop putting words in my mouth.
               
              100 percent pure – what a load of bollocks.  I suspect you might be getting a little defensive with this sarcastic nonsense
              Patriotism – loyalty to one’s state and its institiutions.
              I’m no patriot.  Love of particular land and people – quite different.
              Had to laugh about your Wanaka plans.  I know a few people who have gone to live there.  You’ll fit right in.

    • Neoleftie 5.2

      Nice definition of middle class. Inho the middle is extremely wide now. Bottom 20 or so percent classed as poor, middle class make up the bulk and the top few percent is elite class who rob the rest.
      As a left wing labourite it’s time we reconnected to more of the middle and the bottom class, the young, the non voter and solidified our position as the party to bring about meaningful change and betterment.
      Sure labour take a bit from the elite, a lot from the middle to give to the poor, talk about equality but true equality come about when the imbedded power structurethat we call investment capitalism ipost the mega corporation entities are controlled and harnesses by the state for the betterment of the people and not just the few.

      • Coronial Typer 5.2.1

        In true Robin Hood fashion, as a policy setting that’s just fine, bur as a means to power it simply sucks. Home ownership is a great feint towards aspiration and equity. And it’s mighty good if Labour really can find the Minister who can pull it iff. I don’t think they’ve got one.
        But that’s only one appeal. Reagan and Clinton had a whole suite of policy directions to get them back. In 2014 Shearer will probably scrape in just by being Not-National. But to get more than one term, he will need a whole bunch more in the tank for the midle class to pop into the voting booth with a happy wallet or handbag.

    • Populuxe1 5.3

      Well said. I’m bourgeois and proud. Also it’s the middle class expectations of a civil society that  reinforces the freedoms of our liberal democracy. All this hating on the middle class, whatever “middle class” means anymore, and indeed the whole archaic notion of “class”, is primarily ideologically motivated and doesn’t accurately reflect our society – the vast majority of whom would consider themselves middle class.

      • just saying 5.3.1

        I’m bourgeois and proud. unquote
         
        …indeed the whole archaic notion of “class”, is primarily ideologically motivated and doesn’t accurately reflect our society. unquote
         
        So, it’s only an archaic concept when it comes to the working class demanding their share?
         

        • Neoleftie 5.3.1.1

          Then again most if not all of us are working class…apart form the very few elite owner class who treat the rest of us as slaves to their profit…labour is now simple a commodity with few rights and fewer protections.
          Time for a paradymal shift.

          • karol 5.3.1.1.1

            “class” is difficult to pin down, because of the factors that can have an influence: money, status, power etc.
             
            Marx mainly had 2 classes based on differences of power, control and access to the means to own a business, compared with workers having to sell  their labour to the owners.
             
            Most official state  research has tended to use a more Weberian influenced division of classes, based on occupations and their relative status: manual (worker) and non-manual (middle-class).   But these were based on the notion of one male breadwinner per household.  Women didn’t fit neatly into such classification systems.
             
            And these days, a skilled manual worker (bricklayer, motor mechanic) can be better off than some lower middle-class office workers.  Then there’s the whole thorny issues of households with 2 breadwinners, compared with single parents;  the increase in part time, casual and precarious work.
             
            To me, the significant class differences relate to income level, security of income, and access to power or powerful networks – beneficiaries not able to negotiate the system, without networks of contacts to help them etc. – lack of social capital.

            • Bill 5.3.1.1.1.1

              Ruling Class….some owners, capitalists, certain bankers or whatever (powerful)
              Co-ordinator Class….various managers, bureaucrats, doctors, lawyers and other recognised ‘professionals’ essentially in the service of the ruling class (empowered)
              Working Class….subject to the directions of co-ordinators (disempowered)

              • felixviper

                Exactly. 
                 
                Arguments about what hourly rate is the cutoff between different classes of workers is a red herring. It’s all about power.

        • Populuxe1 5.3.1.2

          You are a sad humourless little thing, aren’t you. What is “working class” except someone who works – something most of us do or have done. Aside from a tiny minority who are very rich, categories like “working class” and “middle class” are utterly meaningless.

          • just saying 5.3.1.2.1

            So what exactly are you “proud” of?  Expressing it in french doesn’t change the concept.
             
             

            • Populuxe1 5.3.1.2.1.1

              It’s a joke, you poor humourless bore, but as I don’t feel particularly ashamed of a status I had not control over being born into and contributes quite a lot, it’s not exactly inaccurate.

              • Neoleftie

                You are the bore , silly and dumbed by youR status in society.
                My house income is over 140 k I have 30 millionaire in the extended family, my uncle was COO of contact, lawyers, high court judge and also  GovGeneral in the family, for good measure my mum had a nanny, a cook and a housekeeper but this is meaningless.
                Time for you and your kind to grow up, look around you and see people. You’re a elitist snob silly silly person, shortsighted a mole nothing more or less.

          • VindowViper 5.3.1.2.2

            While I agree that it’s probably a meaningless distinction, nonetheless snobbery being what it is most people can immediately tell the difference when they see it.
             
            These days it’s not primarily an economic distinction; it’s more of a cultural one. 

            • Populuxe1 5.3.1.2.2.1

              Snobbery is a funny thing – everyone does it. You see it here an awful lot, especially when a National government gives any support to anything populist, or god-forbid anyone should mention reality television, and the number of people who seem to exist only to show off how well they’ve internalised various aspects of social theory is itself a form of snobbery. 

            • karol 5.3.1.2.2.2

              I think there is both a cultural and an economic element in class distinctions, along with power and status – but it is primarily economic/financial.  Why else is there such a smearing of beneficiaries by our current government?

  6. geoff 6

    The best way to divvy the country up is into pre and post rogernomics.

    NZ before getting Rogered:
    – low unemployment
    – cheap housing
    – free tertiary education
    – proper apprenticeship system
    – job security
    – not drenched in advertising and cheap credit

    NZ after getting Rogered:
    – everything the opposite

    Even most of the fuckups I know, who reached adulthood pre-Rogering, are usually so much
    better off financially than the most switched on people I know who got Rogered.

    Roger.

  7. xtasy 7

    The “middle class” is breaking apart, and it has done so for years. Many only still count themselves “middle class” out of false pride, not wanting to admit, they are dropping into the working poor category.

    Yes, a fair number in that better off part of the “middle class” are still managing, and some are happy with lower interest rates on mortgages, even if that gets neutralised to some degree by increases in living and other costs deemed essential.

    The “middle class” as such is the prime focus of Labour and the Nats, because they know that they are more vocal if unhappy, and they have their expectations to keep their living standards.

    It is a fact that neither National Party nor Labour do really care all that much about beneficiaries and the real poor, as they are considered an element on “the fringe”.

    Many beneficiaries do not even bother to vote (sadly), as they have been disappointed so often, feel betrayed and not listened to, they have NO more hope at all. They are struggling to survive week to week, and they are totally disenfranchised, so most of them do not even consult advocates, who could help them, as they really trust almost nobody anymore.

    Take a drive or busride from Meadowbank down to Glen Innes one day, if you live or are in Auckland, you will seen that within a hundred metres you will travel from the first world to more or less the third world, all within NZ.

    I do on a benefit live from hand to mouth, I cannot even afford to buy a pair of needed new shoes, although WINZ and MSD tell us, that the benefit is enough to do so also.

    My clothes are largely what I brought with me from overseas a few years back, where life was easier. Living in a country blessed with natural fertility and much agricultural and other products being grown here, one has to bloody wonder, why so many food products here cost much more in more densely populated places in Europe and elsewhere.

    So I do not have much time for “middle class” concerns, as that is not the world I live in, and if they feel they are hard done by, many driving around in gas guzzling SUVs and able to afford take away food and new gadgets, I have NO time for them. Sorry, but that makes me a non voter when it comes to Labour!

    Greens or Mana are my only alternative left!

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 7.1

      I have little sympathy for my middle class concerns either. Life’s not tough for me at all.

      It was tougher when I had three kids with disabilities and paying 22.5% on my mortgage but even then when I was getting my power and phone disconnected and cooling my milk in the bath cause I had no money it wasn’t as tough as people on benefit would be finding it right now.

      Any party who has any concern for those worse off would have as the first part of their platform an immediate increase in benefit rates effective the day they come to power.

      Not as a cynical vote catcher either but because they actually genuinely believe people are in poverty and struggling.

      Yeah and they can put my tax up to pay for it.

      A Muldoon rent freeze for two years wouldn’t go amiss either and would take some of the heat out of rising house prices.

      • xtasy 7.1.1

        DOS – I must thank you for putting some thought onto these issues, and also for bearing thoughts about the plight of some!
         
        I get a bit worked up on what I experienced, and also what others have experienced, hence I raise my voice again and again.
         
        It is encouraging to receive some support and sympathy, I just wish to say!

    • Neoleftie 7.2

      Xtasy it’s time for real meaningful change…it’s not right or fair that you can’t afford shoes, I don’t know what to do anymore….I vote with my feet, I’ve contributed, I donate , I give my effort but am still a slave.
      My family income put me in the top five percent of income but we are tight tight? 
      ThiIsis to right at all, time for a new direction real change and action.
       
       

      • xtasy 7.2.1

        Actually, I know a fair number of people even much worse of than I am. I do at least have a landlord that does not charge me the now common “market rent”, as I believe, to her this flat I live in is not so much a “cash cow”, but more of a longer term investment. Also does she appreciate me looking after the place and grounds really well. So with a good landlord it can work both ways.
         
        Others living just up the block pay about 30 to 50 per cent more rent for the same size flat!
         
        Also I have a mate who got evicted from his rented home for 9 years last year, by a new buyer and developer. He was the quick “slap on the paint job” guy there are many of. He sold the units in the block off, one by one, for a great profit.
         
        My mate has a nightmarish fight with Housing NZ to get a place, as he was also ill and on a benefit. It took us meetings at top level, and then certainly the step to involve the NZ Herald to make a story of it, to finally, suddenly have Housing NZ back down and give him a (run down) home.
         
        I know many who had to get food parcels. I had to also  a couple of years back, and WINZ must give you a letter to even get the foot into the door to a food bank, Sallies or else. For getting a letter you must make an appointment, after your special needs for food has been exhausted.
         
        This is so common now, even the Citizen Advice bureaus now are doing the job of offering food parcels, and serving as a gap filler for WINZ.
         
        Now Bennett and co want to lay the blame game on beneficiaries, suggesting it is “attitude” and commitment, that is the problem. How disgusting.
         
        I just read this today, that AAAP (Auckland Action Against Poverty) are having a public meeting at 03:30 pm on Wednesday, 19 Dec. 2012 at their new 86 Princes St address in Onehunga, Auckland. Sue Bradford and Chris Zack will be talking to interested persons about benefit issues. I suggest that those interested and affected consider going there, as they may be able to give good info, advice and support to you.
         
        See info on their website:
        http://aaap.org.nz/
         
        It is time to take action, for sure, or you will be steam rolled by the monster brigade of Nat ACT in government, the biggest wheel in the heavy rolling machinery being Bennett.

        • karol 7.2.1.1

          Thanks, xtasy.  I’d be interested to hear what happens at that meeting on Wednesday.  I wanted to go, but am working. 

    • Coronial Typer 7.3

      Crikey that sounds an increadibly harsh life. Completely understand why you prefer Greens or Mana as your political home. 
      Withoug a full essay, what are the standout things it would take to switch your vote to Labour, both in basic policies and in personalities?

      • xtasy 7.3.1

        a) Vote Shearer out as “leader” in February;
        b) have someone hammer out a resolute, clear, well based and balanced policy program for the party in the early to mid of next year, being inclusive of all , of course;
        c) Jancinda Ardern to adress the REAL issues of beneficiaries for once, rather than go on about kiosk privacy and information leak issues at WINZ (e.g. fair deal and proper services for beneficiaries);
        d) to develop an economic plan that is not just based on words, but offers a real agenda, to create jobs by smart, future proof, sustainable and value added business promotion, rather than sell more of the same, while ruining the environment;
        e) run a recruitment drive for new memberships, based on true democracy and to stop the “Stalinist” type suppression of criticism and dissent, as we witnessed here on The Standard;
        f) increase the minimum wage to a liveable wage of at least $ 15 an hour;
        g) make apprenticeships the standard path of qualification for school leavers apart from tertiary education;
        h) abolish the present, suppressive, harsh, unjust benefit system by bringing in a universal base income, allowing top ups based on real needs, and also paying benefits at a level that match real living needs and costs;
        i) present a state housing program alongside Kiwi Build, while Kiwi Build must be improved to ensure that land for sections are available, and to consider also to “nationalise” certain lands not used appropriately by speculators, only wanting to gain maximum profits on sales at high market rates;
        j) Put more money into mental health care to offer services that actually work and assist sick, rather than have doctors mass prescribe medication;
        k) stop and partly reverse asset sales of power companies and the likes;
        l) stop foreign nationals – some of whom not even being residents – from investing in real estate purely for personal gains and profits;
        and so forth.
        This is just a selection of what I would expect, and there could be a fair few points added, but I will refrain from being too pushy here.

        • xtasy 7.3.1.1

          I may add: Free milk, fruit and real lunches for school kids, not just private enterprise promoted basics, which are rather a marketing strategy used by Fonterra, and not just toast and jam for nourishment, as that is poor diet.
           
          The Swedes can offer this (REAL cooked lunch), and they are a comparable country by geographical and population size, why can prime agricultural NZ not deliver such basics to their future citizens? It is an appalling state of affairs we have here!
           
          Best quality produce goes overseas, and consumers in Central Europe can buy Kiwifruit cheaper than it is often sold here. NZers get second rate food made here. What a bloody disgrace this society has become!

        • Coronial Typer 7.3.1.2

          Yup love all of that.

        • Neoleftie 7.3.1.3

          Very well said xtasy.we need more voices like that as members. Roll on feb and the show downfinally the members demand the caucus show the and help the people and not jufew bangout a few vote catching poppy policies, we the people are starving, most don’t even know it.
          Add a few more.
          Print money don’t borrow it.
          Tobin tax.

    • BM 7.4

      How come you can’t find work?

      • xtasy 7.4.1

        “BM(W)” minded person, if you asked me, my answer is: Serious, ongoing health issues. No employer is interested in hiring a sick and incapacitated person. But this government thinks they are happy to do so, and they blame the attitude of sufferers, rather than inform themselves about the real world.
         
        Read the bloody submissions to the Social Services Committee on the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment bill, all freely available via the website of Parliament, please, and you may start to get an idea about what is going on!
         
        http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/Documents/Evidence/?Custom=00DBHOH_BILL11634_1
         
        But let me guess, you have already made your mind up and could not give a damn, right?
         
         
         

        • BM 7.4.1.1

          That’s no good, must be very frustrating.

          • xtasy 7.4.1.1.1

            It is, but I am not alone. Thanks for your acknowledgment.

          • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 7.4.1.1.2

            BM
            You sound as if you are thinking and getting informed about various problems being aired on this site.   Surely your greater understanding is an illusion that will show up as a temporary blip when your later posts return to your default position of septic sceptic.  It is so annoying and time-consuming having to change one’s mind – I have you down as an ignorant, sour soood so don’t make me do the brainwork to change my ideas about you.

  8. bad12 8

    Just as we can list a number of reasons why Government have created a class of poverty in the beneficiary class of New Zealand we can also widen that list to show how such poverty has been, with deliberation in some cases, spread to the working poor,especially those with children,

    We can also in the same time frame list a series of initiatives from Governments both National and Labour which have deliberately favored the ‘middle class’ of New Zealand over both beneficiary dependent families and especially in the latter case of National’s tax cuts deliberately leaving the working poor with families no particular gains 3 years on,

    The worst examples of such pandering to the middle class while creating poverty lower down the Clark Labour Government and it’s Working for Families tax credits, given a blank canvas these tax credits could,(and should),have started with those with children at the bottom of the economic heap, those receiving welfare benefits,

    The fact that that Labour Government refused to include children of beneficiaries as the recipients of these tax credits while allowing the children of the upper middle class to benefit is a depressing reminder of just how far to the right Labour has positioned itself, Clark Herself losing much of the respect She had among the activists of the left over Her statement that not allowing beneficiary families to share in the largesse of Working for Families as this would encourage them to ‘get a job’,

    National of course have continued to feather the nests of the middle class with both its tax cuts and it’s State Owned Asset sell-off….

    • Coronial Typer 8.1

      IMHO Clark lost the 2008 election by pandering to haute-bourgeoise moral panics. She needed to focus on my wallet.
       
      We need the new Structural Adjustment towards new equity. Equity that makes more people rich, fast. Housing is a start. But we need a Capital Gains Tax with laser-like accuracy on propoerty speculation. A much cheaper dollar (great for exporters and really tough on the whole transport economy). And a Financial Transaction tax to focus the minds of the fund managers, both public and private, local and international. 
       
      Structural Adjustment towards a new equity.
      Would need a really really tough Labour leader to do it. Ah well…
      Soak the 1%-ers. The middle class, and the public sector, will then employ a whole bunch more of everyone else. Gung-Ho!

      • Neoleftie 8.1.1

        That’s a start….now for 2015

      • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 8.1.2

        Coronial Typer  8.1
        Santa are you listening?   You will need to bring your bag of various tools for fixing things along with the one with the usual cuddly toys, DVDs, sports equipment, nice consumables and on line games. We’ve got other, serious requests for action here.

  9. xtasy 9

    To really change things I do not want to go as far as Che Guevara, but seeing a great documentary on him and background info, also knowing about revolution in Europe (e.g. Rosa Luxemburbg), he was RIGHT all the way. He stoody up for justice and fairness, but we have nobody of such calibre bother to look after NZers interests.

    It is cowardice, wankerism and division running the show here, I am afraid. Sorry, I hate to upset, but I cannot resist telling the truth!

    1

  10. felixviper 10

    John Key puts it in slightly different terms. He simply refers to the ‘quality’ of people, as in “a good class of person”.

    But then he is a complete fucking dropkick, so there is that.

  11. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 11

    I was talking yesterday to someone who knows about social welfare problems. One woman she knows has been turned away from DSW or whatever its called now, when she needed money for a bond which she was told to meet out of her benefit, (meagre already). When the benefits were cut in 1991 there was a follow-on of a grant of say $200 that could be applied for each year if there was need. This is being denied beneficiaries at this time of great need by them with prices going up, rents etc. and even if the country’s budget is strained, controlled distribution is still required. The politicians don’t decrease their earnings in hard times, citing the well-known peanuts getting monkeys cliche.

    A woman with no money or food was turned away from DSW when she asked for a voucher for the foodbank. The foodbank did help her but she needed an advocate to go with her as she was so demoralised. People on the raw rough end of societal levels can get so screwed. The speaker didn’t have a good word to say for Poorer Benefit and the climate that pervades in the department’s premises is chilling and peremptory. It can only get worse when they don’t even have to face up to people and the onus is on those begging to have the techno means of contacting them and cash to meet the expense of the call which will be at their expense. Or have I missed an announcement that 0800 numbers will be provided in sufficient multiples so that there is only a three minute waiting period at most times. Can anyone advise if this is the case. I may have missed this information of this service at a level which a well-run department would no doubt have provided.

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  • “I said surface, not surplus”
    Here are ten explanations, excuses or distractions Bill English might like to employ over the coming days in response to news that his long promised budget surplus looks to have disappeared....
    Imperator Fish
  • Talking terror
    [Content note: discussion of terrorism and violence] Last month I wrote about the aims of ISIS as NZ’s terror legislation ramped up, how their structure and organisation has become almost impossibly fluid, adapted to social media and the internet in...
    On the Left
  • Letter to the editor – Time to milk a tragedy again, by our Dear Leader
    . . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com> to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz> date: Tue, Dec 16, 2014 subject: Letter to the editor . The Editor Dominion Post . Once again, predictably, our esteemed Prime Minister has exploited a tragic situation for his...
    Frankly Speaking
  • Hard News: Word of the Year 2014: #dirtypolitics
    A transient political scandal which has been dealt with, resolved and thoroughly moved-on-from with no hard feelings at all has somehow been named as the Public Address Word of the Year 2014."I honestly can't understand how this has happened," said...
    Public Address
  • Station Boarding Stats for 2013/14
    Late last week Auckland Transport provided me with some fascinating stats related that broke down rail patronage results by station. The data is for the previous financial year -so from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 – and covers 10.05 million...
    Transport Blog
  • US drones: target one, murder twenty-eight
    U.S. drones kill on average 28 unidentified people for every intended target, according to a report published by Reprieve, a group that represents civilian victims of drone strikes. The CIA launched two drone attacks, claiming it was trying to kill...
    Redline
  • US drones: target one, murder twenty-eight
    U.S. drones kill on average 28 unidentified people for every intended target, according to a report published by Reprieve, a group that represents civilian victims of drone strikes. The CIA launched two drone attacks, claiming it was trying to kill...
    Redline
  • The Sydney siege: the day after
    One of the several different faces of Man Haron Monis by Jeff Sparrow Unfortunately, we have now sufficient experience of terrorist incidents to formulate a simple rule: namely, almost everything said in the first few days after the event will...
    Redline
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    Greens
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It...
    Labour
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry....
    Labour
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    Greens
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its...
    Labour
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review...
    Labour
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Treasury says failure to cut emissions could cost $34,000 per household
    Treasury figures, released by the Sustainability Council today, show failing to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will cost between $2,000 and $34,000 per household, the Green Party said. The Sustainability Council has obtained figures previously redacted from a...
    Greens
  • Greens call on the Auditor General to investigate serious conflict of inter...
    The Green Party has asked the Auditor General to investigate serious conflicts of interest over Food and Grocery Chief Katherine Rich's membership on the board of the Health Promotion Agency (the Agency)."I've asked the Auditor General to investigate because the...
    Greens
  • Central Govt to blame for Auckland rail delay
    The National Government is delaying Auckland's rail development, while pushing ahead with the expensive Puhoi to Wellsford motorway, a motorway with declining traffic volumes, benefiting fewer people and business, said the Green Party today.Yesterday, Mayor Len Brown proposed to push...
    Greens
  • Govt grants mining licence in marine protected area
    The Government is making a mockery of our marine protections by granting a mining licence for Chatham Rise Phosphate to mine for phosphate in a marine protected area, the Green Party said.Chatham Rock Phosphate was granted a mining permit today,...
    Greens
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Disabled parking spaces are for the disabled
    Many districts across the country have been changing the mobility parking spots to the vivid blue colour scheme as opposed to the simple yellow sign. This has been done as an attempt to make the designated spots more visible to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
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  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
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  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
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  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
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  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
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  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
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  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
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  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
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  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
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  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
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  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
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  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
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  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
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  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
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  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
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  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
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  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
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  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
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  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
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  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
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  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
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  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
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  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
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  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
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  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
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  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
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  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
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  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
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  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
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  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
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  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
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  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
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  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
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  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
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  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
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  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
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  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
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  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
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  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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  • Government cutting back health services to dangle tax cuts
    The health service is already too stretched, and cutting further into New Zealanders’ health services to fund tax cuts is irresponsible, the CTU said today. Leaked cabinet committee papers have revealed District Health Boards need an additional $440 million...
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  • Christian Network calls for prayers and understanding
    New Zealand Christian Network director Glyn Carpenter is calling for people to pray and exercise understanding over the Sydney hostage incident....
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  • Labour congratulated on withdrawing bill
    Euthanasia-Free NZ congratulates Labour leader Andrew Little and MP Iain Lees-Galloway for resisting sponsorship of the ex-Maryan Street voluntary euthanasia bill....
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