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Democracy under attack

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, June 17th, 2013 - 37 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Media, national, newspapers - Tags: ,

This National government has an unprecedented contempt for democracy. The media keeps noticing pieces of the picture, but never seems to put them all together. Here’s a sample:

Bulldozed rush of legislation makes mockery of democracy
Deny power to Super City’s faceless panels
Black day for democracy in Christchurch
SkyCity deal ‘selling’ exemption from law
Secrecy in investment talks mocks democracy
Tea tape: TVNZ, RNZ to be searched
Naked self-interest rules
Bill undemocratic, council CEO warns
PM sign off to enable domestic spying
US spy device ‘tested on NZ public’

This piece from the Herald on Sunday however, starts to connect at least some of the dots – bravo Susan Edmunds. Below are several extracts from her long and detailed article:

Govt slams door on Kiwi rights to appeal

The Government has declared war on judges, and regular Kiwis are caught in the crossfire. Family caregivers, Christchurch homeowners, Auckland neighbourhoods under the shadow of high-rise apartment blocks have all lost the chance to argue against decisions they feel are unfair. Susan Edmunds reports.

Most of us assume the right to judicial review is a basic tenet of democracy. The Bill of Rights Act enshrines it in law when it says every person has the right to bring civil proceedings against the Crown – and to have those proceedings heard according to law.

And we exercise that right: the Criminal Bar Association took on the Government and won over its legal aid policy. Salisbury School in Richmond successfully challenged a decision to close it. Being able to challenge a government is one of the things that sets democracies apart from dictatorships.

But it’s an “ouster clause” that Walker [a family caregiver] has to blame for that route being blocked to her and other carers – and experts say they are becoming more common as legislators try to wrest back control from courts that have become a little too fond of picking apart their decisions.

There are many cases where the rights to appeal have been removed, especially when it comes to building and development.

The Resource Management Reform Bill, designed to speed up subdivision and regional infrastructure projects and to grease the progress of the Auckland Unitary Plan, was reported back from select committee on Tuesday and is expected to be passed before the end of this year.

A second stage of reforms is still coming – submissions closed in April – on a discussion document aiming to “limit the scope of participation in consent submissions and in appeals”. … Environment lawyer Philip Milne says there has been a slow move from a regime where there had always been a right to appeal to the Environment Court, to less opportunity for review. …

The John Key Government’s enthusiasm to emasculate the courts started, arguably, on the wide flood plains of Canterbury about three years ago.

Dairy farmers needed better irrigation, Key said, and the best way to get it to them was through a water-storage scheme. He wanted an irrigation-led boom for farmers and there seemed to be evidence the region’s elected councillors were not up to the job of overseeing it.

A review recommended Environment Canterbury (ECan) be handed to Government-appointed commissioners – the 14 elected councillors were out and the seven commissioners, referred to as “Dad’s army” by the departing deputy chairwoman, were in.

Laws were passed to turn on its head legislation that required ECan to consider protection of a waterway ahead of its economic potential, and it removed rights of appeal to the Environment Court and effectively allowed the Minister for the Environment to decide where and when New Zealand environmental law should be applied in Canterbury.

The commissioners were meant to be temporary – ECan elections were to be held this year. But earthquakes got in the way and they now won’t be held until 2016. That is despite the commissioners themselves saying the quakes should not be used as an excuse to suspend democracy for a further three years.

Since then, the implementation of the 90-day employment trial has allowed new workers to be laid off without appeal, unless they can prove discrimination has occurred.

The SkyCity convention centre agreement imposes hefty financial penalties on any future government that might dare review the approval of extra pokie machines to the casino, and the Immigration Act still allows anyone convicted of holding a visa under a false identity to be deported without appeal or review.

The new Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill removes rights of appeal on developments of up to three storeys anywhere in the country where accords are signed.

And after the Christchurch earthquake, the Recovery Act offered no right to appeal decisions made by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, except in very limited circumstances. …

Constitutional lawyer Stephen Franks, a former Act MP, says ouster clauses are becoming more common as a response to judges’ increased willingness to second-guess political decisions.

“I’m surprised it’s taken this long for legislature and Government to strike back at the courts. Courts have been claiming more and more rights to reverse decisions.” …

Professor Andrew Geddis, of the University of Otago, agrees: “If there’s one thing governments hate, it’s being told they have to spend money in certain ways. In order to stop courts doing that in future, they’ve just told them to butt out. The law might still require them to do something but if the courts can’t get involved, there’s nothing that will force them,”Geddis says.

It seems that powerful governments are steamrolling those who cannot afford to fight back: “Governments are big and strong. Poor little caregivers at home looking after relatives – what can they do? There are lots of people who take on government in court and win: people like the fishing industry who can hire lawyers, there’s no way government would do this to them.

“The precedent is that this has been done to people like these caregivers because the Government can get away with it.”

So what do you reckon, Granny Herald. I know it’s not as much fun putting the boot into your own team, but in the interests of journalistic integrity and balance, don’t you think it’s that time again?

37 comments on “Democracy under attack”

  1. Paul 1

    They had an article on RNZ this morning mentioning the government might be closing down the environmental court. Further undemocratic action from our corporate closet fascist government.

    • Agreed and concerning if this is to happen. Collins gave a typically disingenuous response in saying that the proposal was not under active consideration. This just means that the report has not been finalised asset.

      The Government’s attitude to the Courts was summed up by a statement made by Chris Finlayson a week ago about a Privileges Committee report into a Supreme Court decision on Parliamentary Privilege which the Government disagrees with.

      The report said:

      “It is unfortunate that the Parliament now finds itself in the position of needing to clarify for the courts the nature of Parliament’s privilege.”

      “We consider that the Parliament has been put in a position where its relationship of trust and confidence with the courts has become strained because comity [respecting each other’s roles] has not been recognised.”

      It is clear that the Government has an attitude that with regards to legal matters its view is right and the Court’s view is wrong and the Court disagreeing with the Government is somehow disrespectful.

      The report recommended that absolute privilege be given to officials who are preparing advice for ministers who are under an obligation to answer questions in Parliament, that is they or their departments cannot be sued if they get it wrong, even if their advice was wrong and motivated by malice.

      The report is at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10889965

      • tracey 1.1.1

        Not under active consideration means farrar’s polling results arent in yet.

        • nzlemming 1.1.1.1

          You actually think Farrar runs real polls on this stuff, rather than just make up numbers that suit the Nationalistas?

    • fambo 1.2

      Yes, basically they appear to want to remove decision making from the Environment Court to councils, with changes to the Local Government Act giving the government more opportunity to intervene where it wants.
      The amended Act will set a very low threshold for ministerial interference – anywhere there is a “significant problem.”
      In other words, instead of having an Environment Court whose decisions trump the Government, the Government will be able to trump council decision making.

  2. tracey 2

    Stephen franks has forgotten that the judiciary is the counter balance to govt power. To suggest,as he does, that somehow the courts, have brought this dictatorial law making by govt ignores the point. If the judiciary cant restrain misuse of power by a govt who will. Oh sure he started off moderate in his response but quickly used the opportunity to attack the judiciary.

  3. Veutoviper 3

    Thank you, R0b, for this post as the extent of what is going on in undermining democratic rights and checks and balances is extremely worrying.

    I read Susan’s article yesterday – after finding it rather hidden on the Herald site – and was impressed with it for starting to join the dots. We see too little of this these days in the MSM.

    I had no time to post the article here yesterday but intended to bring it to notice here on TS today. So great to see your post.

  4. Rogue Trooper 4

    Taking care of business and working overtime.

  5. Rosetinted 5

    “The Government has declared war on judges”

    Because judges may disagree with government’s behaviour finding it illegal or not consistent with the Bill of Rights etc. Our country is being taken over by a group of elected anti-democrats. They will change everything to suit themselves, ruining our hard-won legal rights and controls and thus our lifestyle and culture.

    • muzza 5.1

      Indeed, and it is allowed to happen, because of ignorance, apathy etc.

      • Arfamo 5.1.1

        The compliance and support of the MSM owners is the reason for the ignorance and apathy. Even when courageous and principled individuals leak or hack & show what is going on, the MSM buries it in fluff and moves on to Kate Middleton as the story of the day.

        • tracey 5.1.1.1

          Who is going to step in and buy mediaworks????

          • Arfamo 5.1.1.1.1

            Friends of the current administration. With their blessing and possibly taxpayers assistance. As usual. Look for a change in editorial direction. That Campbell chap’s been a bit of a pain for the current administration. Julie Christie is a reality show queen. More fluff and Kate Middleton to be interspersed between the advertising that now appears to be the main purpose of MSM.

  6. The so-called separation of powers was always a ruse of the ruling class.
    The concentration of power in the executive is inherent in bourgeois parliaments as the concentration of capital reaches its apex.
    Those with such massive wealth can buy their politicians and therefore their ‘laws’ and don’t tolerate their laws being challenged by ordinary citizens via the judiciary.
    NZ politicians are bought by international finance capital and merely rubber stamp its interests into law.
    The NZ judiciary however, is still not totally corralled by cabinet. The so-called lack of ‘comity’ complained of by Finlayson is bullshit language for ‘subservience’ to a bought parliament.
    Fortunately for us dopey kiwis the Dotcom case is being appealed to the Supreme Court and continues to be a running sore in the side of the executive. But this is against the trend since Dotcom’s rights are being defended by his $millions. But gift horse and all that.
    It proves that the only counter-power to the concentrated finance capital executive for the rest of us is mass civil disobedience, leaking, hacking, street protests and occupations.

    • xtasy 6.1

      red rattler – apart from you political interpretation of the realities of power at play in this area, it shows itself very crystal clear in the example and case of a “Mr Dotcom”, who manages to get the law interpreted as it probably should be in his case, and as it should indeed be to all.

      But had it not been for “Dotcom” and his accessible wealth and other resources, we would still today not know that the GCSB was involved in activities that at least many legal experts would describe as “illegal”. Also would we not know that the state agencies broke the law in many aspects while investigating and prosecuting him.

      There is abuse of power every day, every week, month and year, by not only powerful business people and their “servants”, but also by the state.

      Because the average citizen has little or no leverage, she or he are indeed practically rather “powerless”. Most only have rare dealings with “the law”, so they comply and shrug their shoulders. Others bear the brunt, and if ended up on the wrong side, are at least labelled for life.

      It took New Zealand many years to even bring in a “clean slate” Act in 2004, while most other developed and law applying countries already had such for a long time earlier.

      If only people would wake up to realities and take a stand, that is the biggest challenge here in New Zealand.

  7. QoT 7

    Let’s be fair, they might have misplaced the original design files for the Democracy Under Attack banner, and even as we speak some lowly intern is desperately searching their archives for it …

    • karol 7.1

      Do we need a new banner, coloured National-brighter-future-blue, rather than red?

  8. xtasy 8

    For once a NZ Herald article does give a comprehensive run-down on what is already at stake, and being implemented under this National (Natzi) Party led government. Thanks for putting this up, I had not read it before.

    Even where there are reasons for a judicial review, which only offers legal remedies in cases where statute law was not followed or not followed correctly, it is a major exercise to start such proceedings. Also have court fees been increased over recent years, and for simply filing an application $ 1,100 in fees will be payable from 01 July 2013. That is unless a person may qualify for a waiver, for which the conditions also tend to get tightened again and again (e.g. low income due to unemployment, no assets to cash in and the likes).

    http://www.justice.govt.nz/services/court-fees/court-fees-and-charges

    Lawyers will know how to do this, and judicial reviews must be applied for at the High Courts.

    http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/about/high/cases-to-court

    The Judicature Amendment Act 1972 provides for when and how reviews can be sought:
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1972/0130/latest/DLM408360.html
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1972/0130/latest/DLM408370.html

    For a layperson the challenge starts already there, and without legal representation it is an immense uphill battle and challenge. So it is recommended to consult and commission a lawyer with relevant experience. That person will charge fees of a few hundred dollars an hour, of course, and those without sufficient income or funds will need to apply for legal aid. Naturally also it must be provable that there was a breach of law or misapplication of statute law by an administrative body, so simply not being happy with a decision may not meet that requirement.

    Judicial reviews are civil matters, to a lawyer must present a report to Legal Aid at the Ministry of Justice proving reasonably the prospect of success. Present legal aid barely covers costs, so even if legal aid is granted, a lawyer may not be keen to spend too much time and efforts on the matter.

    Those sick or disabled beneficiaries that have perhaps faced WINZ designated doctors and felt that the recommendation of such a doctor, which is the basis of a Regional Health Advisor’s and ultimately case manager’s decision about benefit entitlement due to health grounds, they only have one appeal allowed to a Medical Appeal Board. As usually at least 2 MSD picked and trained “designated doctors” sit on such 3-member panels of that board, a decision may be not much more favourable, fair and objective than the one appealed against.

    After that a person has no more rights under the Social Security Act 1964 to appeal a M.A.B. decision (see section 53A), but a right to judicial review.

    Now imagine a poor beneficiary, stressed out, with little legal understanding “exercising” her or his “right” to judicial review granted under the NZ Bill of Rights Act, trying to go for judicial review! Few will even bother, given the hurdles.

    The same applies in some other similar legal situations under other legislation.

    What I mean to make clear with this is, the law and citizen’s rights are and have already been “shat on” for many years!

    Access to justice is a sick joke for most, and this government wants to block it even more.

    It stinks like a giant stench to the sky, what is going on, and it also stinks what has already been happening to so many for so many years!

    • xtasy 8.1

      Correction – High Court fees for filing for proceedings:

      a) in the case of a concession rate proceeding: $483.40
      (b) in the case of any other proceeding: $1,329.20

      • tracey 8.1.1

        Judicial review is hellishly expensive. Govt depts and councils know this. The ombudsmen system is a joke and so the depts and councils stymie at every turn knowing josephine average hasnt the money to jr

      • tracey 8.1.2

        Judicial review is hellishly expensive. Govt depts and councils know this. The ombudsmen system is a joke and so the depts and councils stymie at every turn knowing josephine average hasnt the money to jr

  9. aerobubble 9

    Forgive Dunne Week. The media has gone soft. National Security oversight, what left of it, is under threat when a member of the oversight committee will not allow inspection of some of his emails. What! This is no joke. In order to oversee the National Secrets they need to see some! Or may at-least inadvertently see such secrets before they have been removed from the official public dis-closer. So Dunne even if he has not actually leaked should be getting the red card, not the soft yellow. But wait there’s more! Dunne used the electoral loophole to get many trinkets of office, the one seat party, its pathetic. And now we hear he de-registored his party, not as the Speaker seemed to have us all believe the electoral commission. What was he hiding in those emails, what was he hiding when he deregistored! Is it true, is there a serial leaker in the oversight of National Security.

    Forgive Dunne week, you’d gotta be kidding. The man went to the electorate on not selling assets, and after inspection the 500 members needed to make a party was found wanting, how many of them dropped off out of frustration? Will we ever know?

  10. Michael 10

    NACT has also taken away access to justice for a huge number of New Zealanders, who are about to be shafted by WINZ and its “independent” doctors. At present, most beneficiaries who are unhappy with WINZ’s decisions have the statutory right to apply for “review” (to WINZ’s rubber-stamp “Benefit Review Committee” – decisions in favour of beneficiaries <2%), followed by "appeal" (to Ministry of "Justice" [sic]'s Social Security Appeal Authority – decisions in favour of beneficiaries 5%). Currently, decisions by WINZ on Invalids Benefit and Child Disability Allowance are only able to be appealed to a “Medical Appeal Board” (comprised of WINZ medical toadies), with rights of review or appeal through the legal system expressly excluded. From 15 July this year, this exclusion applies to a much wider range of WINZ decisions and beneficiaries, as Invalid Benefit becomes Supported Living Allowance, with recipients required to either look for paid employment (part time), prepare for it, or undertake whatever forms of activities WINZ demands of them. No rights of review or appeal. The new regime is a copy and paste job from the UK Department of Work and Pensions Work Capacity Assessment regime, which has led to deaths and suicides galore (thus achieving fiscal savings), amid the involvement of multinational companies employing the doctors who conduct the assessments (and are all richly rewarded for it, too). One difference: people shafted in the UK have the right of appeal through its legal system and, ultimately, the European Court of Human Rights. Currently, over half the people who challenge these decisions (a small proportion of the total number of shaftees, as most lack the stamina and resources to fight the system) succeed. None of that nonsense in NZ, though, where the members of the Welfare Working Group (now feeding from the public troughs at ACC and WINZ) know all about the UK regime, thanks to rogue insurance company UNUM Provident, which funds a university department from which the “research” that paid employment makes people well, while the mere possibility of state-funded benefits for sickness and disability makes them very unwell, emanates. Evidently, our benevolent welfare bosses do not wish to be troubled with the remote possibility that the NZ judiciary, renowned for its fearless commitment to fundamental human rights, might, just possibly, object to their plans to kick thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders off the welfare rolls and into the brave “new” world of arbeit macht frei.

    • xtasy 10.1

      Michael – your are right that the new “regime” will bring in new “assessment tools”, that have not been disclosed yet. These are likely to include some forms of “pre-designed” and “structured” self-assessments that sick and disabled will be asked to do. Loaded questions are already asked once a year now, when sickness beneficiaries face annual “reviews”, and where they have to answer about a range of questions about their preparedness, ability and motivation to work.

      They are likely to also have separate interviews in future, to check out “motivation”, to work on the clients of WINZ to give answers that will trick and “trap” them to show (expected) willingness to try work.

      And if that does not “convince” a sick or disabled beneficiary, they will still have “independent” assessments similar to the ATOS ones in the UK, which will though not just be of a “medical” type.

      The “medical” examination will in future be compromised, and only be part of a more complex assessment system, so work expectations will be pushed for many sick and disabled, yet MAB appeals can only be made on medical grounds.

      It will be very tricky territory, for clients that is. “Justice” and “democracy” will get a whole new “meaning”, most certainly if this governing lot get another term.

      • Adrian 10.1.1

        Reports that the “gunman” at Westpac Penrose tonight looked “depressed” and not well ( TV1) and in a wheelchair may be connected to this arsehole Government appalling treatment of those less fortunate.

      • aerobubble 10.1.2

        Access to paid work is a right. Living on a benefit isn’t realistic, choosing between heating and eating is not a life. When there’s a roof over ones head, square meals, in jail, its not cost effective for govt to remove people from welfare rolls. Now that said, the incentives for staff may make it temporarily expedient to do so, and the churn will lower long term beneficiaries stats (and while off benefit welfare payouts). But I reminded of Bennetts’ attacks on sole mums, and how she stopped, when the possibility that young women might actually be incentivized to get pregnant because of all the help WINZ would provide them, because surely she Bennett wasn’t actually be nasty.

        The situation for Kiwis in OZ is far starker, without welfare access the pressure to take up crime is increased, and so the blowout of numbers in jail in OZ, which is shocking when you think about the economics. Kiwis in work pay taxes that support Australian benefitaries, but not themselves, then NZ saves money because they won’t let Kiwis in jail serve out their term here. Do you notice what is happening, Kiwis pay taxes in OZ and the NZ govt saves money, all to
        make it hard for free movement of citizens, i.e. anti-free trade between NZ and OZ.
        A policy of Howard and Clark, both free traders, that’s the joke. However when you cost the real price of locking Kiwis up to the Australian govt, it makes a joke of the whole poor governance turn into stupid exercise in unmerited vengeance on Kiwis in Australia. Howard’s nasty politics of division again, easily done in the good times of cheap oil and cheap credit.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    Our parliamentary rotating dictatorship was acceptable while people felt richer (because of borrowed money) and we had representative local government.

    Legally, our parliament is “sovereign”, which means it can do anything it wants. No holds barred. Anything. This government is doing precisely that, but the pattern began decades ago.

    When Parliament is sovereign, it is not a democracy.

    Democracy is when the people are sovereign. When the people can veto the actions of parliament and recall (fire) corrupt elected officials (MPs). The people, NOT parliament, must have the final say.

    My local Labour MP says the solution is to vote Labour. B.S. The solution is to castrate Parliament.

    I support constitutionally guaranteed binding referendums and constitutionally protected local bodies.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      And politician/legislation recall votes.

    • Arfamo 11.2

      +1

    • UglyTruth 11.3

      “Legally, our parliament is “sovereign”, which means it can do anything it wants.”

      NZ Sovereignty is a legal fiction. Tuhoi and some smaller tribes never signed Te Tiriti so the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty was based on a lie. Parliament can do anything it wants in the same sense that people can do anything they want. Anarchy does not mean that there are no consequences for actions.The law of nature determines these consequences, not legislation or popular opinion.

      Democracy is often held up as some kind of sacred ideal, but democracy fails to count the cost of its actions because the rule of law is nothing but a hollow shell in pretty much all representative democracies. De jure government is based on reason, not on popularity, necessity, or political expediency.

      The NZ parliament is basically organised mob rule where the mob is under the thumb of offshore interests. The solution is the rejection of the fraudulent and hollow law of parliament in favour of the law of the land.

  12. Michael 13

    Xtasy – I think your first post is better than mine but we ended up saying the same thing anyway. At least the Labour party types who read this blog have no excuse for pleading ignorance when the brown stuff hits the fan in a few weeks as the new shafting regime gets underway. The Greens, too, might like to reflect on whether they really want to go into government next year with a party that (a) started this “future focus” bollocks and (b) won’t speak out against its latest manifestations for fear of alienating the middle classes.

  13. tanz 14

    Government does want it wants, they know best, and everyone else needs re-education.
    Don’t bother voting, they’re all the same.

  14. Mal 15

    @tanz. By not voting you help National win.

    • UglyTruth 15.1

      @Mal,
      By voting, you endorse a system which is fundamentally fraudulent. The ideological differences between Labour and National are nothing compared to the ideological differences between the Crown and the common law.

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    The central bargain of Westminster democracy is that the monarch stays out of politics, and in exchange they get to stay in the role, both legally and literally. Prince Charles - already famous for his undemocratic interventions in politics -...
    No Right Turn | 21-11
  • Journalism is not terrorism
    What happens if you're a UK journalist and you campaign for press freedom or report on police misconduct? The police database you as a terrorist:A group of journalists has launched a legal action against Scotland Yard after discovering that the...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • A century of changing transport spending
    Via Donal Curtin, I got wind of a fantastic Statistics NZ visualisation of changes to the Consumer Price Index over the last century. The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is a tool that statistics agencies use to track inflation over...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Boycott thieving employers
    In the past few days, we've learned of a new employer horror: petrol-station workers, often on th eminimum wage, being forced to pay for the crimes of their customers. Its unfair, immoral, and possibly illegal. So what can we do...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • Whiteboard Friday. How NZ’s welfare system traps people in poverty
    This Whiteboard Friday looks at how our current benefit system traps people in poverty, which is another reason we need to replace it with an Unconditional Basic Income. This week has been a big week for the Unconditional Basic Income....
    Gareth’s World | 20-11
  • Income mobility
    Recently Treasury has published a paper showing that most people do not stay at the same point on the income scale for an extended period. That is assuredly true, and is also a good thing in as far as it...
    Polity | 20-11
  • Read out, Xi in, as Hansen makes late change to All Blacks team
    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has sprung a surprise by picking Chinese President Xi Jinping to start in this weekend’s test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium....
    Imperator Fish | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    The chainsaws stopped in native forest on public land in 1999 after a strong campaign by non-governmental organisations such as Forest and Bird and Native Forest Action (NFA), supported by the Green Party. Immediately after the 1999 election, the incoming...
    frogblog | 20-11
  • Persuasion experiment
    Michael LaCour, a PhD student at the excellent UCLA Political Science Department, along with Yale's Don Green, have a fascinating new paper on what causes people to change their mind on gay marriage. Many people know that a doorstep conversation...
    Polity | 20-11
  • $4.8 billion gone
    As readers know, the NZ Super Fund now contributes around $27 billion to our net position as a country, It will help us pay for the wave of baby boom retirements. Sadly, it is now clear that National's decision to...
    Polity | 20-11
  • Secondary teachers vote IES into collective
    21 November 2014 PPTA members have voted to include two teaching roles central to Investing in Educational Success (IES) in their collective agreement.At paid union meetings held throughout the country over the past two weeks 80.3% voted to include the...
    PPTA | 20-11
  • Labour’s Hercules?
    Hero? Saint? Both? Neither? In making Labour an electable proposition by 2017, Andrew Little faces a challenge of Herculean proportions. Then again, Hercules was presented with twelve impossible tasks. Little can succeed by successfully completing a more modest (but equally...
    Bowalley Road | 20-11
  • Roger Sutton and deja vu all over again
    What to say about the Roger Sutton story? Well, Andrea Vance has done some amazing work setting out the basic facts behind the carefully stage-managed whitewashing of Roger Sutton’s pseudo-departure. And stargazer at The Hand Mirror has responded to the...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • MoT acknowledge changing trends and future funding issues
    Last week the Briefings to government ministers (BIM) were published. I’ve already looked at what the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and NZTA have said about transport in Auckland and so in this post I’m going to look at some of the other points...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Why we need to talk about the scientific consensus on climate change
    An interesting sequence of events followed the publication of a scientific paper the Skeptical Science team published in May last year. The paper found a 97% consensus that humans were causing global warming in relevant scientific papers. Finding an overwhelming...
    Skeptical Science | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • Stuart’s 100 #56: More Dignity for Daily Users
    56 More Dignity for Daily Users What if there was a moment of civic dignity outside the Auckland District Court? The Auckland District Court on the corner of Albert and Kingston Streets is I think at last count the busiest...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    frogblog | 20-11
  • The greatest tragedy of our time
    This is going to ruffle a few feathers. We are parasites. Yes you read that correctly – humanity is a giant collective parasite sucking the life juices from dear Mother Earth. I’m not a nihilist. I still believe there’s plenty...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • Proving anecdotes are reliable
    Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  ...
    Open Parachute | 20-11
  • Proving anecdotes are reliable
    Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  ...
    Open Parachute | 20-11
  • Class warfare in the UK
    Surprise, surprise! An independent study has shown that the UK's conservative government has been driving a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich:A landmark study of the coalition’s tax and welfare policies six months before the general...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • That didn’t take long
    National's new teabreak law isn't even in force and employers are already abusing it:Yesterday a union member, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, emailed Hotel Organiser Shanna Reeder. “This morning in the briefing our manager declared that...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • Justice is more important than international relations
    Yunus Rahmatullah is a Pakistani citizen. In 2004 he was disappeared by British forces in Iraq. The British then gave him to the Americans who rendered him to Afghanistan and kept him there without charge or trial for ten years,...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • The Sutton debacle
    Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: it’s not a good thing, except when you’re playing Frank Zappa’s 1988 instrumental album Guitar, in which case ‘Sexual Harassment in the Workplace’ is the opening track, and it’s a stonker. However, setting aside the...
    Occasionally erudite | 20-11
  • The dangers of ignoring context
    Here’s a 22 point plan for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Entrench Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.Never let a chance go by to duplicitously conflate Hamas and some in Fatah with the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL so as to gild the imperiled-Israeli...
    Pundit | 19-11
  • Rapid transit has passed the acid test
    I recently ran across a New Zealand Herald article from 2000 on the region’s plans to start building good rapid transit infrastructure. (Which, as Patrick highlighted in a recent post, is exactly what is holding Auckland back relative to its...
    Transport Blog | 19-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens | 21-11
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour | 20-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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