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Dropping the pretense: Whanau Ora privatisation

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 am, July 17th, 2013 - 43 comments
Categories: corruption, maori party, privatisation - Tags:

So, Tariana Turia is finally dropping the pretense that Whanau Ora is anything but a scheme to privatise social assistance and put it in the hands of unaccountable private groups. Not content with funding family reunions and other bollocks, Turia is now handing the funding decisions to three private groups. That’s private groups deciding who will receive public money. Oh and she doesn’t want them to be covered by the OIA.

Whanau Ora has always been a giant invitation to corruption. It’s never been about delivering anything new or different. It’s never been about helping Maori families in need. It’s always been about siphoning off a slush fund from which money disappears to highly paid ‘coordinators’ and ‘consultants’ and there’s never any accountability or any measuring of results. This latest step is just all part of the plan and will make it even harder to work out where the money is going and who is benefiting.

In my fondest dreams, I see the Maori Party failing to win any seats in 2014 and Whanau Ora being disestablished as a matter of urgency by the incoming Labour-Green government once they see the secret papers and learn the full extent of the waste and corruption Turia has fostered.

43 comments on “Dropping the pretense: Whanau Ora privatisation”

  1. framu 1

    “Oh and she doesn’t want them to be covered by the OIA.”

    ahh thats the final piece i was wondering about – news reports didnt mention that

    what i find really weird is that as much as it sucks, it seems these days if your getting funding for a maori initiative you need to be even more transparent and above board than most simply to avoid the all to predictable slurs and accusation that follow

    by going down this path it looks like tariana has just gifted a bloody huge stick to all the maori parties right wing detractors.

    disclaimer – yep, a pakeha talking about maori issues – i fully accept that people closer to the issue might see it differently

    • karol 1.1

      The NZ Herald article says this on OIA requests and Whanau Ora:

      It is believed the new structure could escape the scrutiny of the Official Information Act.

      Asked how it would be held accountable if it did, Mrs Turia said families would provide scrutiny.

      Maybe “assumed” because a private agency is not subject to the OIA?

  2. Santi 2

    A waste of funds from day one. The program deserves to be binned.
    Save us the money, please.

  3. freedom 3

    I feel sorry for the poor souls who will spend election night 2014 chained to the Government’s growing bank of shredders.

  4. Mary 4

    The Maori Party touts Whanau Ora as one of the huge gains it’s made for Maori through it’s partnership with Key and the moneymen but the reality is that it plays straight into the right’s agenda of washing its hands of responsibility for core services, less government and so on. Whanau Ora’s gone further by handing Key et al a “successful blueprint” they can use to justify more of the same across the board. This latest move is one more step in this process which won’t stop until the welfare benefit system has been fully handed over to the community sector and left to morph into state sanctioned private charity. Remember moves in the 1990s to begin adopting the “Wisconsin model”? They went about things a bit too fast back then for anything to stick properly but they certainly planted the ideas and together with the current tactic of “reform by stealth” things are moving along swimmingly. Tariana and Pita must be really proud of what they’ve achieved and of their legacy of actively supporting government policies aimed at shafting huge numbers of those they purport to represent. Well done Tariana and Pita!

    • North 4.1

      Perfectly said Mary ! Toryana Torya is nought more than a whispering old scab on her people…….on a BMW.

      • Mary 4.1.1

        The problem is reinforced by there being no coherent and consistent analysis from the Labour, Green and Mana opposition. This is fundamental stuff and it should be easy to convey in clear and simple language why it’s wrong, but have we ever seen Jacinda critiquing Key’s agenda around the provision of core social services in these terms? Labour should’ve been shouting from the rooftops how delivering comprehensive health and welfare in appropriate ways through meaningful dialogue with Maori can achieve everything the Maori Party were asking for, without the Trojan Horse of Whanau Ora. Perhaps why Labour did not do this is because they’d do precisely the same if they were government, but it’s just as likely they just don’t have the analysis. Mana’s policy of “food in schools” for deciles 1 to 3 only runs a real risk of falling into the same trap if not managed properly. Debate about the danger of less government and pushing responsibility for welfare out to the community sector was fundamental back around the time of the benefit cuts and Housing NZ market rents etc but now it’s as if the left regard it as inevitable so have given up fighting. Why can’t parties on the left get a bit smarter on things like this? It really shouldn’t be that difficult.

  5. bad12 5

    November 2014 is odds on to make your ‘fondest dream’ a reality, the Maori Party having just spent a weekend examining the entrails at it’s annual hui have come away just as delusional as beforehand,

    Whanau Ora will die a quiet death as soon as the warrant for Tariana Turia is withdrawn upon Her retirement with National having little stomach for what has essentially been a ‘slush fund’ paying out cash for dubious reasons, (the largest % of which was splurged in Turia’s electorate),

    Most Maori have now been fully awakened to the fact that they got conned by Turia and Sharples over the seabed and foreshore with the Maori Party accepting from National legislation that is arguably no better if not worse than Labour’s previous legislation,

    The Waiariki electorate is going to be one of interest in November 2014, my pick is that Mana’s Annette Sykes will topple Flavell thus consigning the Maori Party to a dusty corner on history’s shelf, the only question for Sykes being will the 3 way split in the vote allow Labour to take that seat back again…

  6. joe90 6

    George ran [cough} several PEP schemes in the eighties so he’ll know a thing or two about being a highly paid [cough]coordinator.

  7. Rosetinted 7

    Tariana is strong as someone who remains totally focussed on one goal with no side issues to be considered can be – inflexible and determined. But then having large amounts of money and power contain their own moral hazard, and Maori are just as affected by this as pakeha. Past experience has shown that large amounts of input don’t necessarily result in the amount of output expected or that meets needs. Really most of our policy spending at present shows that result.

    Tariana is right to say that bureaucracy does not help in its programs which are not wanted or satisfy a need. This is true for pakeha (National Standards and the ratshit reasoning for it, Novopay the same – in education.) And also it is observable that education is being turned into a business that can show up in GDP and make the economy look healthier. Citizens will be forced to pay for this essential life training but may have to pay it back out of pitiful low wages for a large part of their lifetime. It is being divorced from the real life need or preparation for gaining a paying job of people.

    This approach can be seen by government causing lack of opportunity to get steady jobs for Maori when PEP schemes would be far better way of spending welfare. Supported training to suit the requirements and the available jobs for Maori in their own preferred method for first-level training in their own regions, with shared courses for more advanced second level so standards are integrated. Discrete amounts for projects that move through all the stages from education to a guaranteed job. Government can act here in a responsible way and stop killing our economy by buying materials and expertise overseas!

    China and Arrow have signed an agreement to co-operate in Christchurch rebuilding, and Arrow say this will provide cost savings. This after small contractors talking on Radionz yesterday morning, expecting to be called on to assist in the rebuild and who invested to make themselves ready, yet finding that work has dried up and they face bankruptcy. Also one said that his costed hourly rate of $65 that covers work and provision of infrastructure, (materials?) is being rejected and undercut.

    Another example of lower earnings for actual workers and fabricators of physical items? Higher earnings for pen pushers, project managers, deal makers, and executives who don’t execute actual work efficiently, mainly executing in-house jobs in favour of impermanent ones implemented by contractors or machines run by computer programs? A new aristocracy operating as our new norm?

    • Rosetinted 7.1

      Another point about Whanau Ora – sorry if I haven’t spelled it right. I believe that there will be some mis-spending, some waste, and some fraud, as well as some good stuff that really is wanted and helps some people and is what they want. Trouble is how much money will get channelled away from useful projects to SUVs or such, and how costly will the successful projects appear when the total cost is divided by the successes?

      There will be a lot that we don’t know because the government is washing its hands of it. That will leave room for idle speculation, real concerned questions, malicious rumour-mongering, vituperative attacks. Maori may lose all the goodwill that the public has for them if they are considered to be just playing corrupt games with the nation. The sort of attitude that Winston Peters calls ‘the grievance industry’ will be confirmed as correct if Maori don’t succeed widely after this.

      Because government is concerned about the appearance of NZ in the eyes of the world, and it should be doing better, it would assist them if they could get rid of the harsh statistics that show us up. They would like to rid themselves of the ‘tail’ of people suffering through a lack of opportunity for everything worthwhile in life, starting from proper care, control and honourable role models from parents when they are children. As they grow up they can’t shake themselves free of the cloud of negativity and lack of respect for themselves or anything much they have picked up from their early years. This ‘tail’ of people are ‘bad’ people making bad statistics to mar government’s standing on the world’s table of measures.

      So government looks for ways to prevent statistics being gathered – what we don’t know can’t hurt them. Then they privatise social welfare, turning it into a business that will show up as GDP. Money going to Whanau Ora will not be the government’s responsibility. If Maori in each area cannot direct the directors to allocate correctly in an inexpensive manner that doesn’t soak up large costs, and control the spending on allocated projects, they will be scorned by the country, and lose support from ordinary pakeha for any further help of any kind. This ‘grant’ could well turn out to be a poisoned chalice for Maori.

  8. tracey 8

    Hasnt whanau ora always been under attack though? Much like working for families? And why would Turia truly champion something that wasn’t benefiting her people? I am suspicious that the detractors are the same folks who think unequal pay is because women aren’t good enough.

  9. joe90 9

    And why would Turia truly champion something that wasn’t benefiting her people?

    In auntie Tari’s world her people doesn’t mean what you think it does.

  10. Mary 10

    Tariana champions it because there’s nothing else she can point to to justify budding up to Key and National. They’ve known their decision to do this has severely damaged their support for a long time now but it’s only recently they’ve acknowledged it publicly. Before Whanau Ora all Tariana and Pita had was Key agreeing to fly the Maori flag from Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day – an extremely cheap, efficient and smart move on National’s part – but there’s only so much mileage the Maori Party could get out of that so Whanau Ora was a timely and welcomed addition.

  11. red blooded 11

    I think it’s hard to argue that the current method of providing services has truly delivered for many Maori (or for other people who are trapped in a cycle of relative poverty and limited prospects). Whanau Ora has been hard to criticise (especially for pakeha) because it has arisen from the Maori Party and is presented as a taking back of power, and a return to traditions of whanau-based care. And there are some good elements (the attempt to provide more coordinated support and improve on the model of multiple agencies, each working with their own agenda and not communicating with each other). Having said that, we shouldn’t blindly assume that a scheme administered by Māori is automatically going to benefit underprivileged and disempowered Māori, and it seems that the “community knows best” argument fits a bit too neatly with the “community choice” philosophy that argues we don’t need actual teachers in our classrooms; that well-intentioned people with skills in their own fields can step in and do the job better through Charter Schools – another initiative that is presented as focusing on the needs of those on the bottom of the heap by handing over funding, power and responsibility (but not accountability, with these “schools” exempted from the NZ Curriculum, NCEA, the OIA and any meaning oversight from the Ombudsman’s Office).

    These issues need to be argued out in public, and it would be good to hear a range of Māori perspectives. At this stage, the Māori party presents itself as speaking for all Māori and the only voice I hear arguing back in public is (cringe) Winston Peters.

    • bad12 11.1

      Peters on Morning Report today spelled it out quite clearly, what Maori need isn’t 40 million dollars annually dished out to those who know how to play ‘the game’ via Whanau Ora,

      What is needed is affordable rental housing with a guarantee of tenure, well paid employment in the high unemployment areas, basic bread and butter stuff,

      Winston’s problem tho with this oft repeated mantra is that He and NZFirst have been part of Governments that have failed to deliver on such invective and listening to Him repeat the same old mantra this morning rang rather hollowly considering past administrations failures,

      There are 4 questions all answered in the negative which serve to show that far from ‘gains’ made from it’s, (Maori Party), coalition agreement with National, they Sharples, Turia, and, Flavell have simply accepted the crumbs swept from the top table in return for their support of this administration, Flavell it seems from where i sit has not caused the ‘leadership contest’ over matters of policy nor Party direction, instead giving every impression of whining for the better part of a Parliamentary term for the simple reason that His share of the crumbs so swept from National’s table have been less than His 2 fellow MP’s,

      The questions???, Did the Maori Party secure a ‘better’ legislative outcome for the sea-bed and foreshore from this National Government than the previous Labour Government legislation on this issue, NO,

      In 4 1/2 years of coalition with this National Government have ANY of the negative social and economic indicators shown a more positive result for Maori, NO,

      Has the Maori Party coalition with this National Government caused ANY affordable housing above what is already available to Maori to be built, NO,

      Has any more employment been provided anywhere in the economy for Maori under the auspices of the present coalition agreement between the Maori and National Party’s, NO,

      Anecdotal evidence is that it is young Maori who are the highest % of those who are being removed from being able to access welfare benefits while not being placed in employment,

      That 40 million bucks of Whanau Ora money would have been better spent on employment schemes in the provinces where Maori unemployment is so high….

      • Follow-the-money 11.1.1

        But Peters is about the most effective opposition we have at the moment.

        Roll on regime change in the red zone…

  12. weka 12

    I haven’t had time to read all the comments yet, but I will take issue with the post itself. Whatever criticisms there are to be made about Whanau Ora and/or Turia, posts like this (a) perpetuate myths about how Maori use state funds and (b) completely and utterly fail to acknowledge the need and right for Maori to have a different kind of control over how services are provided to their people because Pakeha services fail them. Disappointing.

    The post also is devoid of any citations, and looks like a rant against Turia that also misleads. I’m not saying there aren’t valid issues to look at, I’m saying this post fails to do so in a meaningful way.

    • Lightly 12.1

      is there any evidence that Whanau Ora has achieved more good than could have been achieved with normal funding? Any actual evidence?

      Is there evidence of widespread abuse of the money? Hell, yes. Not only the public cases, but the anecdotes from the sector are all of people with no experience trying to set up and get a slice of this slush fund with no clear idea what good they’re meant to deliver.

    • bad12 12.2

      Misleads???, hardly!!!, in my opinion my niece’s Auntie deserves every bit of ‘bad press’ that She gets,

      Sharples has earned the same for claiming some sort of ‘victory’ for Maori from having Maori focus units in a few prisons,

      Flavell should be ‘laughed’ out of the Parliament over the contents of His ‘kneecapped’ gambling harm minimization legislation,

      It is time to cease having a ‘romantic’ view of the Maori Party who at best have delivered to Maori a few crumbs swept off of the over-abundant National Government’s table…

      • weka 12.2.1

        Read my comment again. It wasn’t about Turia or the Maori Party.

        • bad12 12.2.1.1

          Turia is ‘Whanau ora’, Whanau Ora is the ‘price She demanded from National for a coalition agreement,

          A year after Turia has left the Parliament ‘Whanau Ora’ will die a quiet death never to be mentioned again,

          i am rather amused by your ‘romantic notion’ that Maori need social services delivered in a markedly different manner than anyone else,

          That ‘romantic notion’ tho does provide a position in the pecking order for a strata of Maori equipped with the necessary skills to deliver such services but as far as ‘difference’ goes it mostly means a brown face delivering such services as opposed to a white face, thus providing employment for Maori that might not have been forthcoming from the previous Euro-centric providers,

          My opinion is that ALL Government expenditure should be able to be examined by Joe Public line by line, item by item, anything else is to simply invite ‘slush funds’ to be established,

          The only Whanau Ora grant that i have so far seen that would have resulted in the provision of ongoing future financial benefit for the Whanau involved was in fact the grant the Dunedin Mongrel Mob used to set up a Marijuana distribution operation,

          Unfortunately this was illegal and the main participants might be eligible to take part in some Maori focusing via the program in their local prison…

          • weka 12.2.1.1.1

            Just so we are clear, are you saying that Maori don’t need services delivered in culturally specific ways?

            And that all of the state funded services aimed at this are failures other than offering employment to Maori provders?

            • bad12 12.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep, there is no ‘culturally specific’ anything when my nieces or nephews visit the Doctor, it’s the same medicine whether delivered from a white or brown face,

              Both my nieces are fluent Te Reo speakers and they don’t feel any specific need to receive their medical instructions in any particular language, although i do concede that the Marae clinic is their ‘choice’ of doctor which has more to do with cost and proximity than who is at the head of the delivery,

              And, just to be clear here, you ARE suggesting that Maori need services delivered in a ‘culturally specific’ way???,

              Please do tell, what services and by what specific cultural ‘ways’ are these services being delivered,

              To my knowledge, these ‘services’ are simply the same services delivered by Maori faces as opposed to Pakeha ones, and i can point out 1 Maori provider who has Pakeha doctors doing the face to face work,

              As far as failures go, well no, it ensures that Maori are employed in areas and at levels that previously few Maori could gain employment or experience,

              At a flax roots level there may be gains in that if the Doc is a bit shit there’s no need to face the daunting task of complaining to the system, you just need tell your cuz to tell his old man that the Docs a bit shit…

              • Culturally specific relates to the health service itself not the delivery imo. The person delivering is irrelevant if the service is the same. The service or lack of is the issue and Whanau Ora was an attempt to address that through a holistic approach based on a Māori worldview, but it was doomed right from the beginning because imo it didn’t have the support, funding and buy in. Some have routed the system, some have taken advantage of it and others have abused it – ho hum they do that for every system introduced. It is difficult to see it continuing in any form once Tariana has gone but personally i don’t dis Tariana for trying, even in a misguided way, to get something changed, after all the statistics speak for themselves about how the current system including Whanau ora (although it is difficult to measure) is still leaving too many Māori disadvantaged and below the standard of health and health care expected in a society like ours.

  13. King Kong 13

    Bloody Maori’s. Always trying to get their hands on our dough.

  14. Rosetinted 14

    This Whanau Ora payment differs from payments made to Maori over recent years in ways that could seriously harm our country more than previous pakeha mendaciousness has.
    So far Maori have been making the case for money and reparation, that it is in lieu of land, lost property, harm and violence and foregone income because they were prevented from using their assets. Now with Whanau Ora it is a sort of sovereignty, and one wonders what next because it isn’t something that the country as a whole is participating in, and it may be that non-Maori are to be totally excluded from every aspect.

    It is so contradictory of the government. Tuhoe could be invaded at the drop of a hat, without respect for their citizenship rights, just walked over and threatened nastily. Then gummint turns round and large amounts of money are to be poured into whose hands? To do what? Can these people be trusted to do what Maori in general want, and are all Maori to be given a chance to really think things through? I see someone suggesting that this policy suits the neo-liberal agenda of the RWNJs and this may be it in a nustshell. I think the beehive should be renamed to that!

    There is always the possibility of an elite of Maori doing well, and the difficult ones who really need the most help and money spent, being left. Perhaps that’s why the social welfare is changing. The Maori leaders will have some real stick to use, and some can be very harsh on other Maori. It could be quite hard for some who the leaders don’t have much sympathy for. Though some need to learn some self-discipline, which isn’t easy to acquire.

    I am just thinking of Israel. It is interesting how a nation can divide when one grouping is given special conditions to the extent that they feel a huge entitlement. Israel has these very fervent old-testament believers I think called Hassadic jews, The ones where the men wear a little hair twist. They are beginning to persecute other secular jews and make increasing demands and violence has ensued. They don’t have to serve in the army but they can be violent and have done so against Palestinians and other settlers. We don’t want a sort of special advantages culture growing up, or strict separatism, but proper respect and good nature and fair treatment from pakeha to Maori and vice versa.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    In my fondest dreams, I see the Maori Party failing to win any seats in 2014 and Whanau Ora being disestablished as a matter of urgency by the incoming Labour-Green government once they see the secret papers and learn the full extent of the waste and corruption Turia has fostered.

    One thing that’s certain, Whanau Ora will need a full inquiry by the next government and people going to jail because of it.

    • Murray Olsen 15.1

      I think a full inquiry into MSD would be more urgent. There are more than enough Maori in prison already, and nowhere near enough Tories.

  16. millsy 16

    The Maori Party (and the elite that it represents), have always been opposed to the public provision of social services. Just like the National Party.

    I seem to remember reading about how among the first people to embrace Simon Upton and Bill Birch health reforms in the 1990’s were Maori, looking to cash in on the carve up of the best health system in the world.

    • weka 16.1

      Yeah, because Maori, all of them, are greedy and just want da money. Nothing to do with the Pakeha health system failing them.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        He didn’t say that and the best way to address Māori health is by changing and improving the present health service so that it does so and not by breaking it up. Breaking it up just results in all of us getting worse healthcare.

  17. Mariana Pineda 17

    It sounds very much like the unaccountable charter schools which the Maori Party signed up to.

    Lots of funding but no scrutiny and you can do whatever you like with public money because we will never know anyway.

    That sounds corrupt to me.

  18. Kent 18

    Offensive to the core. Is the Maori party merely the Shinn Fein of the Black Power and Mongrel Mob?

    Isn’t this the same Whanau Ora that was discovered by way of the OIA to have used its public funds to buy drugs for gangs?

    Now Tariana is trying to stop that ever happening again by way of removing OIA oversight.

    This is a farce! It defies belief that this can happen in a country that supposedly has an independent judicial oversight.

    Are our politicians all so scared of the R word that no one is going to call these crooks out for what they really are?

    It makes me sick to my stomach.

    • Molly 18.1

      It is racist of you to imply that corruption is due to the fact it is a Maori based organisation.

      To clarify, given the number of corruption and incompetence examples in the news lately, – the SkyCity casino deal, the GCSB machinations, Marryat in Chch etc – do you hear anyone referring to this as pakeha corruption? No. Just corruption and incompetence.

      Why do you need to frame the incompetence in Whanau Ora from a race based perspective?

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

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

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