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Ear treatment cuts another attack on the poor

Written By: - Date published: 3:58 pm, January 15th, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, health, national - Tags: , , ,

This is a topic that came up over the break that I noted to write about when I got back to posting. The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets, a technique for treating persistent ear infection (especially in children). The rationale is summarised in this Herald piece:

Govt eyes cuts to elective surgery

The National Health Committee has to find savings of $30 million this financial year from elective procedures deemed to be of little benefit. The money would be used for smarter investment in other parts of the health system.

The only specific elective procedure the committee has so far named for “disinvestment” is the insertion of grommets. Grommets are tiny ventilation tubes placed in an incision in the eardrum to treat persistent, painful infections called glue ear.

[The committee] … draws on a Welsh health system report that evaluated 550 elective procedures deemed to be of “relatively low priority”. … The Welsh report’s specific procedures are listed under 17 surgical and dental headings, including tonsillectomy, grommets, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, dilatation and curettage, hysterectomy, gallbladder removal, caesarean section, lower-back procedures, circumcision, eye-lid surgery, nose surgery and surgery to correct protruding ears.

OK, so, there are 17 “headings” to explore, including purely cosmetic options like the correction of protruding ears, and so far the only one specifically mentioned and targeted is grommets. That’s a procedure which in many cases helps restore the sense of hearing, and is used mainly by (you guessed it) children in poor families. Brilliant.

The committee said it had completed a technological note on the use of ventilation tube grommets for treating middle-ear infections (otitis media). “The evidence indicates that the use of ventilation tubes is of limited value in treating otitis media with effusion, although it does not suggest that it should be stopped completely.”

New Zealand’s rate of grommets use is about 75 per cent greater per capita than Britain’s. “The difference represents a cost to New Zealand of approximately $4.4 million per annum,” the committee says.

Save $4.4 Million a year by bringing ourselves in to line with Britain. Did anyone on “The Committee” stop to ask if it was Britain or NZ that had it right? Of course not. But Kiwi doctors have let us know what they think:

Doubt over savings from restricting ear treatment

A leading surgeon doubts the Government will be able to save money by cutting down on treating children’s ears with grommets.

Scott Stevenson, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, was commenting on a government group’s suggestion New Zealand could save $4.4 million a year if its rate of grommet insertion was lowered to Britain’s level.

“The savings probably aren’t there,” said Mr Stevenson, the chairman of the New Zealand board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. … Mr Stevenson said the college had concerns about the ideas the National Health Committee expressed on grommets in a discussion document and he had responded “fairly vigorously”.

The ideal intervention rate for grommets was unknown. “No one has looked at that and said are we over-treating or is the UK under-treating.

“Maori and Pacific people have a high incidence of middle-ear disease. I would hate to see anything done that impacts on our ability to look after some of our most economically deprived and underprivileged kids.” [my bold]

Auckland ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Colin Brown said, “The UK is not a good reference point in terms of whether we do more or less. In my opinion children are substantially under-treated in the UK.”

I’m with Kerre Woodham on this one – I have personally known too many kids who have been helped by grommets. I would hate to see any cuts to what is often a vital procedure – especially when we could be starting with protruding ears instead. Last word (from the same piece as the above quote) to Labour’s Maryan Street:

Labour’s health spokeswoman, Maryan Street, said reducing the number of grommet operations for children – without a direct investment in measures to reduce the need for the treatment – would be a false economy that led to “more kids sitting in class unable to listen and learn”.

Exactly.

27 comments on “Ear treatment cuts another attack on the poor”

  1. Blue 1

    Right-wing government at their most disgusting. They don’t care if children from low-income families go deaf or suffer permanent hearing loss.

    When those children struggle at school and show up in crime, unemployment and health system statistics later in life, the right-wing will do their usual song and dance about how they’re just lazy and stupid and need a good kick up the arse.

    I think National have bought themselves a fight on par with class sizes over this one, however. Many parents in NZ have experience with their children getting ear infections and needing grommets. They also object to kids being permanently disabled because of government policy.

    Tony Ryall’s oversight of the Health portfolio just fell off a cliff.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Hi R0b

    Can you please link to the bit where “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”

    I’m pretty sure this is just a discussion document put forward by the NHC for comment from the respective colleges, I’d be very, very surprised if there was any cuts too this particular procedure as like immunisation it’s a very effective and cost effective intervention.

    Assuming this information was released by the government, if I was you I’d look at what is not being said, if it’s just a media initiated story I suspect it was a slow news day.

    • McFlock 2.1

      So the directive to save $30 mil is self-imposed?

    • Bill 2.2

      Acknowledge your point that it’s not accurate to state that “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”… seeing as how it’s a committee in it’s preliminary stages of investigation.

      But to be looking for savings of $30 million in the Health Service for the sake of ‘smarter investment’ in the Health Service is very bloody questionable on the grounds that it is (likely/possibly – choose your own qualifier) being driven by ideology rather than concern for ‘coal face’ services delivered by the Health Service.

      edit. Having just seen r0bs comment below, I retract my acknowledgement of inaccuracy :-)

    • r0b 2.3

      It’s there in the first piece linked to, but here’s a short sharp summary:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/125166/grommets-targeted-as-govt-razor-gang-eyes-health

      The Nats have specified a saving of $30 million a year – the first recommendation of the committee they set up to do it is that $4.4 million can be saved from cutting grommets. Health Minister Ryall (apparently when asked about this) has been supportive of the committee, hence I think it’s fair to say that “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”.

  3. One Tāne Huna 3

    Controversy over this operation re-surfaces every few years, especially when the NHS needs to save money. The most recent example was a Personal View column in the British Medical Journal (Friday, November 19) by a general practitioner from Glasgow, Des Spence, who made a rather emotive attack on ENT surgeons who look after children. This has provoked many ENT surgeons to respond to the BMJ, suggesting that Dr Spence has misrepresented and ignored evidence, including the fact that many fewer operations are actually done today compared to when the procedure was first evaluated in the 1980s. Many ENT surgeons have said that they do operate selectively and when appropriate, as recommended by NICE.

    “Some of these arguments surrounding grommets are historical rather than factual,” said Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK. “Otitis Media is not a trivial condition and in serious cases, grommets are essential. Unnecessary procedures were undoubtedly performed in the past when the condition was not well understood. But this should not be used as a justification for cutting funding for an often valuable procedure. With pressures on funding, we are concerned there may be delays in treatment for those children in whom the condition does not resolve itself. In the long-term, this won’t save money and, for the children seriously affected, there could be significant impact on their development which grommets could have easily alleviated.”

    Deafness Research UK

    Other sources refer to “an epidemic of surgery” for glue ear (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1995;49:234-237), but speaking of epidemics, The Lancet tells us that since Rogernomics and Ruthenasia, New Zealand has experienced a massive increase in infectious disease admissions, of which glue ear is but one. It is also “the main cause of hearing loss in New Zealand” (Word DOC).

    I doubt the comparison with the UK is valid. Shonkey is as Shonkey does.

  4. Financially literate 4

    For those interested in the report itself the link and excerpt is below. Link to the latest Cochrane review also provided.

    http://nhc.health.govt.nz/committee-publications/priorities-activities-and-next-steps-national-health-committee-report

    50. As an example, the NHC has completed a TechNote on the use of ventilation tubes for the treatment of otitis media. The evidence indicates that the use of ventilation tubes is of limited value in treating otitis media with effusion, although it does not suggest that it should be stopped completely.
    51. The following diagram shows that insertion rates in New Zealand (represented by the green line) are, on average, considerably above the average UK intervention rate (the red line). The difference represents a cost to New Zealand of approximately $4.4 million per annum.
    52. The NHC is suggesting that by focusing on the pathway of care for children, both in primary care and in secondary settings, and through increasing integration between settings, there is potential to both provide children with more appropriate and more effective care, while simultaneously reducing wasted expenditure for the DHBs.

    http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001801/grommets-ventilation-tubes-for-hearing-loss-associated-with-otitis-media-with-effusion-in-children

    Evidence suggests that grommets only offer a short-term hearing improvement in children with simple glue ear (otitis media with effusion or OME) who have no other serious medical problems or disabilities. No effect on speech and language development has been shown.

    Glue ear is the build up of thick fluid behind the ear drum. It is a common childhood disorder, affecting one or both ears, and is the major cause of transient hearing problems in children. The insertion of grommets (ventilation or tympanostomy tubes) into the ear drum is a surgical treatment option commonly used to improve hearing in children with bilateral glue ear as unilateral glue ear results in minimal, if any, hearing disability. This review found that in children with bilateral glue ear that had not resolved after a period of 12 weeks and was associated with a documented hearing loss, the beneficial effect of grommets on hearing was present at six months but diminished thereafter. Most grommets come out over this time and by then the condition will have resolved in most children. The review did not find any evidence that grommets help speech and language development but no study has been performed in children with established speech, language, learning or developmental problems. Active observation would appear to be an appropriate management strategy for the majority of children with bilateral glue ear as middle ear fluid will resolve spontaneously in most children.

    • George D 4.1

      Thanks. I was going to post a link to the Cochrane review – for those unfamiliar, they’re a review of all available evidence on a particular topic in medicine, and are considered a ‘gold standard’ of evidence review.

      I’m strongly in favour of evidence-based medicine, with priority funding going to procedures that demonstrate clear benefit at a reasonable cost, and less priority going to those that offer little benefit, or cost a very large amount for the benefit they offer. It’s what we do with ACC, and it works very well there.

      The challenge with health is to keep the budgets in line with costs, and you can do that by cutting costs, or by cutting budgets. The very real risk under any National Government is that you end up doing both.

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        yep. I like EBM too, although the pain issue should also be in mind (not just hearing/speech).

        It seems to me that they’ve gone “save $30mil” and we just hope that all the surgeries not funded are not essential.

    • higherstandard 4.2

      Thanks for that.

  5. bad12 5

    The cuts to budget Health are becoming apparent around the edges, it was highlighted in another recent post where someone in short stay accommodation for a head injury,(presumably the private provider was being funded via vote Health), had ended up in the night shelter once ‘the short stay’ nature of provision had run its course,

    Lower back procedures, according to my Doctor, will not be undertaken until there is a life threatening situation,

    Rape Crisis and Woman’s refuges are being starved of funds either by Health or the Ministry of Social Development…

    • mike e vipe e 5.1

      More work for failed Charter schools and prisons brilliant idea from the Nasty NATS

  6. Dan1 6

    A very sad call. Our oldest lad had glue ear, earache and was generally miserable for two of his first four years. The cycles of illness would come around every three months. His speech was definitely below par. He was on a continual round of antibiotics.

    The grommets changed everything, and with speech therapy, he came up to par. It was the high frequency sounds that he had missed out on.

    I cannot believe this decision. You might save $4.5m on the operation, but lose much more with medicines and remedial education and the loss of considerable potential amongst our young people. Without funding for this operation, many more kids will lose hearing.

  7. millsy 7

    Ryall has learnt from the mistakes made by Upton, Birch, and of course, English. Rather than a hard out smashing down of the gates, and bingeing out on hospital closures, Ryall plans to gut our hospital system more subtly. The rise in prescription charges and the proposed ‘disinvestment’ in glue ear operations (gotta love the jargon), probably to pay for pensioner hip operations, and cancer treatments for desperate housewives are but two of these measures.

    By the way, here is the list of hospital closures I promised you all. brought to you by one of Muldoon’s positive legacies — the Official Information Act.

    • McFlock 7.1

      Interesting list.

      How much did they charge you for the request? One thing to check it against might be hospital openings and ward bed capacity (can’t remember the exact term) in each hospital, for followup requests.

    • tc 7.2

      ‘ bringing ourselves in to line with Britain’ is more neo liberal claptrap, the UK is not who we should be emulating.

      Millsy’s onto it, waikato hospital is overflowing as the other regional hospitals have had so many cuts they can’t deliver those frontline services they bang on about keeping so waikato gets them.

      Ryall’s also quietly culling in the back office and creating a mess as it’s needed to supports frontline services. Health runs at 10% CPI so no $$$ increase is effectively a 10% cut across the board, Ryall’s a dirty word to healthcare workers and less than honest in the house with his more doctors and nurses statements.

      • LynWiper 7.2.1

        I for one am very happy to see Ryall’s pigeons coming home to roost. I don’t know how he has managed to stay under the radar for so long.

        • tc 7.2.1.1

          Health in NZ is pretty much 100% gov’t funded so where do you go if you call him out as the NACT are a vindictive lot who’ve already removed a few troublesome sorts to set the tone.

          If only we had a media, that loralei mason on TVNZ is as much a health reporter as I’m an astronaut.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.2

          I for one am very happy to see Ryall’s pigeons coming home to roost. I don’t know how he has managed to stay under the radar for so long.

          He’s one of the most capable members of the Key Cabinet. Health, like Education, is usually a kiss of death for anyone who is not truly Ministerial material and Ryall has got through with barely a squeek so far.

  8. Dan1 8

    Thanks Millsy. A fascinating list. The smaller towns have missed out. Psychiatric services over the last 12 years have been a clear focus. Helicopters and intensive care have their place in an emergency but the friction of distance for families is costly in time and $$$ for any ongoing treatment.

    • McFlock 8.1

      One of the things that’s become evident to me over the last few years is that we are still really good at saving kids’ lives.

      Sadly, we’re shit at stopping them needing emergency treatment in the first place.

    • millsy 8.2

      Got the Mason Report and the Gibbs Report (the one that inspired the 1991-96 health reforms) as well. Im trying to get a lot of these reports and documents via OIA request and post them online in one place so they can be accessed by those interested. With the advent of the internet there is no reason why historial government reports cannot be placed online for all to see.

  9. Murray Olsen 9

    I predict they’ll appear to back down and agree to fund grommets, but cut funding for virtually everything else on the list. That seems to be Key’s modus operandi – choose a particularly sensitive and emotive area to float an idea, never intending to push it through, and then making cuts elsewhere. Then they’ll probably stop funding grommets next year and say that they are regretfully forced to do it by a plague of locusts in Upper Egypt or something. At least half the population will probably swallow their bullshit.
    Shearer will say that anyone whose kids need grommets will be assessed by social workers to see if any welfare money they receive is being spent in a responsible manner. It’s only fair, after all.

  10. This is something I looked at, and compared it to National’s health “reforms” in the mid/late 1990s. Unsurprisingly, the similarities are there in plain sight.

    The health cuts and grommet-issue here; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/childrens-health-not-a-high-priority-for-health-minister-tony-ryall/ – which interestingly leads on to similar cuts that the current National-led government is carrying out. Full report here; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/its-fundamentally-a-fairness-issue-peter-dunne/

    Interesting when one connects the dots…

    The cuts to state social services is, again, unsurprising and is a re-hash of the ’90s. What has changed is that the cuts are more subtle this time – and the MSM are nowhere as vigilant in reporting government policies and their flow-on effects.

    It also doesn’t help that current affairs and investigative reporting these days is minimal, and replaced mostly by crime “news”, reality TV, American sitcoms, and in case the 6PM News didn’t deliver up enough crime – TV offers endless crime “dramas”.

    Newspapers have been gutted of their best talent, with Simon Collins at the Herald perhaps the last remaining top journo. The rest now work for politicians and the corporate sector as PR spin-doctors.

    The greatest difference though, is that NZ First is not politically part of the picture. Their coalition deal with the Nats in ’96 made the Bolger/Shipley-led regime probably the most unpopular in living memory. So the media was only to happy to focus on social issues, to feed/reflect public feelings.

    Compare it with the Herald report, on 8 January,

    The National Health Committee has to find savings of $30 million this financial year from elective procedures deemed to be of little benefit.

    The money would be used for smarter investment in other parts of the health system

    See: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10857848

    Notice that there are no quotation marks anywhere through the above two paragraphs – especially the last statement. The statements are presented uncritically as reportage – not as government media statement reflecting National Party policy.

    In fact the whole “money saved will be reinvested elsewhere” theme re-occurs throughout media reporting – though no one in the MSM seems tro have picked up on it.

    None of the “savings” (ie, cuts) will be reinvested of course. That’s BS.

    The Nats are desperate to show a budget surplus by 2014/15, and if kids have to go through their childhood with hearing loss; failed schooling; and an adult life at the bottom of the socio-economic heap – well, at least Bill English will be able to report, at election time, that National made a $66 million surplus. And John Key will do a little happy gangnam-style dance again…

  11. So National’s plan is bring NZ into line, makes sense when you put it with their other achievements like high unemployment, slow growth, trade deficits and general chaos. So when can we see UK style riots in Auckland, John Key better watch out that the would be rioters don’t target his fancy house.

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    The CTU is supporting todays Meat Workers Union campaign to combat insecure work in a core New Zealand export industry. Photo:  ...
    CTU
  • 2014: A Venture Capital Odyssey
    Fresh off the wire from Hong Kong, from your friends and mine at io9: Hong Kong based venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV) has appointed a machine learning program to its board. Called VITAL, it's an "equal member" that...
    Polity
  • Buzzfeed takes the Herald
    Here's a Herald article this week, titled (I kid you not): 20 somewhat horrible things I do to my kids that I don't feel guilty about [Facepalm] I want the Herald to be good. I really do. I know some...
    Polity
  • Sad
    There's a lot of non-cheery news out there in the lead up to Christmas. There's the Taliban school massacre, the Sydney siege, the US Torture Report, and - at a much lower level, and closer to home - the Treasury's...
    Polity
  • “I said surface, not surplus”
    Here are ten explanations, excuses or distractions Bill English might like to employ over the coming days in response to news that his long promised budget surplus looks to have disappeared....
    Imperator Fish
  • Talking terror
    [Content note: discussion of terrorism and violence] Last month I wrote about the aims of ISIS as NZ’s terror legislation ramped up, how their structure and organisation has become almost impossibly fluid, adapted to social media and the internet in...
    On the Left
  • Letter to the editor – Time to milk a tragedy again, by our Dear Leader
    . . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com> to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz> date: Tue, Dec 16, 2014 subject: Letter to the editor . The Editor Dominion Post . Once again, predictably, our esteemed Prime Minister has exploited a tragic situation for his...
    Frankly Speaking
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement...
    Greens
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act...
    Greens
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki...
    Labour
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries...
    Greens
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    Greens
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It...
    Labour
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry....
    Labour
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    Greens
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its...
    Labour
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review...
    Labour
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining.   “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today so the...
    The Daily Blog
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban
    The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use ofglueboard traps in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today...
    Scoop politics
  • Review into Phillip Smith’s escape submitted to Government
    A multi-agency review on the escape of Phillip Smith to South America has submitted its initial report to the Government today....
    Scoop politics
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
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  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
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  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
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  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
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  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
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  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
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  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
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  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
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  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
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  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
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  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
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  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
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  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
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  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
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  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
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  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
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  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
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  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
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  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
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  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
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  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
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  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
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  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
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  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
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  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
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  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
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  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
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  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
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  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
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  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
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  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
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  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
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  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
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  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
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  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
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  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
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  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
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  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
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  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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