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English drained Solid

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, March 14th, 2013 - 57 comments
Categories: accountability, assets, bill english - Tags:

Some great work from Labour yesterday as they got the documents showing Bill English in 2009 being advised about Solid Energy’s predicted lower profits from a lower coal price  – and asking for a bigger dividend anyway.

English seemed only concerned about getting debt off the central Government books (to make National look good), even if it just meant loading that debt on the SOE.

John Key commented a few weeks ago about how high Solid’s debt was and how commodity companies didn’t usually carry so much debt – but these documents show it was English pushing for and approving that debt, which tripled in the 2 years after 2009 to nearly 42% (debt to equity).  They were borrowing $13 million in 2009, but $313 million in 2012 as they were trying to keep up with English’s demands.

English had said today that he did not know coal prices were going to decline, “but documents obtained by Labour show that he did”, Shearer said.

Coal prices were always likely to drop from record highs, particularly as large parts of the world are trying to move away from dirty climate-change-causing fuels, and in the aftermath of the GFC – it made sense, even before the evidence that English received the advice from Solid Energy.

This is more incompetence from English, and more fiddling of the books.

It’ll be interesting to see what Don Elder has to say about this today… (particularly as National have largely hung him out to dry…)

57 comments on “English drained Solid”

  1. Ad 1

    Don has nothing to lose, banked the cheque, and will spread the manure far and wide.

    “Soiled Energy”

    • tc 1.1

      Don will play the game as he’s been paid to do so, he’ll attempt to take the heat as there’s other troughs awaiting which he’ll miss out on if he doesn’t cop it sweet.

      Palmer’s the same.

    • aerobubble 1.2

      I blame Labour.

      Labour in order to avoid the tag line no tax cuts in a generation,
      rushed in a tax cut before the election. National would
      have a problem, the pot was empty. Whose going to believe
      they were competent arguing for even greater taxcuts now
      that Labour had given tax cuts away.

      Now we see the outcome. National borrowed, national
      got SOE’s to borrow, National cut services, National
      raised GST, National is going to sell assets (whose
      profits have been inflated by companies taking on debt???).

      All to pay for a windfall tax to the richest.

      ChCh, SCF, Drought, why are the books not bare by now?
      because there was a windfall from high coal, from milk, from
      China holding up the economy. The tax cuts were paid for,
      damnit, National didn’t need to cut etc???? National doesn’t
      need to borrow like there’s no tomorrow….

      Aside. Buyer beware. Earthquakes do happen. Dams can be
      destroyed by sideways shakes like so many buildings in ChCh.
      Energy use is dropping, as people are forced to cut back and/or
      insulate and get more energy efficient. So where’s the growth
      in the energy sector?

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    English had said today that he did not know coal prices were going to decline, “but documents obtained by Labour show that he did”, Shearer said.

    So that would be English lying? Is the leader of Labour going to come out and call it that?

  3. Utter incompetence is the only description that can be applied to Blinglish. And I thought these guys were meant to be good economic managers.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    And I just re-tweeted Winston:

    This Government has micro-meddled Solid Energy into bankruptcy.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      What’s funny is the government got SOE’s to borrow, and keep dividends up, SOE’s used the money to purchase and invest. Some lost. Solid Energy lost the most. But the book value of Solid Energy is back where it started, its just the debt that it took on to hand dividends to government that’s the problem, so all government need to do is give back the dividend excess and Solid Energy will be Solid again.

      Another thought, when biodisael subsides were pulled do you think Key’s government thought through the consequences to Solid Energy of pulling from both legs of the stool?

  5. vto 5

    So, simple deceptive and misleading conduct by the Finance of Minister of New Zealand.

    I look forward to charges being brought under the Fair Trading (in Politics) Act 2012 for misleading and deceptive conduct in politics.

    • JonL 5.1

      “I look forward to charges being brought under the Fair Trading (in Politics) Act 2012 for misleading and deceptive conduct in politics.”

      cue Tui’s ad……..

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Of course, this provides a compelling argument as to why governments shouldn’t own companies. Too much opportunity for governments to try and milk the companies for political ends. Thus, said companies might not be able to function effectively as a commercial entity.

    So far as Solid Energy is concerned, I don’t have a problem with them borrowing to diversify. Borrowing commercially means the tax-payer isn’t (theoretically) on the hook for the money. Also, diversifying wisely can help protect organisations from slumps in specific areas such as with the coal prices. However, I think the problem is more to do with how Solid Energy diversified, not so much the general strategy of diversifying.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 6.1

      No it provides compelling evidence for having better politicians and greater protection for state assets and for not having a fake competitive model in areas like electricity and so on.

      The massive amounts of money siphoned off in Telecom’s operation, including the admission that pricing was deliberately confusing, is a much more compelling arguement for keeping private enterprise away from energy and infrastructure.

      As a public transport usern I also really appreciate the much improved rail service that the private sector gave me, the abandonment of places to catch the bus they aren’t the side of the street in the pouring rain.

      Better service lower cost my backside.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Of course, this provides a compelling argument as to why governments shouldn’t own companies.

      No, it doesn’t. What it shows is that the actions of the politicians needs to be open so that we, the people, can hold the arse-holes to account.

      • SpaceMonkey 6.2.1

        Agreed. We need to relegislate and expand our definition of “treason” under the Crimes Act to include economic and financial treason. Then the banksters, politicians and finance company sharks might actually see some jail time and not just get wet-bus-ticket fines that they’re able to pay out of their petty cash.

    • Colonial Viper 6.3

      The National Govt fucked up by trying to extract out of SOEs what they couldn’t afford.

      This private sector profit making model should be ended now.

    • Rich 6.4

      opportunity for governments to try and milk the companies for political ends.

      private shareholders would, of course, never do such a thing.

    • I think it is a compelling argument for not allowing National to manage the country’s economy.

      Remember all those surplusses under Helen ts?

    • bad12 6.6

      I will disagree with you on the point of ‘how’ Solid Energy diversified, from any point of view this National Government has put Solid energy in an untenable situation,

      Point one to remember is that at the time of the 2008 election prices for Solid Energy’s coal dropped by one third,

      In 2009 English and Ryall wrote to the Solid energy Board demanding an increase in the dividends paid to the Government as the sole shareholder in Solid Energy, this Solid Energy did and in 2 years delivered 160 million dollars of dividends to the Government,

      Later in 2009-2010 the price Solid Energy received for it’s coal dropped by yet another third, English and Ryall wrote to the Solid Energy Board as the shareholding Ministers advising Solid Energy to raise the level of it’s borrowing,

      This Solid Energy did going from $13 million of debt in 2008 to $300 million of debt by the end of 2011,

      The kneecapping of Solid Energy’s diversification also began in 2009 when the Government removed the requirement for all diesel fuel to have at least 5% bio-diesel by volume,

      This the National Government replaced with a direct subsidy for bio-fuel manufacture of up to 45 cents a liter, and then in 2010 without warning it cancelled this direct subsidy,

      In taking both of these actions, the canning of the 5% bio-fuels requirement and later canning the specific bio-fuels subsidy this National Government has rendered ALL of Solid Energy’s diversifications financially untenable,

      From here the actions taken by Ryall and English look like a deliberate attempt to financially destroy Solid Energy and at the least show that neither Minister is competent to act in Governance of any commercial enterprise…

  7. @ Ben Clark
    Thanks for covering this.

    I was terrifically disenchanted by this revelation.

    Are the ministers of this Government incompetent, or entirely devoid of holding the best interests of NZ uppermost in their minds?

    The answers provided by Mr English yesterday is a clear revelation of one of the above, and neither fill me with confidence.

    Are NZ parliamentarians required to hold the best interests of New Zealanders uppermost in their hearts and minds? Is there any mechanism for protecting New Zealand interests when this is clearly not occurring?

    These are the questions I wish answered.

    I wish for New Zealanders to pull their finger out of their trusting-cum–apathetic ways and start demanding that our politicians hold some* type of accountability for their actions.

    It is historically accurate to say that there have been numerous politicians whose actions create massive problems for large numbers of our population.
    Where is our protection?

    I’ve had enough.
    These people are clearly not acting in the best interests of their fellow New Zealanders.
    What can we do?

    * I realize the purpose behind protecting politicians from personal litigation is due to the amount and scale of the decisions they make. I’m calling for some measure to protect NZers from the moral hazard caused by this protection measure (of politicians), and that is being so very clearly illustrated by our current smirking bunch of loons making up the current Selfinterestment, (commonly referred to as “Government”).

    • freedom 7.1

      “Are NZ parliamentarians required to hold the best interests of New Zealanders uppermost in their hearts and minds? ”
      umm that would be a no.

      “I, [name], swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

      http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/AboutParl/HowPWorks/PPNZ/3/7/5/00HOOOCPPNZ_121-Chapter-12-The-Opening-of-Parliament.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28New_Zealand%29

      • freedom 7.1.1

        Putting the whole NZ as a Republic argument aside for a moment, I for one would rather see something more akin to this:

        I [insert name] pledge true allegiance to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand. I [ insert name] will repsect and bear allegiance to the Crown of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law or until the actions of the Crown deny or subvert the wishes of the People.

        • muzza 7.1.1.1

          Well picked up Freedom – Any public servant, elected member, police officer, judge etc who swears an oath to *The Crown*, or other foreign entity, is not serving Aoteroa/NZ.

          *The Crown* , does not serve our country, nor do its agents!

          The penny will drop eventually, you can hear the clogs grinding away.

        • blue leopard 7.1.1.2

          Pledging allegiance to the Queen doesn’t discount a requirement to treat her subjects well. These creatures are governing in her name; one would hope she’d be ashamed, or even cross, if she were to find out what they were up to….

          …On second thoughts, she just just knighted Holmes….

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.3

          As if swearing on one figurehead or another, on one book or another, is going to stop the Tories from serving their constituencies.

    • Rich 7.2

      The politicians are just the creatures of the people who vote for them. Maybe there ought to be some recourse for voting for an incompetent government, like fines or prison.

        • RedBaronCV 7.2.1.1

          If you are asking whether they are “thieves or idiots” I think the answer is “both”

      • AmaKiwi 7.2.2

        @ Rich

        So you are blaming the voters!

        That’s as bad as blaming the woman for causing her own rape.

        We were lied to.

        • blue leopard 7.2.2.1

          @ AmaKiwi
          Isn’t there a bit of “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me” involved?

          …and how about the case that we have in NZ: fool me countless times-and blatantly-.

          Relating being endlessly gullible to being raped isn’t very accurate at all.

  8. fender 8

    Maybe this will wake the sleepy hobbits from their slumber. It’s about time one of the many unethical goings on of this treacherous John Key wide boy Govt. attracts the attention of voters and is reflected in the polls. I’m sick and tired of these pricks getting away with their crimes and can only hope that like a teflon coated frying pan once the teflon starts deteriorating it comes off progressively faster.

  9. DH 9

    Something Labour & Greens need to watch for is the disposal of all the diversification projects Solid Energy were involved in. They look to be flogged off for nothing without a genuine appraisal of their future value.

    A lower coal price hurts only the coal business. Some of the diversification projects were converting coal into other resources like fuel & fertiliser. The price of those resources hasn’t fallen so a cheaper coal price should make those businesses more viable. Are they getting rid of those too hastily just to improve the books again?

  10. Rogue Trooper 10

    Breaking News on Stuff (up) NAct govt ignored former Solid Energy’s Chairman opposition to a larger dividend.

  11. Descendant Of Sssmith 12

    Hopefully they will also ask about the commercial decision to buy Pike River and what due diligence was carried out and whether this purchase was influenced or directed by Ministers.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10790914

  12. Descendant Of Sssmith 13

    Remembering also that they made the books look better for the government by $300 million here also:

    http://www.investinnz.co.nz/investmentNZ/2011/03/genesis-energy-expected-to-announce-300-500-million-capital-bond-program-to-pay-for-tekapo-investment/

  13. Colonial Viper 14

    So English asked Solid Energy to borrow money and make that money look like profit (dividends) to the Government.

    What a frakkin Ponzi scheme (paying returns to investors which aren’t really there), English should have known better, he gets what is coming to him now.

    • Rogue Trooper 14.1

      the lizards will attempt to slide round and over the rock

    • tc 14.2

      Then move onto the draining of funds from Meridian after they received proceeds from Genesis for the power station swap forced on them by Csar Gerry B.

      Debt is sitting in Genesis that offests this questionable piece of money shuffling.

    • SpaceMonkey 14.3

      “[English] gets what’s coming to him now”

      But will he? They’ll spin this one round and round… a dutiful Chairman and CEO won’t deviate from the already agreed line and a compliant MSM will slavishly report as always. If it all gets too hot, some other “crisis” will appear out of left-field for the MSM to whip up the little Hobbits into a frenzy.

      • muzza 14.3.1

        SM – Spot on, its a rinse and repeat approach now, which operated at ever increasing frquency, as the *crimes* are committed.

        But the blogs will continue provide a commentary/record of the destruction, while NZ becomes eroded to 3rd world status, via fraud/corruption.

        Argh, NZ – The preceieved least corrupt country in the world!

      • muzza 14.3.2

        SM – Spot on, its a rinse and repeat approach now, which operates at ever increasing frequency, as the *crimes* are committed.

        But the blogs will continue provide a commentary/record of the destruction, while NZ becomes eroded to 3rd world status, via fraud/corruption.

        Argh, NZ – The preceieved least corrupt country in the world!

    • AmaKiwi 14.4

      CV, what makes you think he didn’t know it was a Ponzi scheme?

  14. vto 15

    So Don Elder of Solid Energy says this according to Stuff…
    “During the proceedings Elder said in the second half of 2012, the coal industry around the world suffered a “stunning blow”, with coal prices falling faster and further than anyone expected.

    Prices dropped back to 2004 levels, but the coal was three times deeper and four times more costly. This made all mines “cash negative”.

    “This was the perfect storm.””

    The perfect storm? Such that nobody could ever possibly avoid type of perfect storm? Yet other coal businesses are still alive. And yet further, the coal price seems to have only moved within a range that is entirely normal given coal price swings over medium timeframes, and not suffered a stunning drop. In evidence see this historic coal price chart http://www.infomine.com/investment/metal-prices/coal/all/

    So what on earth is Don Elder talking about I wonder?

    • Armchair Critic 15.1

      So what on earth is Don Elder talking about…
      He’s talking about being the fall guy, the scapegoat, so the serious scrutiny of the government’s meddling receives less exposure to sunlight. And for the money he will receive as severance pay I’d be tempted to do it too. In fact, If Don cares to contact me, I’ll take full responsibility for the whole omnishambles in exchange for the cash. :)
      National can’t afford to let this one get out, because it exposes the “arms length relationship between government and SOEs” and the “no interference from ministers” myths as the total shams they are under this present government.

    • bad12 15.2

      Yes Don Elder still at the taxpayer teat collecting His multi-million dollar annual salary is running the same line of Bovine Defecation as SOE Minister Tony Ryall was when answering questions on the financial gutting of Solid Energy in the House today,

      ‘Brand Slippery’ not wanting to have the ‘truth modifications’ He has tried to hoodwink us all with in His previous utterances on the Solid Energy debacle rubbed in His face was noticeably, along with Bill the Member from Dipton, absent from Quetion time in the House, presumably in hiding until the heat from Solid Energy dies down,

      Why Ryall continues to openly bulls**t everyone about the price of coal having collapsed in 2012 is anyone’s guess, perhaps He is hoping that the media will pick up upon this glaring example of a Government Minister repeatedly and deliberately misleading the Parliament so as to take the heat off both Slippery and English who have previously been less than forthcoming with the truth when answering questions in the House on the financial woes of the States miner Solid Energy,

      http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/market-amp-transportation/coal-price/

      Ryall continually claiming the coal prices fell radically in 2012 is clearly a load of BS, it is clear that coal prices during 2012 to today have been reasonably stable…

    • Rich 15.3

      The reason coal prices were so high was that China was (and ostensibly still is) growing at an unsustainable rate and buying huge amounts of coal and steel for construction projects like these ghost cities.

      While it might be obvious to most of us that sort of thing couldn’t continue, it obviously isn’t when you earn $1.5million a year.

  15. Ed 16

    John Key talked about Solid Energy diversifying to try to become an NZ version of Petrobrass. I suspect that was a National Vision for setting the company up for sale by making it less reliant on a single product – that Key attributes it to others does not necessarily mean anything; the idea was clearly in his mind as preparation for sale.

    Solid Energy is an illustration of why some strategic assets should be kept under government control . . .

  16. Te Reo Putake 17

    Poor Peter Whittall, he’s the real victim here:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10871255

  17. Craig Glen viper 18

    If Elder is sorry he can give back all his Pay to the miners who have lost their jobs. I reckon if you are really sorry you would do everything in your power to help Trevor and the boys on the coast out Don. Talks cheap you leach.

  18. BLiP 19

    And, another one for the list. Is there anything John Key hasn’t lied abiout?

    – We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. 50 by 50. We will write the target into law.

    – National Ltd™ will provide a consistent incentive for both biofuel and biodiesel by exempting them from excise tax or road user charges

    – I didn’t know about The Bretheren election tactics

    – If they came to us now with that proposal [re trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime], we will sign it

    – 1981

    – Tranzrail shares

    – Lord Ashcroft

    – National Ltd™ would have sent troops into Iraq

    – Standard & Poors credit downgrade

    – I didn’t say I want wages to drop

    – the real figure of inflation is 3.3 percent.

    – the tourism sector has not lost 7,000 jobs

    – I won’t raise GST

    – the purchase of farmland, by overseas buyers will be restricted to ten farms per purchase

    – capping, not cutting the public service,

    – north of $50 a week

    – privatisation won’t significantly help the economy

    – wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones

    – I never offered Brash a diplomatic job in London

    – Tariana Turia is “totally fine” with the Tuhoe Treaty Claim deal

    – Kiwisaver

    – National Ltd™ is not going to radically reorganise the structure of the public sector

    – tax cuts won’t require additional borrowing

    – 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast

    – Our amendments to the ETS ensure we will continue to do our fair share internationally

    – we are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations

    – any changes to the ETS will be fiscally neutral

    – we [NZ} have grown for eight of the last nine quarters”

    – National Ltd™ will tender out the government banking contract

    – we will be back in surplus by 2014-15

    – unemployment is starting to fall

    – we have created 45,000 jobs

    – we are likely to create 170,000 jobs in the next 4 years

    – I don’t know if I own a vineyard

    – the Isreali spy killed in the Christchurch quake had “only one” passport

    – the Police will not need to make savings by losing jobs

    – GCSB re Kim Dotcom x 3 (that we know about)

    – I voted to keep the drinking age at 20

    – New Zealand is 100% Pure

    – I will resign if found to be lying

    – I’ve been prime minister for four years, and it’s really 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year

    – baseball in New Zealand is attracting more government support

    – the public demanded that we change the labour laws for The Hobbit

    – “The Hobbit” created 3000 new jobs

    – we have delivered 1000 extra doctors in the public service

    – I wasn’t working at Elders when the sham foreign exchange deals took place

    – I was starting School Certificate exams in 1978

    – cutting consent fees and times and opening up land to developers will create affordable housing

    – Labour left the economy in poor shape

    – forecasts show unemployment will fall

    – our [NZ’s] terms of trade remain high

    – the TPP is an example of democracy

    – National Ltd™ will use the proceeds of state asset sales to invest in other public assets, like schools and hospitals

    – New Zealand troops will be out of Afghanistan by September 2014

    – overseas investment in New Zealand adds to what New Zealanders can invest on their own

    – overseas investment in New Zealand creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow

    – National Ltd™ will build 2000 houses over the next two years

    – my officers had no correspondence, no discussion, and no involvement in this [SkyCity] matter

    – SkyCity will only get “a few more” pokie machines at the margins

    – Sky City has approached TVNZ about the purchase/use of government-owned land

    – the Hobbit is going off shore unless we do something

    – Solid Energy asked the government for a $1 billion capital investment

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    3 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    3 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    3 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    3 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    3 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    3 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    3 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    4 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    4 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    6 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 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… ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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. ...
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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… ...
    1 week ago

  • Auditor-General’s inquiry terms of reference published
    The Auditor-General has decided to carry out an inquiry into how the Queenstown Lakes District Council and its chief executive, Mr Adam Feeley, have managed the chief executive’s interest in land owned by his family being considered by the Council… ...
    1 hour ago
  • Taxpayers’ Union Back Legal Challenge
    The Taxpayers’ Union is backing the Wellington Chamber of Commerce in its effort to seek formal legal advice on the Council’s decision to expand the ‘living wage’ to council controlled organisations and contractors. Taxpayers’ Union Executive ...
    1 hour ago
  • Wally Yovich denies chickens freedom of speech
    Today Wally Yovich will be called on by a group of friendly protesting chickens not to fund a cruel colony cage egg factory farm. ...
    2 hours ago
  • Schools Will Reject ‘Extreme’ Sex Ed Guidelines
    Family First NZ says that most schools along with the parents in the school community will rightly reject the extreme elements of the new sexuality education guidelines , and that resources should be targeted at parents to help them educate… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Taxpayers Union Welcome Remuneration Authority Determination
    Responding to the Remuneration Authority’s determination on the salaries for Members of Parliament, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams says: ...
    2 hours ago
  • Med student crisis wake-up call
    The national student NZUSA is putting its full weight behind the growing calls by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association, political parties, youth wings and professional associations for the Government to immediately reinstate access to the ...
    3 hours ago
  • EMA Supports Need to Get the Health and Safety Bill Right
    With New Zealand facing the biggest changes to health and safety laws in 20 years, the EMA supports the Governments delay of the Health and Safety Reform Bill if it means getting the right result for employers and workers. ...
    20 hours ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa meets with transition providers
    Relationships Aotearoa met this morning (Thursday, 28 May) with representatives of four of the five providers appointed by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to transition RA clients. ...
    21 hours ago
  • ‘Count human health in your climate calculations’
    The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand’s planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say. Doctors, nurses,… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Mccully Must Disclose Legal Advice
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, to publicly release the legal advice relating to the Saudi sheep deal. ...
    21 hours ago
  • ‘Count human health in your climate calculations’
    The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand’s planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say. ...
    22 hours ago
  • Salaries for Members of Parliament
    The Remuneration Authority has issued its determination on the salaries for Members of Parliament following amendments to the provisions in the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 earlier this year. ...
    23 hours ago
  • Government must not abandon health and safety reform
    While resistance in the National Party caucus delays the passage of the Health and Safety Reform Bill, FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid says there should be no health and safety law exceptions for small businesses and farmers. ...
    23 hours ago
  • MasSiVe Hikoi welcomed by Human Rights Commission
    The Human Rights Commission is welcoming this week’s MasSiVe hikoi led by Kiwi men who oppose sexual violence. ...
    1 day ago
  • Ongoing celebrations for Supreme Court ruling
    Recreational fishers are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that changed the fisheries management landscape in New Zealand. In a landmark decision in 2009 the Supreme Court confirmed the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, ...
    1 day ago
  • Banks investigation “not subject to political interference”
    A report released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that the Police investigation into John Banks’ return of expenses and donations at the conclusion of the 2010 Auckland Super City Mayoral election was thorough and robust and was… ...
    1 day ago
  • Using racism to win means you’ve already lost
    The Human Rights Commission is urging everyday New Zealanders to stand up to racist sports fans and players. ...
    1 day ago
  • Jim Butterworth
    Jim Butterworth was the elder statesman of our great union. He served to protect and advance the interests of New Zealand working people over many years of union organising and leadership. Jim led the northern region of the Engineers’ Union… ...
    1 day ago
  • Closure of Relationships Aotearoa
    The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed is concerned about the closure of a national service which provides a wide range of services to rural and urban communities throughout New Zealand.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Three Years Since Villaggio Fire
    Jane and Martin Weekes, the parents of the two-year-old triplets, New Zealand citizens, who were killed in the Villaggio mall fire in Doha, Qatar, on 28 May 2012 will be reflecting on the short lives of Lillie, Jackson and Wilsher… ...
    1 day ago
  • Count human health in your climate calculations
    The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand’s planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say. ...
    1 day ago
  • PSA welcomes Hawke’s Bay DHB’s decision on food services
    The PSA welcomes Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s decision to reject Health Benefits Limited’s proposal to outsource food services to multi-national company Compass Group. ...
    2 days ago
  • Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices and Volumes)
    We are combining the Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices) and Overseas Trade Indexes (Volumes) into one release as of next week’s 2 June publication. ...
    2 days ago
  • Core government cap disappointing and disingenuous
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says the Government’s continued focus on capping the size of core government administration is counter to providing New Zealanders with the services they need and depend on. ...
    2 days ago
  • Saudi ‘Compensation’ Not in Full And Final Settlement
    The Taxpayers’ Union is has uncovered that despite building a $7.5 million ‘Agri-hub’ and paying $4 million to the Al Khalaf Group, no settlement agreement or liability waiver was secured in relation to the apparent claim the Government is using… ...
    2 days ago
  • SkyCity still holds winning hand
    SkyCity still holds winning hand despite having to pay more for Convention Centre The Problem Gambling Foundation says it is not surprising SkyCity was prepared to put more money into the Convention Centre considering the Casino has been granted ...
    2 days ago
  • Doctor, I’ve got a 7 year itch
    Young Labour supports the campaign by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association to have the 7 year lifetime limit on student loans scrapped. “This policy by the National Government makes no sense. It means that medical school students may be… ...
    2 days ago
  • Vulnerable people will be most affected by closure
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is concerned that vulnerable clients are being left in the lurch in the wake of the abrupt closure of Relationships Aotearoa. ...
    2 days ago
  • Young Nats call for Govt to back Med Students
    The Young Nats support the New Zealand Medical Students Association’s campaign to exempt medical students from the seven year equivalent full time study cap on borrowing for course costs, and want the cap extended to nine years for this group… ...
    2 days ago
  • Review of fire services a major opportunity for future
    Wellington, Wednesday 27 May 2015 - Rural and urban volunteer firefighters make up 80 percent of New Zealand’s fire services. Their representative organisation, the United Fire Brigade’s Association (UFBA), says the Minister for Internal Affairs, ...
    2 days ago
  • Fire Service review rules out fairest option
    Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton says “the Government has made a mockery of genuine consultation by ruling out the fairest, most cost effective and sustainable way of funding the Fire Service” in its release of the Fire Services review… ...
    2 days ago
  • NZMA supports students’ call on loans
    The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) supports the call by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) for the Government to urgently address the impact of time restrictions on the student loans of many medical students currently ...
    2 days ago
  • No Rights of Access to $11.5 Million Dollar Saudi Farm
    Exclusive: No Rights of Access to $11.5 Million Dollar Saudi Farm WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Taxpayers’ Union has uncovered that despite taxpayers forking out $11.5 million to build an ‘Agri-hub' in Saudi Arabia, officials failed ...
    2 days ago
  • Abduction attempt blamed on lax politicians
    Commenting after yesterday's attempted abduction of a five year old boy outside a Hastings school the Sensible Sentencing Trust has lashed out at politicians for “putting our kids at an undue and totally unacceptable risk”. ...
    2 days ago
  • Press Release from SuperGrans Aotearoa
    SuperGrans applaud the government for providing an extra $25 per week for low income families and further supporting Whanau Ora, Children’s Teams and CYF. These are all initiatives that will enhance collaborative effort to support our precious and ...
    2 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa welcomes discussion
    The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) advised by phone this afternoon (26 May) that five agencies have been selected to undertake the work Relationships Aotearoa (RA) had been contracted to provide for MSD. “Since 15 May, RA has been working… ...
    2 days ago
  • Human Rights Commission welcomes Rotorua partnership model
    Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy has welcomed news that Rotorua District Council has agreed to a modified version of the Te Arawa Partnership model. ...
    2 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. ...
    3 days ago
  • Comments sought on Takapūneke Reserve
    Comments sought on Takapūneke Reserve Christchurch City Council wants public input into a plan that could help make Banks Peninsula's Takapūneke Reserve a National Reserve. The Council is currently seeking written suggestions to help draft a Reserve ...
    3 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    What the Dickens is going on at SDHB? Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping ...
    3 days ago
  • Maori Party Labels One Man, One Vote Supporters as Racist
    The Maori Party’s approach of bullying and intimidation against those who have stood up for one person, one vote, in Rotorua, is a dishonourable act by Members of Parliament that should know better. Democracy Action, a pressure group which champions… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government proses weakening the Health and Safety law
    “The Government’s suggestion that the new workplace health and safety laws will be weakened is very disappointing”, says Hazel Armstrong health and safety lawyer and member of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel. ...
    3 days ago
  • Giving faces to the faceless
    Powerful films and unforgettable documentaries can highlight human rights in ways speeches and documents never will says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy. ...
    3 days ago
  • Deaf Aotearoa applaud NZ On Air funding announcement
    Deaf Aotearoa are thrilled with the announcement that NZ On Air will be providing additional funding for captioning on TV One, TV2, TV3 and FOUR. Independent captioning and audio description service Able will receive $400,000 more in the coming year,… ...
    3 days ago
  • Scott Technology lays off Christchurch workers
    Thirteen workers at Scott Technology, which manufactures, services and installs equipment for the appliance industry, were informed last week that they have been made redundant. This announcement, which came as a shock to the workers, comes after ...
    3 days ago
  • Smaller Convention Centre Should Mean Less Pokies
    Family First NZ says that with the downsizing of the SkyCity Convention Centre, the legislative concession for allowing an increased number of pokie machines should be significantly reduced, if not scrapped. “As we said from the outset, this deal ...
    3 days ago
  • Parliament missing in action on RMA reform
    Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said recent indications of ‘no change’ to sections 6 and 7 of the Act means it is now clear that after six years Parliament is incapable of delivering anything more than the lowest common denominator –… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government wants safer workplaces… or does it?
    Government wants safer workplaces… or does it? Today a widow and a mother sit together in the High Court in Wellington fighting for justice for the men that were killed at work in the Pike River Mine disaster of 2010,… ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders reckon they’re doing pretty well
    The majority of New Zealanders say they’re highly satisfied with their lives, and slightly more rate their sense of purpose highly, Statistics New Zealand said today. These are the first results from Statistics New Zealand’s survey of nearly 9,000 ...
    3 days ago
  • Rural hospitals’ services vulnerable
    “The Southern District Health Board’s efforts to tighten its financial belt are clearly going to have very serious consequences for rural hospitals,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists ...
    3 days ago

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