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Family members of traitors of the Motherland

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, February 20th, 2013 - 85 comments
Categories: benefits, crime, families - Tags:

No-one likes fraudsters, whether they’re ripping us off as beneficiaries or as suit-clad businesspeople. National’s announced some ineffectual steps to ‘crack down’ on the minor amount of benefit fraud that occurs (no similar crackdown on white collar fraudsters and tax avoiders). But they’ve gone to far in trying to criminalise people just for being partners of benefit fraudsters.

Here’s what the announcement says:

“Currently there are few options available to prosecute partners who know or benefit from such offending, leaving the entire debt with one partner.”

“The proposal will also extend MSD’s ability to seize assets owned or jointly owned by a spouse or partner under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009, and to recover some of that debt from the partner who has benefited from the fraud.”

Obviously, if you are party to offending – ie you know about it and benefit from it – you should be prosecuted, and you can be already. But it’s nuts to suggest that people could be made criminals just for having been in a relationship with a fraudster and, as part of a single household, unknowingly benefited from the fraud.

That’s Stalin stuff. He created the offence of being Family Members of Traitors of the Motherland for people who had done nothing wrong except have a family member who was an ‘enemy of the people’.

It’s a basic tenant of our society that you can’t be punished for something that you aren’t responsible for.For example, if your mate takes you out for lunch and it turns out the money came, unbeknownst to you, from him holding up a dairy, should you have to pay back the money or go to the clink? Of course not, you didn’t do anything wrong.

National’s ‘get the wives too’ offence is a daft attempt to do away with that founding principle of our legal system. Where the hell is Crown Law?

From what I can see the other changes look pretty minor (keep an eye on the known crims, share info with IRD) and will do bugger all to affect what is already a tiny problem compared to, say, the huge increase in benefit costs arising from National’s failure to create jobs.

But that crazy familial guilt stuff has got to go.

85 comments on “Family members of traitors of the Motherland”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    where will it end

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      This is simply a diversion for the idiot chooks to lead with. Which they will. Works every time.

    • aerobubble 1.2

      A while back there a\was a case where investors investing in a ponsi scheme would have to pay back the profit on their investment since obviously in comes from fraud. And where does that stop.
      I mean if you are getting twice the average return of comparable investments in the market, how can your ignorance of how that money is made be argued (since you recklessness in not knowing) could help your case, it could not, but parties who benefited (say as gifts) would not have known and so should they still be liable? Its still money that is the benefit of fraud. If you receive stolen property then sure you have to give it back, there’s the difference, if however you buy a car that turns out to be stolen, and you did due diligence, then you have a case against those who certified the car as legitimate. so I suppose the question is can the state provide a spouse knew their spouse was telling lies, does depend a lot on whether the state provided information about entitlements, that information was available to the spouse, and they knew it was in error. Like the investor, who needs to be able to do due diligence, a spouse who cannot access their spouses records to check they are telling the truth. Just thoughts.

  2. infused 2

    Is it not the same as receiving stolen property? You get done for that too, regardless of whether you know or not.

    [no you don't, see comments below. In fact, the example of receiving shows that knowledge or recklessness is required for guilt when benefiting from a crime. Eddie]

    • TheContrarian 2.1

      Interesting point.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        Not really. Crimes Act 1961 s246 Receiving (1):

        Every one is guilty of receiving who receives any property stolen or obtained by any other crime, knowing that property to have been stolen or so obtained, or being reckless as to whether or not the property had been stolen or so obtained.

        My bold.
        So intent applies for receiving, with a certain fudge for folks playing silly buggers with the “oh, but I didn’t KNOW that the stuff bought off the back of a truck for massively cheap prices was stolen”.

        This means that if I fudge my benefit paperwork without telling my partner, they can be pinged for it. Yet another fucked up nact policy.

    • toad 2.2

      Crimes Act, s 246

      246 Receiving

      (1) Every one is guilty of receiving who receives any property stolen or obtained by any other crime, knowing that property to have been stolen or so obtained, or being reckless as to whether or not the property had been stolen or so obtained.

    • joe90 2.3

      Indeed, but if you’re from the top end of town receiving stolen property isn’t a crime.

      http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/fraudster-reneges-590-000-payback-ihc-4951619

      • Colonial Viper 2.3.1

        Yeah I don’t see anyone going after the wives, husbands, partners and children of convicted fraudsters who lived off the proceeds of theft.

        Usual Tory underclass bashing.

        • TheContrarian 2.3.1.1

          Wouldn’t the Crimes Act, s 246 apply in such cases?

          • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.1.1

            And when has it actually been brought to a prosecution.

          • McFlock 2.3.1.1.2

            Bankrupt. And winz docks the benefit for reparations – IHC wouldn’t have that power.

            Interesting the offer of reparation before sentencing and withdrawn afterwards – probably counts as perjury or contempt if it was a plan to get a lighter sentence.

      • TheContrarian 2.3.2

        What do you mean? She went to jail for 3 years

        • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.1

          Yeah, I was thinking that as well. The proceeds of the sale of the lodge should have gone to IHC.

    • tracey 2.4

      Nope, nothing like receiving stolen property, not that fact will prevent people making the analogy and passing it into the world of memes to justify gross double standards.

  3. TheContrarian 3

    What an odd thing to do.
    I would certainly be keen to see how they define ‘benefited from’.

    Does that include watching a TV which is powered by electricity which was paid from a fraudulent benefit?

    • Colonial Weka 3.1

      And why just partners? Why not flatmates? Some couples share finances in the same way that flatmates do.

      • Tim 3.1.1

        Don’t give them ideas Weka! They’re already short of a couple of brain cells to rub together. We might find that’s stage two in the fascist march forward.

        • Tim 3.1.1.1

          Actually ….. why not incarcerate the children too. They will have benefited given their ‘reasoning’. Then we’ll get Serco to set up workhouses. Perhaps they could even be used as the labour to build Transmission Gully

      • freedom 3.1.2

        beat them to the end zone, just sell the kids and move it all into south american zinc

  4. quartz 4

    I think they should incarcerate the spouses and children of white collar criminals. And any representative of a political party that has benefited from donations from criminals.

    • Tim 4.1

      There’s an easier option. Just incarcerate, or execute the ring leaders of the fascists as they did post-WWII.
      I’m still left wondering why there is this complete and utter reluctance to label some of the right-wing antics as fascist – especially those that are going beyond the realms of moderate behaviour.

      I remember reading, some time back – I think on politicalpendulum, or somewhere, that a better description of fascism is corporatism.
      The misbehaviour of corporate ‘citizenry’ [ fuck me, now there's a joke and an attempt at trying to legitimise their imperative in and of itself! ], the incompetence, the snuggling up, the lobbying, the preference of the corporate over the actual citizen and/or voter leads me to think that politicalpendulum (if that’s where it was) is correct.

      • TheContrarian 4.1.1

        Because fascism, as a political ideology, demands strict nationalism and an attempt to remove class divisions as well as, in most cases an expansionist foreign policy.

        These are key definers of fascism which National doesn’t display

        • Tim 4.1.1.1

          Ah! I see! the kind of ‘get-out clause’. So you can fit all but one of the criteria and satisfy yourself you’re not such a fascist, because you’re not a nationalist (which – in your case “the Contrarian”) I think you probably are anyway.

          • Tim 4.1.1.1.1

            oh btw TC (aka “top Cat”), if I don’t reply forthwith, it’s because there are normal day-to day things on the agenda. It’s not that I don’t want to give you my undivided attention – lest you get ideas of non-engagement.

            • TheContrarian 4.1.1.1.1.1

              This conversation has been had on The Standard before.

              National don’t display the key identifiers of Fascist ideology. A key element of all fascistic parties throughout history has been this mass public mobilization to Nationalistic causes, the the attempt removal of class definitions while appealing to the proletariat as well as expansionist foreign policies. These aren’t ‘get-out clauses’ these are key behaviors associated with fascism.

              I don’t care if you engage or not.

              • ..so it seems, to be precise a new word is required.

                Might I suggest Fascionarrowindividualistism-tyrannical-bullshit

              • aerobubble

                Profit is a mass appeal of National, free markets ignore class divisions, expansionist policies of mining, etc, expand and destroy our future.

              • Tim

                Oh really – well apologies – I’m a newcomer.
                …and btw (below). I see no need of inventing a new word, I’d rather describe it as I have.

            • TheContrarian 4.1.1.1.1.2

              A fascist government certainly would not be selling strategic state owned assets and would be trying instead to bring more assets and facets of public utilities under state control.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1.1.3

              Tim, not to agree with Contros definition of F, (because it’s rubbish) , when people describe F as corporatism they aren’t talking about modern corporations.

              In Pre-war political theory, corporatism was a political idea that competed with syndicalism or socialism.

              It was about ways of organising economic structures.

              The corporatists weren’t talking about making modern style private business corporates, but rather that that sectors would incorporate. That for example, car manufacturers would get together and carve out co-operative deals and act together strategically. Bread makers and farmers would do the same etc. Each ‘Corporate’ would represent the industry both politically and economically.

              The word has changed it’s meaning basically.

              • TheContrarian

                @PB – it isn’t a definition, it is a characteristic.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  It’s still rubbish.

                  The class stuff isn’t really right at all, and you miss the things that really set them apart, ie characterise, them.

                  Eg. the Nationalsim is of a particular type. It’s about the defining and promoting ‘essence’ of the nation, rather than just ‘my nation right or wrong’. That’s why they spend so much time on defining internal enemies.

                  It’s about action over thought. It’s anti intellectual and anti liberal.

                  • TheContrarian

                    I am aware it is a particular brand of Nationalism – the point was to show that National doesn’t that extreme nationalistic tendency which really sets fascist ideology apart.

                    “Fascism recognizes the occurrence of class conflict, and advocates a resolution to end the division of classes within a nation and secure national solidarity.[9] However fascism publicly favours proletarian culture due to its association of proletarian culture with economic production and claims that the proletariat as producers must have a dominant role in the nation.”

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facism

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Try this:

                      http://www.anesi.com/Fascism-TheUltimateDefinition.htm

                      The wiki seems to be based on Mann, but I don’t think he’s that convincing re the proles. What he’s really getting at is producerism (it’s on wikipedia! ) which is a middle and working class populism. The proles are as much a target as the elites, in that proles (such as they exist), in modern societies tend to be made up of ‘outsiders’.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Thanks for the link – I’ll have a gander.

                      There are quite a few competing definitions out there.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      He rambles a bit at the end, fucking libertarians.

                      David Neiwert is good too, just google him and fascism and you’ll be swamped by him beating the shit out of Jonah Goldberg, unless I’m very much mistaken. Which I often am.

                    • TheContrarian

                      You have seen The Wave?

                      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1063669/

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Yeah, people are shits in a bunch, on the whole.

                    • TheContrarian

                      I hear that.

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Wikipedia is hardly ever reliable for specialist, in depth knowledge, and even less so when it doesn’t even spell the word correctly.
                      Kiwi fascism, if it developed, obviously would not involve expanding the motherland by military force and also would need to adapt to the recent accelerated internationalisation of the world economy. It would represent the national capitalists only in so far as they were integrated to multinational interests. It would be anti-intellectual and promote a type of Kiwi blokeishness which would probably glorify hunting, smashing beneficiaries and lamenting the role of “front bums” in society. It would dispense with the rule of law and any ideas of civil rights or due process. I think we are fearfully close.

                  • TheContrarian

                    “It’s about action over thought. It’s anti intellectual and anti liberal.”

                    I like that – succinct.

              • Tim

                @PB yes I’m aware of that… but @ TC “A fascist government certainly would not be selling strategic state owned assets and would be trying instead to bring more assets and facets of public utilities under state control”.
                That is certainly NOT necessarily so.
                Especially so since Fascists attempt to confuse WHAT and WHO the state actually is.
                Fascists would would be bringing more “assets and facets of public utilities under the control” of a master-class elite that has confused what exactly a ‘public’ is comprised of – in ALL its pluarlity.

                If you’d rather we call it neo-fascisim or other newly invented label in order to fit some exact category, or to make you sleep better at night without the taint – so be it. I’d say that this current gubbamint is the closest thing to fascism I’ve ever encountered in this country, and what’s worse – there are a couple of dominatrixes in it that appear to actually get off on it. The only thing that I see that’s different is that they’re not quite as clever as Nazis were, though they’re certainly as underhand and devious.

        • Tim 4.1.1.2

          Oh…. (btw as they say in the connected world) … I don’t necessarily agree that Fascism demands strict nationalism. It may well have in a mid-20C definition of nationalism when a majority associated nationalism with statehood (a la nation-state), but that was always going to be primitive at best. Those creators only ever envisaged an area of turf with a majority that shared common belief. Hence anything foreign was just that. WORSE than that, anything that deviated from an ‘assimilated norm’ should be conquered. Hence ….. some of the most aggregious attrocites ever – South Africa, Rwanda/Berundi, Australia’s White Poicy, and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on ……
          I see a state as a legal definition (which surely you’ll agree with – after all I’m sure you don’t disagree with the very legal definitions that you use to perpetuate your agenda do you?). Whereas I see nationhood as a shared affinity and culture regardless of boundary. I’m sure most tribal affiliations and the nomadic would agree. Possibly even Hitler would agree, except that he could not understand that multiple affinities might, people with more than one cultural understanding, and could co-exist.
          The arrogance of someone to come along and impose their definition is just that – and incidentally – a characteristic INDEED an essential characteristic of fascism. Sound familiar? It’s what we’re seeing now – better make sure you’re on the ‘right-side’ aye? Mussonilini didn’t quite get it.
          We might see a Maori Nation, or indeed a LGBTI Nation, an Anglican Nation, a Nation of Islam (oops…we already have!), an Immigrant Nation all trying to coexist under a NZ Nation(S)-State.
          Anyway – it’s been duscussed before.
          Jah Vol Herr Commandant

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    ugh spambot

  6. In a way I see it is fair enough that partners, who benefit from illegal acts are required to experience the consequences of such.

    What I see as the real problem this issue raises and the thing I find it questionable with welfare distribution is the way our welfare treats those in relationships.

    I fail to understand why people are not paid as individuals and why one receives a different amount (and lesser) when one is in a relationship.

    Now I know the pat answer that Winz workers are trained to address this query “Two people living under one light bulb costs less”

    I find this questionable, it is clear that two people can make savings, however, in order to make the substantial saving that is assumed, requires that the two people ensure they stay in the same room at the same time at all times. (Otherwise “two lightbulbs” are involved….) Two people have two separate costs, such as health, transport and such things requiring two separate outfits per day…..
    Yes, there may be savings, coming out of a joining of two lives, however largely, these savings are very similar to the amount of savings one experiences from flatting in the same house with others, and flatmates are not given lesser rates of assistance.

    This appears to be a human rights issue.

    21. Prohibited grounds of discrimination
    (1)For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—
    (a)sex, which includes pregnancy and childbirth:
    (b)marital status, which means being—
    (i)single; or
    (ii)married, in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship; or

    I daresay, due to the system being one of welfare this form of discrimination is allowed for (has been exempted from the requirements), however, if people were simply paid as they should be, as individual members of society regardless of their marital status, I believe it would clear up a lot of complications and ensuing costs of calculating married people’s “entitlement” and also the vast costs that must go into investigating this type of “benefit fraud”. It would also clear up the issue that this post raises.

  7. quartz 7

    I think it’s simply a ghastly unprincipled diversion tactic.

    • Yep the nats are on the ropes over Sky City and what happens …

      Some more bene bashing!

      They are so predictable. Someone should do a correlation between embarassing times for the Government and the announcement of social welfare reforms. I suspect the correlation will be startling high.

  8. alwyn 8

    I think that it was a very great shame that the USSR, after Stalin introduced the policy, did not enforce it strictly.
    Included in the people whose families were to be punished, and in that period this meant being killed, were soldiers who had surrendered to the Germans. These included Stalin’s son and the law should therefore have applied to him and his father, Stalin himself.
    It is hard to see how the world could have been worse off from the absence of that maniac.

  9. Aww 9

    Next, they will be going after the hookers (as in the Steven whatshisname case from ASB) and the drug dealers who sold a good or excellent service to the fraudster, … and themselves for benefiting from the GST on any money spent. (Holy heck, can’t believe ASB went after the hooker! She earned it and may have even paid income tax on it.)

    Here is an idea: Make sure all low income earners receive their full and correct entitlement under the current system. That way you remove much of the desperation out there, combat child poverty and improve overall standards of living.

  10. aerobubble 10

    The government has back down on stripping prisoners of any civil rights windfall court payments and giving the money to a general victim fund. Seems someone finally realized that plaintiffs have the need when they win to actually receive a remedy for wrongs done to them. Even criminals.

    This current government has real problems with understanding that the legislator only write the laws, laws actually come effect in courts of law, and if they over reach their power government have the tendency of losing in the courts, costing tax payers. All government decisions can be appealed in courts and so be tested for their lawfulness.

    Key has a problem with fair impartial consultation, look at schools closures issue, etc, so court can and do look at the character of both sides of an action to access the truth of their statements, like govt dealt in good faith.

  11. vto 11

    This disgusts me.

    Why not make it a generic criminal offence, that would catch all fraud, such as the massive white collar and tax-dodging fraud?

    Why restrict it to beneficiaries?

    Why restrict it to beneficiaries?

    Why restrict it to beneficiaries?

    Why restrict it to beneficiaries?

  12. johnm 12

    The Market Pimp’s Government strikes again. :-(

  13. QoT 13

    National’s ‘get the wives too’ offence

    I find this really interesting because my own first assumption would’ve been more “get the boyfriends” – as in, this targets male partners of hetero women receiving the DPB. Funny how different perspectives work, of course it targets male or female partners of DPB/unemployment/sickness etc beneficiaries equally.

    • the pigman 13.1

      I think it is pretty obviously “get the boyfriends”, because the vast majority of this very low-value fraud is mums on the DPB with live-in boyfriends/on-off abusive relationship partners, who are concealing it from their case workers either because they are afraid of having to exist on even less than they already have to, or their relationship is volatile and unpredictable and they don’t want CYF on their backs so they “ended” that relationship.

    • tracey 13.2

      exactly, which is why we dont have a hunt down the white middle class men cribbing their child care cos the new wife and new kids deserve it more campaign… and when we do, it is hijacked by the “men are not allowed access by their evil ex-wives” campaign.

  14. Tigger 14

    Great post Eddie.

  15. tracey 15

    welfare something is always rolled out as a diversion. Usually Ms Bennett fronts it to take the heat off (in the past education)… and here we go again.

    At least TV3 actually said what benefit fraud costs each year (39m). It failed to point out the percentage perpetrated by employees.

    National announced this morning that the public love it. How could they know so quickly? Or do they just mean the section of the public which they pander to who are less informed on these topics than the politicians will swallow it. Shame on the MPs who KNOW the facts and lie or mislead. The people relying on their representatives to be truthful about this kind of thing are duped again.

    Even infused who is informed has an excuse/justification already on the go … it’s like receiving stolen property.”

    So why aren’t bank robbers wives and partners charged? Why aren’t the wives of directors found to have been fraudulent charged? Why arent parents whose kids are rorting the student loan scheme (with full knowledge of the parents) charged or hunted down?

    And where is the heavy handed effort to chase down unpaid child support????? If a man or woman doesnt pay their child support, but has had a second family, we charge the partner, and put their children into care (afterall we are paying for their children anyway, what’s a couple more)? The answer is because most unpaid or underpaid child support isn’t from beneficiaries… it’s from demographics more likely to vote…. National. And yes, I say that from experience of the area of family law.

    I have never heard as much squealing about the awful and unfair welfare “nazis” as from middle class men who have started a second family and resent paying for the first. The same men who at dinner parties applaud the govt for getting tough on bludgers.

  16. tracey 16

    “The evidence for the existence of widespread benefit fraud is paltry to non-existent – despite the fact that a special fraud intelligence unit was set up in the Social Welfare department in 2007 to detect it. Last year, the department checked 29 million records, and found the benefit fraud rate (as a proportion of the total benefits paid) was a miniscule 0.10 per cent. A declining number of prosecutions – from 937 in 2009 to 789 last year – resulted.

    Of the $16 million in benefit fraud detected last year, a proportion was carried out by social welfare staff – ten of whom were sacked last year for ripping off the system – and not by beneficiaries themselves”

    The exact figures will be known to both labour and national MPs who choose not to share the percentage committed by employees. I can’t wait for Mr Shearer’s timid response being ever so careful not to upset the misinformation being perpetrated for fear of losing voters he never had or will have.

    http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/02/ten-myths-about-welfare/

    I will happily read updated or replacement statistics from those who wish to disagree?

    • xtasy 16.1

      tracey – this talk about “fraud” is also misleading.

      In the strict eyes of MSD a client dependent on a benefit is already committing a “fraud”, if such a person takes on a job and waits a week or two to inform WINZ about this.

      I know many people who took on jobs and waited a week or two to tell WINZ staff about this, because they were nervous and unsure about whether the job may work out. So they waited to see that it would work out for them. If they had told WINZ staff immediately, they would have had their benefit stopped immediately, and in the case of a job not working out, they would be sitting without money to pay for rent, power, food and anything else for a week or two.

      Such overpayments are in some cases treated as “fraud”, well at least included in figures about supposed “dishonesty” or about “claiming a benefit without justification”. Of course hardly any such cases would be prosecuted, but MSD do not look kindly on not declaring changes of circumstances straight away.

      Given there are close to 360 thousand people on some form of benefits, it is riduculous to use the very low number of proven “fraudsters” or “cheats” as justification to introduce new laws that will bring fear and suspicions into the lives of so many on benefits.

  17. Akldnut 17

    So we’ll be seeing Mary English being held to account soon?

    • tracey 18.1

      “The RNZ report also includes this incredible segment:

      The Social Development Ministry says that in 95^% of benefit fraud investigations, the person involved does not provide the necessary data, delaying enquiries by “ at least” 25 days. It estimates this delay costs $3 million a year, and gives the person time to cover up the fraud and destroy any evidence.

      One hardly knows where to start with this insanity. Safe to say, with no other social group would a department tot up its ordinary administrative costs and then – in paranoid fashion – blame them on a plot by the people it is supposed to be serving. Clearly, the Ministry expects all of the information it wants from the very moment it asks for it – because judging by the above, the meter is running from the very moment the Ministry mails out its letter or lodges a call.

      Let’s look at that. Lets assume the Ministry has got the right address, can express its needs clearly and that the information it asks for can be readily obtained. All very big assumptions. Even so, people are getting back to the Ministry in 25 days. In just over three weeks. That sounds pretty good, right? But no, the Ministry doesn’t think so. Because from the moment they send out their request they assume the person is playing for time “to cover up the fraud and destroy any evidence.” Even though 84 % of the time, it is the department that has got the wrong end of the stick, and not the beneficiary.”

      architects, builders, certifiers, plasterers, roofers, developers all had about ten years to destroy their evidence in the leaky home debacle. So often the High Court demands, at the behest of the defendants that an owner provide the evidence of their claim against so-and-so. BUT many owners weren’t the original owners so had no access to documentation… the mantra of these defendants is we destroyed everything after seven years like the law says we can. BUT the Courts accept this lame excuse. Lame, because it is only tax records you DONT have to keep after 7 years. It doesn’t say you MUST destroy invoices after seven years and it says nothing about building contracts etc.

      Everyone of the people in this defendant group knows their liability under the building act is for ten years, and they all would have known within the 7 years given for keeping tax records, that they may have built or inspected or developed a leaky home YET they destroy ALL records… That’s not to count the “floods” and “fires” (undocumented) that mysteriously destroy these kinds of records.

  18. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 19

    This beneficiary crackdown is built on the notion that there is huge fraud going on. There is occasional huge fraud by some inventive trickster, the rest are struggling, trying to manage with obstacles placed in their way by a punitive, hating government. It is the same vicious approach used when men dockworkers went on strike way back. The public were ordered not to help families with food and many disgraceful edicts. .There is a pretence of caring about morality that comes out in the NACT approach. Stop fathers running off, forcing them to accept responsibility etc.

    It’s just another way of making the public suffer as a result of the deliberate running down of the economy, jobs and wages by various governments. Then blame the losers from this process and refuse to see people as of value but just units of welfare and cost to the government.

    This new policy is an indictment on police thinking as Chester Borrows comes from that background and must be following attitudes learned there.
    With a history in policing and the law, Chester’s policy interests are around Law and Order and Welfare.
    He was raised in Nelson and attended Nayland College before entering the Police in 1975 as a 17-year-old Cadet. For 24 years he worked as a uniformed and CIB officer in cities, provincial towns and rural stations before leaving the Police to stand for Parliament in 1999. He attended Victoria University, obtaining an LLB between elections and campaigned again in 2002.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      WINZ cheating beneficiaries out of money must be considered fraud too, right?

      • xtasy 19.1.1

        Good point CV!

        Add to that also the fact, that over years, MSD and their largest department WINZ, have resorted to “assessing” and “re-assessing” many sickness and invalid’s beneficiaries – by using their selected, preferred, actually specially “trained” and thus influenced doctors (mostly GPs), and also by having “trained” staff members like Regional Health and Disability Advisors make the recommendations they expect, which in itself is a breach of NATURAL JUSTICE.

        The doctors that are under the Social Security Act supposed to “examine” clients with health issues and conditions are according to that Act supposed to be INDEPENDENT.

        Now, how “independent” are doctors that conduct examinations and make assessments according to criteria set by MSD and that follow expectations by MSD to look rather at anything a sick or disabled person hypothetically “can do”, rather than “cannot do”?

        I would say there have been thousands of decisions by such doctors, that break the law – in particular natural justice!

        So dear Ministers, when are we going to have WiNZ and MSD adhere to the law?

    • tracey 19.2

      it also makes it look like NACT is doing something, when in fact whatever they are doing in this policy is not addressing the billions they have borrowed since 2008, some of it for tax cuts… and for a stagnating economy. The earthquake was terrible but it is also providing this govt with a lifeline

  19. xtasy 20

    “National’s ‘get the wives too’ offence is a daft attempt to do away with that founding principle of our legal system. Where the hell is Crown Law?”

    Crown Law appear to not be consulted all that much these days, and when the government does it, it seems to pick the advice from probably a number of Crown Law experts that suits their intentions and goals.

    This proposed law change and measure is clearly discriminatory, same as a number of proposed law changes under the presently considered Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill. It breaches the Bill of Rights Act and Human Rights Act, as it is only targeted at partners of beneficiaries, who may commit some alleged fraud.

    Also is this another proposed law change, which is clearly intended to “appeal” to many in the public, as the mainstream media has over years already prepared the ground for bashing beneficiaries, by reporting only about the very few fraud cases that involve high amounts of dollars, by reporting about other supposed failures, about dishonesty and supposedly “easily” chosen “lifestyles” at the expense of the taxpayer.

    So this is intended to distract from National’s failures in economic and social areas, and National knows, that large parts of the public have a dim view of beneficiaries. Hence many will “welcome” this.

    It is the “collective guilt” approach being applied here, and that raises yet more legal questions, and those are right who ask, why single out beneficiaries and alleged “partners” who “know” about the partner’s benefit receipt, and not tax fraudsters – or any other fraudsters there are.

    I would think that the present law also makes it possible to prosecute a partner, if she/he knew of the fraud being committed by the other. But it seems that MSD and the government really are after pressing monetary compensation out of those partners, who may be guilty of condoning and indirectly participating in such alleged “fraud”. Hence an addition to the law, to make things more convenient to do so. But I expect that there will be problems introducing the law change as it is.

    Anyway: Welfare fraud is peanuts compared to other fraud and to tax evasion or avoidance.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 20.1

      At one level this could be seen as a way of helping relieve the directly offending partner of the total burden of the debt when the predominantly male partner had the benefits of the relationship without needing to provide any of the support.

      Put that way it could be seen as reasonable.

      Put that way it could be seen as a desire to help the offender.

      Of course it’s not. If Winz was really concerned about the debt burden they would allow the judges in their court cases to consider restitution. It was evident in the 80’s that DSW as it was then was finding that judges were not ordering restitution or if they did only to a small proportion of the debt owed.

      We noticed a trend then not to request restitution and that has no doubt continued. As a result the offender gets sentenced and still has to pay every cent back – unlike many many white collar and other fraudsters.

      It’s another way in which beneficiary criminals are generally treated differently to other criminals.
      If there was truly some desire to help the offender with her debt burden they’d let the courts decide appropriate restitution in line with any other sentencing.

      Put as above it looks like a good intention in reality it’s a road to further hell.

      In many of these situations there’s a strong power imbalance between the male and the female receiving the DPB – I can’t see in any way how this helps women in those situations one little bit. I can see how it puts them at more risk than they are now.

      There’s no protection here for the most vulnerable.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 20.1.1

        And I wonder how much National have thought this through in terms of cost:

        Two prosecutions, two imprisonments, children in CYFS care, two appeals.

        The partner charge will require different evidence.. Certainly when I was in banking you saw couples applying for loans with one person working and the second getting DPB but based on detail in court cases in the paper usually there are no assets to speak of I’m thinking for many the evidence will be minimal or witness based.

        It does seem that the cost of prosecuting will be higher than any gain in collecting money back and the disruption to families even greater.

        I don’t condone any fraud whether benefit or otherwise but this law simply seems poorly thought out, costly and just simply bad law.

        Just waiting now for Labour Greens Mana Maori Party to say they will repeal it.

  20. xtasy 21

    What is the reason and justification for this proposed law change, in view of section 66 of the Crimes Act 1961 already providing for the prosecution of known participation in such alleged “fraud” by a beneficiary???

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328506.html?search=sw_096be8ed809832a0_parties_25&p=1&sr=10

    The only reason I can detect is, that the law as it is does not necessarily give MSD the means to get a “partner” as a “party” to committing benefit fraud, to get that “co-offender” pay for damages.

    It seems they simply want to have access to the partner’s funds, income and so forth, to recover the money that was lost due to “alleged” fraud. There is no other reason and justification for this measure, that I can find. And as stated above, it is discriminatory and thus illegal, what they propose.

    • aerobubble 21.1

      I’m guess because its not clear. But seems that some girlfriends with kids where harassed to lie to WINZ to get more benefit, then when caught they declared they were in an abusive relationship and so lawyers could no longer argue the girlfriend was in a relationship. And in order to catch those being abused by their boyfriends WINZ also want the ability to closer scrutinize the lives of those who are have been manipulated into lying to them.

      Now the question is will they abuse their power, and will individuals (as in any part of society) in WINZ who abuse their power be open to over sight. What checks and balances, what fairness is there in comparable crimes like white collar fraud who do not lose as much as a benefit fraudster.

      Remember also not everyone on a benefit is eligible for legal aid (as its asset tested).

  21. Murray Olsen 22

    From my uninformed layperson’s viewpoint, this law has to be in violation of the Bill of Rights. It also will have the effect of making it harder for beneficiaries to start or form relationships, so that the family values so beloved of NAct will be denied them. It really rams home just how little humanity exists in government and especially in people like Paula Bennett. She might not have been able to form a stable relationship until she had a ministerial salary – I really don’t know. But why is she so keen to deny the opportunity to everyone else. It’s a bill to promote quickies in the back of a Corolla and to take any love or humanity out of beneficiaries’ lives. A South African friend suggested to me that it’s the sort of law she would have expected back in their bad old days, when they had people who tested sheets for bodily discharges in an attempt to snuff out interracial relationships. NAct are sick, sick people.

  22. Mary 23

    The whole thing’s obviously fraught with difficulties, not the least being the criminalisation of people who have no idea of the alleged offending, on top of, of course, the fact that so many people are wrongly convicted because of MSD telling people that if they plead guilty they “won’t go to jail” – completely ignoring the requirement to apply the proper test for what constitutes a relationship in the nature of marriage.

    One thing, though, that many people haven’t mentioned is that as soon as a spouse (or alleged spouse) gets done for fraud they didn’t know about what do you think will happen? I’d say it’d be curtains for any chance a relationship may have had therefore removing all doubt over whether the person is entitled to a benefit. These changes are guaranteed to make more people entitled to a social welfare benefit.

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    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Patrick Gower interviews Social Housing Minister
    Bennett says National could sell off “thousands” of state houses but Housing NZ will still be the “dominant force” in providing social housing in NZ....
    Scoop politics | 01-11
  • The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Mike Moore & Chris Liddell
    Lisa Owen interviews NZ Ambassador to the US Mike Moore and corporate high-flyer Chris Liddell about the US midterm elections....
    Scoop politics | 01-11
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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