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Fonterra scandal and deregulation

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, August 9th, 2013 - 72 comments
Categories: Conservation, farming, john key, national, science, water - Tags: , , ,

Very early on in the Fonterra scandal there was speculation as to whether the cause of the contamination would be shown to be a product of deregulation. Sure enough, Stuff’s Pattrick Smellie makes a good case:

Is this a Pike River moment for food safety?

… Was this week’s botulism scare not only Fonterra’s Pike River moment, but also New Zealand’s, when it comes to the enormous value of food exports to its economy and the possibility the country has lost the capacity to soundly regulate the sector?

That’s a question asked by Simon Terry, of the Sustainability Council, a tireless watcher of what he says is a progressive erosion of the Government’s capacity to directly exercise food safety regulation.

That erosion dates back to the late 1990s when a newly elected Labour government ceded sovereignty to an Australasian food body. Most of the scientific and political clout at Food Standards Australia New Zealand now resides on the other side of the Tasman. …

At the same time, New Zealand began moving from explicit regulation to company-specified risk management programmes. …

Terry says the degree of devolution of food safety standards to individual companies is another facet of a seriously weakened food regulation system.

He has been told that the ministry is “focused on supporting economic growth” and worries that the assurance side of the equation – which includes food safety – is suffering as a result.

When scientists like Dr Mike Joy try to highlight our environmental / contamination problems, and argue for stronger regulatory protections, they are belittled and attacked by Key and the
Nats
. Then along comes an event like the Fonterra scandal, proving just how vulnerable we really are. The damage is not done by scientists. The damage is done by closed minds, slack regulation, contamination and cover-up.

The lesson of the Fonterra Scandal is that Mike Joy and other scientists are right. To protect its environment, its brand, its exports and its economy, NZ needs to strengthen regulatory protections and clean up its act.

72 comments on “Fonterra scandal and deregulation”

  1. Ant 1

    I don’t see how regulation could have this could have avoided this one to any meaningful degree tbh.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Given the huge scale and complexity of the plant that Fonterra operate I would argue that the original technical root failure was always going to happen sooner or later. These things happen, engineering lessons will be learnt and hopefully they will avoid a repeat.

      However the most concerning failure seems to have been around the difficulties Fonterra encountered in detecting, qualifying and rectifying the problem. Worse still their attempts to transparently report the problem have been fumbled and backfired on the company. This aspect is of particular concern … other players in the food industry will look at what has happened here and may well be thoroughly dis-incentivised to report safety issues.

      If you want the industry to report and properly handle these kinds of safety issues, you have to make it feasible for them to do so without the market over-reacting.

      • blue leopard 1.1.1

        That doesn’t make sense? The damage to the company is due to their slow response to a possible problem and not from having [eventually] gotten onto the problem and reporting it.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Made sense to me.

          There are so many unanswered questions, and so many people jumping to conclusions before we know what happened. I have no idea to what extent Fonterra have been negligent. To assess that we would need to know the risk of the contamination, who assessed and how, what the regulations say and whether these were followed. Do we know that yet?

          Comparing Fonterra/Hautapu to Pike River seems extremely counter productive to me. Not only has no-one become sick, let alone died, but as far as I can tell the risk itself is very, very small that anyone ever would. Comparisons with Fonterra or articles like Trotter over at TDB calling Clostridium ‘deadly’ are hyperbolical, and just create misinformation and misunderstanding about what is going on.

          • marty mars 1.1.1.1.1

            Yes I agree the comparisons are not really valid. Obviously the whole thing is about the ‘health’ issues from a consumers point of view, yet it seems to me that any ‘health’ issues have been drowned out by the ‘marketing/image’ issues relating to the speed and appropriateness of the response. Perhaps this is just the way you spin it in these situations.

          • blue leopard 1.1.1.1.2

            @ Weka,

            I was hoping that Redlogix would have explained; I may have got the wrong end of the stick however:

            “Worse still their attempts to transparently report the problem have been fumbled and backfired on the company. This aspect is of particular concern … other players in the food industry will look at what has happened here and may well be thoroughly dis-incentivised to report safety issues.”

            This to me is fuzzy logic

            The problem is that toxins got into the food supply.
            The second problem is that this wasn’t picked up.

            The problem hasn’t been with the reporting of this, the problem is that toxins got in the food supply and it took so long to pick that up.

            If ‘other players in the food industry’ entertain the view that there is any ‘disincentive’ to report food safety issues coming out of this event, then they need their heads checking and really shouldn’t be in the food industry at all

            • weka 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Another problem is that 98% of commenters are making assumptions.

              Clostridium itself isn’t a toxin. It exists in honey in the US for instance, but doesn’t cause illness (there is a general rule not to feed honey to babies under 1 yr, but even then I think the risk is pretty low). People making hyperbolical statements about the deadliness of Clostridium are confuing the picture, and adding to the general paranoia we have about food and bacteria. It does us a great disservice to conflate the low risk in this situation with actual deaths from negligence at Pike River.

              In fact Fonterra DID pick up the contamination, and when they had the relevant information the DID inform the people that needed to be informed. The question is why did it take them so long. The answer I have heard is that milk is not normally tested for Clostridium. If that is true, then this whole situation is a rare accident. Whether the broken pipe should have been picked up some other way, and whether Trotter is right that Hautapu is an unsafe environment for processing food, I don’t know. It may well be. But at this point in time, the cart is well before the horse. There is due process to follow here, and we’re not following it. I can see how that would make other food producers nervous.

              I also think it’s likely that deregulation has a part to play. Problem is, I’m not seeing the evidence that this is the case with the Fonterra situation. I’m seeing a lot of assumptions and jumping to conclusions. Again, why should food producers trust that?

              • @ Weka,

                You make a point if that is the case and clostridium is not tested for.

                This does not justify the view that reporting the problem has gotten Fonterra into trouble; in this case it was a lack of knowledge or a lack of necessary testing systems, not the reporting of it.

                How do you suggest that Fonterra picked up the problem if it is not tested for?

                I do not see how you can conclude that due process isn’t being followed. The message has been very clear. Containment of the problem is the imperative first step, then investigation will follow

                “Comparing Fonterra/Hautapu to Pike River seems extremely counter productive to me. Not only has no-one become sick, let alone died, but as far as I can tell the risk itself is very, very small that anyone ever would. ~ Weka

                The risk in the Fonterra products is so very very small that it has been recalled world-wide.

                Comparing this issue with Pike River is not counter productive if the two issues have a common problem. If we do not know what the problem is yet, then isn’t it you who are making assumption by stating that such a comparison is counter-productive? You could simply say, it is too early to make the comparison.

            • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.2.2

              Sorry been rather busy.

              All milk production systems are routinely cleaned using Clean In Place (CIP) systems. Most milk processing is done in batches. You start with a clean system and then usually about once per day every pipe and vessel that comes into any contact with milk is re-routed (using automated valves) so that several different cleaning fluids are pumped through them. One is usually alkaline, the next acidic and then it’s all flushed out with hot water. (Or some variation on this.)

              While this sounds simple, in practise it’s a highly complex and demanding business because you have to ensure every step of the process (and there are a thousands of them) is completed accurately and that there is no chance of cleaning fluids cross-contaminating milk. It’s normal for these things to take many months to design, implement and commission.

              The failure to complete this properly at Huatapu is what is being called a ‘dirty pipe’. I don’t know the exact details yet. Alternatively they could have been using plant that was not normally used and this meant that there were some hidden faults or bugs that had not been properly tested before production. A bad mistake on their part, but not an unexpected one. If I can draw a parallel with airlines … despite a massive safety and maintenance regime, every now and then they crash one.

              If Chris Trotter is right and the staff at this plant knew that they had shipped product despite ‘crashing’ their plant … then they really have let the industry down badly. They deserve what is coming to them.

              The end result of this was that three batches of whey were made with some level of a Clostridium bacteria in it. In general this bacteria is indicative of a food spoilage problem and is quite commonplace. It was only after some time had passed that it was identified as a specific type of Clostridium that can produce the botulinium toxin. It may well turn out that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why it took so many months to get to clarifying the problem.

              • Thanks for the explanation RedLogix, it sounds like you know heaps about the process, interesting to know a bit more.

                I still do not see how it can be viewed that reporting the matter was a problem?

                Unless it is as Weka says, that Clostridium bacteria is not tested for? Which doesn’t sound right. The media really have gone even more to the dogs than I thought possible, if they couldn’t have relayed that important element of the issue.

                • weka

                  “Unless it is as Weka says, that Clostridium bacteria is not tested for? Which doesn’t sound right”

                  Why not? They’re not going to test for every known pathogen in NZ. They’re going to test for the ones that are expected to show up in milk.

                  Associate Prof Steve Flint, Associate Professor in Food Microbiology at Massey University, responded to the following questions:

                  Has there been a botulism outbreak in NZ previously?

                  “Two confirmed cases were associated with home preserved watercress and boiled mussels back in 1985. ”

                  How common is food related botulism generally?

                  “It is rare.”

                  Fonterra has stated that the contamination came about due to a “dirty pipe“, could you speculate on how this might lead to the bacteria entering the food supply.

                  “A dirty pipe would not be expected to harbour this organism. This is very unusual.”

                  What safeguards would typically be in place to prevent contamination events like this?

                  This is a very unusual incident and until we know more about how this occurred, it is difficult to offer any advice.

                  (my emphasis)

                  http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2013/08/05/infant-formula-and-botulism-experts-respond/

                  “I still do not see how it can be viewed that reporting the matter was a problem?”

                  It’s not. It’s the kind of reaction that’s happened since the reporting that is a problem. (how Fonterra handled the reporting is most likely also a problem).

                  • @ Weka

                    I still do not see how it can be viewed that reporting the matter was a problem?

                    “It’s not. It’s the kind of reaction that’s happened since the reporting that is a problem. (how Fonterra handled the reporting is most likely also a problem).” ~Weka

                    It’s not. Exactly – which was my point from the outset.

                    • weka

                      You said The damage to the company is due to their slow response to a possible problem and not from having [eventually] gotten onto the problem and reporting it.

                      I think the damage so far is from the over-reaction before anyone knew what had actually happened. Do we know the details of what was done and why it took the length of time it did?

                      You may be right, Fonterra may have badly dropped the ball. But do we know or are we guessing?

                      I took Red’s point to be that, if Fonterra have done the right thing, and followed correct procedure, then the castigation of them serves as a warning to other food processors.

                      I also thought he said that Fonterra’s PR has been poor, which I agree with.

                    • I have not been pursuing whether Fonterra ‘badly dropped the ball’ or not.

                      The point I have been questioning is Red Logix apparent view that companies may be 'disincentivised' from reporting problems due to what has occurred.

                      I think this is point displays false logic which has potentially devastating consequences. It is not the reporting that has gotten this company into trouble; this is the only way they were able rectify the actual problem, which was that potentially toxic elements (potentially enough to recall all the products world-wide) have gotten into the food supply.

                      If food manufacturers were to proceed with such logic, then at any point, anytime, we could be ingesting something potentially lethal just so as to save food manufacturers the problem of having to deal with a bit of poor publicity and the dip in profits that might lead to. (Basically loss of profits versus following safeguards to ensure food safety).

                      You have made a fair point about not knowing all the details and making assumptions, however you appear to be happy to make some yourself making some yourself, such as the use of the word ‘over-reaction’.

                    • weka

                      AFAIK, no-one has said that the reporting by Fonterra caused the problem. I think that is an issue in your own head there bl.

                      You have made a fair point about not knowing all the details and making assumptions, however you appear to be happy to make some yourself making some yourself, such as the use of the word ‘over-reaction’.

                      I’m not making an assumption based on things I don’t know, I’m describing what I am seeing here and in the MSM.

                      You present me with some credible information that the risk in this situation could ever lead to deaths on scale of Pike River, AND that this IS due to deregulation and Fonterra cutting corners etc (instead of being a rare accident), and I’ll withdraw my opinion that comparing the whey protein contamination with dead miners is over-reaction.

                    • blue leopard

                      Not in my own head Weka

                      “Worse still their attempts to transparently report the problem have been fumbled and backfired on the company. This aspect is of particular concern … other players in the food industry will look at what has happened here and may well be thoroughly dis-incentivised to report safety issues.” – Red Logix

                      No, it is not of particular concern. What is of concern is here is contaminated food getting into the supply chain.

                      “I’m not making an assumption based on things I don’t know, I’m describing what I am seeing here and in the MSM.

                      You present me with some credible information that the risk in this situation could ever lead to deaths on scale of Pike River, AND that this IS due to deregulation and Fonterra cutting corners etc (instead of being a rare accident), and I’ll withdraw my opinion that comparing the whey protein contamination with dead miners is over-reaction.”

                      This is dishonest. You are drawing your conclusions regarding over-reacting based on the assumption that this event was unavoidable. As you, yourself say, the facts haven’t been investigated yet. You put forward the position that people are wrong to have opinions based on assumptions before the facts are known, however, are doing this yourself.

                      I thought you made a fair point around being better to wait until the facts come out before drawing conclusions, however for the above observation, your objections end up sounding that it is because the conclusions being drawn go against your own conclusions.

                      As you say, we don’t know whether this is due to deregulation or Fonterra cutting corners etc or not for sure until an investigation is conducted.

                      However:

                      a) noting it has been evident for a long while that there is a culture of laxity being created and causing problems since this government has been in. It is a fair to assume that this could be part of the problem on this occasion too.

                      b)We already know that a disused pipe was employed, this is clearly a point that extra care would be needed. However, contaminated foodstuff was sent into the supply chain from it. It is fair to suspect that due care may have been missing.

                    • blue leopard

                      For clarities sake: I have not been positing that reporting the issue is the cause of the problem. This is disingenuous.

                      I have been objecting to the view Redlogix put forward that reporting a problem could in anyway be seen as a problem for companies in the future.

                      This is a false and dangerous conclusion for any company to draw out of this event.

                    • weka

                      I don’t think that is what RL said.

                      You are drawing your conclusions regarding over-reacting based on the assumption that this event was unavoidable.

                      No. I’m. Not. I’m saying lets wait until we have some evidence before we draw any conclusions.

                      I thought you made a fair point around being better to wait until the facts come out before drawing conclusions, however for the above observation, your objections end up sounding that it is because the conclusions being drawn go against your own conclusions.

                      Then you really haven’t been reading my comments properly. Go back and read again and you will see that a number of times I have speculated on the possibility that Fonterra dropped the ball here.

                      As you say, we don’t know whether this is due to deregulation or Fonterra cutting corners etc or not for sure until an investigation is conducted.

                      Right. Or maybe it was an accident (or all three, or some other explanation we haven’t thought of yet). So why pillory Fonterra before we know? What does that achieve?

                    • blue leopard

                      @ Weka,

                      I reread comments prior to responding to anyone to ensure I am responding to what it is they are actually saying.

                      I suggest you do the same.

                      It is completely incorrect to say that I am pilloring Fonterra, this is not what I have been asserting or questioning.

                      If you had been reading my comments properly you would see that.

                    • weka

                      This is getting ridiculous.

                      “It is completely incorrect to say that I am pilloring Fonterra, this is not what I have been asserting or questioning.”

                      Fine. My criticism has been of the MSM and ts (authors and commenters) and TDB. I made that clear. If you have included yourself in that, that’s up to you.

    • BLiP 1.2

      Off the top of my head, how about . . .

      Food Safety / Brand Protection Regulations101: If preliminary pre-production tests for botulism indicate there might, possibly be a problem, apply a unique identifying code to that batch for tracing through the supply chain and do not sell and certainly do not export and never, ever release to retailers for sale to end consumers anything which might contain even the traces of the product concerned until such time as those indications have been negated.

      . . . but, hey, I’m not earning $5 million + a year to take the fall if anything goes wrong, so , heck, what would I know? Just as well we have all those corporate Atlas types looking after us, I guess.

    • aerobubble 1.3

      Your ignorance of a subject is most certainly not evidence for or against regulation.

      Just as commonsense teaches human works are fickle, that shit always happens, the purpose of regulation is to minimize errors, create a culture of safety, and introduce costs to companies so that they are aware of punishments for failure to follow regulations.

      Why should firms who are safety conscious, do the extra work, who are nothing dealing with the blowback from Fonterra’s mess.

      Anyway from the way I understand it (could be quite wrong), a batch of milk whey was processed that had increased but acceptable levels of background impurities (you know the kind, the 100% clean green backdrop of natural outdoors, i.e. nothing above what is normally coming out of the teets of a cow). Now what seems to have happen is that wasn’t goo enough for the handling of the whey to foreign markets, coupled with the fact that many many downstream consumers may have taken a cut of the whey, or used the same equipment, etc, etc. Now here’s how deregulation comes in, some manager whose more interested in profit and saving on costs, ignores or does understand the full process (including that out of his control) and cuts corners, and because there are no regulative caps on him, he won’t suffer from a corporate mansluaghter charge, etc, there is no incentive for him and lots of short term gains for him to be ignorant of his jobs requirements.

  2. vto 2

    “When scientists like Dr Mike Joy try to highlight our environmental / contamination problems, and argue for stronger regulatory protections, they are belittled and attacked by Key and the
    Nats. Then along comes an event like the Fonterra scandal, proving just how vulnerable we really are. The damage is not done by scientists. The damage is done by closed minds, slack regulation, contamination and cover-up. ” …. and by an attitude filtering down from the top that anything goes, bend the rules, if you can get away with it then do it, laissez faire, cavalier, relaxed about it……

    Fonterra and food safety
    Pike River and mine safety
    Finance companies and banking regulations
    Leaky housing and building regulations

    Each of these sheet directly to deregulation (though not solely, because the weakness caused by the neoliberal religion of deregulation needs to be triggered by some other event of cours)

    Further, I am disgusted at the way Federated Farmers, John Key and Bill English, and all of their disciples run around like headless chooks abusing (mockery etc) our scientists.

    Fucking Stephen Joyce the other day said he believed David Henry over Peter Dunne “because David Henry has no reason or incentive to fabricate or exaggerate.” Well, you pricks Key and English and Joyce, our scientists have no reason to fabricate or exaggerate, but you lot do and Federated Farmers certainly do. You are a bunch of cheap, shallow wide-boys, nothing more. And you are fucking New Zealand up.

    • SpaceMonkey 2.1

      Deregulation is only one aspect of your four examples. Another is lack of oversight and/or quality control. In the pursuit of profits, or the case of public sector “doing more with less”, all in the name of “efficiencies”, the whole quality assessment step has been removed from most organisational processes. If it still exists anywhere, it tends to be toothless.

      In the Fonterra debacle, I understand pipe-cleanliness was the issue and that in turn was linked to a minimum-wage role. Seriously? Either the task of maintaining pipe cleanliness, based on its value and importance to Fonterra, isn’t a minimum-wage role, or better quality control is required in the production process and someone needs to be checking that the pipes are cleaned properly.

  3. BLiP 3

    Well said. Trouble is, such thoughts as expressed in the OP are an anathema to John Key and National Ltd™. Since 2008, National Ltd™ has set about systematically removing any impediments to a corporatised predation of Aotearoa’s environment. Its actions are driven by an ideology premised on infinite, and, thus, imaginary, resources. Based on this insanity, farming has become industrialised to such an extent that it is destroying our way of life rather than securing it, and a second tsunami, this one made up of oil drillers and mineral miners intent on finishing off what farming has started, is already thundering in.

    But, ask John Key what he’s got to say about it all and he’ll tell you he’s “not bovvered”. In fact, the National Ltd™ answer to all the concerns which have been expressed for decades and are now being howled at the government is to sideline the independent environment watchdog and to lay down the necessary steps to begin concealing the damage it has caused via the creative use of statistics and PR. Same ole, same ole.

  4. The lesson of the Fonterra Scandal is that Mike Joy and other scientists are right. To protect its environment, its brand, its exports and its economy, NZ needs to strengthen regulatory protections and clean up its act.

    100% pure corrupt new zealand.

    • blue leopard 4.1

      Yeah and now that profits are at stake there might actually be something done about it.

      Pity that fatalities (such as in the mines and forests) hasn’t been a motivating force for the creatures in government.

  5. Short Plank 5

    Given the damage such an incident would obviously do to Fonterra’s – and New Zealand’s – bottom-line – and given that such a major disaster from a minor incident would inevitably drag in and embarrass Senior Managers right to the top as well as the Board most of whom have no involvement whatever in the whey-making process at Hautapu I have very little doubt that extensive measures and protocols to prevent contamination were designed and implemented across the Company if for no other reason than to protect profits and asses. I cannot for the life of me see how the “deregulation of food safety standards” or otherwise would have made any difference.

    What MIGHT have made a difference would have been the presence at Hautapu of an independent ‘food-safety’ inspectorate which, not being (directly) beholden to Fonterra, would have blown the whistle at the point Fonterra’s own people might, to protect their own asses from the managers above, have decided to keep quiet about an episode of possible contamination which might possibly have been harmful if it happened but probably wasn’t so let’s not rock the boat unnecessarily.

    IF the investigations currently underway reveal that to be the case there might be an argument for installing such an inspectorate and it’s likely Fonterra will even support the idea, although hopefully sufficient heads would roll internally pour encourager les autres.

    • vto 5.1

      You answer your own point in paragraph 2 there shortie.

      What this exposes, exactly like Pike River, is that incentivising a business to regulate itself (you know, because otherwise profits will suffer etc) simply does not work.

      Roger Douglas believed that this incentive would work. But he has been proved wrong. Human beings are more complex than that. In this instance and in the Pike River instance that incentive has been overridden by other factors competing for attention, namely that short term gain beats long term.

      Roger Douglas was simply wrong and this proves it. Again. Greed doesn’t work. He should have known that.

      • vto 5.1.1

        …adding a little more….. this simplicity that Roger Douglas believed in is reflected right throughout the neoliberal philosophy but most especially in how its disciples such as srylandsgosman treat people.

        Like their safety regulatory incentivising, they simplify matters to a point of air-headed fallacy. They treat people as a tradeable commodity, as if people are a production input unit like nuts and bolts. Then they wonder why the people are fucked off and why the people are getting worse and worse off.

        The underlying premises of their neoliberal religion are simply wrong.

    • tracey 5.2

      If that’s correct, how do you explain Pike River?

      You also assume that those in Management by virtue of being in management are competent and focused on this. From what I have seen, and bank economists have been quick to jump on it, the price (auction) and brand of Fonterra has NOT been affected. Accordingly one could argue that they hoped this might never happen, but the cost of making sure it would never happen outweighed the detriment to the brand and price if it did, so they took the chance. A gamble of sorts, well thought out and considered. It just never occurred to them that NZ babies would be affected ;)

      My argument may seem based on some false premises but so is yours.

      • BLiP 5.2.1

        . . . A gamble of sorts, well thought out and considered. It just never occurred to them that NZ babies would be affected . . .

        QFT

        . . . for, such is nature of corporate management in a business environment fostered by a money trader who learned everything he knows while serving under the tutelage of the world’s master criminals.

    • tracey 5.3

      “What MIGHT have made a difference would have been the presence at Hautapu of an independent ‘food-safety’ inspectorate which, not being (directly) beholden to Fonterra, would have blown the whistle at the point Fonterra’s own people might, to protect their own asses from the managers above, have decided to keep quiet about an episode of possible contamination which might possibly have been harmful if it happened but probably wasn’t so let’s not rock the boat unnecessarily.”

      So regulation might have made a difference?

      Of course we could argue that had their been regulation Fonterra might have just paid off the inspector..

      Most telling, imo, is not that this happened but how long it was kept quiet until the company thought consumers of the product needed to know.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 5.3.1

        Thats what happens at Freezing works. There are on site inspectors from a food safety organisation ( AsureQuality New Zealand.)

        They found out the hard way, the only way to be sure was have a regulated system.

        The biazzare thing is that Fonterra has a very well regarded testing and quality control on the raw milk from the farmers shed.
        They seem to have been smug about there testing once it enters their premises

  6. captain hook 6

    nah. the problem here is manques thinking that they know everything and all they have to do is swan around in their new suits now that they have the job.
    a bit like the rejects from slitherin who have found a home in the national party and now believe that the law is there to serve them and them alone.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    If deregulation is the problem, then how come Westland Milk seems to have it sussed.

    • felix 7.1

      lols.

      If deregulation is the problem, then how come every mine doesn’t have 30 bodies buried in it?

      If deregulation is the problem, then how come there are monoclad houses built in the 90s that didn’t leak?

      etc etc

    • tracey 7.2

      You’re right, probably a combination of taking the eye off the ball and greed to satisfy shareholders is the problem. Phew, nothing to see here then.

      • felix 7.2.1

        But tracey, if taking the eye off the ball combined with greed to satisfy shareholders is the problem, then how come every bank and lending institution hasn’t gone to the wall?

        etc etc

        • tsmithfield 7.2.1.1

          The fact remains that even the best companies have occassional recalls. For instance, Toyota was in the news on several occasions recently. The fault here seems to be more to do with the way it has been handled rather than the problem itself.

          For the volume of dairy derivatives that NZ produces, it is incredible we have so few problems. In this case, no-one actually got sick, and the probabilities of anyone doing so were infitesimely small. Given it is food, and especially that it is fed to babies, it simply wasn’t worth the risk, and a recall was the right thing to do.

          My company is supplies and services equipment to several large dairy manufacturers. They tell us that it is impossible to actually eliminate bacteria totally from the system. So, there is always a risk. The best that can be done is to minimise the risk, and to have a thorough testing regime. For instance, in one company I am aware of, they have three red lines for entering a production facility. At each line workers must change protective clothes and wash their hands etc. Bacteria loads have reduced considerably since.

          • fender 7.2.1.1.1

            Yeah it proved hard to handle a runaway Toyota with a jammed accelerator peddle.

          • felix 7.2.1.1.2

            So what? Your assertion was that one company’s good record proves that regulation is unnecessary.

            Now, having realised what an utterly bullshit logical fallacy that was, you’re changing the subject to “no harm no foul”.

            • tsmithfield 7.2.1.1.2.1

              My original argument is just as valid as pointing to a precautionary recall from one company as evidence that deregulation is causing problems. If deregulation actually were an issue, then there would be a lot more problems that what we are seeing.

              • felix

                Yes you’re right. I haven’t seen or heard of anything to suggest any problems exacerbated by deregulation in any industry, ever.

                So I guess your point does make perfect sense after all.

  8. Red Rosa 8

    It seems curious that the offending pipe at the Hautapu plant was identified almost immediately as the source of the trouble.

    Was it in fact ‘an open secret’ around the Waikato from the start – May 12?

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/08/08/fonterra-contamination-scandal-an-open-secret-from-the-start/

    And if so, why were these warnings ignored?

    Certainly merging the Food Safety Authority with MPI has reduced any serious Fonterra oversight. Note that the Ministers are Nathan Guy and Nikki Kaye respectively. Both have been conspicuously quiet in the whole affair, brushed aside by the heavyweights.

    Another farmer monopoly which needs a full investigation is Zespri. In this case there are proven criminal trading charges, the China market again, while the trail leads right to the top and the Zespri baord approval. Rumour also has it that dodgy pollination procedures, to which the MPI turned a blind eye, are responsible for the PSA outbreak.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1307/S00271/minister-cannot-ignore-calls-for-an-inquiry-into-zespri.htm

    Farmers, especially under the Nats, are however simply untouchable. They blame the media for the whole ‘storm in a teacup.’ So there.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/dairy/9013000/Farmers-take-Fonterra-fallout-personally

    • Populuxe1 8.1

      That does appear to be the Daily blog reporting hearsay as fact without any citation of source

  9. tracey 9

    I see the Environment watchdog role is being scaled back now…

    Jan Wright states

    “She questioned whether the reports were now completely independent. “A Government statistician is a different kind of independent. What the statistician will do is say the data you are using is correct and accurate, but there is that issue of what data do you use and what is the purpose you have in doing this report?””

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10910158

    Don’t worry though, the free-market will ensure the environment is safe and clean.

  10. Trotter smells dirty work at the plant.
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/08/08/fonterra-contamination-scandal-an-open-secret-from-the-start/

    James Ritchie puts it down to corporate capitalism without strong unions to pull it into line.
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/08/09/the-enemy-of-our-enemy-is-not-necessarily-our-friend/

    My comment on Ritchies article is that strong unions are not enough.

    “First contribution on this I have seen to put it in the context of global capitalism, and which points to the need for workers to take control of industry not only to ensure food safety but prevent environmental collapse.
    Rebuilding unions however, will not be enough.
    Capitalism is in free fall and all monopoly capitalist corporations will come crashing down with it.
    We need to socialise production and the dairy industry can be a model for this. The state is the natural partner of the dairy cooperative so that bulk swaps can be done state to state rather than on the international market. We need a state bank like State Advances that provides cheap credit to farmers, and state marketing to guarantee prices. Such a partnership would benefit both farmers and the whole of society. Eliminating the anarchy of the market will allow agriculture to be planned to meet basic social and environmental needs.
    The unions can play an effective role in this by extending activism in the workplace to promoting such a program in its policies and lobbying the parties of the left.”

    • weka 10.1

      “Trotter smells dirty work at the plant.”

      Trotter spreads rumour without bothering to back it up.

      fify.

  11. wyndham 11

    Irrespective of the problem or the crisis that engulfs the reputation of this country, there is an answer !

    Bring on Steven Joyce! By means of cheap abuse, hectoring and obfuscation coupled with a generous dose of sarcastic unpleasantness, this minister ( known as Mr. Fixit) has done more to reduce NZ politics to the gutter than anyone else I know. Admittedly there is a big field but Joyce beats them hands down. Ugrrh!

  12. Plan B 12

    I think many people are either by mistake or on purpose confusing what regulation means. Regulation is not just the rules but also people to infoce the rules, people to help companies undertstand and comply with the rules. etc

    The simple comparison is with the Police.

    We have a great many laws and we have police. The government likes writing laws but hates paying for police/ Social Welfare officers/ Truancy People/ Nurses in Scghools etc etc.

    It is people on the ground that make the real difference.

  13. tracey 13

    Interesting that a regulated and unionised market… lije oz and germany can thrive… yet sonehow it holds back nz.

    • tc 13.1

      It’s a maturity issue tracey.

      Oz/Germany recognise strong unions and regulation make for a better overall result by keeping industry honest, transparent, standards based and competitive while at the SAME TIME workers are fairly remunerated, it’s called win-win.

      The free market wants ‘me win all the time, it’s for your own good’

  14. Ad 14

    The best and far and away most effective regulator New Zealand’s dairy industry has (or indeed needs) is the global media, in this case the Chinese one. The Chinese will use the incident to slap down any dairy exporter to China in order to grow their own dairy businesses at the expense of the multinationals. Other competitors such as those in Brazil will watch this play at our expense.

    So we have no choice but to support Fonterra throughout this event. Hold it to account, sure, but make sure it improves rather than is destroyed. In the foreseeable future we will have no other company or indeed industry to replace it – we can’t afford to lose that amount of tax, employment, global force, or collective strength.

    The only major improvement to our manufactured export earnings in the last decade has been dairy products – led by Fonterra. It sure ain’t any other industry that will enable a transition for Southland’s economy beyond aluminium production.

    Calls for re-regulation is a ridiculous after-it’s-bolted response. Government’s LandCorp should be a member of Fonterra’s Shareholder group, and in fact with over 10% of New Zealand’s exports tied up in one company, there should be a Minister permanently sitting as a Director of Fonterra. The state’s interest on behalf of the nation should be there from the beginning.

    In comparison the rest of our manufacturing companies are either tiddlers or sellout if-only stories like Navman or Constellation. Fonterra is our Nokia – with a chance it could follow the same path. Or continue to take on the world.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 14.1

      No no . Having more suits on the board wont help.

      Have independent quality inspectors in Fonterra factories- just the meat works do.

      Watch them fight that suggestion

      . But the meat farmers are happy with the current inspection system and the dairy farmers will want something similar. Or we could leave it all to chance like the current system

      • Ad 14.1.1

        “The Suits” are the only people who connect corporate reputation, responsiveness to suppliers, those who audit and control processes, and those who carry them out. No regulator can do that. I’m tired of a regulator-based economy. I wand a shareholder economy in which workers, suppliers, investors etc are all around the table taking benefits and feeling the risks.

    • tc 14.2

      ‘Fonterra is our Nokia…. Or continue to take on the world.’

      Fonterra is effectively a logistics company and a poor one at that. The noose on all this milk being produced will tighten once China/Sth America catch up in powder production.

      It’ll never be a Nokia, it’s a co-op that farmers can move from to a better deal, that’s why Fonterra are so keen to tie them up and de-power those pesky stakeholders.

      • Ad 14.2.1

        Nokia were a logging comnpany before they got going into electronics. You don’t get more logistics than that.

        Fonterra is already a long way from the Andrew Ferrier culture of domination through bulk commodity trades. It’s on the right path. Check out your supermarket chiller section and you’d be surprised not only at the brands they own themselves, but also the brands that carry a majority Fonterra-sourced ingretients.

        • tc 14.2.1.1

          I just don’t think they’re nimble enough and are too top heavy/wasteful as such risk farmers moving to better returns.

          As for having lots of brands IMO that not diversification when it’s the similar product just with different labels in a NZ supermarket.

          • Ad 14.2.1.1.1

            That was half the point of the recapitalisation and the floating of the units on the stock exchange this year: to decrease their reliance on the natural financial conservatism of farmers. Yes they are a monolithic company, but they are changing for the better.

            As for the diversity of their product range, if you haven’t got the time to look on the underneath of the products in the supermarket chiller (personally I loathe supermarkets), just have a good interrogation of the Fonterra site under their product range.

            • BLiP 14.2.1.1.1.1

              In what way does exposing future profits to contrived speculation, diminishment by ticket-clipping, and transfer in part out of New Zealand, make Fonterra “better”? I’m genuinely interested in learning more about how this is a positive thing for the owners and those with a stakehold in securing a long term future for Fonterra.

  15. tracey 15

    and more forestry inspectors.times without inspectators little has improved. bring them back and it cant get worse.

  16. Rosetinted 16

    A different sort of scandal involving Fonterra and dairy farmers breaking with the traditional standard green outside feed we built our business respect with. Tonight on Checkpoint about 6.30 p.m. there was a report about an investigation into the palm kernel industry in Indonesia originally on Bloomberg News.

    Some group called KLK is implicated. Youngsters are being shanghaied, promised good jobs and taken hundreds or thousands of kilometres from their homes and have to live in slave camps for no or little pay. The one who managed to escape was to be a driver, but actually had to spray dangerous chemicals that are forbidden in many countries. They are guarded and might have to sleep in windowless rooms and if they run away are likely to be caught and beaten in front of the others, who might be as young as 14.

    https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/mailalert/921/cargill-forced-labor-is-intolerable

  17. BrucetheMoose 17

    After the debacle of deregulating the building industry, which included relaxing the independent inspection/auditing process to keep it in check, you would think National would have learnt that leaving respective industries, especially large core industries, to self regulate is not an intelligent management strategy. Looks like being smart is not a top priority where National’s policy making is concerned. Still sticking to that fruitcake free market ideology in the hope it will come good one day. In the meantime, Stachybotrys or a helping of Salmonella anybody?

    • Paul 17.1

      “ONe could argue the country is hostage to a blinkered devotion to laissez-faire market ideology.”
      China Daily
      As Chris Trotter says “Sometimes it takes an outsider to correctly diagnose an affliction to which its sufferers – that’s us! – have become inured”

  18. Lorraine 18

    The professor of agricultural business studies from Waikato University on the nation this morning should be put at the top of the board for Fonterra. This has been so badly handled and as she said if it had of been made clear it was spoors not the toxin there may have not been such a ridiculous backlash from the chinese who are cancelling holidays here because it isn’t 100% pure.
    The other thing is Fonterra is putting all it’s eggs in one basket re China. That isn’t wise business practice.
    Maybe it is time to have a new tourist marketing slogan and ditch 100% pure because the way the government are destroying the environment, changing environmental protection laws and taking away the rights of people so they can’t protest the destructive intensions of this government for profit by a few at the top of the heap.

    • blue leopard 18.1

      The 100% pure marketing has been some sort of protection for us from unfettered violation of our environment from money-interests such as the oil industry.
      This government would very much like to ditch the 100% Pure angle for that reason.

      Better to ensure that we are doing what we can to ensure our environment isn’t abused and keep the slogan. Better for all Nzers, visitors, buyers of NZ products and the environment that way.

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    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    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
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • 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
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 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
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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