web analytics
The Standard

How to build better beggars

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, March 1st, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: class, economy, Economy, election 2014, employment, poverty - Tags:

In the United States, the street beggars have great patter.

Despite what South Park would have us believe, when you walk down the main street of a major city, you don’t get hordes of people shiftlessly shaking cups at you, asking for “change?”

There are a few.  But far more often, there’s a story.  I did two tours of Iraq and I just need to get my clothes dry at the laundromat.  I need 20c for the bus, or $5 to get the train to where my kids live. My girlfriend’s out in the parking lot, I just want to get us some chicken.  They are practiced, and polite, and very aware that they’re approaching a young white woman on the street and need to ensure they’re utterly unthreatening, because the lives of poor men and especially poor black men probably aren’t worth crap if a pretty white girl complains to the cops around the corner.

When a country has the kind of inequality the US does, people get really, really good at begging for money.

On the same rainy day I meet the Iraq veteran – and I have no reason to doubt that he’s served his country, and been tossed aside for his trouble – John Kerry, the secretary of state, is on MSNBC talking to Andrea Mitchell about what’s been happening in Ukraine.  He speaks in admiring tones about how the people of Ukraine have risen up against their oppressor, how they’ve had enough of a leader who sleeps in mansions and lives a life of luxury.  And to an outsider, it sounds so disingenuous.  Does Kerry not see the parallels with his own country?  Where a presidential candidate can forget how many homes he owns,  while the people who are fortunate enough to have employment waiting tables are entitled to just $2.13 an hour?

The United States is a nation thoroughly captured by the idea that we can all pull ourselves up with our own bootstraps.  That a government safety net, universal healthcare, even the right to vote is something some people just don’t deserve.

New Zealand has inequality, too.  But we still have some of the basics in place – our current government’s efforts notwithstanding – and I have faith we can turn things around with a strong progressive government, starting in 2014.

35 comments on “How to build better beggars”

  1. Bill 1

    Something I noticed a long time back in NZ is an aversion to patter or banter. It’s not just on the begging front, but also when people are collecting for some cause or other – there’s just no…life.

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    Good article. The last two paragraphs were excellent and thought provoking.

    The present cunning and hypocritical pro-rich government does copy the intelligent ideas and caring programmes of Labour and the left for political expediency and makes sympathetic noises especially in an election year, but has slowly and steadily chipped away at many social, economic and environmental enlightened just measures. I will predict that this government will unleash a severe social and economic scourge for the ordinary masses if re-elected a third time. I am hoping that the majority of people this time will think things through and not continue to be fooled by Key and his spin machine.

    • Bill 2.1

      Thinking that it’s not quite so straight forward as that. Recent Labour led governments only paid lip service to their socially orientated legacy while hammering the shit out of those taking up their social welfare entitlements. The exclusion of non-earning parents from WFF and the introduction of TAS are just two obvious examples of the above.

      I’m guessing Labour took the unemployed and the otherwise struggling for granted and reckoned they had nowhere else to go. Didn’t reckon on them just not voting, did they?

      I’m hopeful that the current Labour Party picks up the baton again and plays the role of state protector for the poorer and struggling in the face of market forces. My concern at this stage is that they appear to be targeting the least struggling first with, presumably, with the idea of catching the rest up later. I’d far rather they had approached this the other way around and lifted up the most struggling first and allowed that improvement in circumstance to be used as leverage by the next cohort who wanted to preserve some notion of disparity/advantage, while, of course, introducing a notion that stood in contrast to arbitrary disparities.

      But yes, in the case of National – may your god help you if they get back in.

    • Stephanie Rodgers 2.2

      Thanks, Clemgeopin. Like Bill, I don’t know that the line between National and Labour over the past couple of governments has been that stark in terms of how they treat those at the bottom of the pile. Certainly things like designing WFF to exclude beneficiary parents showed that Labour’s capable of buying into the idea of “deserving” versus “non-deserving” poor.

      But you’re right, the ideas and language are often co-opted by the right – using phrases like “a hand up, not a hand out” or “helping people off benefits” have been designed to sound good but inevitably are covering up a programme of removing basic, effective support for people.

      • Clemgeopin 2.2.1

        I am intrigued by your stance, “Certainly things like designing WFF to exclude beneficiary parents showed that Labour’s capable of buying into the idea of “deserving” versus “non-deserving” poor”

        I agree that those at the ‘bottom of the heap’ should be given all the basic support for living and for improving their condition.

        Surely, you are not suggesting that those who are in work and those who are not, should both be treated equally? Are you?

        • Stephanie Rodgers 2.2.1.1

          I’m not sure if you’re being facetious, but we do have human rights law in New Zealand which protects people from discrimination on the basis of employment status. That discrimination, as part of the WFF structure, has been ‘justified’ on the premise that it provides an ‘incentive’ for people to get into work. I don’t agree with that, both because I find the idea repugnant (people don’t need ‘incentives’ to work, especially when benefits are so low) and because it doesn’t work. Even if the logic held, you can’t force people into jobs when there aren’t any jobs!

          • Clemgeopin 2.2.1.1.1

            Isn’t working for families like a tax credit?

            Can you explain in simple dollar terms how you would like to see economic/social justice and monetary equivalence between (a) a family (of 2 adults and 2 young children), say earning gross working income of $60,000 per year, paying the usual tax on gross income and (b) a family on welfare (with 2 non working parents and 2 small children)?

            I am asking this not to be facetious, but to understand what exactly you mean and how it can work in a just, meaningful, fair, wise and practical way?

            • Stephanie Rodgers 2.2.1.1.1.1

              It’s not about monetary equivalence, but first off, all benefits are taxed just like working income, so it’s not mechanically different. In the second, if there are mechanical problems extending a tax credit to benefit income, that’s because WFF was deliberately designed to exclude beneficiary families.

              I don’t have “simple dollar terms” for this. I have a firm conviction that Labour, in designing WFF the way they did, deliberately excluded beneficiary families in a way that is unjust, especially given how benefit levels have not kept up with real increases in the cost of living. And that goes back to Bill’s comment – “Recent Labour led governments only paid lip service to their socially orientated legacy while hammering the shit out of those taking up their social welfare entitlements.”

          • Psycho Milt 2.2.1.1.2

            I’m not sure if you’re being facetious, but we do have human rights law in New Zealand which protects people from discrimination on the basis of employment status.

            Likewise, we have human rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age, but if you demand to receive National Superannuation you’ll be told to come back when you’re 65. It’s a generally-accepted principle that the government has the right to target social welfare assistance.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.2.1

              It’s a generally-accepted principle that the government has the right to target social welfare assistance.

              It just happens to be a rather poor principle, one without any moral foundation.

            • Stephanie Rodgers 2.2.1.1.2.2

              I didn’t say such discrimination never occurs, however, it’s still there in our human rights law.

              Let’s look at the difference between the discrimination applied in the cases of superannuation and WFF. Superannuation is provided only to older people, and this is justified by the idea that when you’re older, it’s often hard to keep working, and you deserve to be supported to live a decent life. But WFF is denied to beneficiary parents and this is justified by the idea that beneficiaries need to be pushed into work by denying them support to feed and clothe their children.

              One of those is about helping people who need it, and one’s about punishing people we don’t like. One of those works (although there are a lot of arguments about whether super kicking in at 65 is actually inequitable for some people) and one of those simply doesn’t, especially when there are no jobs for people to be forced into.

              • The reason for the targeting is irrelevant – the NZ legal system recognises targeting as legitimate regardless of what it says in the BoR.

                Of course, if successive governments hadn’t been happy to work with employers to destroy unions and reduce pay and conditions, the last Labour one wouldn’t have found itself needing to apply a targeted social welfare payout to maintain some financial benefit from working for a living. That’s the real idiocy here, not that we don’t pay something called an “In-Work Tax Credit” to people not in work.

                • Clemgeopin

                  Exactly. I agree.

                  The fact is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve 100% equity in income between those that work (receiving WFF payments) and those that are not working.

                  This is because…

                  (a) There would be less incentive for non working people to work.
                  (b) There would be more incentive for working people to get off work.
                  (c) The government can only provide reasonable basic financial and other assistance to those not in work, but can not do so excessively.
                  (d) Humans are fallible. They can be greedy, manipulative, cunning and opportunists. Social welfare needs to guard itself against this,
                  (e) Money does not grow on trees in NZ. (except may be in some illegal plants)

                  • Stephanie Rodgers

                    There’s your problem: you believe that people on benefits need to be ‘incentivised’ (I prefer the word ‘bullied’) to get work.

                    I don’t believe that. I think the vast majority of people want to work, especially if there are jobs available, and – we can see right now in NZ – even when those jobs don’t actually pay enough to raise their families on. Even when those jobs involve hard work and terrible hours and insecure conditions. If people didn’t genuinely want to work, you’d have no one to clean your toilets.

                    If we’re going to guard our fragile government from the greedy, manipulative, cunning opportunists out there, why don’t we do so on an evidence-based basis and start with tax dodgers (who cost our economy far more than benefit frauds) and bad employers (whose low wages are subsidised by WFF, and whose unsafe conditions are assuaged by ACC)?

                    • Clemgeopin

                      You do make powerful arguments but I am, while an idealist, also a pragmatist. The art and science of what is possible, sensible, fair, how and why.

                      But I do agree that laws should be clear that wealthy tax dodgers and crooked corporate bastards should expect their wealth and property to be consfiscated and expect to be jailed for life.

                    • I think the vast majority of people want to work, especially if there are jobs available…

                      Sure. The question is whether that would continue if the financial difference between employee and beneficiary disappeared – ie, if not-working paid as much as unskilled work, how many unskilled people would continue wanting to work? Can’t say I’d find it very attractive if I was them. The government has to maintain a financial incentive to employment one way or another – they seem to have chosen a stupid way, but not choosing isn’t an option.

                    • Stephanie Rodgers

                      Clemgeopin and Psycho Milt, you both keep saying there ‘needs’ to be an incentive. Yet we have no evidence that this incentive works. At the same time as our Labour-led government was staunchly defending WFF, the UK was dismantling the same kind of tax credits because there was no evidence that they provided any such incentive!

                      I also have to strongly reject the idea that providing a comfortable level of state support to people would be a drain on our society. Why, they might end up doing things like raising happy, healthy children, going to university to gain more skills, volunteering at local charities (which currently provide a lot of social services the government also refuses to fund – maybe they need incentives too?) or any other number of valuable social activities which benefit the entire population.

                    • Yet we have no evidence that this incentive works.

                      What would constitute evidence that it works? The basis for it is an easily-inferred one: if the government is offering me $100 to do whatever I feel like doing today, and an employer is offering me $100 to spend all day working for them, I’m not going to spend a lot of time pondering such a difficult choice, am I? It’s threfore reasonable to conclude that working has to pay more than not-working, or large numbers of people will not work.

                      I suppose we could gather evidence for it by offering unemployment benefit that pays the same as a full-time minimum wage job and see what happens to the unemployment figures, but the problem with that is the government doesn’t consist of the clinically insane, so it’s never been tried.

                      Another evidential possibility would be to look at the DPB. It’s possible for young women to bring in more than they would from unskilled labour, as long as they don’t mind looking after a baby. So, if the lack of a financial incentive to work results in fewer people working, we’d expect to see an increase in young, single mothers since the DPB was introduced. That correlation exists – I wouldn’t call it conclusive evidence, but it’s not ‘no’ evidence.

                      I also have to strongly reject the idea that providing a comfortable level of state support to people would be a drain on our society. Why, they might end up doing things like… etc.

                      No doubt some would. My own experience of it was that we ended up doing stuff like annoying people, vandalising things, having a lot of afternoon sex, drinking, smoking and generally not doing anything that anyone in their right mind would have described as useful. It beat working hands down there for a while.

                    • KJT

                      The funny thing is PM, as I have noted, people will still go to work even if the cost of the car and petrol to get to work, means they are much better off, on welfare, even now.

                      You went to work after you had had enough of being a layabout, didn’t you.

                      Most of the young people I know that are not working, actually gave up after several years of either trying to find non-existent jobs, or being shuffled between WINZ and extremely dodgy and exploitative employers.

                    • Stephanie Rodgers

                      Psycho Milt, you’ve got it around the wrong way. The evidence that the ‘incentive’ works would be, say, a significant change in the number of people on the DPB or unemployment benefit, above normal seasonal or economic trends. We don’t have that, and like I said, similar tax credit ‘incentives’ have been dismantled because they didn’t work (and punished people’s children!)

                      On the other hand, as KJT has noted, we do have evidence that people will go to work even when it would be easier and probably more ‘profitable’ to stay on a benefit – because people are, right now, working in jobs which don’t pay well enough for them to pay all their bills.

                      And there’s another great big problem with your incentive: it doesn’t work when there are no jobs for people to go into!

                    • KJT

                      As I have said before, in the 70’s the unemployment benefit was much more generous than now, it was enough to go surfing and boozing on. and easier to get.

                      If PM was right then you would have expected a huge number of unemployed.

                      In fact it used to be said, that the Prime Minister knew all the unemployed by name.

                  • karol

                    If people getting adequate benefits choose not to do low paid crap jobs, then the employers would be incentivised to provide better paid jobs with better working conditions.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      @Psycho Milt, You write so well and make such good points.
                      I could not directly reply to you as the ‘Reply’ button below your post is missing!

  3. Rodel 3

    One of the best was the ACT member/or was he a potential candidate? a few years ago, selling $20 pens, ostensibly to aid disabled kids but keeping $18 for himself….sitting on a chair in the street , even covering his legs with a blanket to give the impression that he was disabled himself.

    He got exposed by the media and moved on but reappeared some time later..haven’t seen him for a while.

  4. Aww 4

    As an advocate for people dealing with Work and Income for the entire time there I got the same story…”I’m not like those other beneficiaries, I want to work! You can see I’m trying…. ”

    Eventually I figured out that they had just brought into the story of beneficiaries not wanting to work, just like I had.

    Stories are powerful which is why the most successful beggars and sitting governments use them. The story that you believe will ultimately determine who you vote for, if you vote at all.

  5. Last time I was in San Francisco I couldn’t go a block without either having, or refusing to enter into, negotiations with a beggar. After a couple of days of dishing out US currency every 30 meters I had to start making like a local and pretending the beggars were invisible, because otherwise I’d have had no money left. And found that pretending they don’t exist doesn’t do your own sense of self-worth any more good than it does the beggars.

    What’s annoying is the number of people I’ve mentioned this to who’ve blamed the beggars, as though they were just another annoying species of tourist tout. Wouldn’t you stop to think about the beggar production process that’s driving the increase?

    • RedLogix 5.1

      And found that pretending they don’t exist doesn’t do your own sense of self-worth any more good than it does the beggars.

      Yes. My experience has been exactly the same. You express the conundrum well.

      In the final analysis you have to draw a bright line under it and say no to all beggars. There are almost no scenarios where it plays out as a good thing.

      But at the same time you have to then accept a personal responsibility to pay your proper tax and vote for a welfare system which assures that no-one has a genuine reason to be begging.

      • Stephanie Rodgers 5.1.1

        This is how I’ve come to think about it, and it makes me really sad because I don’t really see that the US is going to move towards becoming a more equal country any time soon. The ongoing arguments and vitriol you see just around the idea of giving everyone access to health insurance – not actual universal healthcare, even!

        It feels like the best hope for 2016 is that the Republicans put forward another extremist tea partier so either Biden or Clinton can carry on the slow process of pulling the country a tiny step leftwards.

  6. greywarbler 6

    The United States is a nation thoroughly captured by the idea that we can all pull ourselves up with our own bootstrap

    The further down you go, the less you are likely to have bootstraps, or ones that aren’t frayed and tattered. The homily, the cliche doesn’t work. Change it then to ‘bootleg’. The boom time of bootleg liquor made money for a few. But it is an example of brief good times that bloom in the USA and then fall away as gaming the system eventually kills off the profit centre.

    Hollywood used to employ lots of musicians, in the silent film days. Then talkies came, the jobs were lost, some of the men suicided. Now Hollywood is going to VFX and squeezing the artists there out of their jobs. You have to create gated communities, as the Amish have, to protect yourselves against the depredations of these packs of amoral financials who will do whatever to pursue their goals.

    And they are training their minion accountants, bank officers, lawyers to believe their way is the best way of accumulating dosh since the times of counting on your fingers. Parents can see their children change and lose their humanity and understanding of society as they receive instruction at the learning institutions in this country, as to the right and practical way to view everything. Of course it’s practical, it’s the only game in town and all in it are ‘players’, it’s all that is visible. If you’re not in, then you’re out. And everyone who questions this loudly and critically will soon be classed as a terrorist. Dissenting view=terrorist. Different ideology=terrorist.

  7. aerobubble 7

    Ten kids climb into the tree house. They declare capitalism for all,
    and so print a quantity of money. The kids start buying and selling
    between themselves and the exchange value of the money stabilizes.

    Now one kid declares that value is a consequence of the market,
    that more jobs will be produced when the kids take less wages,
    and that the wealthiest surely know how to run the tree house
    so have a right to the profits from the lower wages.

    Now turn it round. The rich kid gets richer by taking an income
    stream (lower wages) from the market by misrepresenting how the
    market works. Nice days work if you can find plebs to believe it.

  8. captain hook 8

    its easy. just elect another national act government.

  9. Ad 9

    Dunedinites were genuinely disturbed when it appeared for the first time in decades, as noted in the OTD a week or so ago.

    I tie myself up in all kinds of ethical quandaries before and after providing whatever change I have (Too much? Too little? Why? How can I help them more? Should I displace feelings of deservedness? Where are the public agencies? Drugs? Shelter/ etc all in a few compressed seconds of bourgeoise embarassment). Quite a few around Queen Street have clear narrations crayonned onto cardboard about what they want the money for.

    The beggars around Stephensdom Bridge in Prague are pretty sophisticated.

    There’s a slippery slope between begging and hawking which you can encounter in most of the major global tourist sites – one doesn’t need too much reminding about what one is budgeting to live on per day on a European holiday, compared to what they are seeking. Check out Somalians and postcards in front of Versailles Palace for ironies of reasonable richness.

    Guilt does help keep me human.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    20 hours ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    2 days ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    3 days ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    3 days ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 days ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    3 days ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    3 days ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    3 days ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    4 days ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    4 days ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    5 days ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    5 days ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    5 days ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    5 days ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    6 days ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    6 days ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    6 days ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    1 week ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    1 week ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government leaves aquaculture industry at sea
    If the Government had acted in its first term, the Sanford mussel processing plant would not have to close, says Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “Sanford is considering closure after a decline in the natural supply of spat. This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Maggie –it’s time to roll your sleeves up
      It’s time for the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry to listen to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment  and start untangling the mess around  New Zealand’s stewardship land, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “The Commissioner has called for… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Gutting of prison jobs a gift to private prison provider
    Today’s announcement that sections of three prisons are to be closed is the thin end of the wedge for the privatisation of the country’s prison service, says Labour’s  Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  It's estimated that 260 prison officers will lose… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce must rule out revising export target
    Steven Joyce must rule out a second revision of the Government’s export target in six months and stop trying to massage statistics when he fails to meet his goals, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “National set a target… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Caregiver law passed in haste now a fail
    The Government’s response to supporting family caregivers is mean spirited and designed to fail, says Labour’s Disability Issues Spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Figures released by the Ministry of Health show that only a tiny percentage of the eligible families have applied… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Clear message handed to nuclear states
    MPs Phil Goff, Shane Reti and Marama Fox are due to meet with diplomats from the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, China and France tomorrow to hand deliver a letter calling for their countries to disarm their nuclear weapons.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parity is no party for export businesses
    The extent of the damage done by the high dollar to New Zealand businesses is larger than many think as shown by a dramatic decrease in exports to Australia as our dollar rises, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “When the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats’ limited thinking stifling innovation
    Businesses trying to innovate and create better products are being let down by this Government with an industry expert saying Steven Joyce’s mini-tax credits will have almost no impact, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Andrew Dickeson, director of taxation… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vanishing Nature: A must-read for all New Zealanders
    The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?
    Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism.… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to act to protect Hector’s Dolphins
    The death of a Hector’s Dolphin in a set net must lead to action from the Minister of Conservation, Ruth Dyson, Labour’s Conservation Spokesperson said today. “Despite the fact that the Akaroa Harbour has been a Marine Mammal Sanctuary since… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Double-laning Darby and Joan disputed
    The Prime Minister’s by-election promise to double lane the road between Northland’s iconic Darby and Joan kauri trees has been contradicted by officials, Labour’s spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The NZ Transport Agency has told a media outlet that not all… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parity: Cheaper trips but lower incomes
    The Kiwi dollar’s near-parity with the Australian means some tourists will have cheaper Gold Coast holidays but New Zealand incomes will stay lower for longer, making it harder for many to afford the trip, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • English’s state house flog off plans exposed
    Labour is calling on Bill English to confirm or deny a claim the Government is exploring a mass sell-off of state housing to tenants. Property magnate Bob Jones writes in a newspaper column published today that the Minister responsible for… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extension of work scheme urged for disaster relief
    The Government is being urged to extend the Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme to help families in the most severely-damaged islands of Vanuatu, following Cyclone Pam. “Allowing a further 300 people to take up seasonal employment in New Zealand under… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nuclear deal with Iran should be just the start
    A deal struck by Iran and major powers to ensure the Iranian facilities producing nuclear material are not used for the purpose of constructing nuclear weapons has been a long time coming, Labour’s Disarmament spokesperson Phil Goff says. “Undoubtedly Iran’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Aoraki Newsletter March 2015
    Attachmentsmarch2015_web.pdf - 1.4 MB ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to do his homework
    Nathan Guy needs to do his homework, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Answering questions in Parliament today on the dairy sector, the Primary Industries Minister denied John Key wants to float Fonterra. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to put the kibosh on dirty diesel
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay has to get a grip on the KiwiRail board and put the kibosh on its crazy plan for dirty diesel on the main trunk line, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. It has been revealed… ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Louise Nicholas Day: Work still to do
    This is a summary of a speech I gave in honour of Louise Nicholas Day on March 31 The IPCA report showed us basic mistakes are still able to be made within a specialist unit. The Police Commissioner said there… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 weeks ago
  • The meanness and pettiness of Nats in power
    Last night, Parliament debated NZ First MP Tracey Martin’s Bill to ensure children in the long term care of family members were able to access a clothing allowance currently only available to children in foster care. Many of these children… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere