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How to pass treaties – could John Key please stop lying?

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, October 9th, 2013 - 44 comments
Categories: Economy, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, slippery - Tags: , ,

One of the more enduring myths presented by the proponents of treaties like the TPPA is that they have to be approved by the NZ parliament. This isn’t the case. As usual with most right wing myths, they appear to be taking their civics lessons from Hollywood rather than reality.

For instance in a revelation of incompetence or a deliberate lie John Key said this about the TPPA

However, he said the agreement would still have to be ratified by Parliament, with the Government needing to build a majority.

No John – you complete dickhead. Perhaps you should spend some time reading about your own job. Parliament doesn’t have to “ratify” anything. In fact there is no such procedure in the NZ legal structure – I think that he is thinking of Hollywood perhaps?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) describes the authority thus:-

In New Zealand the power to take binding treaty action (that is, ratification, accession, acceptance, approval, withdrawal or denunciation or, in the case of bilateral treaties, signature) rests with the Executive. Within this context, Cabinet has decided that certain international treaties (essentially multilateral treaties and major bilateral treaties of particular significance) will be presented to the House of Representatives for select committee consideration, before the Executive takes binding treaty action.

My italics..

In essence, this means that the “executive” aka cabinet graciously allows our governing body in parliament to look at a treaty in select committee. The select committee may or may not choose to allow public submissions usually depending on the inclination of the governing party MPs in that select committee. The select committee can then report back to the full house, which may not vote on the acceptance of treaty.

Except in very rare and urgent circumstances, the government refrains from taking any binding treaty action in relation to a treaty that has been presented to the House until the relevant committee has reported, or 15 sitting days have elapsed from the date of the presentation, whichever is sooner. The select committee may indicate to the government that it needs more time to consider the treaty, in which case the government may consider deferring taking binding treaty action. The select committee may seek public submissions. In addition, the House itself may sometimes wish to have a further opportunity for discussion of the proposed treaty action, for example by way of a debate in the House.

Implementing legislation: Legislation necessary to implement a treaty in New Zealand’s domestic law (if any) should not be introduced into the House until the treaty has been presented to the House and the time for reporting back has expired. The Government will not take binding treaty action until the treaty is implemented in New Zealand’s domestic law.

Now this is an interesting procedure. It is well suited for matters of defense which may be quite time critical. It means (for instance) that if the executive wanted to offer defense and support guarantees by way of a treaty to a country under threat, it can do so promptly and expeditiously in response to an emerging situation. However with a much less critical trade treaty, it means that the executive can if it chooses to do so can bypass all of the parliamentary checks before committing our country. Why?

Most of the effect of trade treaties is on matters like tariffs that are generally able to be modified by such non-legislative means such as the Executive Council telling the Governer General to sign and order in council. Typically much of the legislation passed by the NZ Parliament cedes authority to the governor general and their executive council as a matter for regulation.

Some important factors in treaties do not require even that. One major part of the unreleased TPPA provisions appears to relate to setting up international tribunals of “jurists” to settle disputes between participants, including between corporations and governments. At this point it appears that these tribunals will be setup using an unknown criteria for panel selection, have no particular deadlines, do not have to have public proceedings or published documents of their proceedings, are able to fine whatever penalties that they wish, have no transparent appeal process, and gain their power by their ability to bind other participants to restrict trade…

Importantly that also (as far as I can see) require no domestic legislation to be introduced, amended or changed. The reason why the word “appears” is so prevalent in the preceding paragraph is because no-one outside of a select group of diplomats and the their favoured corporations appears to have been briefed on much of the prospective TPPA provisions.

According to some of the leaked documents, much of this particular treaties provisions will not be released outside of the executive for years following signature because they will be required to go through countries with more legislator approval requirements, like the US, which will require years to approve the treaty.

In this case it is likely that some minor legislation will be required to be changed. For instance abolishing Pharmac’s ability to cut into overseas drug companies profits. However most of the TPPA does not and will not require any approval from parliament despite John Key’s assertions to the contary.

The debate between Wayne Mapp and Jane Kelsey this evening will hopefully be somewhat more realistic than assuming that John Key has an ability to do his own job.
Putting the TPPA to the test

44 comments on “How to pass treaties – could John Key please stop lying?”

  1. vto 1

    The Mfat website has it wrong.

    The executive may not alter the constitutional arrangements within NZ, such as the vote. This treaty dramatically diminishes our vote and so the executive may not enter into it.

    That is my view and I’m sticking to it. Any yankee that comes in here and tries telling us we cannot make our own laws can go fucking jump.

    [lprent: I suspect that your view is more out of hope than legality. But at least you are vaguely on-topic. ]

    • northshoredoc 1.1

      “This treaty dramatically diminishes our vote and so the executive may not enter into it.”

      No the point is we don’t know if it does or doesn’t do so.

      • vto 1.1.1

        This treaty will reduce what laws we can pass in our own land therefore it reduces the power and size of our vote.

        • northshoredoc 1.1.1.1

          No we don’t know that, it may well do so, which is why it like any other bill before parliament should be subjected to intense public scrutiny before being passed into law.

          • vto 1.1.1.1.1

            Oh, you mean we don’t know if it will reduce the power of our Parliament and our vote because we haven’t seen text yet? Sounds like pin dancing to me – it is well known that this will be one of the effects despite the public not seeing the actual wording. Not sure what your point is really.

          • David H 1.1.1.1.2

            @northshoredoc

            “should be ” But won’t. so we will be ruled by lies dammed lies and JokeyHen.

    • vto 1.2

      Well yes mr prent, it is likely the legality of such may be something other than my view. However the important point is the effect it does have on our power to make laws for us. This intrusion is gigantic and imo excessive. Business should understand that it takes a risk in investing into another country – it needs to weigh up that risk of laws being changed which may affect its business and adjust accordingly.

      The importance of our own power is the size of 100 elephants. The importance of business risk is the size of maybe 2 elephants.

      And that is all that this part is about – the risk to business. Nothing more and nothing less. Business has been raised above its long term average importance in the scheme of human beans, and it is not right.

      That is my view and I’m sticking to it.

      (oh, and I would have thought these points were entirely on-topic?)

      • Sable 1.2.1

        I think you will find the “mr is a miss”.

        • Tracey 1.2.1.1

          nope.

        • lprent 1.2.1.2

          Definitely not. If you want to find a Miss Lyn, then she is my partner. But I’m definitely Mr Lynn (with the correct number of ens at the end).

          Or as the popular joke amongst family and friends goes “New Lyn(n) and Grey Lynn”.

          Oh and we live in Grey Lynn…

          But this is all off topic…

      • lprent 1.2.2

        oh, and I would have thought these points were entirely on-topic?

        They were. Otherwise they’d have wound up in OpenMike like what used to be the number 2 comment which had a diversion into Pharmac.

    • David H 1.3

      Surely tho’ if this is passed by Parliament on a bunch of lies and half-truths , surely the next govt can repeal this as well.

  2. Tracey 2

    Not at this link that Wayne does not say parliament must ratify, he says it effectively ratifies because of law changes required after the treaty is signed.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/sign-the-tppa-petition/#comment-704042

    I for one have enjoyed the discussion here and just wish it transfer even by 10% to the public arena.

    • lprent 2.1

      Most “trade” treaties including this one require very little legislation to pass. The FTA with China only required minor legislative changes. Most of it was done by regulation. It still means that China is now rapidly heading to being our largest trading partner in both exports and imports.

      Moreover most treaties require many of the actual legislative changes to be made if possible. They aren’t mandatory.

      So basically that “effectively ratify” is also effectively crap.

      BTW: The TPPA may require more legislative changes than the FTA with China. That is because it isn’t a trade agreement. It is because it appears to mostly be an agreement about the legalities of intellectual property (with a bit of free trade in goods and services thrown in as a sweetener for Fonterra).

  3. Sable 3

    Keys is not stupid, just devious. People are surprisingly ignorant and the little creep knows this. He’s trying to create the impression that he is not the driving force behind the TPPA and its a “consensus” decision. So hey, don’t worry people there are “checks and balances,its not as bad as it sounds.”

    Like any good magician Keys does this kind of misdirection convincingly and with a complicit mainstream media no one is going to expose him. Just as well there are sites like this one to tell it like it really is.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      I agreed with everything you said right up to this:

      “Just as well there are sites like this one to tell it like it really is.”

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    You want a politician to stop lying? Godd luck with that…

    • lprent 4.1

      I’m used to them lying by omission . I just find that them stupidly lying is really really scary as a voter and citizen.

      • Puckish Rogue 4.1.1

        True that, its a sad but true reality of the political realities of NZ (and of course everywhere else) that we reward and continue to vote for politicians that lie (on both sides of the spectrum)

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Stop making excuses for the behaviour then, creep, and hold National to account.

      • travellerev 4.1.2

        He doesn’t lie stupidly. He just doesn’t give a fuck about being found out. That should tell you something about how confident he feels with regards to the agenda he is implementing for his corporate mates.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.1

          +1

        • emergency mike 4.1.2.3

          +1

          “The agreement would still have to be ratified by Parliament, with the Government needing to build a majority,” just sounds like a nice reassuring thing to say, so he said it. If it turns out to be untrue and he gets called out on it, no biggie, he can just spin his way out of it later like always.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Don’t be disingenuous. Its the selling out of our sovereignty and independence as a nation which is the issue.

  5. You might watch this video about it. you might ump off the fence and yell: NOOOOOOO!

    But then again you might be fine with giving big international Corps more financial deregulation and more military power and more rights to sue your own government is it doesn’t allow them free access to our assets.

    That has after all done wonders of good for this country in the past!

  6. Wayne 6

    Lynn,

    I will deal with this issue tonite.

    In a sense both you and the PM are correct. It is true that the ratification of treaties is an executive act, not a parliamentary matter. However all treaties are tabled in Parliament and are examined by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. However the Committee can’t actually change anything.

    Major trade treaties invariably require legislative change, in this case probably on IP, and dispute resolution. But not for tariffs, which can be done by regulation under the relevant acts. Not that NZ has many tariffs anyway. The tariff reductions are going to be done by other states (and we will be the beneficiaries).

    In this instance the TPP, because of its high profile, will have a substantial parliamentary hearing. But in truth Parliament cannot really undo the commitments, or if they did, NZ would have to then file reservations. I have never seen that happen with a FTA entered into by NZ.

    It is a bit like Treaty of Waitangi settlements. They all go through parliament, but parliament does not change the agreement between Crown and Iwi.

    • Tracey 6.1

      Yes, but Mr Key is clearly using the ratification to assuage some fears of it being foistered on us, when he knows, or ought to know, that the ratification will do no such thing.

      Do Treaty settlements get examined by interested parties prior to signing?

      Will you also address the presence and participation of 400-600 corporates who in turn must be reporting to Boards?

    • lprent 6.2

      My issue is the “ratification” nonsense which is being used like a babies comforter on the public. All sucker and no nipple. It is also an outright lie.

      By what looks like a deliberate repetition it tries to create the impression that parliament will have have any significiant say on the approving the TPPA. The reality is that it is entirely cut out of the process apart from waffling and maybe a few token and unrequired minor legislative changes. This is an executive decision and has essentially nothing to do with parliament.

      Most required legislation will go through long AFTER the treaty is already signed and we are ALREADY committed to its provisions. My guess is that most of the required legislation isn’t going to be required until years or even up to a decade after signature is given.

      I’d prefer that *all* of the legislation gets at least drafted, made public, and goes to select committee before signature. At least then parliament and the public will be involved. As it is, we’re absolutely reliant on the silly buggers in and running MFAT not doing something stupid in the pursuit of their future international careers and running this under too much secrecy.

      Neither CER nor the FTA with China got done under this lack of transparency. There is no need for it in trade treaties. Nor for that matter do Treaty of Waitangi agreements.

    • vto 6.3

      Wayne, what do you say to the fact that by limiting the laws which our Parliament can make (or alternatively, still make them but compensate business for the change effect (which is a crock and a half)) our vote is diminished. This is something (changing the power of our vote) which the people of NZ must decide, NOT, effectively, the National Party.

    • Tracey 6.4

      dispute resolution of what. Can you be specific?

    • Colonial Viper 6.5

      So Wayne, why are we handcuffing our precious nation to a “diminishing superpower” (in the words of the front page of the Jakarta Globe), a nation which cannot govern itself and which risks full scale financial default every 18 months?

      • Martin 6.5.1

        Because, Colonial Viper, enough stupid people in this country were sucked in by the sales pitch of a merchant banker for said merchant banker to become sub prime minister.
        A merchant banker who has always grovelled and sucked up to said diminishing super power.

        I’m sorry I’m not Wayne, but I hope my answer is more interesting.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Ahh the FTA agreement with China.

    Its good to know “Antilope horns and powder are now duty free when exported to China- was 3%

    http://www.chinafta.govt.nz/2-For-businesses/2-Tools-and-resources/3-Tariff-finder/0-step2.php

    Try looking at Cheese. No duty free trade yet

  8. Tracey 8

    Puckish

    you might continue to vote for liars but some of us vote for those who havent yet been proven liars.

  9. Rich 9

    A treaty can’t override domestic law unless that law is changed to permit it, so any changes needed to implement a treaty need to be voted on by parliament.

    Some treaties don’t involve this – a military alliance would involve prerogative powers and wouldn’t involve a law change.

  10. captain hook 10

    well the president of the United States wasn’t there so its just a hill of beans anyway.

  11. George D 11

    One former Minister of Foreign Affairs is willing to engage with his critics, answer their arguments, and acknowledge areas of difference. The other simply waves it all away and declares every critic is simply a blind minion of Jane Kelsey.

    It’s a strange world where Wayne Mapp is more willing to listen to Labour Party members than Phil Goff.

  12. newsense 12

    Perhaps a question in the house or an amendment assuring that the text of this treaty will go to parliament for ratification, the same way it will go to Congress in the States?

    If Key is happy for it to be ratified, surely he will make sure this happens?

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    A nasty side of radio announcer Mike Hosking spilled out into view last week as he ‘bashed’ the victim of John Key’s serial bullying. Hosking, supported by TVNZ’s OneNews, sponsored by RaboDirect, vilified the waitress whom the Prime Minister admits… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Is Auckland boring enough?
    Via Jarrett Walker, I recently ran across a provocative article by Aaron Renn in the Guardian: “In praise of boring cities“. Renn takes his fellow urbanists to task for the narrowness of their vision about what makes a good city:… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago

  • More hype and half-truths from Coleman
    The rising incidence of rheumatic fever has nothing to do with ‘families having a better understanding of the disease’ as the Health Minister wants us to believe but everything to do with his failure to address the root causes of… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Regional air routes must be maintained
    The Government must use its majority shareholding to make sure Air New Zealand cooperates with second tier airlines stepping into the regional routes it has abandoned, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Air New Zealand’s cancellation of its Kaitaia, Whakatane,… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Action needed on decades old arms promise
    Nuclear weapons states must honour the unequivocal promise they made 45 years ago to disarm, says Labour’s Disarmament Spokesperson Phil Goff. Mr Goff is attending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York. ...
    15 hours ago
  • Worker safety top of mind tomorrow and beyond
    Workers’ Memorial Day, commemorated tomorrow, is both a time to reflect and to encourage a better safety culture in all workplaces, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway.“On Worker’s Memorial Day, working people across New Zealand will remember those… ...
    1 day ago
  • Communities forced to stomach water woes
    Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. The Drinking… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Nepal
    The Government should act immediately to help with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The Nepalese Government is appealing for international assistance following yesterday’s massive quake. The full impact is only now being realised… ...
    2 days ago
  • New holiday reflects significance of Anzac Day
    Anzac Day now has the full recognition that other public holidays have long enjoyed, reflecting the growing significance it has to our sense of identity and pride as a nation, Labour MP David Clark says.“The importance of the 100th Gallipoli… ...
    2 days ago
  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    5 days ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    5 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    6 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    6 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    6 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    7 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    7 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    7 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    7 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    1 week ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • 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… ...
    1 week 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 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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.… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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,… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks ago

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