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Inflation targeting puts Kiwis under the gun

Written By: - Date published: 2:34 pm, April 16th, 2008 - 31 comments
Categories: economy, International - Tags: ,

dollar.jpgAs you know, petrol and food prices are up. These are international prices spiralling up due to growing demand and limited or falling supply. When demand exceeds supply prices rise.

Now, when food and petrol goes up, that’s inflation. In fact it’s most of the current inflation: out of 3.4%, 0.9% is from petrol and 0.9% from food. The Reserve Bank has a target for inflation of 1-3% over the medium term. When it sees inflation rising it puts up interest rates to get inflation down in the target range. This ‘inflation targeting‘ is meant to work by encouraging people to save, not borrow, and take money out of people’s pockets through higher mortgage rates (giving that money to the owners of foreign banks). This takes money out of circulation, reducing consumer demand to match supply. Bye, bye inflation. In theory.

Problem is, the demand for food and the demand for petrol is not going to drop we need just as much no matter what the price. Even if demand did drop a little in New Zealand, the price would keep rising because the market is international. So, our incomes are tightened by the rising prices. Then the Reserve Bank makes it worse by lifting interest rates. That has no effect on inflation, so the Reserve Bank lifts rates again and keeps them up.

The only way to bring overall inflation down is to cripple other spending by forcing us to put more and more money into food, petrol, and housing. But doing that means no-one wants to buy anything, strangling the rest of the economy, and all the while inflation stays up because it’s international. It’s a stupid situation: the Reserve Bank’s inflation targeting punishes Kiwis and the New Zealand economy but can’t fix the underlying causes of inflation.

What’s the solution? Fix inflation targeting. New Zealand was the first country in the world to adopt the practice, during the rightwing economic revolution, and we remain the only country in the world that only considers inflation, not things like growth and jobs, when setting interest rates and looks at all inflation, not just the domestic stuff that interest rates can actually affect. We need to join Australia, the UK, Canada, the US etc by looking at the economy overall and discounting international inflation when setting interest rates.

Where can we look to leadership on this issue? Not National and not Labour. The Greens and New Zealand First have led the way in calling for reform of how we manage interest rates. It’s high time Labour joined them.

31 comments on “Inflation targeting puts Kiwis under the gun”

  1. At the moment don’t we have ‘stagflation’ due to: our GDP growth falling for the last 8 years and inflation rising due to rapidly rising global resource demand ?

  2. Um, Maw – we don’t have slow growth and we don’t have high overall inflation. As these are the two indicators of stagflation I think you may need to reconsider your thesis.

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    mawgxxxxiv, no – that’s only with an actual economic contraction. At present, we might see a ‘technical recession’, as was the term used, a slight cntraction for two consecutive quarters. Apart from that, our economy has enjoyed one of the best growth periods ever – not what you’d call stagnant.

    Imagine a country with GDP growth figures of, say, 9% last year, 10% the year before, 10.5% the year before. The rate at which its economy is growing is decreasing, but nonetheless the economy is expanding. That isn’t stagflation.

  4. insider 4

    The question that comes up then around growth is, would we have had the same growth if we had not had a focus on inflation?

  5. That is a very good question indeed. I think yes. In fact I suspect that if the reins had been let out a bit there may have been greater room for businesses to borrow for capital investment and less high-dollar pressure on exporters.

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    The thing is, the economy is like an engine, and inflation is like the temperature gauge. Yes, it’s something you want to keep an eye on, you don’t want it getting to the red zone, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration when you decide how hard to press on the accelerator.

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    insider – perhaps we’d have had the same growth – but it wouldn’t be worth as much, in today’s terms. Any counterpoints out there – i.e. that higher inflation curtails growth (talking about, say 4-5% as opposed to 1-3%, not a mugabesque 100,000%)? I couldn’t say off the top of my head.

  8. Steve Pierson 8

    opinion differs on when inflation begins to hurt growth. this paper says 8% http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/clmclmeco/2000-22.htm , the general economic thought has been that its not bad until 20% plus.

    The difference between, say, 2% and 4% is insignificant as far I’m aware. And that makes sense, the numbers are puny, the ‘menu costs’ are small, and the rate of change isn’t too fast to really put sticky prices out of wack with more fluid ones.

    What really matters is stability. As long as the rate of change (and, so, the real rate fo return investors can expect) remains predicitable people will feel confident investing.

    Maybe matt nolan or phil or another econo-type will have somethign to add.

  9. Phil 9

    I’m indescribably flattered to have been mentioned in the same sentence as Matt – someone with a much greater capacity to eloquently explain economics than I do…

  10. Phil 10

    One thing that has not been mentioned thus far is the effect of the exhange rate. By raising interest rates, our dollar becomes more attractive to the internation community and the exchange rate rises, as ours has done.

    The impact this has is to reduce the cost of imported goods – a critical factor missing from all the bitching and moaning about petrol and food; without the current system in place, we would be facing much MUCH MUUUCCCCHHHH hugher prices for these items than we currently do.

  11. Phil 11

    In defence of the RB and inflation targeting generally;

    To say the RBNZ “only considers inflation, not things like growth and jobs” is simply not accurate.

    Inflation, GDP, jobs, the exchange rate, and a myriad of other indicators all impact upon each other in a free market economy, and the RB places a great deal of emphasis on understanding what it’s actions will do to them.

    DISCLAIMER; the views I have expressed on TheStandard.org are exclusively my own. They are not intended to be viewed as official policy or opinion of my employer, the RBNZ.

  12. While the term ‘stagflation’ was perhaps ‘provocative’ RBNZ figures show that growth has trended down from 6% in 2000 to 2% now. Statistics NZ numbers show that CPI inflation has trended up from 1.5% in 1999 to 3.5 % now. Both appear to have headed in the wrong direction under the current government.

  13. lprent 13

    They are not intended to be viewed as official policy or opinion of my employer, the RBNZ.

    I’ve been aware of that (it has shown on the e-mail you used).

    People can take it as policy that we guard the privacy of people on this blog. We’re quite painfully aware of the issue as is shown on our About page.

    BTW: Hopefully this will never become an issue, but I’ll get seriously annoyed if there is any personal abuse related to people’s occupations if they choose to disclose them.

  14. Pascal's bookie 14

    Phil, what do you think about the situation in the US and how the fed is responding to it?

    I realise that’s a short question asking for a long answer, but what interests me specifically is the fact that the fed has slashed rates massively at a time when inflation is knocking quite loudly on the door.

    At the same time, the fed is bailing out financial institutions by buying up (or loaning against) shitty paper at face value.

    It seems to me that these actions are short term fixes aimed at staving off immediate crises in the form of bank failures and Wall St meltdowns. It seems that just as a big player shifts some dodgy debt that they had hiding on the Cayman’s on to the publically viewable books, the market panics, and the Fed either cuts a deal or chops the rate. And the market bounces as if something important has happened.

    I realise that the Fed has to do something and that large scale bank failures should if at all possible be avoided. I worry about the moral hazards being set up, whereby other banks are watching on and noting that if they just let their own piece of the shitpile get septic enough, the Fed will bail them out. I also worry that the bad debts that no one seems to know the size of are just going to be fixed by an unspoken but deliberate policy of inflating the dollar.

    I’ve got no training in economics, which probably shows. But the steep cuts in interest rates combined with the inflation fears don’t gell to someone who is more used to how the RBNZ operates.

  15. Interest rates are not the problem, merely the symptom. Therefore, we should attempt to address the problem, which are to name a few: grossly low-wages, unproductive and negative incentives in residential housing, relaxed attitudes over the recent term of credit facility – rather plastering over the visible symptoms.

    Other symptoms exist, equally or more important especially in the living standard and social sectors, which may not be not visible to folk of a certain flavour, which are also a result of these negative incentives – but they are failing to be addressed in the rush to deliver silver-bullet political solutions which again – address only the symptoms – and even then, only those that fit in the world view.

  16. Phil 16

    Thanks Lynn,
    Recently RB staff were reminded of the protocol’s around working for a gov’t department in an election year. I figured it was better to be safe rather than sorry if someone stumbles upon my comments later… =)

    Pascal,
    You’re right in so much as it’s a very short question with a very long answer!

    Without wanting to bore you to death with banking regulation, the new capital adequecy rules called “Basel-2” should do an awful lot to clarify what can be transferred ‘off balance sheet’ (ie; sweet F.A.) which will hopefully go a long way to stopping this sort of accounting nonsense from happening again.

    As for getting out of the hole we’re currently in, the most likely scenario will involve slightly higher inflation around the planet as central banks inject more and more cash into financial markets to improve liquidity… which is really what the whole crisis is all about (as opposed to the underlying soundness of the global macro-financial community, which is pretty good).

  17. Dean 17

    Policy Parrot:

    “Other symptoms exist, equally or more important especially in the living standard and social sectors, which may not be not visible to folk of a certain flavour, which are also a result of these negative incentives – but they are failing to be addressed in the rush to deliver silver-bullet political solutions which again – address only the symptoms – and even then, only those that fit in the world view.”

    In your opinion does government spending have any effect on the inflation rate?

  18. Policy Parrot 18

    Dean: All expenditure has an effect on inflation – that’s a no brainer. However, leading on from your question – is the assertion, that if so, shouldn’t the government reduce spending to tackle inflation – in fact perhaps that is the cause of inflation.

    Which is completely fallacious. Government spending whilst not helping inflation is not the primary cause of it – once again – tackling causes rather than symptoms is the solution, for example – people would not have to spend so much on housing if prices were not artificially high. The asset value of residential housing doubled from 2001 to 2006. Extra spending to finance ever greater debt is the cause of this inflation.

  19. AncientGeek 19

    Steve: I lived, or rather tried to live, through the inflation of the late 70’s and 80’s. It would take a *lot* to convince me that it is anything other than massively corrosive. There is nothing quite as depressing as living with high inflation. At least with interest rates there are things you can do to avoid incurring interest liabilities.

    I think that the current guidelines are probably broadly correct. The effects of controlling inflation might hurt in the short-term, but they force the elements of the economy that are resistant to change to adjust faster (eg house prices). In the medium term that means that required changes are not protracted into long-term torture.

    With all that said, there is probably a case for the RB to run with a bit more temporary flexibility in their medium term objectives. We’re getting hit with a couple of external shocks at present. However looking at the RB’s operations I think thats the policy they’re following anyway.

    Where can we look to leadership on this issue? Not National and not Labour. The Greens and New Zealand First have led the way in calling for reform of how we manage interest rates. It’s high time Labour joined them.

    Yeah right. Hopefully they won’t. I’d prefer them to keep their powder dry for when we really need it.

  20. AncientGeek 20

    Talking about change. I’ve noticed sudden revival of people using motorcycles at work. This morning I heard an e-mail reported on Morning Report. Someone was shifting what they ate, to a cheaper and more healthy diet. Less dairy and meat and more fruit and vege’s.

    I’d expect to see a lot more of that happening. The current shocks happen to be in areas that the market signals operate quite well

  21. Dean 21

    Policy Parrot:

    “Dean: All expenditure has an effect on inflation – that’s a no brainer. However, leading on from your question – is the assertion, that if so, shouldn’t the government reduce spending to tackle inflation – in fact perhaps that is the cause of inflation.

    Which is completely fallacious. Government spending whilst not helping inflation is not the primary cause of it – once again – tackling causes rather than symptoms is the solution, for example – people would not have to spend so much on housing if prices were not artificially high. The asset value of residential housing doubled from 2001 to 2006. Extra spending to finance ever greater debt is the cause of this inflation”

    You know, I don’t think I’ve seen such a perfect example of doublethink in such a long time.

    Let’s recap. You’re saying that the government is spending money because of social inequities, and that the inflation government spending causes is somehow more just than the inflation caused by private investment.

    You’re also ignoring why so many people choose to invest in housing instead of saving. I wonder why?

    You’re saying inflation is largely the fault of private investors, even when we’ve seen a massive increase in government spending as a proportion of GDP.

    You do understand how supply and demand work, don’t you?

    Pull the other one Parrot. It’s got “Labour’s tax cuts are not inflationary but Nationals would be” written on it.

  22. Inflation has been caused by the doubling of the residential housing asset base, and the greater spending that is now required to retire debt. This phenomenon represents an increase in value in scale several factors greater than any influence that increased government spending has had.

    To say increased government spending has no affect on inflation would be incorrect. However, I agree with Michael Cullen – how capping or reducing increased government spending – which has been necessary to improve performance delivery of social services (there does need to be improvement in the service side of the public sector but this cannot be achieved by unduly limiting or slashing staff) – would have negligible effect on reducing inflation.

  23. Dean 23

    “However, I agree with Michael Cullen – how capping or reducing increased government spending – which has been necessary to improve performance delivery of social services (there does need to be improvement in the service side of the public sector but this cannot be achieved by unduly limiting or slashing staff) – would have negligible effect on reducing inflation.”

    Cullen also said that any tax cuts that National would deliver would be inflationary, yet his would not be.

    Or perhaps I’m wrong. Could you explain to me why tax cuts delivered by Labour are not inflationary, whereas tax cuts by National would be? I am all ears.

    Somehow, I don’t think you’re listening to the right advice when it comes to understanding the causes of inflation.

  24. r0b 24

    Cullen also said that any tax cuts that National would deliver would be inflationary, yet his would not be.

    Could we have the original source for that quote please Dean?

  25. Dean 25

    “Could we have the original source for that quote please Dean?”

    You have GOT to be joking. Surely. Are you honestly telling me you’ve never heard Cullen say either of these things?

    I’ll give you some links tomorrow.

  26. r0b 26

    I’ll give you some links tomorrow.

    That would be grand.

  27. What we have is an unprecedented economic collapse of the entire financial system as the result of irresponsible injections of fiat money into the system by the Federal reserve of New York in order to save the bankers elite after 20 years of bubble building and deregulation. If you really want to know more about the money system than watch these two films: The Money Masters http://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/interesting-videos/documentaries/the-money-masters/
    Money as debt
    http://crazyrichguy.wordpress.com/what-is-money/
    and read 5 articles starting with this one:
    http://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/the-financial-tsunami-the-preeminent-role-of-new-york-banks-and-wall-street-investment-banks/the-financial-tsunami-sub-prime-mortgage-debt-is-but-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/
    Then remember that John Key was only one of 4 advisors to the Federal Reserve from 1999 until March 2001 when he was Global Head of the Forex department of Merrill Lynch. A position that is upon invitation only, and which brought him very much to New York and Wall street.
    This was at the time when the federal reserve won the price after years of lobbying: the repeal of the Glass-Steagall_Act in 1999 which allowed the banks to go on an all out robbing spree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall_Act.
    And then I suggest you get a Kings seed catalogue and order your seeds, dig up your gardens and start growing you own food because if John Key gets elected that is what you will have to do in order to get food. No let me correct that, you will have to do that any way because the international bankers elite has f*cked up the system all ready, him being elected and them being able to rob this country of it’s resources would merely be a little icing on a cake on their already bloated table.
    By the way, why was John Key meeting with his old bosses in October 2007 for a breakfast in an office of Merrill Lynch in London? Well, if you have watched the films and read the articles you will know. On that level it’s: Once a banker always a banker.

  28. Sounds like you guys have been having a robust discussion of inflation targeting. I just recently wrote about it after seeing Kiwiblog and Kiwiblogblog talk about it:

    http://tvhe.co.nz/2008/04/16/why-does-the-target-rate-matter/

    “opinion differs on when inflation begins to hurt growth. this paper says 8%”

    One important thing to remember here is that this paper measures the cost of inflation now on growth. But I don’t think it takes into account inflation’s impact on inflation expectations, which then negatively impacts on future growth and welfare.

    This is why the Reserve Bank has changed its mandate to medium term inflation – as it is worried about what people expect inflation to be (as if people expect high inflation wage and price demands will be high to compensate, causing the inflation).

    Furthermore, although the RBNZ does not explicitly target output, it uses an output gap model and a fair amount of adaptive expectations stuff for determining where inflation will go. What this means is that, if economic growth starts falling sharply, they expect inflationary pressures to fall and so will be more likely to cut rates. In a sense this model does incorporate some type of “implicit” target rate of growth – what they call the natural growth rate.

  29. Steve Pierson 29

    I know some people have had a problem with us coming down heavy on abusive commentators and trolls, and I’ve personally been quite hesitant about it. But I just want to say this is a great thread full of intelligent comment and that wouldn’t be possible if we had dad4justice intervening about ‘lickspittle labour’ every five minutes and the Michele Cabiling types hurling abuse and homophobia.

    cheers, you fellas and fellaesses

  30. Fred 30

    Steve, good post.

  31. r0b 31

    I’ll give you some links tomorrow.

    How you doing there Dean? Any luck?

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    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.In places… ...
    1 day ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    1 day ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    1 day ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
    Your right to swipe for threesomes is under threat.    Some clean-cut millennials enjoying the 3nder afterglow. 1232RF Those for whom three is the magic sex-number should know that one's right to swipe one's way into a six-limb circus is… ...
    1 day ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    1 day ago
  • Some big news, for me
    Two pieces of news that are kind of a big deal, for me. Firstly, I’m ditching my landline! I’m not a student and I’m not in a low income band, so make of that what you will. Secondly, after 10… ...
    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    1 day ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    1 day ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    1 day ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    1 day ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    1 day ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    1 day ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 day ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    1 day ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    1 day ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    1 day ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    1 day ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 day ago
  • Spend and Tax
    As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in… ...
    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the rise of the far right, and battle bots
    In his victory speech at the Cannes film festival this week, the British film director Ken Loach warned that the rise of far right parties in Europe was being fuelled by the economic policies of austerity, and manifested in a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Why Corrections prevented Tony Robertson from getting treatment in prison
    Tony Robertson was sentenced to eight years in prison for indecently assaulting a five year old girl in 2005. He was considered a high risk prisoner and the parole board declined to release him on four separate occasions.  He was… ...
    PunditBy Roger Brooking
    2 days ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • Climate denial arguments fail a blind test
    As we saw in the recent legal ruling against Peabody coal, arguments and myths that are based in denial of the reality of human-caused global warming rarely withstand scientific scrutiny. In a new study published in Global Environmental Change, a team led by Stephen Lewandowsky… ...
    2 days ago
  • Palmerston North librarians gather to support UCOL colleagues
    At 5pm today at the UCOL Library, representatives of library staff from the City Library, Massey, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and local schools will meet in a show of support for UCOL Library staff whose jobs are threatened. “We all… ...
    2 days ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago

  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    28 mins ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    33 mins ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    23 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 day ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 day ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 day ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 day ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    3 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    5 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    5 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    5 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    6 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    6 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    7 days ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago
  • Under-reporting shows need to review quota system
    The Government must launch an independent review into New Zealand’s 30-year-old Quota Management System following a new report suggesting gross under-reporting of catch in the New Zealand fishing industry, Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker says.  “The Auckland University report found… ...
    1 week ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago

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