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Insurance Council goes Galt

Written By: - Date published: 1:34 pm, November 3rd, 2013 - 62 comments
Categories: business, Economy - Tags: ,

Well that didn’t take long. The Insurance Council has come out attacking Labour for KiwiAssure. Which is odd really, given the claim that there’s already a competitive market. You’d have thought they would welcome a new member to the industry. Wouldn’t you?

Or alternatively, they’ve been making big money at the expense of all of us while the government turns a blind-eye, and now they’re panicking about the rort coming to an end.

Of course the Chief Executive of the Insurance Council, Tim Grafton, was also the Director of Strategy for Jenny Shipley, Chief Advisor to Bill English, and a Senior Advisor to Bill Birch. Which goes to show how permeable the line between the National Party and big business really is.

Ol’ Tory Grafton’s release makes for great reading though, aside from lacking any internal consistency (the “bad old days” theme of the title and first line isn’t addressed anywhere else in the release), I really enjoyed Grafton’s Atlas Shrugged* moment:

the last thing anyone should be doing is trying to drive away insurance capital,

What are they going to do? Pack up they’re bags and leave? Oh! No! Who would overcharge us for insurance then???

*HatTip: IB

62 comments on “Insurance Council goes Galt”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    ICNZ- The goose that lays the Galten beg.

  2. tricledrown 2

    Insurance companies are like the mafia using stand over and scare tactics to get money out of people for protection.
    But when it comes time to provide the protection they will

    use every tactic to get out of paying.
    This connection to shipley is worrying I would expect that these insurance companies will crank up the ChCh rebuilf to make National look good.

  3. Macro 3

    But these people know about insurance – unlike you and me – so therefore they are obviously right, and we don’t know what we are talking about… Even though NZ has been the prime example of State funded and administered Health, Accident, Earthquake, Working Income, and Personal Belongings Insurance for decades

  4. newsense 4

    “It makes absolutely no sense to have three State-owned insurers – EQC, ACC and now KiwiAssure.”

    Gosh and here’s me thinking the only thing propping up the government books was ACC. If we have two successful state insurers why wouldn’t a third be a good idea?

    For those of us too young to remember, what was the history of State Insurance, before it became State insurance?

    • alwyn 4.1

      Very briefly the old State Insurance Company could be summed up as
      1. Cheap rates
      2. Would insure anybody
      Unfortunately it also was
      1. Very, very hard to get anything out of if you made a claim.
      2. Quite unhelpful and rude to its customers.
      I had a number of friends who, when young, insured with State. One had his car stolen and it was never recovered. Even after nearly a year the company wasn’t paying out for a total loss on the grounds that the vehicle might still be found! That seemed to me to be an excuse that ran out after about a month, but not to still claim it after a year.
      He did finally get his money but their behaviour was appalling.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        1. Very, very hard to get anything out of if you made a claim.

        The one time I made a claim it took less than a week. I actually had to return the check because the stolen item was recovered.

        2. Quite unhelpful and rude to its customers.

        That happens everywhere and the worst I’ve ever got has been from the private sector – especially banks. IME, it’s the abusive customers that don’t get helped, i.e, they’re their own worse enemy.

      • Tim 4.1.2

        Well of course ACC is not what was intended by its architect either – having been neutered and fucked around with over the years by those with a neo-liberal approach to all and everything.

        They went for ACC, then the insurance companies – de-mutualisation et al >>> value for ‘shareholders’ and bugger all for customers.

        I imagine Labour intend implementing their policies with better oversight than has occurred in the past.

        Perhaps, since the Commerce Commission as been so bloody useless (enabling the rise of the duopoly and protecting corporate interests over those of the ‘consumer’ and ‘taxpayer’), Labour might have to provide them with some “GUIDLINES” (hint hint)

  5. Populuxe1 5

    It’s hardly surprising – look at what the insurance companies are doing in the US in response to Obamacare

  6. newsense 6

    Also if the foreign owned insurers are such good value and good insurers then they will keep their customers ahead of any government scheme surely?

  7. KJT 7

    Just like the “competitive” banking industry suddenly found they did not have to charge as high a set of fees to make money, when Kiwibank started, the insurance industry are terrified they may actually have to become competitive.

    Time we got rid of the rort that is the private finance industry altogether. If they were really as efficient and competitive, as they claim, they would not be so scared of State competition.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      The reality is that private companies can’t compete with government in efficiency or costs.

      • TheContrarian 7.1.1

        Private health is far more efficient than the public health system. Don’t get me wrong, I love NZ’s public health system but private is easily more efficient in many areas.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          Ah, no it’s not. You get lack of waiting lines in the private sector not from them being more efficient but because so many can’t afford them. The public hospital system is inundated whereas the private system isn’t.

          Compare them side by side and you will find that the private system is less efficient. They have more expenses (advertising, profits) and they don’t reach the full population. The last time I read (admittedly a while ago) a comparison between the US and NZ was that the US cost US$6000 per capita and only reached 5/6ths of the populace compared to NZ US$2000 per capita while reaching close to the full population.

          No, the private system is not any more efficient. It, quite simply, can’t be.

          • TheContrarian 7.1.1.1.1

            Well having spent a long time working in the public sector I was frequently frustrated by the bureaucracy, lack of innovation and inability to chart my own course without having to ask 6 different people and waiting weeks to get answer. Moving to private I really noticed how much more efficient it was.

            “No, the private system is not any more efficient. It, quite simply, can’t be.”

            Yes it can.

            • Lanthanide 7.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s a symptom if it being publicly funded. My uncle tells similar stories about Telecom before it was privatised in terms of having to go through multiple layers of bureaucracy trying to justify to get things done (where this can be as simple as asking for new stationary that is required to do your job), that in a private environment the barriers largely don’t exist.

              I guess this means in a private environment resources can be ‘wasted’ compared to a public, but I’d have to think that the over-the-top gatekeeping going on in a public system probably outweighs the cost of the waste in the private system.

              • TheContrarian

                You just need to watch the first episode of Revolution (in the side bar) to get an idea of how inefficient the govt. can be.

                I’ll give you a more recent example after eating my dinner…

                • TheContrarian

                  I worked for a large govt department a few years back. They had a problem in which they were overpaying their staff, sometimes in large chunks.

                  There were two reasons for this:
                  *outdated and poorly utilised software
                  *A central payroll but decentralised HR

                  Firstly the software was not fit for use. It ran on a Monday – Sunday timescale but pay ran on a Wednesday to Wednesday. Also the paylips it produced were extremely difficult to understand
                  Secondly if someone working in Christchurch was receiving a particular allowance on top of their salary, say $40 p/week for using their own car as opposed to one provided by the department, and they changed to a car provided they’d put a slip into the HR department to cease the allowance. HR sometimes sat on that slip for up to a year, all this time payroll was still paying the $40 allowance not knowing it should be ceased. I was hired to get the money back and I knew what the problem was however no one wanted to deal with the systemic problem but rather clean up the aftermath. Anytime I wanted to make a change it would take ages because it had to go through several people, several departments and I would get the answer back to just carry on from someone who obvoiously hadn’t read what I had suggested. After 2 years I finally had some movement but then had my contract terminated because they just wanted to go back to how things were happening before.

                  What a complete waste of resources. Firstly the overpayments but secondly hiring me to fix it, paying the salary to me but taking none of the recommendations and continuing to make the same errors knowing that it could be fixed but no incentive to do so. A private company would have long gone bust.

                  • KJT

                    I can tell many similar stories about the private sector. And for some reason they don’t go bust, and they keep paying the managers who make the stuff-ups even more millions.

                    Badly managed is badly managed, whether it is public or private.

                    The silly idea that any MBA can manage in any industry, whether they know anything about it or not has a lot to do with it.

                  • Craig Glen Eden

                    Two words “Nova Pay”

              • Draco T Bastard

                My uncle tells similar stories about Telecom before it was privatised in terms of having to go through multiple layers of bureaucracy…

                And yet I never had such a problem.

                Anecdotes != truth.

            • greywarbler 7.1.1.1.1.2

              The C
              Did you ever read the Brit book written on the start of reorganisation of their public service ‘Your Disobedient Servant?’
              Author Leslie Chapman 1978

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1.3

              Well having spent a long time working in the public private sector I was frequently frustrated by the bureaucracy, lack of innovation and inability to chart my own course without having to ask 6 different people and waiting weeks to get answer.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.1.2

            Comparing US healthcare to NZ healthcare to judge private vs public is pretty pointless, because the systems are just so different in terms of treatments offered and population dynamics etc. You’d be better off comparing private hospitals in NZ to public hospitals in NZ.

            Anyway, private hospitals in NZ simply don’t do the same range of services as public hospitals. For example all emergency surgery and admissions are taken care of by the public service. It’s only things like scheduled exams and surgeries that are done in private.

            • TheContrarian 7.1.1.1.2.1

              Agreed – bad example

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.2.2

              Comparing US healthcare to NZ healthcare to judge private vs public is pretty pointless, because the systems are just so different in terms of treatments offered and population dynamics etc.

              Nope and the reasons for that is that a large chunk of the cost of running the US health care system is advertising, another large chunk goes into excessive CEO and upper management pay rates, ~10% into profits and then there’s a fairly large chunk that goes into not paying out claims. They’ve actually ended up with more bureaucracy. There’s a reason why ObamaCare has that a minimum of 80% premiums gets spent on actually providing health services. After all that, their outputs aren’t any better than ours.

              I was, quite simply, comparing a highly inefficient system (US health care) with a highly efficient one (NZ health care).

              • Tat Loo (CV)

                Don’t forget shareholder dividends. Lots of shareholder dividends for lots of large, wealthy institutional investors.

        • miravox 7.1.1.2

          “Private health is far more efficient than the public health system”

          I’m thinking you have a pretty narrow definition of efficiency there.
          the U.S. spends more on health than any other country, has quality that is no better and has the most unequal access in the developed world.

        • KJT 7.1.1.3

          Another comedian.

          The US private system costs hugely more than any public one for much less coverage and worse average health care.

          Having worked for both private and Government organisations I can say that stultifying bureaucracy and poor management are endemic in the private sector, and State enterprises, run like a business.
          http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/government-should-be-run-like-business.html

          Especially as we hugely reward managers who know nothing about the business, apart from cost cutting, asset stripping and screwing staff.

          • newsense 7.1.1.3.1

            I really dislike this- it’s public so it must be less efficient thing. A well run service with enforced targets and accountable people will be efficient either way.

            A crap company will be a crap company, public or private.

            Govt. can be inefficient, it can be efficient. Private companies can be efficient, they can also criminally neglect to invest, aim to confuse to essentially defraud as a business strategy etc etc…

            Certainly the arguments given for private companies about competition frequently seem to be a crock of crap…

          • Tim 7.1.1.3.2

            “Having worked for both private and Government organisations I can say that stultifying bureaucracy and poor management are endemic in the private sector, and State enterprises, run like a business.”

            EXACTERY

            I recall people moaning about bureaucracy in the old Ministry of Works; lazy buggers leaning on shovels; all the usual. Then you realise what they actually achieved, and contrast it with the bloody FultonHogan/Chorus/subcontractor/subcontractor/self-employed approach – a Warehouse type “everyone gets a bargain/everyone clips the ticket”.

            Vogel Computer Centre was run on extremely tight reins and supported a number of departments. Moving on to the banking sector from there (Databank and trading banks) was a bloody eye opener in terms of inefficiency, waste, needless bureaucracy, difficulties in getting decisions made, troughing, management being wined and dined by salesmen – then making technical decisions for which they weren’t qualified ….. the list goes on.

            Government Departments run on corporate lines are the problem – often run as highly paid CEO’s feifdoms. That’s what the 1980’s brought us all.
            The old public service might have been ripe for ridicule, but post-Douglas et al I think I’d rather have walk shorts, socks and sandals!

            • greywarbler 7.1.1.3.2.1

              Tim
              You mention fiefdoms. That causes me concern too.

              There is the Transport one where there is a huge budget for them to spend however they like, providing they can produce apparently irrefutable stats to back their ideas. And they are so sure they are right. Consultation is about perhaps leaving a memorial tree on the blitzkreig road they are planning.

              Government, seems to hand over its authority completely to the administrators. ‘I can’t do anything it’s an operational matter.’ Or the plan has been researched and consulted on for years, it’s time to move on it. A road to hell, nice and straight and fast. I’m not saying that they are all wrong but they have too much autonomy.

        • QoT 7.1.1.4

          private is easily more efficient in many areas.

          Only because our public system carries the bulk of healthcare. It’s really easy to deliver fast and effective services when other organisations are picking up the bulk/the difficult cases/backing up your shit when things go wrong.

          • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.4.1

            Funny how this fairly obvious point never surfaces when right-wingers are discussing how much more “efficient” private health care is. Make private hospitals open emergency departments and deal with everything affecting all comers and see how much better the service they provide is then…

          • Funny 7.1.1.4.2

            Spot on

  8. Will@Welly 8

    The neo-liberal culture is suddenly confounded by a dilemma not of its own making. A political party wanting to set up an insurance agency to compete with other businesses on the free market.
    Suddenly the “level playing field” isn’t so level any more. How friggin’ sad. Instead of ripping off Kiwis, the insurance companies might have to pull finger and do something pro-active ,

  9. Venezia 9

    This news about a state owned and run insurance company is great news indeed especially to those of us in Christchurch who have borne the brunt of the dishonest international corporate versions. I will be one of the first to sign up when KiwiAssure gets up and running.

  10. Tracey 10

    Nosense

    acc is not an insurance company. Thank you.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Well, it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be a pay-go system but the stupid 5th Labour led government turned it into a fully funded insurance system. Since then it’s gone to hell.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    @ Zetetic

    You asked, “What are they (insurance companies) going to do?”

    Answer: Pour money into defeating Cunliffe / Labour.

    Entrenched campaign financing limits are essential or we will end with the American system: “the best government money can buy.”

  12. muzza 12

    Banking and finance includes insurance, and in many instances are the same banks that have been annihilating all in their tracks, are the underwriters and owners of the insurance industry.

    Which is about all that needs to be known about the insurance industry, so of course they will be seeking to defend their stranglehold in this pacific island nation.

  13. insider 13

    Kiwi bank already offers a full suite of home insurance and personal and life. Why is Cunliffe needing to reinvent what already exists? Isn’t the scandal that kiwibank is not already offering what he says his new scheme will offer?

    • felix 13.1

      Perhaps you won’t vote Labour after all then.

    • IrishBill 13.2

      Most of Kiwibank’s insurance offerings are third-party contracted by private sector insurers.

      • Psycho Milt 13.2.1

        Exactly. Just like the private sector banks’ insurance offerings – funny thing, banks aren’t insurance companies…

      • insider 13.2.2

        “We’ve teamed up with Kiwi Insurance Limited (a related company of Kiwibank) and TOWER Insurance Limited” So a mix of its own insurance and that of tower, a nz company.

        So Cunliffe is going to kill off this because…?

        Note that Cunliffeyeahsure will be reselling overseas backed insurance.

        • Draco T Bastard 13.2.2.1

          Note that Cunliffeyeahsure will be reselling overseas backed insurance.

          I hope not as that would be a really stupid idea as the Chch fiasco has already proved.

          • the pigman 13.2.2.1.1

            Yeah I suppose it is likely to use existing reinsurers, although clearly not that much detail is available at this stage.

            However, as for insurers of the affected Christchurch homes blaming their reinsurers (which I’m sure they do), it’s total bullshit. The insurers should be honouring their obligations and sorting out the disputes with their reinsurers separately, and hypothetically speaking, you’d certainly expect KiwiAssure to do so in order to avoid that situation.

            • Colonial Viper 13.2.2.1.1.1

              The NZ Govt will use some re-insurers, but it can also largely self insure. There is no reason for KiwiBank to offer third party insurance products once this is all set up.

        • SpaceMonkey 13.2.2.2

          The Government is big enough to self-insure.

      • Lanthanide 13.2.3

        IIRC a figure someone (Labour MP, Parker maybe? Cunliffe?) said was 98% of the insurance sector is owned by foreign corporates.

    • PleaseThinkOfThePuppies 13.3

      Banks simply resell someone else’s product, they do not provide their own insurance services.

      When I was with ASB (customer for over 20 years, never got crap from them so moved to Kiwibank as soon as it started), my Life and Car insurance were all from someone else.

      Talking of crap service, was a Meridian customer for over 8 years and it was only once i cancelled my contract with them to go with the local power co that they rang up offering me a mediocre rebate (cancelled due to them being on the block).

      Hint to all biz out there, its easier to keep customers than gain new ones.

  14. QoT 14

    drive away insurance capital

    This may be a completely obtuse comment, as I know sweet fuck-all about the insurance industry, but:

    Isn’t a good proportion of the insurance industry’s capital our capital? It’s not like they stick a whole lot of their own money into a term deposit and let us use it to rebuild houses and buy new cars for free.

    • Lanthanide 14.1

      Insurance companies have big big pots of money. Premiums really make up their profit stream; the underlying capital acts like an endowment that keeps them in business. I believe there’s also regulatory requirements around how much money they need to have on hand etc.

      • felix 14.1.1

        If that’s the case it’s just more reason for publicly owned alternatives without the dead weight loss that the “profit” represents.

      • Tat Loo (CV) 14.1.2

        Insurance companies have big big pots of money.

        The NZ govt has big pots of money.

        And unlike insurance companies, the NZ govt can always issue more money if required, so it is always a safer, cheaper underwriter.

        • SpaceMonkey 14.1.2.1

          “And unlike insuarnce companies, the NZ govt can always issue more money if required”

          Not quite… not under the current financial system. Banks create currency. But the NZ Govt can borrow money a lot more easily than most…

          • Tat Loo (CV) 14.1.2.1.1

            Do you know of any entity in the world apart from the NZ Government which can legally print a $100 note?

            If required the Reserve Bank can credit the Government’s accounts as required.

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    ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19410723-34-27’ Hi y’all and welcome to Sunday Reading. Here’s a collection of stuff I found interesting over the week. Please add your links in the comments below. Whoops, we forgot to build housing. During ...
    Transport BlogBy Kent Lundberg
    2 days ago
  • 2016 SkS Weekly News Roundup #35
    A chronological listing of the news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. Sun Aug 21, 2016 91,000 Electric Cars Sold In Europe In 1st Half Of 2016 by James Ayre, Clean Technica, Aug ...
    2 days ago
  • Guest Post: Rail Safety Week – A HSEQ Perspective
    This is a guest post from Harriet.  Recently we have had Rail Safety Week, the aim was to increase awareness of level crossings and their danger. Unfortunately we have had many deaths and injuries, with countless more near misses over ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • A wheely suitcase in Europe #6: San Sebastian to Gijon
    After four nights in San Sebastian, Basque we journeyed further west to Gijon, Asturias. Again we decided to use BlaBlaCar, mainly because the alternative rail and bus journeys were slower and more expensive respectively. The route we took is illustrated below, which as you ...
    Transport BlogBy Stu Donovan
    3 days ago
  • PFLP statement on Bilal Kayed hunger strike victory
    Support from the Palestinian people and international solidarity were key to this victory The following statement was released by the PFLP on Wednesday: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced the suspension of the hunger strike of Comrade ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Report Shows Whopping $8.8 Trillion Climate Tab Being Left for Next Generation
    This is a re-post from Common Dreams by Lauren McCauley "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children," is an oft-quoted proverb, frequently used to explain the importance of environmental preservation. Unsaid, however, is ...
    3 days ago
  • Glasgow Celtic fans defy UEFA, step up support for Palestinians
    Taken from The Electronic Intifada (see our links section): Glasgow Celtic fans have launched a fundraiser to match any fine that Europe’s ruling football body, UEFA, will give the Scottish club for an expression of Palestine solidarity at a recent ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    frogblogBy Julie Anne Genter
    3 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: It’s Carter/Docherty Day; or three short – and wholly unrelated – things
    I’m big on making sure voters know how to make the best use of their votes at elections, so last week I went along to the Transparency International Mayoral Forum.After short-opening statements, the candidates were asked about governance, and avoiding ...
    3 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Just because it’s been done before doesn’t make it right
    Back in March I wrote this post in which I expressed scepticism about Auckland Transport's rationale for having a by-law that prohibits the display of election advertising anywhere that is visible from a road, except for the 9 weeks before an ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • National Poetry Day
    I discussed this celebration with friends at lunch and somehow none of them had heard of 19th Century Scottish poet William Topaz McGongall, widely celebrated as the worst poet of all time: he seems roughly cognate to Tommy Wiseau. Here ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    3 days ago
  • National Poetry Day
    I discussed this celebration with friends at lunch and somehow none of them had heard of 19th Century Scottish poet William Topaz McGongall, widely celebrated as the worst poet of all time: he seems roughly cognate to Tommy Wiseau. Here ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    3 days ago
  • Sailing to the Arctic with the people who call it home
    The courageous Inuit community of Clyde River is standing up to protect their Arctic home from devastating seismic blasting.The circumpolar Arctic is home to four million people representing a diversity of cultures. As northerners, they share many connections, but in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why fixing your phone is one of the most empowering things you can do
    Like most people, I don’t go anywhere without my phone. In the morning, its shrill alarm rouses me from sleep. During the day it bobs between my ear, my hand, and my pocket. At night, I hunt for Pokémon before ...
    3 days ago
  • Microbeads: How did companies respond?
    Remember THIS video?Back in July, Greenpeace East Asia ranked 30 global companies to see how they measured in terms of their commitment to phasing out microbeads – the tiny terrors that are often found in shower gels and facial scrubs, ...
    3 days ago
  • Does your cafeteria serve ocean destruction?
    Every time you eat in a restaurant, hospital, airport, a university cafeteria, or at even at a rock concert, it is likely that you are eating food provided by a large foodservice company. Sea of Distress, a brand new Greenpeace ...
    3 days ago
  • My Arctic Home
    I live in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River) in the Canadian Arctic. Most people have never heard of my town. It's 450km north of the Arctic Circle with a population of roughly 1,000. We are isolated from much of the world, but ...
    3 days ago
  • Up Front: I Swear, It’s True
    There is a persistent myth among the kind of people I desperately try to avoid that swearing is a sign of low intelligence. Frequent swearing shows a lack of imagination and vocabulary.Fuck that noise.Research shows what people I would choose ...
    3 days ago
  • Up Front: I Swear, It’s True
    There is a persistent myth among the kind of people I desperately try to avoid that swearing is a sign of low intelligence. Frequent swearing shows a lack of imagination and vocabulary.Fuck that noise.Research shows what people I would choose ...
    3 days ago
  • One less objection to Skypath
    Some great news yesterday that the main objector to Skypath, the Northcote Residents Association (NRA), has withdrawn their appeal against the project. That leaves just the Northcote Point Historic Preservation Society (NPHPS) – made up of many of the same people ...
    4 days ago
  • A Political King.
    Birds Of A Feather: If Edward VIII had been a less enamoured sex-slave to Wallis Simpson and a more convinced fascist, it is entirely possible that he could have completely upended the British constitution. Royal words, and deeds, still matter ...
    4 days ago
  • Polity: Key peddles cynical “interest rate avenger” fantasy
    This week in Parliament, John Key repeated one of the lines that looks to be central to its election campaign in 2017. As we’ll see, that word “lines” probably has one too many n’s in it. Anyway, here it is:Rt ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Gaffer Departs
    My friend Simon Grigg this week announced something I've known for a while – that he's stepping down from his role as creative director at Audioculture. It is, literally, to spend more time with his family: Simon and his wife ...
    4 days ago
  • Places to go, people to be
    Nothing from me today - I'm off to Christchurch for Phoenix, their annual larp convention. Normal bloggage will resume Monday, once I've caught up. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Is There Something Wrong With Aussie Sport?
    Is There Something Wrong with Aussie Sport? The news that Australian Olympians returning from Rio have been given a hard time by the Australian media and public for the alleged paucity of their medal haul will, sadly, have come as ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Pencilsword: I can’t draw horses
    ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand – we’re in the sh*t
    . . “…We should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.” – John Key, 7 September 2008 . . ref . In September 2008, one month before the general election, National’s leader addressed the party’s “Bluegreen* Forum“, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Housing is popular
    I’ve written several blog posts talking about challenges facing local democracy and consultation processes. This is an important issue. Harvard economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson make a convincing argument that inclusive political institutions, such as broad electoral franchises and ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    4 days ago
  • Increasing cycling and walking in New Zealand cities
    This is a post from Caroline Shaw and Marie Russell who are researchers at the University of Otago Wellington Having high levels of walking and cycling for transport in our urban centres is a crucial component of having a sustainable, people-oriented, 21st century transport ...
    4 days ago
  • Movement or Moment.
    Barring some disaster, Hillary Clinton will win the US presidential election in November. That poses an interesting question for the US Left, because the defensive support for her offered by Sanders supporters and other progressives in the face of the ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Global warming is melting the Greenland Ice Sheet, fast
    A new study measures the loss of ice from one of world’s largest ice sheets. They find an ice loss that has accelerated in the past few years, and their measurements confirm prior estimates. As humans emit heat-trapping gases, we ...
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Reading: White rappers, Gawker and the Uber killer
    Our weekly recap highlighting the best feature stories from around the internet.   G-Eazy. Photo: AFP White Rappers, Clear of a Black Planet – by Jon Caramanica, The NY Times “But now we have arrived in the ...
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    frogblogBy James Shaw
    4 days ago
  • An improved design for the Tamaki/Ngapipi mess
    My post yesterday about the hot mess that is the proposed Tamaki-Ngapipi intersection resulted in a lot of discussion, especially around the design and the role consultants play. Reader George who is also an engineer decided he could come up ...
    5 days ago
  • Electrons!
    Earlier this year Key is said to have asked his Ministers to come up with some new policy ideas, to deflect the criticism that they were a tired, exhausted, intellectually bankrupt government spinning its wheels and going nowhere. Maggie Barry’s ‘Predator ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    5 days ago
  • Rally in the rain shows love for humanities
    Tertiary Update Vol 19 No 30 Hundreds of people who work and study at the University of Otago rallied under umbrellas yesterday to say they love humanities. The university is planning to cut staff from five humanities departments Local TEU ...
    5 days ago
  • 10 percent budget cut at Lincoln
    Lincoln University is planning to cut “unpopular courses” the Christchurch Press reports. The Press says that vice-chancellor Robin Pollard told the university council it was necessary to “expedite” a review of all courses offered by the university and that he ...
    5 days ago
  • Victoria told pay offers are unequal
    People working at Victoria University of Wellington have rejected two pay offers, saying both treat people unequally. Union members at the university held a large and lively paid union meeting this week to consider two pay offers from their managers. ...
    5 days ago
  • Perspective
    From an excellent New Yorker article about the exoplanet detected in Proxima Centauri: In the coming decades, we will discover exoplanets by the tens of thousands and will come to know them, from afar, in intimate detail. Yet the nearest ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    5 days ago
  • Perspective
    From an excellent New Yorker article about the exoplanet detected in Proxima Centauri: In the coming decades, we will discover exoplanets by the tens of thousands and will come to know them, from afar, in intimate detail. Yet the nearest ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    5 days ago

  • Disability sector is in a ‘slow burning crisis’
    Disability advocates say the sector is in crisis and broken, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “A roundtable at Parliament organised by the Labour Party, heard today how National has left disability services chronically underfunded. ...
    8 hours ago
  • NZ fisheries depend on the environment – they should protect it
    The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    8 hours ago
  • Bigger is not always better with local government reform
    I have written previously about the overwhelming opposition expressed by local councils and community members to the latest Local Government reforms.  The Select Committee heard more submissions this week, specifically about some of the unintended consequences that may arise from ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    9 hours ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    1 day ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    1 day ago
  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    2 days ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    3 days ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    3 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    3 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    3 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    4 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    4 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    4 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    4 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    5 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    5 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    5 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    5 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    6 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    6 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago

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