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It’s past time for fair employment laws

Written By: - Date published: 1:53 pm, February 8th, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, Economy, employment, labour, Politics, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

CUNLIFFE_SOTN_460x230After David Cunliffe’s state of the nation speech at the end of January, the spotlight was, appropriately, on the big policy announcement he made: the Best Start package for Kiwi kids.  (It wasn’t the friendliest spotlight, unfortunately.)

But there was a sentence at the end which hasn’t had a lot of pickup, and which could – I hope – point at a truly revolutionary policy on the horizon.

David said:

There will be opportunities in all our regions and decent work based on fair employment laws.

Fair employment laws.  We haven’t had a lot of that lately.  The ability of workers to organise and to bargain collectively – the best way in the world to raise wages and conditions – was shattered by the Employment Contracts Act, and while Labour’s Employment Relations Act repaired some of the damage, you can still see the effects today.

We’ve got a society where you have to be hush-hush about what you get paid because your co-workers are competition, not colleagues.

We’ve got a society where there’s a myth around individual agreements – they give you the chance to negotiate the best contract for you!  Maybe that works for the senior managers, or for people with really specialised skills, but for your average clerical worker or shop hand?  Here’s the agreement, take it or leave it – and oh yes, you’re on a 90-day trial.

And we’ve got a society where people don’t know their rights at work – or don’t have the power to stand up for those rights – and certainly don’t have the resources to hold bad employers to account.

National have introduced 90-day trials, youth rates, and now they have a bill going through the House which will take away the right to rest breaks, protection for vulnerable workers,  and weaken your ability to challenge unfair dismissals.

And let’s not forget Jami-Lee Ross’ private members bill – which was supported by National and Act at the first reading, but fortunately failed – which would have allowed employers to lock out workers and bring in temporary labour.  Effectively, starving the workers out until they accept whatever deal the employer deigned to offer.

National’s unfair employment laws benefit a few at the top – the bosses who are happy to turn a profit by grinding their workers down.  But that’s no basis for a happy, healthy society, and a strong, growing economy.

I think the argument’s simple enough: when people are earning enough to meet their needs, when they feel respected, when they’re getting ahead under their own steam, we all benefit.  Individuals benefit from less stressful lives.  Employers benefit from having a more productive team at work.  Our families and communities benefit.

A Labour-Green coalition in 2014 can build a completely new framework for industrial relations in New Zealand.  A framework where everyone gets treated with real fairness and dignity, and which recognises that there’s a basic power imbalance between workers and employers, especially in the hard financial times when unemployment is high.

And I can’t wait to hear more about how they’re going to make that happen.

Stephanie Rodgers is a communicator who lives in Wellington with her partner and two guinea pigs.  One of them was once the Dominion Post’s Pet of the Day (the guinea pigs, not her partner).  She is a communications officer at the EPMU and member of the Labour Party, but blogs in a personal capacity in her own time.  Opinions are her own.

35 comments on “It’s past time for fair employment laws”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Greetings Steph.

    Well said. It seems so long ago that the ECA was enacted and New Zealand started that long gradual decline in the quality of wages and conditions. It will be interesting to see what Labour propose and to see National’s response. Because they do not seem to understand when things have gone far enough in their supporter’s favour …

  2. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2

    Ah great article, thanks Stephanie Rodgers.

    Cunliffe’s speech and the spotlight being on the Best Start policy without taking into account the other aims and intentions he mentioned in the speech did tend to take the Best Start policy out of context; the more people who have good jobs that actually cover their living costs the less welfare people will need.

    This simple fact, that jobs need to cover living costs, appears to be very difficult for people to grasp – perhaps it needs to be highlighted by repeating ad infinitum?

    – Perhaps then people will understand why it is good for all that jobs provide a sufficient amount of money for peoples’ lives.

    – Perhaps then people will stop listening to those spouting forth disingenuous reasons for keeping wages and low?

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    It’s a no-brainer – do we want a high-waged economy or not?

    • Polish Pride 3.1

      Nope – I’d rather live in a system that has the goal of freeing people from having to work in order to survive.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        What exactly do you think higher wages mean to people?

        Let me see if I can put this in simple enough terms.

        Jack needs $300 per week to “survive”. He can take job (a), which pays $15 per hour, or job (b), which pays $50 per hour.

        Jack wants to do as little work as possible to survive. Which job should he pick, (a), or (b)?

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3.1.1.1

          ….Polish Pride appears to be struggling with this one, so I will assist in driving the point home

          It is option b – Jack would pick option b if he wanted to have a chance of working less hours in order to survive.

          It is a no-brainer that a high-waged economy is a better option for a greater number of people.

          :)

  4. Ad 4

    Into it Steph!

    I am perplexed by how easy it is for tourists to get work visas, set up bank accounts, ird numbers, get into Kiwisaver, then when they leave get their income tax handed back to them.

    I’m sure it’s entrepreneurially great, but surely a little resistance (say a month before they get one) would enable a preference for Resident or NZ citizen workers? This seems to bother a lot of people I talk to in fruit or grape provinces.

  5. Flip 5

    Thanks Stephanie. I’m also waiting with interest on Labours employment policies. I’d be happy to see legislation to ensure that companies distribute income more fairly to workers. Not sure though that collective bargaining is the answer to achieve that though. I’d like to see a link between top income and bottom incomes to ensure that all employees incomes are raised when a company does well sustainably.

    There are numerous controls that should be placed on boards as they are only acting in the interests of owners not other stakeholders like employees and society or the environment. That imbalance needs to be addressed.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Legislation to ensure that companies distribute income more fairly to workers would certainly take a lot of the venom out of industrial relations disputes.

      I suggest you have a look at Bruce Sheppard’s criticisms of diversified portfolio theory before assuming that boards work in company owners’ interests.

      PS: briefly, in my limited understanding, because majority shareholders are usually pension funds and the like, there is too little attention paid by the owners, and boards get away with murder, or at least, larceny.

    • Stephanie Rodgers 5.2

      There are a lot of things which could be done, and your suggestions are good. But I think it’s important that the right to bargain collectively is firmly entrenched. It’s historically the best, most proven way of ensuring workers are paid better and treated more equally.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1

        This is my default position. However, reflecting on Flip’s comment, it occurred to me that collective bargaining is a market “solution” that generates a lot of conflict between workers and employers, when the real issue might be the policy and/or business model.

      • Chooky 5.2.2

        +100 Stephanie Rogers and good interesting post

        Labour must come up with more real Labour worker grassroots policies..(.the baby one, as good as it is for New Zealand families and addressing child poverty , is not enough to really swing it for Labour the opinion of my 80 something year old Mother)

        Cunliffe really has to look like a real Labour leader…not just a good leader of the Labour Party

  6. Will@Welly 6

    Having watched and waited under Labour for them to reverse National’s draconian legislation of the 90’s, I do not have high expectations.
    Unlike Flip, I know that it is impossible to legislate that companies distribute their income more evenly – that is what we have a tax system for.
    We have to put a stop to the bu**sh*t that is this absurdist notion that collective bargaining is wrong.
    For 30 years we have followed the drum of the neo-liberal philosophy, and the hole that we’ve dug for ourselves just gets deeper and deeper.
    Are our children better off? Why do so many suffer depression? Why are so many living in poverty? Why are so many kiwis – hard working ones at that too – forced to go off-shore looking for employment? Should a life-time be spent paying a land-lord the rent, just because you can’t get a job that recognises your skills? And whose fault is that? Not everyone can be an accountant, a lawyer or a university professor. Society would soon ground to a halt if our streets weren’t cleaned, our rubbish removed, or the dead buried. Some things, it’s very hard to put a price on, but to not value someone’s contribution to society, is to be entirely disingenuous.
    It’s easy to mock someone if they don’t come from the right part of society, or don’t quite speak as we do, but life would be very boring if we were all the same.
    I’d like to see the left coalition take action in their first 100 days in power, suspend the traditional holiday period for themselves and those immediately involved in getting this sort of legislation passed into law.
    What we need is genuine leaders.

    • Flip 6.1

      “Unlike Flip, I know that it is impossible to legislate that companies distribute their income more evenly – that is what we have a tax system for.”

      How do you know?

      It is not what the tax system is for. Tax is for the operation of government which is for the security of its people in the broadest sense.

      The redistribution of income reason for tax is an admission of failure in government to provide security for its people and to govern justly. That is not a reason to give up on good governance. Tax for the redistribution of income is one means of providing security and justice. (But I do not think it is the only or even the best way)

      Collective bargaining promotes competition and conflict between workers and employers. Competition is not a morally good thing despite arguments and assumptions in society especially from the right in certain circumstance that advantage them.

      What I’m proposing is that the rewards of business are distributed more fairly by means of legislation as to how the distribution between capital and labour was allowed as it would remove the competition between capital and labour for the rewards. It isn’t going to (though it could) happen from the goodness of the owners heart inspite of what they might claim.

      Note: I have not describe what that legislation looks like but it would not be the ECA as that is completely one-sided and unbalanced. PS. It is what you get when you lose the competition.

      • karol 6.1.1

        Actually, collective bargaining with a reasonably balanced lot of regulations/laws, results in a cooperation between employers and employees. Weakening employment law results in dissatisfied workers.

        • Flip 6.1.1.1

          Cannot say I’ve seen the collective bargaining thing work to result in cooperation between workers and employers. May be it does or has as that is just my observations.

          What is the percentage of people are part of collective bargaining arrangement? My gut feel is it is pretty low nowadays….

          • Macro 6.1.1.1.1

            Cannot say I’ve seen the collective bargaining thing work to result in cooperation between workers and employers. May be it does or has as that is just my observations.

            Well I have. Many times. My dad was president of a large union for 20+ years. The management knew him as well as the workers and both workers and management respected each other. Take for example one instance when a tyre builder was turning out tyres at a fantastic rate – there was a very good bonus to be had. The trouble was he was taking shortcuts and turning out a dangerous product. The management thought he was wonderful because of his productivity, but the workers requested his tyres be examined for faults. They were found to be defective and the management then want to fire him on the spot! The union stepped in and said do that and we stop work. Give him a chance to prove himself. They also said to him – take that sort of shortcut again and we won’t stand in the way of your dismissal. He was able to control himself for a while, but eventually greed got the better of him and he returned to leaving out a vital piece of in the building of the tyre. His tyres were quality tested again and found to be defective and that was that.
            That was of course well before the idiocy of the mid 1980’s…
            My dad who had fought for worker’s rights all his life, died a saddened man – he could see the damage the the so-called Labour Gov’t was doing to workers, and refused to vote for them after 1987. Our employment laws are now almost as punitive towards workers as they were in 1890’s. It’s time workers woke up to the fact that their only power is in collective action.

            • Chooky 6.1.1.1.1.1

              +100 Macro …agreed….collective bargaining is the only real strength workers have…..and good employers will respect it and negotiate with good faith…as for the bad employers well….they have to suffer the consequences…..stop work meetings/delays etc ..at least the workers have collective strength and can not be bullied, isolated and picked off one by one when trying to negotiate fair conditions and rates of pay……. collective bargaining does wonders for workers’ morale….and imo it is also good for the employer to have good respectful, cooperative relations with his/her employees….a happy appreciated fairly treated worker is more likely to work harder and go the extra mile

      • Will@Welly 6.1.2

        Collective bargaining – almost completely “gutted” by the Employment Contracts Act. What wasn’t, is now under attack by this regime.

        Let’s take your proposition – re legislation, at face value. Is it sharing the wealth around based on gross or net profit ?
        So we legislate. A company has a couple of lean years – it happens – are the workers prepared to live on less because the company is not doing so well?
        The company wants to expand/invest in plant – there is no “profit” – what happens – the workers take a pay cut for a year or so?
        My cousin set up a business – he took the risks – but when he set it up, he offered all his new employees a share in the business, with voting rights, and returns on their shareholding. He had no takers. He paid well above award wages, because he wanted motivated employees. He recently put the business up for sale. He offered it first to his employees. They wanted it at a discounted price. He had had it valued, he only wanted a fair price for it, not an exorbitant price. What would you do?
        You see Flip, there are some honest sods out there running businesses, just as there are some absolute bastards. The same with unions, there are very good unionists, just as there are some right plonkers.
        You seem to want to legislate away any rights away from those who are thrifty and save their money. Some of my Scottish forebears would take umbrage with you, they weren’t rich, but ask anyone of Scottish heritage, and they knew how to “salt” the odd penny away.

        • gem 6.1.2.1

          A very good comment, Will@Welly. Also, unionists range from left to right wing (on both economics and identity).

  7. Disraeli Gladstone 7

    “We’ve got a society where there’s a myth around individual agreements – they give you the chance to negotiate the best contract for you! Maybe that works for the senior managers, or for people with really specialised skills, but for your average clerical worker or shop hand? Here’s the agreement, take it or leave it – and oh yes, you’re on a 90-day trial.”

    My old man (in the UK) wasn’t a senior manager. He was very good at his job, but didn’t have any specialised skills. He always negotiated individual agreements, never joined the union, always came out with a better deal.

    I’m not saying that happens to everyone. I’m not saying that happens to even the majority. But actually, individual contracts do allow some freedom for a sect of workers (not just senior managers) to negotiate their own deals.

    I’d love to see fairer employment laws. I’d hate to see the return of compulsory unionism.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1

      The question that needs to be asked is:

      Is the number of people benefitting by individual contracts – such as your father was – greater than the number of people benefitted by collective bargaining, or not?

      Our societies arrangements should be such that it supplies the greatest benefit to the greatest number of us as possible.

      Anecdotal evidence of a few people is insufficient evidence to answer this question

      • Disraeli Gladstone 7.1.1

        Can’t we just have both?

        I don’t think you’re undermining the foundation of a system if you have a set-up that -strongly- encourages collective bargaining while allowing people to opt-out and negotiate their own contract.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1.1.1

          It sounds plausible to allow people to choose (collective or individual bargaining), yet I really don’t think I have enough knowledge on the matter to work out the ramifications of this – Hopefully someone else will respond intelligently to your suggestion.

          • Chooky 7.1.1.1.1

            i dont think the teachers’ unions are compulsory….but when a non union teacher wants help they join the union smartly….a wee bit of freeloading imo…..but I dont think once they are joined up union help is denied

    • Stephanie Rodgers 7.2

      I’m glad your father had that experience. But I’d infer from your comment that that he never faced redundancy without compensation, or unfair dismissal, or exploitation. He had the good fortune to always work for organisations which valued his labour. Some do, some don’t.

      For the great majority of workers, collective agreements result in higher wages and better protections. Historically, unions have been the drivers for a huge number of rights and protections which we now take for granted, like holiday pay, equal pay for women and the eight-hour working day (though for many workers that’s not a reality.)

    • Lanthanide 7.3

      Pretty easy to imagine that the company he was working for was playing a long-game in trying to weaken the union by enticing people out of the collective and onto individual contracts.

      Also in general I could imagine you may be able to get paid more on an individual contract if you gave up some of the other provisions and conditions that were present in the collective contract.

  8. karol 8

    The trouble with everyone negotiating their own deals – workers that is – is that it all depends on how good a negotiator a person is. And then you can end up with lack of fairness in what some people are paid. And particularly women, Maori, Pacific people, as well as many already low income people, getting the raw end of the deals.

    Unions also support workers with respect to working conditions, safety, breaks, etc.

    An individual with limited power, is likely to get a better from individual negotiations if there is also a union providing some power and oversight in the work area.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    I think it’s an area that needs a multi pronged approach, not just wages but training schemes too.

    I’d have the employer paying the union fee for a year then maybe opt out.
    Another alternative I have had suggested was for all new hires to be unionised no if’s, no buts. Then everytime you sack someone the size of the union grows.

    Other things I’ve seen:
    the pension fund managers are not too happy either. Article in Stuff a while back talking about entreprenerial salaries for managerial jobs along with the great quote “the pigs are face down in the trough” and some academic work suggests that the inceased profits are going to a small manangerial class not workers, not owners where there are diverse shareholdings.

    Ease of getting IRD numbers, I’ve run across quite a few with no particular skill or connection to NZ who have come here from 2008 and on and wondered how they managed it in the face of our unemployment. One place according to local legend advertised it’s jobs at a really low rate, no local takers so brought in someone from the UK that they knew “can’t get people here” and three months later raised the wages to the industry standards.

    I’d have all industry groups run a training scheme, including farmers, and unless they are doing this and placing the trainees in jobs, and paying enough so that it works, then no more imported labour. When 2008 hit, one of the telco’s returned some people who had been here on work permits for 5 years, that’s long enough to train a young local they just hadn’t bothered.

    Lastly, I’d make all subscriptions to business roundtable and other employer bodies non tax deductible and payable personally – that’s how union fess work.

    As for these labour laws being efficient -spare me – most workplaces operate on a day to day mode no forward planning. it has built a whole generation of selfish managers who couldn’t plan ahead to save themselves.

  10. joe90 10

    We need people at the top of their game voicing their support for unions.

    “I’m also proud to say this is a union show, and I have never worked with a more professional group of people in my life. They get paid good money and they do a good job.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/jay-leno-shows-his-union-solidarity_b_4748971.html?

  11. Chooky 11

    +1000……Jay Leno ….what an example for all Americans!….what a quiet hero!….how different would the USA be today if the unions were strong!….what a tragedy for all Americans that they are not!

    …watching ‘The Wire’ at the moment…..the other side of USA today

  12. dave 12

    a lot of today’s managers would struggle with a well organised work force ,its going to be fun

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    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    2 days ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    2 days ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    13 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    14 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    14 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    17 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    17 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    19 hours ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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