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LB: Government Spin and Hidden Secrets

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, March 8th, 2014 - 34 comments
Categories: Economy, education, employment, Environment, national - Tags: ,

This post was originally posted at Local Bodies by bspout. It is a pretty good summary of National’s spins away from reality.

This National led Government has seriously mismanaged things and is desperate to hide the true effects of its governance over the last five years. I half suspect many of the retiring National MPs are jumping ship because they don’t want to be around when the proverbial hits the fan.

National have carefully constructed showy facades that hide flimsy realities and I have attempted to give some examples below:

THE ECONOMY

The facade: A Rock Star Economy

The Reality: We are enjoying the the dairy commodity boom, another property bubble and the activity generated from the Christchurch rebuild. Agricultural markets fluctuate, all our eggs are in one agricultural basket and all we need is another embarrassing contamination and we could lose markets quickly. Overblown property prices only benefit a few, a later crash is inevitable and Christchurch is a temporary phenomenon. The recovery is an unequal one, only 36% of those participating in a Stuff survey feel that they are better off and for the very wealthy the recession ended three years ago, the trickle down isn’t occurring. Research and Development is underfunded as a % of our GDP. Our current account deficit is still one of the highest in the OECD and the use of GDP is not a good measure of general economic performance.

What the Government is doing: Throwing out lots of ‘good news’ stories and claiming anyone who points out the weaknesses are just party poopers. It is still selling assets (Genesis Energy) and borrowing heavily.

EDUCATION

The facadeWe’re fixing a failing system and we’re making good progress.

The Reality: Our once successful public education system didn’t need fixing. It is reeling from the forced introduction of the flawed National Standards, the Novopay debacle, the constant blaming of underachievement on teachers (rather than poverty and inequity) and buying into the global eduction reform movement (GERM) that has had a devastating effect on other countries. For the first time in decades we have plummeted in our international ranking. Our teaching has narrowed to literacy and numeracy, constant data collection and our advisors and special education support have been cut. Early childhood centres are no longer funded to employ 100% qualified staff, our teachers are demoralized and our support staff feel undervalued.

What the Government is doing: Using flawed data and misinformation to give the impression of improvements (when there are none) and refusing to allow scrutiny of that data. Parata claims that Level 2 results have seen a remarkable 7% lift in Pasifika pass rates and 4% for Maori, but these statistics are being questioned. Attempts to analyze the data was suddenly blocked by the NZQA, who strangely removed the information from their website (May ’13). When the Listener lodged an OIA request to see what prompted this decision, nothing could be found, it had just happened. The $359 million windfall for super teachers and principals will make little difference to achievement but will potentiallybuy out education leadership and make them compliant to flawed government policy.

THE ENVIRONMENT

The facade: Our environment is better than most and looks great in movies.

The Reality: 80% of our lowland rivers polluted, our wetlands and estuaries are experiencing eutrophication and 50% of our native species are heading for extinction. The growing intensification of dairying and the expansion of coal mining, fracking and deep sea oil drilling will see our greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow. Our clean green, 100% pure branding is being questioned internationally.

What the Government is doing: The RMA is being weakened and public input into consents for potentially polluting industries like deep sea oil drilling is being blocked. The Government has cut funding to an already struggling DoC and is determined to push through irrigation schemes, despite concerns, to further intensify dairying. The Government is still pursuing the mining of conservation areas. The Government stopped the comprehensive State of the Environment reporting and all reporting will now be limitedto what they want the public to know. Independent scientific assessments from the likes of scientist Mike Joy have been actively discouraged.

CHILD POVERTY

The facade: poverty has flatlined, the Government has increased immunisations, is insulating homes  and getting people into work.

The Reality: At least 20% of children live in poverty where their basic daily needs are not met (food, clothing, sleeping arrangements) and it has been estimated that around 50% of all children will experience poverty at some time. Maori and Pasifika families have suffered more than others with the median household incomes dropping considerably over the last few years. Inequality is growing faster in New Zealand than most OECD countries. New Zealand has amongst the worst statistics (29th out of 30) for the health and welfare of children.

What the Government is doing: Lifting demands and expectations that parents should be in work (no matter the pay, hours and conditions) and encouraging growth of early childhood centres but not funding above 80% qualified staff. Keeping the minimum wage low so that we have growing numbers of working poor. No expectation that rental homes meet minimum  standards. Knowingly misrepresenting poverty statistics and refusing tomeasure child poverty or follow the advice of the Children’s Commissioner and theSalvation Army.

EMPLOYMENT

The facade: The Government is creating more jobs and unemployment is dropping (now 6%)

The Reality: We still have almost double the levels of unemployment that existed when National came to power in 2008 (3.9 unemployment) and we now have one of the largest percentages of those under-employed in the OECD. Roy Morgan has assessed our unemployment as actually 2.5% above official statistics and has unemployment at 8.5% and a further 11.3% are looking for more work or are under-employed. This means that almost 20% of our workers are either unemployed or under-employed and this is equal to 519,000 people. This number has increased by 69,000 since the last quarter estimates. The working poor are being seen in growing numbers at food banks. Many manufacturers are struggling with the value of our dollar and the high costs of rental property and power. Our wealthiest business people have seen huge increases in wealth (much due to property investment) since 2011 but this has not translated to higher wages or greater investment in jobs. New Zealand is now regarded as lower wage economy with flexible employment law that is suitable for setting up call centres.

What the Government is doing: Keeping wages low with the introduction of a youth rate and using Working for Families to subsidise wages for employers ($3 billion per year).Government procurement does not support New Zealand businesses as it could and we are losing skilled workers and higher paid jobs that would employ the 25% of our university graduates that head overseas. The Government is also changing employment law to limit things like collective bargaining and removing compulsory meal breaks to favour employers.

I intend to use future posts to describe how the Green Party would do things differently and put in place  sustainable alternatives that will allow more New Zealanders to prosper. I haven’t covered other secrets that are of concern, like the real truth behind GCSB operations and the secret TTPA negotiations, but this will do as a start I guess.

34 comments on “LB: Government Spin and Hidden Secrets”

  1. geoff 1

    Great post, clearly covers most of the big failings of National.

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100…great points

      Labour needs to be punching these points home where ever and when ever possible

      David Cunliffe needs to be seen with Shane Jones together punching these points home…Jones puts the Maori/Polynesian face on the Labour Party …and he is a King Batsman…together Cunliffe and Jones could be a formidable duo!

      (cf the new Mayor Tommy Carcetti and his right hand man Norman Wilson in the fourth season of ‘The Wire’….this TV series set in Baltimore which apart from a very graphic illustration of USA education( and what we should and should not do here in NZ) ….is also a very astute portrayal of how to operate in a difficult and divided political environment and win!)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Carcetti

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Wilson_(fictional_character)

      • Chooky 1.1.1

        oops havent seen the following series ….but this duo works very well initially

        …one thing Labour does need is a strong Maori face in the leadership/spokespeople ranks… and there are plenty of very able Maori waiting in the wings…as yet unused

        ….cf. National which is doing everything it can to up its attractiveness to the very people it is screwing

  2. karol 2

    Yes, this is an excellent post. It also focuses on the issues. The left had been making inroads on many of these issues, such as on child poverty, the inequality gap, power prices, TPP, the invasive surveillance state, youth unemployment, house unaffordability, the need for fair employment practices and wages, etc – plus a little bit on the shallowness of the “rockstar economy” concept.

    So the right has unleashed a barrage of diversions onto MPs clothes, houses, etc., and beating up minor slips into something major. Team Key doesn’t want to talk too much about these significant issues.

  3. Jimmie 3

    A great essay on leftist rhetoric. A sad pity that voters don’t seem to share the author’s sentiments.

    If John Key is the devil incarnate and has mismanaged NZ inc for the last 5 years don’t you think that National would be sitting on 30% in the polls and Labour would be knocking on 45%?

    This hasn’t happened so there is something wrong with the scenario as painted above – it could be that NZ inc is doing quite well and John Key looks set to hit a 3rd term later this year.

    • lprent 3.1

      You did miss the bit about “spin” right? Do you need a wikipedia link about what it is used for? Basically the author is saying that National is masking the reality from the public using spin.

      /sarc

      Shorter version – are you are a mindless dork?

      • Old Tony 3.1.1

        Prefers Jimmies version to the untruths and distortions of this item:
        1. Government austerity in 2008 courtesy of Labour spraying money around like confetti so any impact like GFC left no room to manoeuvre.
        2. Mother of all housing booms caused in part by Labour’s envy tax increase in 2001 or thereabouts which Westpac did some research on and noted had caused a significant part of total price increases as higher earners used the differential between personal and other tax rates to their advantage in buying property.
        3. Economy has been one of the most successful in the world post GFC as any comparison of growth rates will show.
        4. Fall in comparative education achievement primarily attributable to Labour’s period in office given the lag in these things.
        5. Earthquake did have some minor impact believe it or not but clearly the Greens haven’t noticed.
        6 Unemployment great compared to many other economies.
        7. Expenditure on health and education continued to grow post GFC unlike places like Ireland and even Canada where real cuts occurred.

        And so we could go on.

        • Pasupial 3.1.1.1

          Old fool

          Do you have any evidence, or are you just spewing untruths and distortions randomly?

          1. “Labour spraying money around like confetti”; a strange turn of phrase for paying off debt rather than borrowing to pay for tax-cuts like NAct.
          2. “Labour’s envy tax increase in 2001 or thereabouts”; check your facts, yes 39% for $60000 was higher than 33% (1988-2000), but lower than any rate from 1935 through 1988. A targeted progressive tax for those who profited most from social infrastructure, compare with the current regressive GST hike that takes from those who can least afford it.
          3. GDP is not the economy, the GINI has really come out of the bottle since NAct took office.
          4. I don’t trust your assertion that education disparities are “primarily attributable to Labour’s period in office given the lag in these things”; evidence please.
          5. LB noted “activity generated from the Christchurch rebuild” if you’d bothered to read the post.
          6. Our unemployment rates have indeed increased greatly compared to many other economies.
          7. Evidence please (for public rather than private education and health-care).

          And so we could go on.

          • David H 3.1.1.1.1

            Spraying money around? 9 years of Surplusses whilst paying for the folly of the previous Nat government.

            National
            Borrows and spends like there’s no tomorrow if you are rich enough to join in the largess.
            So when Labour wins the next election, the state of Nationals 6 years of books will tell a nasty story of mismanagement, upon incompetence, right up-to ministerial level and higher!

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.2

          “Left no room for manouvre”. Lying asshole Old Tony

          “This is the rainy day the government has been saving up for”. Bill English.

          So, who to believe, the lying asshole or Bill English? The lying asshole would say believe Bill English. Go figure.

          • Old Tony 3.1.1.2.1

            Abuse aside that is not a bad riposte. I don’t think the two things are inconsistent. Labour paid down debt, set up Cullen fund etc and those things were great aids to the Nats in grappling with the GFC. However they also entrenched huge increases in Government spending through no-interest student loans, working for families etc which could not readily be unwound post GFC and did markedly cramp the new government’s ability to act.

            I think the last Labour government did some good things, but the hopelessly lopsided commentary of this item deserves an equally one-sided response.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.2.1.1

              More bullshit. In 1999, government spending was 35% of gdp. In 2008, government spending was 35% of gdp.

              Shall we just assume that everything you believe is wrong?

            • felix 3.1.1.2.1.2

              When talking about the interest on student loans I think we should go back a bit further. The loans aren’t some naturally occurring phenomenon which has to exist while we only quibble over who pays the interest.

              The introduction of the loans represented the end of “free” education, prior to that the state paid nearly the full cost. This system was only demolished so right-wing govts could cut taxes and there is no reason we can’t go back to sharing the cost of education more widely as a public good.

              This is where the discussion should centre. Interest on student loans is a cost to the state but the loan itself is proportionally a far greater burden to the individual citizen.

      • Jimmie 3.1.2

        Putting aside your childish name calling lprent, believing an alternative reality that NZ is turning into a third world country that will only be fixed by the election of Labour/Greens this year is laughable and chasing a fantasy.

        This is the same mindset that caused the left to lose in 2011. Basically the hypothesis that NZ is going down the toilet, the Nats are using evil spin doctors to hypnotize the electorate, and the government will change as soon as enough voters awake from their stupour is what is driving the left heading towards the election this year.

        Is it because the reality that unemployment/crime are going down, the economy is growing strongly, and consistent popular support for John Key is just too painful for the left to accept?

        Or is it because the Opposition consists of a hopelessly divided Labour party who don’t know what or who they stand for and a Green party with the economic literacy on par with a 5 year old?

        After 6 years in the political wilderness and steering another 3 in the face the paradigm of the evil spinning Nats conveniently sidesteps the necessary surgery and reality check required by Labour of getting their house in order. (A change in leader has done nothing to change this)

        • geoff 3.1.2.1

          Hopefully your side keeps believing that bullshit, Jimmie, because you won’t even see it coming when reality rolls in and knocks you flat on your arse.

          • Jimmie 3.1.2.1.1

            Well I suggest you book mark that comment and maybe we can revisit the subject the day after the election lol?

            • instauration 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Jimmie
              Can you suggest a colour or season to ascribe the next election ?

        • Sosoo 3.1.2.2

          In times of recession, people tend to become more conservative as they look to hang on to what they have. Of course, while individually rational, it’s collectively self-defeating behaviour, and that’s why we have been in this general malaise for so many years now.

          National is disproportionately gaining votes from older people who pigged out on the welfare state while things were good, and now don’t want to pay their fair share. It’s annoying, but putting up with periods of conservative stupidity is the cross that intelligent people everywhere must bear.

          • Clubconnecter 3.1.2.2.1

            It’s also fair to say that Nact and Blinglish created a ‘false’ recession by digging an enormous hole with their 2008 tax cuts, which in turn, they used as justification for the asset theft (still on going) in term 2. Just for the RWNJ’s – Yes I am in the top tax bracket and would happily pay 39% again.

            “National is disproportionately gaining votes from older people who pigged out on the welfare state while things were good, and now don’t want to pay their fair share. It’s annoying, but putting up with periods of conservative stupidity is the cross that intelligent people everywhere must bear.”

            Excellent point. It can’t be emphasised enough. NZ Super recipients account for the largest proportion of ‘beneficiaries’ by a wide margin – the ‘boomers’ who are more than happy to accept ‘welfare’ but don’t want to pay for it.

            Suffices to say I think that many NZ’er’s are selfish, having been manipulated into the current paradigm by 30 years of NeoLib ideology, policy, propaganda and media.

    • Peter 3.2

      So none of these criticisms are valid because Kiwis’ love seeing John Keys photo on the cover of the Woman’s Weekly? There are none so blind as those who do not want to see.

      • Sosoo 3.2.1

        The Woman’s Weekly is pitched at conservatives: it’s their version of the New York Review of Books.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    We do have a rock star economy.

    It’s Justin Beiber, rather than Mick Jagger, though.

    A flash-in-the-pan sugar-hit with no underlying quality or staying power.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    There has been no real productivity growth during this government’s term. The financial numbers are epiphenomena of a real economy that is stagnant or in a morbid decline. Were the economy genuinely growing employment numbers and tax receipts would be much better. What have had, and what we have is the kind of robber government associated with South American military juntas. They will say anything, but they are here to steal. Nothing they do works, and they don’t care. If we want the kind of New Zealand we grew up in we are going to have to have these buggers out. It really doesn’t matter how, the pretence of democracy is so broken it has not constrained them at all.

  6. The section on child poverty is, much as I hate to say it, unfair to the government.

    The ‘facade’ part isn’t actually a facade – the ‘getting people into work’ bit certainly is, but poverty genuinely has pretty much flatlined, with only a slight increase under the current government, and that attributable to the GFC. And they have subsidised housing insulation, even if it was the Greens’ idea.

    The ‘reality’ part was mostly also a reality under the last Labour government and will be a reality under the next one. It will continue to be a reality as long as we have upwards of 20% of children being raised on a benefit at or soon after birth, and it will continue to be a lot worse for Maori as long as they have upwards of 40% of children in that category. The government that has a useful idea what can be done about that would be a very unusual one, and it’s a bit rich to blame the current one for not being that government.

    The ‘what the government is doing’ part is, again, largely what a Labour government would do, with the difference that the current government aims to see pay and employment conditions worsen (which is really the only sense in which they are genuinely doing something that increases child poverty, and is covered elsewhere in your post). Any sane government will expect and if possible require that the income spent on raising children is income earned by the children’s parents working for a living – National is in no sense unusual in this. And, as you point out, they are encouraging the growth of childcare centres – your quibbling about proportion of ‘qualified’ staff required is just that. Childcare centres don’t actually need 100% qualified staff, and this push to make them 100% qualified is yet another example of how the takeover of Labour by the tertiary-educated public-sector middle class is strongly against the interests of the working class Labour is supposedly meant to represent.

    • RedBaronCV 7.1

      There wouldn’t be so many children raised on a benefit if:
      – jobs paid decent wages
      – wealthy males paid decent child support instead of dumping their kids on the state.

      • Psycho Milt 7.1.1

        I’m afraid going easy on deadbeat dads isn’t unique to the current government either.

        A Labour government may do something to drive up wages (don’t assume it though – the last one decided it was easier just to top up low wages with welfare payments), but the cultural shift towards beneficiary parenting proved resistant to the last jobs boom and will likely prove resistant to the next one. As long as we all pretend that sole parenthood is a perfectly good family type, rather than an unfortunate circumstance to be avoided if possible, there’s little the government’s going to be able to do about child poverty.

        • JanM 7.1.1.1

          Maybe if there was more genuine help to support relationships in trouble there would be fewer solo families, but at present even the little support available seems to be being eroded by a lack of funding – penny wise and pound foolish, eh?
          It’s cheaper in the short term to vilify the people who aren’t coping than to give them a hand-up when they are in vulnerable circumstances, but the long term consequences can be anything but inexpensive to deal with.
          Solo parenthood will continue to be a significant part of our society until we work out how to be the fence at the top rather than the ambulance at the bottom.

          • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.1.1

            Oh, please – I’ve met plenty of supposedly “vulnerable people who aren’t coping” who are actually just too self-centred to make the necessary compromises for a marriage to work. And a lot of that 20+% who are on a benefit at the birth of the child or shortly after aren’t in anything you could describe as a “relationship.”

        • RedBaronCV 7.1.1.2

          The issue PsychoM isn’t the single parent who does the work and pays the money for the children – the reponsible one , it’s the parent who can’t be bothered being a parent and does the runner without paying. Very prevalent in the high income group.

          It’s interesting psychology that so many state resources are put into hounding the responsible parent and none into hounding the parent who doesn’t bother.

    • JanM 7.2

      And your knowledge base for making statements against all ece teachers being qualified is???????????

      • Psycho Milt 7.2.1

        The lack of any evidence for its necessity.
        The fact that childcare centres have functioned perfectly well without 100% qualified staff in the past.
        Having personally witnessed the value of practical expertise and depth of experience some of these “unqualified” childcare workers bring to the job, particularly to care of the under-2s, when my own kids were attending one.
        Having personally witnessed the resentment some of these “unqualified” staff felt at the prospect of being forced to either take up unnecessary and expensive tertiary education they didn’t want, find another line of work, or retire early.

  7. mickmarvel 8

    Key has got this one in the bag. We are stuffed. That stupid anden talks that much shit she is chasing people away.

  8. mickmarvel 9

    Solo parents are a large block of our voting base. we must not be seen to vilify them. They must believe we have their welfare at heart.

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  • Nick Smith: There is NO crisis
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    My ThinksBy boonman
    1 day ago
  • Tracking the 2°C Limit – April 2016
    April is starting to come down off the shockingly high anomalies of the first couple of months of this year. GISS is clocking in a still strong warm anomaly of 1.11°C. This is by far the hottest April in the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    1 day ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Punakaiki Fund invests in Populate
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    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    1 day ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
      Here’s some free media advice for Hilary Clinton now just trailing Donald Trump in the polls: Stop smiling and waving to “people you recognise” in the crowd. It’s insulting to everyone else, looks (and may well be) dishonest… ...
    2 days ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
      Here’s some free media advice for Hilary Clinton now just trailing Donald Trump in the polls: Stop smiling and waving to “people you recognise” in the crowd. It’s insulting to everyone else, looks (and may well be) dishonest… ...
    2 days ago
  • The Nuit Debout revolt in France: let the gems sparkle. . .
    by Denis Godard The movement of occupation of squares in France is [over] two weeks old. [1] Its evolution is difficult to predict, because it is open to many unforeseen events, even though its roots are deep. At this point… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Free the Wicklow 2
    Protests around the imprisonment of these two activists are taking place around Ireland and also in Britain.  Anyone fancy organising something at the Irish embassy in Wellington  There is also an Irish consulate in Auckland. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • DIY Touring The World: New Zealand
    New Zealand has a small population, few places to play and not much money for touring bands - but you can’t beat the beautiful landscapes, hidden gem venues and fantastic audiences. Music impresario Ian Jorgensen has been touring bands… ...
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protected: Tributes to Dame Margaret Sparrow
    This post is password protected. You must visit the website and enter the password to continue reading.Filed under: Uncategorized ...
    ALRANZBy ALRANZ
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.In places… ...
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
    Your right to swipe for threesomes is under threat.    Some clean-cut millennials enjoying the 3nder afterglow. 1232RF Those for whom three is the magic sex-number should know that one's right to swipe one's way into a six-limb circus is… ...
    2 days ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    2 days ago
  • Some big news, for me
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    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Spend and Tax
    As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in… ...
    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago

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

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