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Local Bodies: The Myth of Free Trade Agreements

Written By: - Date published: 12:38 pm, June 16th, 2014 - 49 comments
Categories: Economy, trade - Tags: ,

Reposted from bsprout at Local Bodies.

I have attempted numerous time to comment on Ele Ludemann’s Home Paddock blog in response to her post on Free Trade Agreements and promoting the false perception that they are vital to our economy. While I can’t imagine that Ele would be deliberately blocking my comments, none of them have been allowed to appear. Here is what I was attempting to say:

Most FTAs favour the larger nations and Australia’s FTA with the US has been a disaster for employment and the environment and the balance of trade favors the US by $13 billion. The growth of imports from the US continues to grow far faster than their exports to them.

Our CER deal with Australia has not actually served us that well when Australian supermarkets can block our products and New Zealanders working and paying taxes in Aussie can’t access the services that they help fund.

I recently attended a presentation from the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank and when he was asked about the importance of the FTA with China he actually couldn’t put a value on it. Apparently there was no evidence to show that the increased demand for our primary commodities wouldn’t have occurred without it.

As for the TPPA, all evidence from leaked documents so far show that corporate lobbying and influence provide real threats to Pharmac, patent rights for our IT industry and the potential for our Government to be sued for loss of profits.

Our open borders may make us the 3rd easiest country to do business in but that doesn’t mean that is an economic advantage, it actually exposes us to exploitation and is one of the reasons why our Current Account deficit is one of the largest in the OECD. The real fear should not about the loss of FTA’s but the real consequences of having them in the first place.

The IMF has indicated that our economy is actually quite fragile and it is interesting that an ex IMF official compares our economy with Ireland’s and suggests we are at the point of collapse.

Key is obviously aware of this and Pattrick Smellie suggests that the early election date was really to get it done before the economy dips again and the fragility of the recovery is properly revealed.

49 comments on “Local Bodies: The Myth of Free Trade Agreements”

  1. thechangeling 1

    Criticizing FTA’s these days is a hard thing to do as not many ears are listening critically it would seem seeing as the Labour Party have continued the ‘neo-liberal model of development’ by signing an FTA with China, and the only alternative party with an opposing point of view has been relinquished to the Greens/Mana.
    The critical problem as I see it in New Zealand (and around the world) is the creation and use of unemployment as a method of transferring wealth from the public sector to the private sector (by suppressing wages and down sizing the public sector) which is in turn owned either directly or indirectly by members of right-wing political governments aka ‘The National Party’ Government in New Zealand.
    Making an increasing proportion of what a country actually consumes seems such a very simply equation to ensure all citizens can be gainfully employed and in turn enjoy a good standard of living, but in a neo-liberal environment where dairy is held up high because National Party MP’s in particular have a vested interest, this is clearly not the case.
    If only 16,000 people actually work in the dairy sector then how does this translate to being good for all NZ (a mantra that’s continually pushed down our throats on the msm) whilst the FTA’s that are slated to help that sector continually expand at the expense of 150,000+ unemployed and another 350,000 underemployed people continue with lives that are poor, dull and meaningless.
    Manufacturing has been the sector that’s employed most New Zealander’s over the past 100 years or so but is under constant attack with both competition via FTA’s at home and abroad and also an artificially high dollar so this is where a coordinated solution probably lies.

  2. tracey 2

    Is there somewhere to examine our trade with a nation pre and post an fta and to see if in any of fta the money flowing to nz exceeds to money flowing to tge other party?

    • john 2.1

      In 2008 we exported $2b to China and imported $6b. (a $4b deficit)

      Today we export $10b to China and import $8b (a $2b surplus).

      • thechangeling 2.1.1

        The ‘surplus’ or ‘deficit’ is irrelevant for two reasons. Firstly in the situation of a surplus which is usually derived from agricultural exports, those earnings go to the owners, managers and shareholders of the farms that produced them. Presumably some tax does go to the government and low wage farm workers continue to receive low wages and are also used ‘flexibly’ whenever farm managers decide to save money by cutting staff.
        It’s a commonly perpetuated myth that greater New Zealand gets any access to this extra money derived through an export surplus. Also few if any jobs are created by exporting more as is frequently touted as unemployment statistics remain at 150,000+ and 350,000 who can’t find enough work to make ends meet (depending on whose stats you want to believe).

        • john 2.1.1.1

          The Changeling says “The ‘surplus’ or ‘deficit’ is irrelevant for two reasons. ”

          If that were true, we could just go into massive deficit, the whole country could put themselves on holiday leave, not do any work at all, and simply purchase everything they wanted from overseas, and not sell anything.

          • thechangeling 2.1.1.1.1

            Or we could become self sufficient and make what we actually consume instead of being wedded to an internationally derived capitalist matrix that makes this country very dependent and vulnerable to neo-liberal capitalist cycles and pressures.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              +111

            • john 2.1.1.1.1.2

              We could make our own cars, but they’d cost so much few people could afford them.

              With massive subsidies, and a market 500% bigger than ours, not even Australia can afford to make it’s own cars.

              It’s lala land to think we could.

              Besides, we’d still have to buy the plastic, rubber, aluminum, copper etc from overseas.

              • Draco T Bastard

                We could make our own cars, but they’d cost so much few people could afford them.

                That’s the delusion of the finance system and not actual reality. Factories are all made so that each unit costs the same to make – no matter where it is.

                Besides, we’d still have to buy the plastic, rubber, aluminum, copper etc from overseas.

                Got them all here – except the rubber and we could probably make synthetic from what we do have.

                • john

                  Draco says “Got them all here”:

                  Nonsense. We can only supply a fraction of our own oil needs, and we don’t have bauxite and copper in commercial quantities.

                  Draco says “Factories are all made so that each unit costs the same to make – no matter where it is.”

                  Yeah right. So a factory producing 1,000,000 Toyota Corollas has no savings compared to a NZ factory producing just 1000 a year.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    All your examples are irrelevant. NZ doesn’t need 1M Corollas a year. The export land model ensures that no one will be supplying NZ with oil in 20-30 years time.

                    And NZ uses minimal amounts of Al and Cu, now that we’re no longer a manufacturing nation.

                    But there is no doubt that we will need to change our lifestyles and our attitudes, in an age of energy and resource depletion.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Nonsense. We can only supply a fraction of our own oil needs, and we don’t have bauxite and copper in commercial quantities.

                    Commercial quantities is a rather restricted view. We have them and they can be mined and economically as well (which means we have the resources available to mine and process them).

                    As for the oil, well, we really should stop using it anyway.

                    So a factory producing 1,000,000 Toyota Corollas has no savings compared to a NZ factory producing just 1000 a year.

                    That is correct. Each Corolla still requires exactly the same amount of inputs.

                    As I say, our financial system is delusional and causes us to see things incorrectly and uneconomically. That’s why our environment is being destroyed with our political parties saying that we need to keep growing even more when we really need to be doing the exact opposite.

      • Saarbo 2.1.2

        The question is: Would that have been any different if we didn’t have an FTA with China? China would still have restructured its dairy industry leading to low domestic supply and the need to import billions of dollars worth of milk powder…the FTA had nothing to do with that. Interesting Post…spot on the mark I reckon.

        • john 2.1.2.1

          But the significant majority of the increase in exports to China has NOT been dairy – it only makes up 1/3 of our exports to China.

          Trade form ALL goods has skyrocketed since the FTA.

          At a time when overall imports into China actually went DOWN, our exports there skyrocketed.

          Before the FTA it took a decade for exports to go up $1b. They’ve since gone up $8b – that’s 80 years growth at the previous rate.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.1.1

            We’ve already signed the China FTA. Maybe it proved positive for NZ.

            That doesn’t say fuck all about the stipulations or conditions of the TPPA.

            • john 2.1.2.1.1.1

              The funny thing is, for years we’ve heard calls for increasing the value of things like our huge logs exports – we should be employing Kiwis to make products out of wood here instead of exporting cheap raw products.

              Yet when there’s an agreement that will finally allow us to do just that, instead of being priced out of the Asian market with tariffs on our finished wood products and even sawn timber, the same people are against the ONE thing that will allow what they’ve been calling for for years.

              • Draco T Bastard

                We’re still priced out of the Asian market because our dollar remains artificially high and the currencies of Asia are artificially low. This may correct over time but I’m figuring that we would have dropped into serious decline before then and won’t actually be able to afford products from Asia. Meanwhile, Asia will no longer need any products from us.

                • john

                  So that’s why we can’t sell wood products to Asia – the high dollar. That explains why we’re selling so little to China.

                  Oh wait a minute. Our exports to China have skyrocketed – 80 years worth of trade growth just since the FTA in 2008.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    But we don’t sell wood products to Asia – we sell raw wood and then import the wood products. And that is totally uneconomical.

                    • john

                      So why do you think forest companies are desperate to get the TTP agreement so we can sell more processed timber into Asia?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Probably because they’re stupid. The TPPA isn’t going to help us.

                      If we were producing/selling processed wood our saw mills wouldn’t be shutting down.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    john, the China FTA is a done deal. It’s history.

                    It says nothing about whether the TPPA is good for NZ or not. The TPPA is not modelled after the China FTA. My bet is that the TPPA cuts our sovereignty out from under us and is essentially a corporate rights document – and must not be signed.

                    • john

                      But that is exactly what BSprout is trying to say at the top. That the China FTP hasn’t made any difference (which it obviously has), so the TPP won’t be any good.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The TPPA corporate rights document needs to be shit-canned. Now.

                      The China FTA is ancient history.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    The IMF has indicated that our economy is actually quite fragile and it is interesting that an ex IMF official compares our economy with Ireland’s and suggests we are at the point of collapse.

    Tat sounds about right. Too much reliance on just one product (farming) and a declining ability to provide anything else for ourselves over the last thirty years as the “free-trade” delusion destroyed our ability to be self-sufficient.

    Key is obviously aware of this and Pattrick Smellie suggests that the early election date was really to get it done before the economy dips again and the fragility of the recovery is properly revealed.

    Think I said that too when Key called the early election.

    • Wreckingball 3.1

      “destroyed our ability to be self-sufficient” – you talk about this as though it is a bad thing.

      Why on earth would we want to be self-sufficient. Have you not heard of the phrase comparative advantage and specialisation?

      Shall we start manufacturing cars and shoes again? How is that going in Australia?

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        A high degree of self sufficiency and ability to enact import substitution will become increasingly important as energy depletion progresses and the global financial system comes under more strain.

        Have you not heard of the phrase comparative advantage and specialisation?

        Strategic economic concerns outweigh those limited theories.

        Shall we start manufacturing cars and shoes again? How is that going in Australia?

        Yes, why not. Employ NZ workers to make NZ goods – but on a strategic basis.

        Australia took the wrong track, specialising in commodity exports (rocks, mostly).

        • srylands 3.1.1.1

          You seriously think we should make shoes and cars? That says it all about you. You have no credibility. Stick to quackery.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            If you have a strategic argument to make on the future of NZ industry, please make it. I’m all years.

            You have no credibility. Stick to quackery.

            Well, at least I’m not an economist or a bankster.

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.2

            “Quackery”?
            Well, he would take “delusional and obsessive belief in a discredited religion”, but fuck-knuckle neolibs like you have cornered the market…

      • thechangeling 3.1.2

        At the least more people would HAVE JOBS. And stuff made here almost always lasted longer than the rubbish made in China.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3

        Why on earth would we want to be self-sufficient. Have you not heard of the phrase comparative advantage and specialisation?

        Yes I have – I also know it to be as delusional as most of the rest of present economic dogma.

        On the loss from trade
        Dubious assumptions of the theory of comparative advantage

        Shall we start manufacturing cars and shoes again?

        Shoes, probably. Cars, probably not as they’re highly inefficient.

        The only reason why long distance trading seems to work is because we have a monetary system that doesn’t. It’s physically impossible for China (or anywhere else for that matter) to make things cheaper than we can. And economies of scale no longer apply as all factories are made to be as close to efficient as possible. That means that to make a device in a small would cost the same as if it was made in a large one.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.3.1

          Shoes, probably. Cars, probably not as they’re highly inefficient.

          Electric trains, trams and buses – definitely

  4. john 4

    In the late 1990s, exports to China were $1b.

    It took a whole decade just to grow to $2b.

    The China FTA was signed in 2008, and the world went into recession.

    Today we export $10b annually to China

    Pre FTA the average annual increase was $100m a year. After the FTA the average has been $1333m per year.

    So the growth rate, during the worst recession in 80 years, was 13x higher (1300% greater) after the FTA, than before it.

    And we’re supposed to believe the FTA had nothing to do with it.

    Bsprout is living in lala land.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      While you are at it you better remark that it was a Labour Govt who signed the FTA

      And we’re supposed to believe the FTA had nothing to do with it.

      It had some minor bearing but China wanted our milk anyways to feed their burgeoning middle class.

      • john 4.1.1

        Yeah right. So they didn’t want in 2007, or 06, 05, 04, 03 etc,

        then suddenly when the recession hit, they wanted 1000% more.

        And I’m quite happy to acknowledge the China FTA was put in place by the Labour Govt.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          You’re just looking at the top level numbers. That says nothing about what actually happened.

          The fact that you are pretending it does – marks you as a superficial, 2 dimensional thinker.

          • john 4.1.1.1.1

            The fact that you think we would have got 80 years growth since 2008 without the FTP makes you delusional.

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1.1

              The fact that you are still looking at top line numbers and trying to call simplistic conclusions from them marks you as a 2 dimensional thinker.

              Time to shit-can the TPPA corporate rights document, right now.

              • john

                We’ve got exporters from many sectors telling us how the China FTA has made an incredible difference to them, but you’re mind is so made up that even with that, I’m sure you’ll find a way to delude yourself that even the exporters are wrong and you’re right.

                80 years growth since 2008 is just a big coincidence.

                Watch out for those distant Nigerian relatives who want to give you $17 million.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The China FTA is a done deal. It’s not being re-ligated.

                  The current issue on the board table: time to shit-can the TPPA corporate rights document, right now before it is too late.

                  • john

                    On my list of things that concern me, and the problems NZ faces, sorry – I couldn’t find the TPP.

                    I tried a paranoia sandwich, and a drink of conspiracy theory, and put on some doom and gloom tinted glasses – but nope – the TPP still doesn’t bother me any more than the enormously successful China FTA did.

                    • felix

                      What the fuck has the China FTA got to do with it? That was a trade agreement.

                      The TPP is nothing of the sort.

                    • framu

                      john – you got some points here – but if your going to be a dick why should i bother reading?

                      once again – people are making valid points – your ignoring them and resorting to nonsense

                      up thread you recognised the difference between china FTA and the TPPA – now your steadfastly avoiding the point

                      and frankly – you should care about the TPPA – for the simple fact that its being sold as a free trade deal when its nothing of the sort.

                      if a car salesman said the mini you were looking at was a bmw – would you buy it?

  5. Wreckingball 5

    Another baseless assumption from you VP.

    “A high degree of self sufficiency and ability to enact import substitution will become increasingly important as energy depletion progresses and the global financial system comes under more strain.”

    1) As resources become more scarce, it is going to become even more important to be very good at what we are good at. Trade will continue so we have to make sure we are producing things that we are good at producing. How is this protectionist claptrap you are proposing going for North Korea? They manufacture the majority of their products, they probably have full employment and they don’t have anything useful to trade with the rest of the world because they haven’t specialised.

    2) Where is the evidence that the world financial system is under ‘more’ strain? Ok we had a GFC, we have had the Oil Shock, Asian Crash, dot com bubble in the past. We have recovered before, and most of the indicators show that we (especially NZ) are well on the way to recovering again.

    3) Why should the government be able to use my money to subsidise certain industries? I know how to spend my money more efficiently than the government.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      1) As resources become more scarce, it is going to become even more important to be very good at what we are good at

      Nonsense. We don’t even know what we are good at yet. In 1900 Nokia was good at sawmilling.

      Trade will continue

      Nope. Not the high speed globalised trade of today, and especially not using USD.

      How is this protectionist claptrap you are proposing going for North Korea?

      North Korea’s problems don’t stem from import/export restrictions.

      2) Where is the evidence that the world financial system is under ‘more’ strain?

      Go away – you know nothing. The fact that most governments in the world have now passed legislation enabling them to take money directly from your bank accounts via “bail ins” to save banks in future crises should give you a clue to something they know, which you don’t know.

      most of the indicators show that we (especially NZ) are well on the way to recovering again.

      They lie.

      3) Why should the government be able to use my money to subsidise certain industries? I know how to spend my money more efficiently than the government.

      No you don’t. More to the point, it’s not your money. It’s the government’s money. The government printed it and the government gave it its value. You’re just a very temporary custodian.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      As resources become more scarce, it is going to become even more important to be very good at what we are good at.

      A society isn’t an individual and thus doesn’t specialise. Due to it’s makeup of lots of individuals it’s quite capable of doing everything well.

      Where is the evidence that the world financial system is under ‘more’ strain?

      All the rising debt that can’t be paid for.

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    The Government has canned the $1000 KiwiSaver kickstart programme. Photo: 123RF The Government is being accused of stealing from future generations by scrapping the $1000 KiwiSaver kickstart payment. Legislation cancelling the payment was one of a number of… ...
    1 day ago
  • Training an army that doesn’t want to fight
    Last week the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to ISIS. The reason? Iraqi forces fled rather than fighting:US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter has said the rout of Iraqi forces at the city of Ramadi showed they lacked the will to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Making mountains out of scientific mole hills
    Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet speaking at the Global Health Metrics & Evaluation conference 2011. (Photo credit: Vimeo.) The controversial Lancet editor, Richard Horton, has produced an opinion piece which some are interpreting as an attack on medical science,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Introducing: October
    Emerging local musicians are given two minutes to introduce one of their songs and say whatever they like about themselves and their music.Your time ... starts ... Now!  Photo: Connor Hickey Name: October Age: 18 Hometown: Blenheim Sounds like: My… ...
    1 day ago
  • Keynes
    “We’re all Keynesians now” declared the most identifiable anti-Keynesian of the latter 20th century, Milton Friedman. National has - partly at least - adopted Keynes’ ideas in its fiscal policy, too. It wasn't afraid to run deficits during bad times,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • The Peer Review: Emily Mabin Sutton
    As well as being a maker and creator herself, Emily Mabin Sutton is helping other scientist make their ideas reality.  To say Emily Mabin Sutton has her fingers in many pies would be an understatement. The 23-year-old is a… ...
    1 day ago
  • Protect Your Signature!
    There’s always something comical about American corporations’ union-busting videos. They wouldn’t be out of place in between news clips on Starship Troopers. And if you’re looking for a conspiracy theory, there’s something eerily similar about all of them – with… ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 day ago
  • The cupboard is bare, says Dear Leader
    . . The latest on Budget 2015; Prime Minister John Key is lowering expectations about measures to combat child poverty in this week’s budget. Mr Key says there’ll be “some support” for those suffering material deprivation. “But you’d appreciate that… ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • Wanted: Health Minister who reads their own research
    Content note: discussions of transphobia and it's impacts, focussed on the recent political discussions about trans* healthcare. There's so much to find troubling about National calling life-saving healthcare for trans* people "nutty" and Labour leadership failing to stand behind regional… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland’s New Bus Shelter Design
    Around a year ago Auckland Transport launched a trial and consultation of three potential new bus shelters that they intend to eventually roll out across the region. The trial was held on Symonds St where the three different designs could be… ...
    1 day ago
  • Who is Charlie? And where are you going?
    I didn't say anything about the Charlie Hebdo killings at the time because some things are so bloody obvious they shouldn't need to be spelled out.  You don't kill people over drawings is one.  For the record, I'll spell it… ...
    1 day ago
  • Judd and Fox presenting at Māori Governance Hui
    Press Release – Maori Council New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd and Mori Party Co-leader Marama Fox are the latest to join an exciting line up of speakers and presenters attending this weekends Te Tatau Pounamu Maori Governance and Representation Conference… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Press Release – iPredict Budget Boosts National And Key, But PM Still Expected to Retire by End of 2017iPredict LTD New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update Monday 25 May 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE www.ipredict.co.nz Budget Boosts National And… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • How will people hold governments to account?
    Opinion – Citizen News Service Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service – CNS One of the major failures of current times is how democratic systems are being made ineffective so that people with a ‘power of one vote’ are not… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • NZ Publishers Call for Economic Evidence in TPP Discussions
    Press Release – Copyright Licensing Ltd Leaked documents suggest that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement may result in an extended copyright term. New Zealands current provision, as required as a minimum by the Berne Convention, is life of… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago

  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    18 mins ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    19 hours ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    22 hours ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    3 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 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… ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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… ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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. ...
    4 days 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… ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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… ...
    4 days 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… ...
    4 days 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… ...
    4 days 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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
    6 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… ...
    6 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… ...
    7 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… ...
    7 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… ...
    7 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
    7 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… ...
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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

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