web analytics

Low priority: pedestrians & wheelchairs

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, February 26th, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: infrastructure, public transport, transport - Tags: , ,

Yesterday’s appalling accident with a woman in a wheelchair being caught in the tracks at Morningside rail crossing, highlights several problems with the hierarchies operating in our transportation systems.

In the end, all the rescuers could do was tip the chair on its side and leap out of the way.

“[The woman] fell clear but the wheel chair was still on the tracks,” Mereau said.  “That got caught by the train. The lady was still close to the wheelchair so she got dragged along.”

The woman remains in a critical condition today.

Top of the priority tree is given  to motorised vehicles and roads.  Secondary to this comes the organisation of public transport: buses, trains, ferries.  Arrangements for pedestrians are often pretty low in the hierarchy. People with disabilities are increasingly being catered for, but they remain a very low priority as shown by news reports on yesterday’s accident..

As a car driver, public transport user, pedestrian and ex cyclist & motorcyclist I have long been aware of the low priority given to pedestrians around Auckland.  It’s especially noticeable with the upgrades at places like New Lynn.  At such places the road and footpath arrangements have been constantly changing.  Each time I arrive on foot to some train stations or bus terminals, the footpaths have been changed, often requiring the pedestrian to negotiate an unfamiliar, re-routed obstacle course.  Usually it takes longer than expected, sometimes having to wait for more than one lot of traffic lights changes, and is frustrating when rushing to catch a train or bus on time.

Generally footpaths away from main routes around Auckland can be uneven, and prone to causing tripping and slipping.  There are extra hazards of trying to avoid vehicles backing out of drives.  Traffic lights and roundabouts clearly show motor vehicles are first consideration.  There’s those “free” left turns at traffic lights, often with a constant stream of traffic, while the pedestrian has to find a gap in which to dash between the stream of cars.

At lights some vehicles turning on/after the orange or red lights, and impatient drivers when both vehicles and walkers have the right to proceed, add anxiety to the pedestrian experience.

All these things must be extremely hazardous for people in wheelchairs.  Yet the reports show that they are just expected to accept the conditions, and wait for fairly long periods for upgrades.  Last night RNZ reported that:

The accident happened on an undulating footpath that passes over at least three sets of tracks.

KiwiRail says there have been previous incidents at the scene and it upgraded the tracks last year.

Local ward councillor Cathy Casey says she is shocked to think people in wheelchairs could be at risk at train crossings.

She says safety measures such as barrier arms and warning bells aren’t enough, as they are often ignored.

KiwiRail says the incident with the wheelchair becoming stuck on the tracks is an unusual event that has never happened in New Zealand before.

The company’s chief executive Jim Quinn says a full investigation is underway which will determine whether the gaps, which should be around 69 millimetres, are too wide.

Mr Quinn says staff will be at the crossing on Monday night to check if there are any problems with people in wheelchairs passing the tracks.

But the chair of Auckland Council’s disability strategic advisory group says several other people have become stuck in their wheelchairs at the Morningside level crossing.

Huhana Hickey, who chairs the disability strategic advisory group on the Auckland Council, says she has the same wheelchair and it does get stuck in nooks and crannies.

Dr Hickey says three or four people have told her they have had trouble at the Morningside crossing.

Campbell Live last night, showed that, white arrows marked on the crossing are evidence that the Morningside rail crossing had been registered as a hazard some time before the accident: see about 1min 53 into the Campbell Live video.  Following this in the video, the reporter Kate King asks who is responsible for fixing the hazard? “The people who run the roads, the people who run the trains, or the super city council.”  According to Albert-Eden Community Board Member Graeme Easte,  some people have been debating whether the road goes over the railway tracks or vice versa, in an attempt to  identify who has ultimate responsibility.  He says the ARC (Auckland Regional Council) put up some money for upgrades a few years ago, but no other organisation followed with further money, and nothing happened.

Kiwirail upgraded the Morningside rail/road intersection in 2011, but left the footpath remained cracked and uneven.  Campbell Live showed this is a hazard to cyclists and pushchairs. There’s a lot of these kind of crossings in Auckland, and the planned new electric trains will be quieter, and harder for pedestrians and wheelchair users to hear than the current ones.

Adding to the hassles for wheelchair users, I have also heard that some people in electric chairs can’t take them on buses because their combined weights are above the current limit.

Wheelchairs and some mobility scooters can be carried on a bus subject to the following restrictions:

  • Maximum length:           1200mm

  • Maximum width:             700mm

  • Maximum weight:           240kg  (combined weight of wheelchair and user)

As constantly argued by the Greens, our public transport system needs to be given higher priority. As Julie Anne Genter argued yesterday, the public also wants a better system.  Along with this, high priority also should be given to pedestrians and accessibility for all.

41 comments on “Low priority: pedestrians & wheelchairs”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    that crossing looked unbelievable, yet where will the money come from?

  2. tracey 2

    well, it’s going to be worse in Christchurch if the minister of money(Joyce) gets his way and many buildings dont have to be accessible.

    17% of our population classify themselves as disabled. That doesn’t include the number who don’t classify themselves that way but are – for example older folks.

    It’s actually a substantial part of the electorate. If you then add in their family and friends the issue of accessibility can be bigger than first thought.

  3. Yorick 3

    All I know (at the moment) comes from this blog and a short clip on TV, but I cannot believe what I read.

    What was more important – to save the person or the wheelchair ?

    All they had to to was lift him or her out of harms way (I saw a couple of able-bodied
    police around a person in a wheelchair stuck on the tracks on TV) then deal
    with the mechanical problem afterwards.

    It is a no brainer, and tells us a lot about lack of experience and official priorities .. words fail me.

    • Rogue Trooper 3.1

      i wondered why the person was not un-belted and fireman-lifted out of harms way but i wouldn’t want to presume

      • RJL 3.1.1

        The stories seem to suggest that there was very little time to do anything at all, and that it appeared (correctly or not) to the rescuers that the woman was strapped into her chair.

        The fact that the woman in the wheelchair was nonetheless still dragged along when the train collected the “pushed over wheelchair”, suggests that she was indeed somehow strapped in.

    • scrubone 3.2

      The people who were trying to help were two random people who in seconds went from their normal routine to the most stressful situation they probably will ever encouter.

      One of them was injured and taken to hospital, because she put her own life on the line.

      I’d be a *lot* more careful about describing decisions in those circumstances as “no brainer” myself – especially when using words like “official priorities” to describe first responders.

      • Yorick 3.2.1

        Re ..I’d be a *lot* more careful about describing decisions in those circumstances as “no brainer” myself – especially when using words like “official priorities” to describe first responders. ..

        I was careful to emphasize my limited knowledge of this incident at the top of the post ..

        • Yorick 3.2.1.1

          I’ve had a bit of experience with people and wheelchairs. The fact that he/she was strapped in suggests a considerable degree of disability. I don’t know who the ‘random people’ were, but most NZers are fairly down to earth in their assessment of risk. This would certainly have been novel for a lot of people, and it sounds as if there was unexpectedly little time to react .. but getting him/her out of danger would not have used up a lot of cortical computing power.

          Re. “the most stressful situation they probably will ever encouter” .. will probably be when they themselves are at risk.

          Re. “I’d be a *lot* more careful about describing decisions in those circumstances as “no brainer” myself – especially when using words like “official priorities” to describe first responders.”

          scrubone (or should that be ‘scrub one’ ?): The TV footage I saw briefly showed what appeared to be police uniforms struggling with a wheel chair stuck on tracks. I remain dubious about official priorities in providing safe railway crossings for the differently abled in Auckland. I have a lot of respect for medical first responders .. whom I have worked with on-scene and in casualty overseas.

          This is an evolving situation so it would be unwise to comment further.

    • McFlock 3.3

      Well, you’re thinking without factoring in stressors, in this case “fucking big train bearing down on you”.

      It wasn’t stress-experienced cops trying to save the woman, it was a couple of joe blow public. Possibly that’s some of the most extreme stress they’ll face in their lives. So prime candidates for objective fixation and lowered mental functioning. That’s if they had the fine motor control to deal with any seatbelt etc.

      People do funny things under stress – sometimes completely random, other times there’s a discernible logic (in this case they might have been used to thinking about paraplegic+wheelchair as one unit, so didn’t think to break up the unit – the woman was probably used to thinking of chair as best way to move anywhere quickly, too), but almost always sub-optimal. Even running like buggery might be a bad move in some situations.

      The funniest one I saw (nobody hurt, fortunately) was a driver that pulled out in front of a cyclist, who proceeded to somersault over the bonnet (most impressive). The driver was completely unharmed, but in a bit of shock, and the first thing she did was stammer “this is a new car”and look for a scratch. Not as insensitive as she sounds – just a stress reaction. Of course, if the cyclist had died then the prosecutor would have made a big deal out of it as an example of her callous and uncaring attitude to killing someone else. Not that at all – she was just shitting bricks and that was the first thing that snuck through the information overload.

      • vto 3.3.1

        Myself and a couple of others on the day of the Chch earthquake (Feb 22) caught up together in the first hour or so made some decisions and did some things that in hindsight were most definitely not smart. It was stressed thinking and it does most definitely lead a person to make decisions that wouldn’t normally be made. One of those people has since said subsequently that they did not make good decisions that day, and neither did I. Another person nearby was killed as a consequence of decisions like ours at the exact time we were doing these things. Close calls.

        Was very sobering and highlighted that circumstance of decisions made quickly and under immediate threat of death.

        Those brave people helping the wheelchair person would have been freaking out.

        • aerobubble 3.3.1.1

          The picture of the tarmac between the rails was obvious well worn down, and the fact nobody was out there with tarmac asap is horrific. Why have people not complained in the past? A culture of non-complaint? Why aren’t people more aware of dangers and so think better when the time comes – as the previous comment makes clear? The opening car door killing a cyclist.
          Why do we always get to pick up the pieces and there is no department of government who actively catch these issues, and also educate the public about decision making in moment of crisis? Risk analysis, risk abatement, risk training…

          Where are the disabled groups blocking the intersection until someone fixes the problem?
          And as to its not a rail budget, or a council, or a roading issue, bollocks, if a third
          party goes and tarmacs the area you damn sure the rail people will turn up and start
          suing, and so its a rail safety issue and a rail safety botchup. The rail company, if this
          lady were to die, would be charged with corporate manslaughter if it was legislated.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 3.4

      Alas, poor Yorick! (sorry – had to)

      Not many of us have been forced to make such a life/death decision in the face of an oncoming honking freight train, but I suspect the wheelchair would have been seen as valuable (they are a couple of grand at least, ACC are shits at paying for them and it’s not like she could walk into a wheelchair yard and get on the next day), and the rescuers would also have seen the chair as an extension of the person sitting in it.

      No chair = no ability to function, something which we able bodied folk take for granted.

      • Yorick 3.4.1

        Yorick is “is the deceased court jester whose skull is exhumed by the gravedigger in Act 5, Scene 1, of” Hamlet.

        More broadly,

        Scholar David Carlyon has cast doubt on the “daring political jester”, calling historical tales “apocryphal”, and concluding that “popular culture embraces a sentimental image of the clown; writers reproduce that sentimentality in the jester, and academics in the Trickster,” but it “falters as analysis.”[6]

        Jesters could also give bad news to the King that no one else would dare deliver. The best example of this is in 1340, when the French fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Sluys by the English. Phillippe VI’s jester told him the English sailors “don’t even have the guts to jump into the water like our brave French.”[7]

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

  4. Jeremy Greenbrook-Held 4

    “Kiwirail upgraded the Morningside rail/road intersection in 2011, but left the footpath remained cracked and uneven. ”

    That’s not entirely true. The ped crossing was tidied up, but they did such a crap job that it’s all warn out now. Doesn’t help that they’ve driven heavy maintenance machinery across it too…

  5. Bill 5

    If the people who used stuff were the people who designed the stuff, most problems with accessability/bad design would disappear.

    I’m sure we could all give a shopping list of things we’ve encountered in life that made us think “Wtf?”

    But then we are trained to understand that ‘experts’ know better. Regardless.

    On the transport front, I just happened to be reflecting on how car designs have become more ‘sexy’ and comfortabe while public transport designs have become ever more ‘grey’ and uncomfortable. I know this isn’t so much to do with physical accessabilty rather than psychological desirability, but think of the old comfortable bus/train seats with plenty of room alongside the internal trimmings and compare to modern b/s plastic bucket seats and hard plastic ‘nothingness’. Next time you pass a bus-stop, imagine how it would be if the concept of four sides and a door as shelter against the elements had been thought of.

    Thoughtlessness permeates all aspects of social design from urinals to bike lanes and sweet counters to entrance ways. Like i said at the beginning of this comment – have stuff designed by those who will use the stuff. It’s a simple solution.

  6. vto 6

    Streets were created for pedestrians first and orginally.

    Horse and cart, and then cars, came much much later, yet most people look at you sideways if you mention that fact, such is the ingrained “car is king” approach to everything today.

    This approach manifests itself in other ways too. Check out new houses which apparently need to have two cars parked inside the house as close as possible to the half dozen toilets and two lounges. Recall horses used to have a barn separate from teh dwelling. It should be thus today. Quite why people want noisy stinking cars inside their house I do not know. Dumbo.

    Also, business and shops and malls. We all need to be able to park right beside the shop.

    What ever happened to walking? Chech the streets out right now. Take look. Betcha the number of people walking is close to nil. Ffs I know people who drive 100m to the shop.

    The streets were created for people first. The cars came later and should be relegated so…

    (one other thing – always wondered why wheelchairs don’t have bigger diameter wheels. Just like tractors, makes it a hell of a lot easier trundling along a surface and this would have allowed the wheelchair to roll across the gaps…)

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    I note that in today’s Domp the WRC are looking at increasing fares.

    Again.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8350269/Bus-train-commuters-likely-to-face-fare-rises

  8. Skinny 8

     So CEO of Kiwi Rail, Jim Quinn says “safety will not be compromised as s result of  cuts jobs.” guess what Jim public  safety has been compromised because of your job cuts. That Morningside rail crossing was identified by a track inspector late last year as needing urgent attention  ‘nothing done about it.’ And now Mr Quinn has done away with track inspectors all over the Country, so the New Zealand public can expect a lot more safety issues regarding Rail regrettably.

    • vto 8.1

      “And now Mr Quinn has done away with track inspectors all over the Country”

      Remove mines inspectors and people die in mines.

      Remove track inspectors and people die on tracks.

      what is the matter with these people?

      • muzza 8.1.1

        According to Albert-Eden Community Board Member Graeme Easte, some people have been debating whether the road goes over the railway tracks or vice versa, in an attempt to identify who has ultimate responsibility

        More to the point, what is the matter with the NZ public that allow this kind of midset to control our country.

        What a terrible situation, (which the first responders must be recognised for), which I had not heard of until I read this post.

        With every such avoidable situation as this, we are allowing those charged with the safety and well being of NZ, to inflict further damage.

      • Arfamo 8.1.2

        What’s the matter with these people? Unless it happens to them, they don’t care. It’s that simple.

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 9

    A note on accessability – NZ is a party to the United Nations Resolution for the Rights of Disabled Persons. One of the points the treaty agreed upon is accessability, specifically for things such as public transport.

    For those who aren’t disabled you likely have no idea of just how little regard is given to those less mobile in particular, and how disabled needing modifications (eg to vehicles) have to fight over scraps of funding just so they can have basic independence.

  10. dewithiel 10

    The marginalisation of pedestrians is the consequence of a long-running and insidious campaign – dating from the 1920s – by car manufacturers and driver associations such as the AA aimed at ensuring that motor vehicles have priority on the roads. It was embraced enthusiastically by Auckland traffic engineers and their political masters who, from the 1950s onwards, have designed the city’s roads with one overriding principle: move more vehicular traffic faster. The initial step taken here was to abolish the tram system; this was followed by the construction of kilometres of motorway and arterial roads – a process which continues to receive the overwhelming bulk of transport funding. Sadly, 100s of people die on our roads every year, many of them pedestrians hit by motor vehicles but we don’t seem to care all that much and the police have become adept at ensuring that pedestrian behaviour is highlighted as being primarily culpable in these incidents. Yet when one wheelchair user is tragically hit by a train, ultimately because traffic engineers haven’t considered it a priority to grade separate our rail and road networks, the press goes into overdrive. The victim of this tragedy has all my sympathy; and the heroic actions of the two passer byes who sought to rescue her have all my admiration. But we should recognise that as a society we treat pedestrians as second class citizens; moreover, we should challenge the actions of the engineers and politicians whose venality and complacency has led to this awful outcome.

    • Ennui in Requiem 10.1

      There’s some common sense dewithiel. I have for a long time ridden my cycle on the footpath on the basis that my bike and cars / buses / trucks are incompatible in the same vicinity. The occasional cop and rare pedestrian raise some ire at this, to the cops I usually suggest they do their job, slow the traffic and make it safe for me. On the road I don’t feel as much a second class citizen as an endangered species.

      Fortunately cars have now become the endangered species….peak oil and all that: might use a few cars and vans to grow tomatoes in as there owners abandon them.

  11. BD 11

    The main problem is that we have a government who has commited to spending billions of dollars on building shinny brand new motorways around NZ, and leaving virtually no money left for safety upgrades to foot paths and level crossings for pedestrians around Auckland were more than 2/3 of the population live. Even when some pedestrians crossings do get upgraded they are done in a half-baked way and don’t take into account for disabled people.

    Even the bus network around Auckland is a shambles. The trains are improving but more needs to be done about the level crossings and making station access easier and safer for both pedestrians and disabilitiy people.

  12. dewithiel 12

    In the three years 2012-2015, the current administration will spend an obscene 97% of new transport infrastructure funding on roads and a mere 3% on public transport. See: http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/02/26/why-arent-we-getting-what-we-want/

  13. pmofnz 13

    Always remember, if a certain Mr Cullen had not wasted all that taxpayer wedge on a toy train set, there would not be any level crossing problems today.

    • McFlock 13.1

      Because there would be almost no level crossings.
      Because of 15 years of profit-taking and low maintenance would have led to winding up.
      Because it was sold in the first place.

  14. tracey 14

    Agree with bd. Why would kiwirail, whose boss is the govt, upgrade for the disabled when they are proposing loosening disabled access to buildings in the chchch rebuild?

  15. tracey 15

    Pmofnz is that because no passenger trains wld be running?

  16. xtasy 16

    Thanks for your post and raising this, which for once even mainstream media raised justifiably.

    I know that crossing well and have crossed it many times there in Morningside.

    While I am not wheelchair bound, I can fully understand what any person in a wheelchair, same as a prem pushing parent or even a cyclist would encounter and face.

    That is just one more case, where I do, and I know it does offend some, consider NZ in some ways to be backward and needing to improve a lot.

    Rail crossings here are an invitation for disasters, and this one is just one of many, in Auckland and other places across NZ.

    It maybe suited to drive cattle across it, with low risk, but to allow for civilised, vulnerable and modest transport option using pedestrians, many of such crossings are a hazard.

    I never saw anything like it in Europe, where much more emphasis is on safety and security. Such wide gaps beside rails, such poor controls and such appalling standards in general are disgusting. It is overdue that something is done, and Kiwirail, same as Auckland Council have responsibilities here.

    What the hell would it cost to pour a bit of bitumen or concrete in there to narrow the gaps? It cannot cost a fortune, for sure. It should also not impact on traffic. There should be better signals too, and it is overdue that things get done and improved.

    Sadly, I feel, this is showing how poorly NZ is on supporting and protecting disabled persons in general, that is of physical and mental disabilities. We have before Parliament a Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill that will hammer many beneficiaries by placing “work obligations” or “expectations” on them.

    Where is the bloody support and decent respect that sick and disabled deserve here, I ask. NZ signed the UN convention on the rights for disabled, but this government is SHITTING on that obligation. It stinks and makes me extremely angry, to just see and hear what is going on in NZ daily. Sadly the public are largely not aware of what goes on, because a useless media is not paying attention.

    I am ANGRY!

  17. Afewknowthetruth 17

    Cyclists, pedestrians, scooter riders etc. use little or no fuels = bad for the profits of the oil companies that run NZ for the benefit of oil companies.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    1 hour ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    1 hour ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    4 hours ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    1 day ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    1 day ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    1 day ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    1 day ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    1 day ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    2 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    2 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    2 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    2 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    3 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    3 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    3 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    3 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    4 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    4 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    1 week ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    1 week ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    1 week ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    1 week ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s affordable homes plummet 72% under National
    Comprehensive new data from CoreLogic has found the number of homes in Auckland valued at under $600,000 has plummeted by 72 per cent since National took office, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This data tracks the changes in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt should face the facts not skew the facts
    National appears to be actively massaging official unemployment statistics by changing the measure for joblessness to exclude those looking online, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Household Labour Force Survey, released tomorrow, no longer regards people job hunting on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More voices call for review of immigration policy
    The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is the latest credible voice to call for a review of immigration and skills policy, leaving John Key increasingly isolated, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister is rapidly becoming a man alone. He ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better balance needed in Intelligence Bill
    Labour will support the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill to select committee so the issues can be debated nationwide and important amendments can be made, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Serco circus has no place in NZ
    A High Court judgment proves National’s private prison agenda has failed and the Serco circus has no place in New Zealand correctional facilities, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • State house sell-off a kick in the guts for Tauranga’s homeless
    The Government’s sale of 1124 state houses in Tauranga won’t house a single extra homeless person in the city, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Tauranga, like the rest of New Zealand, has a crisis of housing affordability and homelessness. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Axing Auckland’s affordable quota disappointing
    Auckland Council has given away a useful tool for delivering more affordable housing by voting to accept the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendation to abolish affordable quotas for new developments, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ae Marika! Māori Party Oath Bill fails
    The Māori Party must reconsider its relationship with National after they failed to support Marama Fox’s Treaty of Waitangi Oath bill, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Police Minister all platitudes no detail
    The Police Minister must explain where the budget for new police officers is coming from after continuously obfuscating, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lost luggage law shows National’s lost the plot
    The Government has proven it can’t address the big issues facing the tourism industry by allowing a Members Bill on lost luggage to be a priority, Labour’s Tourism spokesman Kris Faafoi said. “Nuk Korako’s Bill drawn from the Members’ Ballot ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Hiding behind the law – but can’t say which law
    National is refusing to come clean on what caused the potential trade dispute with China by hiding behind laws and trade rules they can’t even name, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “National admitted today that an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Work visas issued for jobs workless Kiwis want
    Thousands of work visas for low-skilled jobs were issued by the Government in the past year despite tens of thousands of unemployed Kiwis looking for work in those exact occupations, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “A comparison of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis nationwide now paying for housing crisis
    The Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis is now affecting the entire country with nationwide house price inflation in the past year hitting 26 per cent, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “None of National’s tinkering or half-baked, piecemeal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut piles pressure on Government
    Today’s OCR cut must be backed by Government action on housing and economic growth, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler’s monetary policy statement underlines the limits of Bill English’s economic management. He says growth is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must explain the McClay delay
    Todd McClay must explain why it took two months for him to properly inform the Prime Minister about China’s potential trade retaliation, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “This may be one of the most serious trade ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut would be vote of no confidence in economy
    If Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler cuts the OCR tomorrow it would show that, despite his loudly-voiced concerns about fuelling the housing market, the stuttering economy is now a bigger concern, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Leading medical experts back Healthy Homes Bill
    Leading medical experts have today thrown their weight behind my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, saying it will improve the health of Kiwi kids, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “The Bill sets minimum standards for heating, insulation and ventilation ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, it’s time to listen to the Auditor General
    Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman needs to listen to the independent advice of the Auditor General and review the capital charge system imposed on District Health Boards, says Labour’ Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “The capital charge on DHBs has been ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere