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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.

  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.

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  • Letter to the Editor: John Key and State-sanctioned murder
    . . FROM: "f.macskasy" SUBJECT: Letters to the editor DATE: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:56:14 +1200 TO: "Dominion Post" <letters@dompost.co.nz>  . The Editor DOMINION POST . A New Zealand citizen is killed - murdered, to be more precise - by...
    Frankly Speaking | 17-04
  • Judith Collins explains
    Judith Collins explains what really happened at that dinner, and why it's no big deal....
    Imperator Fish | 17-04
  • Citibanker: the age of renewables is here
    Kathryn Ryan’s interview earlier this week with Michael Eckhart, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental Finance and Sustainability at the giant investment bank Citigroup was arresting. He was in New Zealand as a keynote speaker at the Wind Energy...
    Hot Topic | 17-04
  • Media Links: Kiwi killed in drone strike.
    I did interviews on TV 3 and Radio NZ about the drone strike that killed a Kiwi dual citizen in Yemen last year. There are many questions raised by the incident, but time constraints precluded addressing all of them. The...
    Kiwipolitico | 17-04
  • Photo of the Day: Lorne St
    A quick shot of Lorne St in front of the library. It appears Brobdingnagian gardeners have dropped by with some seriously big pot plants. I love them! About the only criticism I every heard about the shared space in Lorne...
    Transport Blog | 17-04
  • National: American lickspittles
    Yesterday we learned that America had murdered a New Zealand citizen in a drone strike in Yemen. Today, the government was closely quizzed about its views on this in Parliament. Steven Joyce (standing in for the PM) was very clear:...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • A $130 million gift to the rich
    When the government announced that it was selling off Genesis Energy, it deliberately underpriced it, with a discounted price, generous bonus scheme, and huge dividend. And today that has had the expected result, with Genesis shares leaping almost 20% on...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Defamation via Facebook and ‘a private website’
    This defamation case should be a shot across the bows of various internet wide-boys who think ‘defence of truth’ or ‘opinion honestly held’ is some kind of magic elixir or Get Out of Jail Free card. It’s worth noting the...
    The Paepae | 17-04
  • Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink
    It is three years and one day since Danyl wrote this blog post about South Canterbury Finance. I was re-reading it today, and something stuck out like a sore thumb: December 2008: SCF undertakes a high risk loan strategy, losing...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 17-04
  • Access: I Can’t See You, But You Should See Me
    Being lost for words when you’re a talkback host could hardly be considered ideal. But back in September of 1992, I was hosting an evening talkback show on a fledgling radio station in what was then a newly deregulated, highly...
    Public Address | 17-04
  • Judith Collins: guess who’s coming to dinner?
    Judith Collins, Justice Minister, is playing dumb in parliament at question time and avoiding media. Her patronising responses, or non-responses, to allegations of corrupt influence is not becoming of a Cabinet Minister.  Her abuse of the House by criticising questions...
    Tumeke | 17-04
  • Can fracking save the climate?
    Blogging is a great way MPs can communicate and engage with citizens about the issues facing us. I have joined The Daily Blog blogging team and have so far posted on Anadarko’s failure to find oil and a piece outlining...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • New Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Labour’s manufacturing plan
    David Cunliffe has launched Labour's policy to get more manufacturing jobs back in New Zealand: Labour leader David Cunliffe launched the policy to an Auckland business audience this morning, adding the depreciation and procurement policies to the known suite of...
    Polity | 17-04
  • Easter PT shutdown
    It’s Easter weekend and that invariably means the rail network is shut down for works. Auckland Transport advises the rail network will be closed for Easter and there are changes to timetables for buses and ferries during the holiday break....
    Transport Blog | 17-04
  • Another perspective on the postgraduate allowance cuts
    I have already shared two stories from psychology students about how the postgraduate allowance cuts have affected them. These stories demonstrate the widespread impact the changes are having. Here is yet another story I have received, this one giving the...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • Against secret "justice" in NZ
    Last year, in response to a series of court cases challenging its control orders or claiming compensation for human rights abuses by its intelligence services, the UK passed the Justice and Security Act 2013. The Act introduces a "Closed Material...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Massey chancellor sets up company in opposition to university
    Massey Chancellor Chris Kelly will chair the board of a company that intends to be New Zealand’s largest private training provider (PTE)...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Gibbs, Hayek, Canterbury and the free market for degrees
    The New Zealand Herald notes that philanthropist Alan Gibbs is about to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury today. One of the many institutions Alan Gibbs has donated his money to...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Record Store Day
    As readers will know, I have long embraced the internet music revolution. The ability to discover and download new things pretty much as they're being made has reinvented and refreshed my lifelong relationship with popular music. But I still really...
    Public Address | 16-04
  • Great Sorkin Parody
    Aaron Sorkin (SportsNight, The West Wing, The Newsroom) makes a very particular style of TV. Some good parts to that, some really silly parts. Amy Schumer' Comedy Central parody of Sorkin is pitch-prefect and hilarious. Enjoy: Inside Amy SchumerGet More:...
    Polity | 16-04
  • Photographic proof
    Deborah asked for a picture of my bicycle, after I wrote about it, and there is now one in existence which even includes me riding it along Mt Albert Rd, thanks to a dear friend who drove past me and...
    The Hand Mirror | 16-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis,...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
    Mortgage rate rises are making life harder for homeowners, and many of them will be surprised the latest CPI figures show inflation would be zero were it not for tobacco tax hikes, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “New Zealanders...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Why Easter holidays should always be mandatory and retail free
    The moaning from retailers that they can’t open the cash registers and worship the consumer culture of consumption over Easter bores me immensely because I’ve always believed that public holidays should be mandatory. It’s not that I really care about...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Why punish the parents of the disabled?
    Parents who have adult children with disabilities saw a glimmer of hope when the promise for payment for caring for their children was given. But like most things, the complicated and relentless bureaucracy of the whole process shows a completely...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Our government: still no idea
    Happy Easter everyone, bad weather aside. A previous post of mine was called “The Government with no ideas”.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of the piece was of a current government thoroughly absent of any creative ideas or solutions to assist more...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • 12 things Forbes has to say about NZs about to burst economic bubble
    Forbes is not known for their socialist or left wing activism, so when they predict a grim economic failure, we should should collectively poo ourselves a little. National often get given this perception that somehow they are better economic mangers....
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • That Sinking Feeling: Labour’s urgent need for persuasive words and coura...
    THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has Labour on 28.5 percent (down 3.5 percent) and the Greens on 11.5 percent (down 1.5 percent). At 40 percent, the combined vote of the two main centre-left parties has fallen 5 percentage points since...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Why the Labour movement should support a Universal Basic Income
    The Mana movement’s support of the idea of a universal basic income is a welcome development. It could become one of the litmus issues that define the party and prove extremely popular. If Mana are in a position to do...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Legal high and cannabis regulation
    I marched through Henderson last month with my fellow Westies to express our concern about the impact of so called “legal highs” on our community. Some people chanted loudly calling for banning, some expressing anger at the parliamentarians who voted...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • GUEST BLOG: Daniel Bruce – Internet Party: What Seems Ridiculous To The O...
    Imagine you’re a 18-21 year old, from a working class family. You’ve never had a landline phone at home, because your parents can’t afford the fixed monthly bills, so everyone in your familiy has a pre-pay mobile phone. Because of the same tight...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members’ ballot. “It’s...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | Press Release Christchurch cannot afford to lose this agency The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Resignation rates among cops soar The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Work visa problems need monitoring The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today. The report...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • The issues behind the possible MANA-Internet Party Alliance
      Last weekend Kim Dotcom spoke at MANAs AGM to discuss the possibility of the Internet Party and MANA Party working together to defeat John Key this election. As someone who knows both Hone and Kim, I have a unique...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Manufacturing Upgrade   Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.   – The claims and opinions...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Get work on 29th and the ANZAC spirit deserts the TPPA
      Groser and co would have been spitting tacks last week as the ANZAC spirit deserted the TPPA negotiations. Australia has done a deal directly with Japan which undercuts the demand for Japan to opening all agriculture in the TPPA....
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • No fracking solution to climate change
    Some British tabloids and oil lobbyists have jumped on comments made by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author that fracking could play a role in addressing climate change as an argument for it here in Aotearoa, so is fracking...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: At Last: A Manufacturing Policy Date of Release:  Thursday, April 17, 2014 Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister
    Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference. Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Secret Policeman’s Ball
      Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball is back in New Zealand for one night of some of the best stand-up comedy from both national and international comics The freedom to provoke and in some cases offend is essential to the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • So the US has assassinated a NZ citizen – what did Key know?
    A non judicial assassination by the US on a NZ citizen raises questions. Key made the idea that NZers were training with terrorists part of his farcical defence for the GCSB mass surveillance legislation. I say farcical because even if...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Something Better Than Something Worse: Why John Key could become our longes...
    IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Tariana Turia: Labour doesn’t deserve our vote
    Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote. ‘I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more....
    Scoop politics | 20-04
  • Family Court Consumers Group appalled at legal rort
    Family Court Consumers Group appalled at Lawyer for Child's "1 meeting in 10 years" taxpayer funded legal rort...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Manufacturing Matters to New Zealand – 17 April
    The Labour Party announcement today recognises the simple truth that the manufacturing sector really matters to New Zealand’s economy as a whole, based on the part manufacturing plays in the growth of the added value element in the tradable sector,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum
    Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director, Aaron Hape, has been selected to represent New Zealand at 33Fifty, the Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei
    Greens propose new ministerial disclosure regime based on British rules, requiring quarterly declarations of ministers' meetings, travel and hospitality....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Politicians Should Maintain Workers’ Easter Break
    Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve a break to spend time with their families. “This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews experts on Antacrtica
    Lisa Owen interviews Chuck Kennicutt and Gary Wilson on Antarctica Headlines: Top Antarctic scientists warns New Zealand "not ready" for worst as ice shelves and sea ice in Antarctica retreat and the climate changes Gary Wilson: "Can...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Beyond the State – NZ State Houses from Modest to Modern
    As part of the our 'Active Hand of Government' series for 2014, we present Bill McKay, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, speaking to his new publication....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Global unions applaud NZ ‘slave ships’ progress
    Global unions the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) today applauded the steps forward made in preventing often shocking abuse of crews on fishing vessels in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Families before commerce at Easter
    Families before commerce at Easter The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions. "Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Easter trading laws archaic, in need of overhaul
    Press release: ACT New Zealand Easter trading laws are outdated and in need of a major overhaul, said ACT leader Jamie Whyte today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
    A 67-year-old former company director, convicted of stealing pokie machine profits, was today sentenced to six months community detention, 160 hours of community work and ordered to make reparation of $6,000....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • “Legitimate purpose” provides no protection under 167 form
    On Radio New Zealand today, the Privacy Commissioner indicated that ACC could only request information that was "relevant" for a "legitimate purpose". His view was therefore that the ACC167 form is not a "blank cheque" or...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • State: still keeping you safe on the road this Easter
    The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Govt plan for community input into residential red zone
    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a community participation process for the public to have a say on the future use of the residential red zone....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Governor-General to visit Turkey
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Turkey next week to lead New Zealand’s representation at the annual Gallipoli commemorations....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Actions of Police prior to death in custody were justified
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority on the death of Adam Palmer while in Police custody found the actions of Police were justified during the arrest. The report also found that Police took all possible steps to try...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • New Electorate Boundaries Finalised
    New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. The 2014 Representation Commission has completed its statutory role of reviewing and redrawing electorate...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Save The Children Welcomes Strengthening Children’s Rights
    Save the Children New Zealand welcomes a new treaty which allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour takes manufacturing seriously
    Labour takes manufacturing seriously Manufacturing workers and employers will all benefit from economic policies announced today by the Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the announcement...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Manufacturing policy welcomed
    “Today’s announcement of Labour’s manufacturing policy is very welcome,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. “Just as many other developed countries are realising, having a strong manufacturing sector pays off in good jobs, retaining...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence
    New Zealand Police are hoping to reduce the number of victims from alcohol related crime by asking the public to say ‘Yeah, Nah’ more often this holiday weekend....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Dunne Speaks
    Dunne Speaks 17 April 2014 There have been a number of harrowing cases presented this week about the impact of psychoactive substances on vulnerable young people. At one level, the tales are deeply disturbing. It is awful to see anyone...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Research announcement welcomed
    A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    At Last: A Manufacturing Policy FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company,...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Republic campaigners still positive after royal visit
    "Campaigners for a New Zealand Head of State are still feeling positive after ten days of royal events" says NZ Republic Chair, Savage. "Our polling before the visit showed increased support for a kiwi head of state. We have a...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Selling homes to foreigners benefits New Zealanders
    Winston Peters has apparently convinced David Cunliffe that when foreigners buy New Zealand property they make New Zealanders worse off. Mr Cunliffe has announced his intention to adopt Winston Peters’ policy of banning foreigners from buying...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations
    Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?
    Paying seafarers at least a minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 has applied to the New Zealand fishing industry for more than 30 years. It was, and is, a basic protection which had two universals – it was...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014
    Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014 Kiwis across the country are getting together over a cuppa to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty in the developing world. They’re getting involved in Oxfam’s Morning Tea, a fun and...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • 1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know How
    1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know Where to Go...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award
    Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third - The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation with 25% or more foreign ownership) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories: economic dominance...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
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