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The Standard

Merry Christmas Hillside

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, December 7th, 2012 - 72 comments
Categories: capitalism, jobs, national - Tags: , ,

I almost missed this little gem from a couple of days ago:

Govt urged KiwiRail to keep workshops open

The Government leaned on KiwiRail to stop it closing the Hillside workshops but the company couldn’t find a way to keep them open, Prime Minister John Key says.

The government leaned on KiwiRail. Leaned on them (is that even appropriate)? If only, instead of “leaning” on KiwiRail, the government had done something useful, like, say, I don’t know, sent them some business. Used the skills, experience, and talent of Hillside. If only the government had been able to do that.

Oh wait.

The government could have sent a big contract to Hillside. Instead they decided to pay bargain basement prices for bargain basement quality and bugger the bigger picture. They can’t really complain to anyone when KiwiRail plays the same short-term bottom-line game then can they. Hypocrites.

Meanwhile, as is so often the case, the workers give the bosses a lesson in humanity:

Show of solidarity in job offers for Hillside workers

In a demonstration of solidarity, older KiwiRail workers are offering their jobs to redundant Hillside employees and electing to retire.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) was facilitating discussion between the 90 workers facing redundancy at Hillside and KiwiRail staff elsewhere in New Zealand who have offered to retire.

RMTU South Island organiser John Kerr said a KiwiRail worker in Christchurch, another in Invercargill and a few in the North Island were willing to exchange places with those made redundant from the South Dunedin workshops.

He said the older workers were close to retirement age and felt it was more important for “younger blokes” to be employed.

“It’s quite gratifying in a way. It shows the depth of solidarity among KiwiRail employees. Rail workers stick together and there is a lot of support from our members throughout the country for Hillside workers,” Mr Kerr said.

Here’s a salute to the workers who are going early to help others keep their jobs. It won’t help many, but it will help a few. Here’s commiserations to the 90 who have just lost their jobs – an early Christmas present from the National government. It’s another sad chapter in the ongoing collapse of manufacturing in NZ. A particularly bitter chapter, because it didn’t have to be this way.

72 comments on “Merry Christmas Hillside”

  1. Neoleftie 1

    I work on hillside rd, chat daily to some of the workers and have witnessed events unfold from a gaggle of woman branch south D protestors and the usually media focus to the resigned to their fate staff adrift and isolated powerless in the face of the Tory idiolology….merry merry fuckin Christmas.

  2. BM 2

    How does the government over rule Kiwi rail?
    I thought SOEs were structured in a way to avoid political meddling

  3. higherstandard 3

    Good on the chaps for taking an early retirement to keep some of the younger fellows on.

    It does seem perverse that the government couldn’t have tilted the playing field, by hook or by crook, in the favour of local industry.

  4. karol 4

    I was very sorry to read about the lay offs.  The PM is a hypocrite for making out he cared about the workers by “leaning on” people.

    Is there any kind of Christmas collection happening for the people laid off?

    How is the parliamentary inquiry on manufacturing going? 

  5. vto 5

    “The government could have sent a big contract to Hillside. Instead they decided to pay bargain basement prices …”

    … should read …

    The government could have sent a big contract to Hillside. Instead they decided to pay [slave wages in far off lands].

    Mind you, what should we expect in modern New Zealand? The fishing companies get [slaves from far off lands] to fish our seas. The Warehouse gets [slaves in far off lands] to make our clothes.

    We make use of [slaves in far off lands]. This is the current way.

    • Populuxe1 5.1

      “The government could have sent a big contract to Hillside. Instead they decided to pay [slave wages in far off lands].”

      The government is obliged to the taxpayer to get the best possible deal to make the most of the budget. I suppose they could cut welfare and state funding even more than they have. Would that make you feel better? And while this government is happily slashing welfare out of their own perverse ideology, most left leaning governments wouldn’t advocate propping up uneconomic manufacturing in the middle of an economic contraction either.

      Non-luxury manufacturing for NZ is a dinosaur. There is no getting around China and the other Asian manufacturing markets – the NZ economy has to get smarter. 

      • galeandra 5.1.1

        most left leaning governments wouldn’t advocate propping up uneconomic manufacturing in the middle of an economic contraction either. ….

        Obama’s auto bailout .. from someone to the right of Reagan. Even in the ol’ USof A!!

        • Populuxe1 5.1.1.1

          In that particular instance it was still probably the wrong thing to do, but then again they also risked the total economic collapse of the state of Michigan. 

      • vto 5.1.2

        I think you missed the general point pop…

        How much are we prepared to turn a blind eye to us paying people 2c an hour to make our undies?
        How little are we prepared to pay anyone to make our undies? As little as we can possibly get away with and who cares about the undies-maker? (current approach).
        Are you happy to support slavery?

        Why only non-luxury manufacturing? Why would it stop at that pop?
        If we have to “get smarter” as you put it, then how on earth do we do that? Are we the smartest people in the world? And if not, then how would we succeed at that?

        What will we do when cheap labour does everything for us? Do we never labour again?
        And how do we build our trains and make our undies if the slaves stop doing it?

        I just don’t see that the current way the world is operating as sustainable. Entire giant populations of the world are dependent entirely on ships sailing in with their food, trains and undies. Some populations do nothing at all because the slaves do it all. It is just all up the boohai if you ask me…

        • Populuxe1 5.1.2.1

          Well unfortunately we don’t live in some airy fairy utopia full of unicorns and rainbows, so if anyone is going get screwed over I’d rather it wasn’t the citizens of this country. It’s incredibly presumptuous and paternalistic of you to tell those countries what their problems – they’re more than aware of them. Of course, I expect some of those “slaves” might be quite glad to be able to feed their families in countries where they don’t have our relatively expensive welfare system. I mean hell, the entire western world is facing the possible collapse of social security and all our Greens can do is whinge that some of the fund is invested with companies that make weapons. Well boo hoo, the world is a shitty cesspit of unfairness and exploitation – the best we can do is try and hold it off from our shores for as long as possible.

          • TheContrarian 5.1.2.1.1

            Yeah but you’re too stupid to understand/delusional/an RWNJ…..and so forth

            • Populuxe1 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Of course. Anyone who doesn’t preach verbatim from Das Kapital is stupid/delusional/ a RWNJ, etc.
              OK, I would never support third way doctrine either – I’m an old-fashioned national economic protectionist, me. I believe in workers rights, but I’d rather focus on this country where we can actually achieve progress.
              I’m afraid as the world situation worsens, some folk might actually realise that the niceties of liberal democracy we enjoy are actually fragile and expensive, and if we are to continue to enjoy some semblance of them, we may very well have to dirty our hands.

              • TheContrarian

                It doesn’t matter what you believe anymore Populuxe. You have already been tainted with a scarlet letter by disagreeing with the Learned Alphas of The Standard.

                It is too late for people like you and me – we are The Enemy, our fate is written.

          • vto 5.1.2.1.2

            Well instead of going off on a rant and throwing in some witty confusing one-liners with noncontrarian you could try and answer the general point, which was expressed thus…

            “How little are we prepared to pay anyone to make our undies? As little as we can possibly get away with and who cares about the undies-maker? (current approach).”

            And you answer in your rant is clear pop. It is, “fuck them get stuck in first, it is a big mean tough world and you have to be a prick to survive so we smell the roses. ” Do you grow roses pop?

      • Johan 5.1.3

        Mate you need to remove your blinkers. There is such a thing as cause and effect.
        Every nation in the world will and has been getting screwed economically, simply because of an unlevel playing field in the manufacturing sector.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.4

        most left leaning governments wouldn’t advocate propping up uneconomic manufacturing in the middle of an economic contraction either.

        It’s not uneconomic. It may not make financial sense but, then, finances are delusional. That is the problem with modern economics – it completely misses the economics and focuses on the monetary side. This results in society collapsing as economies fail.

        • Populuxe1 5.1.4.1

          Well roll on arma-fucking-geddon and the return of the barter system and shitting out the window. I mean, it may not make rational sense, but the real world is an illusion and focuses on the mere physical needs of human beings when everyone should be sitting around gazing at their navels and keeping out of trouble.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.4.1.1

            Who said anything about barter?

            Money is an abstract tool used for moving real resources. The economists and most people have forgotten this and so when they ask if something can be afforded they ask if there’s enough money but don’t ask about the availability of the actual resources. We have the resources to make trains here and thus it is cheaper to make them here but, again, people only focus upon the money and see that it’s cheaper monetary-wise to make them elsewhere and do so. This results in the resources we have here either not being used and/or being sold at far less value to pay for the trains to be made elsewhere. We become poorer from these rather stupid decisions due to excess resources being sold cheaply to pay for expensive work.

            • TheContrarian 5.1.4.1.1.1

              “We have the resources to make trains here and thus it is cheaper to make them here”

              Not necessarily. Resources are one part of the cost, labour is another. It is cheaper overseas because you’d only need pay $1NZD per person, per hour over $12.50NZD for the same labour here.

              • Populuxe1

                Ah, you see, that’s because your stuck on this whole real world existence where people use money to pay for things and Draco isn’t the benign tyrant of the fantasy world state. Do get with the programme.

                • TheContrarian

                  Draco has this bizarre idea that it is just as cheap to produce things here as it is anywhere else in the world. Which would be true if it wasn’t for that fact it isn’t true.

    • Johan 5.2

      Yes we, and every single country in the world is falling into that same old trap of “They can produce it cheaper, therefore our manufacturing sector is uneconomic, and our workers are lazy and greedy” or some bullshit reply. The truth is that the capitalists, starting with the American billionaires, have heavily invested in China
      ( setting up factories), who have agreed to manufacture goods at slave labour rates, which no country can compete against, this is hardly a level playing field.
      “Tricky Dick” Richard Nixon started the ball rolling years ago with an agreement hatched between American capitalists and the Chinese hierarchy, ensuring that American investments would be safe. Now, if Chinese employees protest due to inhuman treatment at work, the local police and army personnel are quick to strikes and general public outbursts of disharmony.
      It is easy to see that we, as a society are heading more in the direction of multi-national corporate control, and less democratic say for individuals.

      • vto 5.2.1

        Well I am quite happy for the Chinese police and state army to suppress all attempts by Chinese workers to improve their lot through intimidation, arms, torture and jail so that I can buy cheap undies. I think that is entirely reasonable.

        Go the cheap undies and labour. Go the Chinese state police.

        edit: sarc. btw

        • Populuxe1 5.2.1.1

          Ok, this is why you’re an idiot. Most of our economy relies on exports. If other countries don’t buy those exports because they can get them elsewhere cheaper, we’re fucked. Of course if we’re fucked, and we’re having to pay twice or three times the price for locally manufactured versions of your hypothetical undies, we’re even more fucked. Do you have a problem with beneficiaries and poor families being able to afford undies?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1

            Do you have a problem with beneficiaries and poor families being able to afford undies?

            If we produced those undies here and paid well enough then we wouldn’t have beneficiaries or poor people.

            • Populuxe1 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Ok, you do understand that if we subsidise undie production in this country we will have to take the money from somewhere else? Or were you just proposing to wave some magic wand and perform a miracle akin to that of the loaves and fishes with said undies? Never mind, you can comfort yourself with images of starving Chinese families.

              • Draco T Bastard

                What subsidy?

                People work, get paid. No subsidy. And no need for the Chinese to starve either.

                • Populuxe1

                  “and paid well enough” = subsidy.

                  • vto

                    I know. We could just pay the same labour rates here as over there. Then we would still pay the same for undies and there will also be some jobs as undies makers.. Everyone’s happy.

                    Eh pop.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Again with this rather stupid tactic of trying to make me out to be some kind of libertarian or neoliberal. It’s very funny.
                      I want to pay NZ workers at good rates, you buffoon, that’s why I want them doing things that will grow the economy rather than just making you feel less guilty. I also want to be able to afford a robust welfare system, which for an economy like ours becomes less likely if the government is busy propping up The Great New Zealand Undies Mountain.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      “and paid well enough” = subsidy.

                      An interesting concept. So, in your view, nobody except the owners should have enough to live on?

                      that’s why I want them doing things that will grow the economy

                      Can’t grow the economy as doing so is unsustainable. Besides, we’ve been growing the economy for quite some time and poverty has been increasing. Time to do something different.

                      I also want to be able to afford a robust welfare system…

                      We already can do as we have enough resources to keep everyone in a reasonable living standard. The problem is the distribution of those resources.

                      …the government is busy propping up The Great New Zealand Undies Mountain.

                      The government wouldn’t be propping anything up. NZ would just be manufacturing enough from its own resources to keep everyone in a reasonable living standard which, in reality, is actually far less than what we produce now.

  6. burt 6

    Is there are retraining package for these workers? I think it’s great that tax payers are not maintaining a sheltered workshop but I do feel for the individuals.

  7. Rosie 7

    I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve had to put my head in my hands over the last four years, upon hearing another “genius!” announcement from our govt. One of those times was upon hearing the news that the contract for making the new fleet of Matangi trains for Wellington would go to South Korea. Time and time again we’ve seen our govt intentionally destroying jobs and the families, communities and local economies that those jobs support. Hillside is no exception and they now join the long list of workers made redundant because of our visionless spineless govt.

    All of this was in mind when I had my first ride on a new matangi train on the Johnsonville line recently. Great ride! Really smooth and comfortable. However knowing that the car we were riding in was not made here, made the trip a little bittersweet. It would have been a source of pride to NZ if those trains had been made here, not to mention the economic benefit to our people. Shame on Kiwirail.

  8. Skinny 8

    Well John Kerr your Union could have dug their toes in and gone on a nationwide strike. I understand the members have been collective bargaining for a wee while? Christ sake  railways & ports that’s real muscle to deal to this tory Government. Take a leaf out of the Maritime Union & man up or STFU.

    • Rosie 8.1

      Skinny, isn’t that a bit of a harsh judgement on the RMTU organiser? Its not their fault the workshop has made 90 workers redundant. Also, how can they go on a nationwide strike when our opportunity to strike is limited by law to a)striking when collective bargaining breaks down and b)when their is is a clear and immediate health and safety threat that managment won’t attend to. Don’t forget its not the organisers decision to strike either, even the opportunity to do so was there for them: The members have to vote on it and the decision to strike is not taken lightly by members.

      I think the members have done the best they can and the show of solidarity from the older workers is really remarkable and admirable, especially in an age when looking out for your mates clashes with the modern workplace ethos of dog eat dog.

      • Skinny 8.1.1

         I am not sure what PC world you live in? but collapsing ( breakdown) the bargaining  is child’s play. 

        You elect & pay handsomely a General Secretary for strong leadership, same applies with other paid officials. You give guidance to the membership to vote on, that Unions guidance should be ‘every body out!

        Do you know what a golden handshake is Rosie? That is when a worker closing in on retirement gets paid 30 to 50 years severance pay, commonly called ‘voluntary redundancy.’  

        • Rosie 8.1.1.1

          Er, what do you mean “PC world”? It depends on how you use that word. Are you using it in the original context in which the term refers to ones minimisation of causing offense around marginalised members of society and supporting their empowerment OR are you using the term in that lazy right wing way where the term refers to practically everything they might be opposed to for no apparent reason.

          EG: ” I hate all that health and safety bullshit these days, its all so PC”

          Either way Skinny, the world I inhabit is one in which I stand by NZ workers when they are being shafted. Sounds to me like you do too and that you’re angry with the outcome for these workers, as anyone who cares about lives of people and the future of manufacturing in NZ should do. Also sounds like you place the blame for it on the Union officials. I tend to blame KiwiRail. Maybe you know more about the job meetings the membership may have held prior to their forthcoming redundancies but I’m guessing that if the membership happened to be invloved in their annual or bi-annual negotiations and they wanted to put a motion forward to strike over this issue then they would have done. Like many Unions in NZ nowdays, the RMTU is a democratic one. It works from the ground up. Its not for the officials to boss them around and tell them what to do. Comes back to empowerment.

          Like I said before, the decision to strike is never taken lightly given the hardship this imposes on households so unless you are actually a worker and RMTU member involved (and maybe you are and thats why you take issue with the officials) its not your place to say what the Union (and the Union IS the membership) should have done. Only those affected know whats best for them.

          • Skinny 8.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for your assumptions Rosie… now point your rivet gun down at your big toe… close your eyes and pull the trigger ‘joke.’
             
             Cutting to the chase, this is really about having a GO having a go for all of us, standing up and saying enough! 

            Look at the teachers in Christchurch, is there strike lawful? No, do they care NO.   

            Play this Government at their own game of manufacturing, all be it a manufactured democracy.

             Great example is ‘state assets sales’ Nationals  trying to force on us. Fortunately the 350,000 signatures are very close. Its been easy for me personally  to sign hundreds of Kiwi’s up… rich, poor, young & old. 

            Now that’s real democracy. people saying “get lost.” 

            Back to that Union & their officials, they were in a position to stop the ROT for all of us, by a bit of ‘manufactured democracy’ of their own.  By ‘screwing the scrum’ call it what you like, but they could have done it! 

            As for those members, they have had good wages & conditions for years, so a day or two of striking is paying their dues.    

            • Rosie 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Skinny, it’s not me you should be taking up the fight with. We’re on the same side. I want to see ALL NZer’s, not just organisational bodies, standing up and fighting for their democracy and to reclaim all that we’ve lost but we’re not. Our main streets are quiet. 4 years on, too little too late.

              • Skinny

                Correct my point is if you have the muscle use it! Most workers don’t have a blunt instrument which to smack the bosses & or the Government with :)

  9. Jaybob 9

    I have never wanted NZ to become another state of Australia. But, this year, it seems like our only hope. Kiwi life has become so dumbed-down, dishonest, and fractured that unity with Australia seems to offer more hope than us being a Chinese-owned labour pool with natural resources.

  10. Pete 10

    Manufacturing has suffered a lot in Dunedin over the past five years. Fisher and Paykel, changes at Cadbury’s, this and a number of smaller local engineering firms. Each is a body blow to a city where there aren’t so many opportunities for people.

  11. TheContrarian 11

    First sentence of the article preview on the main page reads “Aanother sad chapter in the ongoing collapse of manufacturing in NZ.”.

    Might wanna drop the extra ‘a’ in ‘Aanother’

    • fender 11.1

      Yeah there’s no way to comprehend aanything after such a major error like that, ggood thing you ccame to the rrescue CC.

  12. mike 12

    So John Key is trying to play the ‘gee I tried hard to save them jobs’ role here? Maybe, uh, don’t go the cheaper Chinese option? Anyone remember the ‘buy kiwi made and we’ve got it made’ campaign? What was that all about? Let me see now…

  13. fender/same sentiment less eloquent Viper 13

    When the kids train set made in china broke the passengers were lucky as they were plastic also. Am not looking forward to the grown up version having the same problem, those rail accidents in slave land look very nasty indeed.

  14. fisiani 14

    In the 1900 there were more metal ships built on the River Clyde than in all the other shipyards in the world. Both sides of the river had shipyards side by side for many a mile. In 2000 there were just two shipyards left. One was building oil rigs and the other was builing naval ships. In the 70’s my father, a welder, showed me a tender contract. The Glasgow workers had submitted a tender for a ship. A Korean yard submitted a tender for the same ship and the price quoted was less than the cost of the raw materials. ie without the cost of labour.
    The shipyard in Glasgow closed in 1974 and the ramifications for employment were severe with a knockon of 1for 6 shipyard redundancies for those in coalfields, steelworkers, iron works, car factories, tyre manufacturers, retailing etc etc.
    Sadly the answer is not as simplistic as subsidising heavy engineering, an argument strong on emotion but pitiful in global economics.
    The answer is in growing the productive side of our economy. It is why I was a Socialist as a teenager but have seen the light and it is truly a brighter future.

    • vto 14.1

      sadly the answer is neither as wishful as the “grow the productive side” silliness either fisiani. That looks like one of them treadmills widdle mices run around in their cages.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      The answer is in growing the productive side of our economy.

      No you moron the answer is in decreasing the amount people actually work. We have poverty simply because our productivity is already far beyond what is needed to support ourselves but almost all of it is going to support the very few while everyone else starves.

      • Populuxe1 14.2.1

        I’m not sure you can treat the real world as a game of Civilisation. But let me see if I understand: you expect businesses to pay their employees more money to do less work, irrespective of the size of the business, the lack of efficiency in increasing staff numbers, the expense of securing more skilled staff to make up the shortfall, the ethical issues with preventing someone from working when they can and want to (because while you might possibly be a lazy bastard, not everyone is by inclination) etc etc. Also Malthus and basic mathematics would suggest productivity must stay beyond what is needed to support ourselves (if we must except that ridiculous premise) because population growth and energy usage are exponential, as is technological advance. But then again I expect you want us all to live like medieval peasants.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1

          But let me see if I understand: you expect businesses to pay their employees more money to do less work,

          The problem is productivity and who gets the rewards for the increases that we’ve seen. Over the last few decades the people who own the businesses have gotten all the productivity gains while everyone else is going deeper and deeper into poverty (yes, that includes the middle classes). This is happening because the economy has been hijacked by the capitalist class so that it only benefits them. This has to be changed so that the economy benefits everyone and ensures that a) no one lives in poverty and b) that it’s sustainable. Neither of these things apply at the moment due to the greed of the capitalists who take all the gains for themselves.

          Part of the problem is money as I said up thread. It’s not a resource and yet people treat it as one and then people also try to pay less in money than what is needed to provide the service/product that they want to buy. Given the illusion of buying cheaper Chinese made trains only results in more poverty here as well as the trains actually costing more (that poverty isn’t free) and the cost is inflated due to having to export low quality goods to pay for high quality ones.

          But then again I expect you want us all to live like medieval peasants.

          Yeah, that would be why I keep saying that we need to build high tech fab plants here.

    • RedLogix 14.3

      The answer is in growing the productive side of our economy.

      Well that sounds cool. Care to enlarge on how you think this might be achieved?

      • Fisiani 14.3.1

        9 more years!

        • RedLogix 14.3.1.1

          Of increasing unemployment and job destruction?

          Of an economy that’s still shrinking?

          By exporting record numbers of kiwi’s to aussie?

          Of a replay of the same failed 1990’s policies that led to a decade of under-performance?

          Or do you have something else in mind that the rest of us have completely missed?

      • Populuxe1 14.3.2

        Added value processing to primary products and intellectual property. That’s how it usually works.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.3.2.1

          But that’s just it, we’re not doing that and haven’t been for some time. Instead we’re focusing on having more low tech farms.

  15. xtasy 15

    I know for a fact that most NZ workers, like at the Hillside engineering works, would be too happy to put in their best efforts for a good day’s work and reasonable pay. They would not even want to expect too much in pay increases, as long as they have job security.

    But that is NOT what this government is interested in.

    It is solely pre-occupied with cost spread-sheets and comparing labour costs with that in China or Korea or elsewhere. They forget the social costs associated with unemployment, low skilled employment, lower tax takes and the likes.

    NatACT are traitors to workers, and their comments about supposedly having tried all to keep the jobs are as hollow as the promises they made to voters in past elections.

    Now surely, NZ voters must slowly wake up and see what the truth is all about.

    I am sure, with the right resources and determination, trains could be built in NZ, at least waggons and equipment. But it is not wanted, as the cheapest bidder is what counts. So also NZ is selling milk powder and raw logs in return, trying to “earn a living”, which is more and more nothing but low quality and leaving too many out of the equation.

    But the ones still hanging in there think of number one only. I am right, jack, fuck the rest, that is sadly what I see and hear of too much. This plays into the hands of Key and NatACT.

  16. Jaybob 16

    I’d rather say “we can build trains” than “we can buy trains”. If they don’t work properly, we can fix them, because we built them. In fact, we might get really good at it, building them at Tiwai Point or somewhere.

    I was thinking about Italy’s exporting success with engineering – not just sports cars and espresso machines but also typewriters, ice-groomers, and flash ride-on lawn-mowers.

    Mechanical and electrical engineering expertise tends to GROW across industries. NZ does very well in exporting engineering for marine, aviation and farming applications, to name a few, but avoids the investment in heavy engineering capacity that might be necessary in transport, such as shipping, and trains.

    We have a lot of ironsand and a lot of geothermal and hydroelectric power to turn it into steel to make ships to send our trains overseas, if only it wasn’t for the short-term focus that gets us lost in the woods.

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    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    2 days ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    3 days ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    3 days ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    3 days ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    3 days ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    3 days ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    4 days ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    4 days ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    4 days ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    5 days ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    5 days ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    1 week ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    1 week ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government leaves aquaculture industry at sea
    If the Government had acted in its first term, the Sanford mussel processing plant would not have to close, says Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “Sanford is considering closure after a decline in the natural supply of spat. This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Maggie –it’s time to roll your sleeves up
      It’s time for the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry to listen to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment  and start untangling the mess around  New Zealand’s stewardship land, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “The Commissioner has called for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Gutting of prison jobs a gift to private prison provider
    Today’s announcement that sections of three prisons are to be closed is the thin end of the wedge for the privatisation of the country’s prison service, says Labour’s  Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  It's estimated that 260 prison officers will lose… ...
    1 week ago
  • Joyce must rule out revising export target
    Steven Joyce must rule out a second revision of the Government’s export target in six months and stop trying to massage statistics when he fails to meet his goals, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “National set a target… ...
    1 week ago
  • Caregiver law passed in haste now a fail
    The Government’s response to supporting family caregivers is mean spirited and designed to fail, says Labour’s Disability Issues Spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Figures released by the Ministry of Health show that only a tiny percentage of the eligible families have applied… ...
    1 week ago
  • Clear message handed to nuclear states
    MPs Phil Goff, Shane Reti and Marama Fox are due to meet with diplomats from the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, China and France tomorrow to hand deliver a letter calling for their countries to disarm their nuclear weapons.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Parity is no party for export businesses
    The extent of the damage done by the high dollar to New Zealand businesses is larger than many think as shown by a dramatic decrease in exports to Australia as our dollar rises, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “When the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats’ limited thinking stifling innovation
    Businesses trying to innovate and create better products are being let down by this Government with an industry expert saying Steven Joyce’s mini-tax credits will have almost no impact, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Andrew Dickeson, director of taxation… ...
    1 week ago
  • Vanishing Nature: A must-read for all New Zealanders
    The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?
    Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism.… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to act to protect Hector’s Dolphins
    The death of a Hector’s Dolphin in a set net must lead to action from the Minister of Conservation, Ruth Dyson, Labour’s Conservation Spokesperson said today. “Despite the fact that the Akaroa Harbour has been a Marine Mammal Sanctuary since… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Double-laning Darby and Joan disputed
    The Prime Minister’s by-election promise to double lane the road between Northland’s iconic Darby and Joan kauri trees has been contradicted by officials, Labour’s spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The NZ Transport Agency has told a media outlet that not all… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parity: Cheaper trips but lower incomes
    The Kiwi dollar’s near-parity with the Australian means some tourists will have cheaper Gold Coast holidays but New Zealand incomes will stay lower for longer, making it harder for many to afford the trip, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • English’s state house flog off plans exposed
    Labour is calling on Bill English to confirm or deny a claim the Government is exploring a mass sell-off of state housing to tenants. Property magnate Bob Jones writes in a newspaper column published today that the Minister responsible for… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extension of work scheme urged for disaster relief
    The Government is being urged to extend the Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme to help families in the most severely-damaged islands of Vanuatu, following Cyclone Pam. “Allowing a further 300 people to take up seasonal employment in New Zealand under… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nuclear deal with Iran should be just the start
    A deal struck by Iran and major powers to ensure the Iranian facilities producing nuclear material are not used for the purpose of constructing nuclear weapons has been a long time coming, Labour’s Disarmament spokesperson Phil Goff says. “Undoubtedly Iran’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Aoraki Newsletter March 2015
    Attachmentsmarch2015_web.pdf - 1.4 MB ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to do his homework
    Nathan Guy needs to do his homework, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Answering questions in Parliament today on the dairy sector, the Primary Industries Minister denied John Key wants to float Fonterra. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to put the kibosh on dirty diesel
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay has to get a grip on the KiwiRail board and put the kibosh on its crazy plan for dirty diesel on the main trunk line, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. It has been revealed… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Louise Nicholas Day: Work still to do
    This is a summary of a speech I gave in honour of Louise Nicholas Day on March 31 The IPCA report showed us basic mistakes are still able to be made within a specialist unit. The Police Commissioner said there… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • The meanness and pettiness of Nats in power
    Last night, Parliament debated NZ First MP Tracey Martin’s Bill to ensure children in the long term care of family members were able to access a clothing allowance currently only available to children in foster care. Many of these children… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Defence Force’s Hotshots given cold shoulder
    The latest victim of the Government’s cost-cutting drive looks set to be an organisation that has provided vital services and support to defence force staff and their families for 67 years, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “Labour understands Gerry… ...
    2 weeks ago

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