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More Beneficiary Bashing

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 am, August 14th, 2013 - 31 comments
Categories: tax, welfare - Tags:

An interesting study has come out of Victoria University – showing that the Government writes off tax debt much more easily than it does welfare debt.

There was $6 billion of tax debt vs $1 billion of welfare debt, but the welfare debt, interest and penalties were all much less likely to be forgiven – indeed that debt was likely to be deducted from superannuation and estates of the deceased.

In the year to June 2012 IRD wrote off about 50% of penalties and interest - $374 million – as well as 11.6% of core debt – another $435 million.

Ministry of Social Development wrote off $8.7 million or 2.1% of debt. That debt is mostly loans to those who couldn’t afford living costs and welfare overpayments.

More resources were put into retrieving the average $2523 of beneficiary debt than into retrieving the average $14,479 of tax debt.

It may seem odd that we’re doing everything we can to screw money out of those who can’t afford their living costs, while forgiving the debt of those who don’t pay their taxes.  But that’s the philosophy of this Government: beneficiaries are second class citizens and taxpayers are worthy of respect – even if they don’t actually pay their taxes.

While not excusing fraud at either end (no-one should break the union deal of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay), tax fraudsters also get off much easier than welfare fraudsters – despite tax fraud generally being for larger amounts by those who can afford to pay more easily.

It seems we’ve reversed the Biblical maxim that from those who are given plenty much will be expected – and we now expect more from those who’ve been given next to nothing.

31 comments on “More Beneficiary Bashing”

  1. AsleepWhileWalking 1

    It is my understanding that MSD don’t write off debt unless there has been a mistake by the ministry (overpayment/miscalculation that has resulting in the beneficiary accepting the money in good faith). That would be 8.7 million dollars in mistakes.

    They really don’t care that someone is in poverty and can’t afford repayments as stated above.

    I can’t see where you have gotten this idea of Work and Income compassionately releasing people from debt – I’m guessing you assumed they are human (!!).

    • weka 1.1

      Not true. WINZ can and sometimes do write off debt for various reasons not related directly to their own mistakes.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I don’t mind the government being fairly harsh going after beneficiaries, but only if they apply the same measures going after tax cheats.

    I’m in a position where I could likely get away with several hundred or maybe couple of thousand in tax rorts, but I don’t, because that’s dishonest. It makes me feel like a sucker to play by the book when so many others aren’t, and don’t get any penalty for it.

    • weka 2.1

      “I don’t mind the government being fairly harsh going after beneficiaries,”

      This need to be made clear (and it’s not that clear in the post itself). ‘Debt’ with WINZ can be something like getting an advance on one’s benefit to pay for an emergency or dental care. There is no need for the govt to be harsh on beneficiaries in recovering this. In fact it’s better if they are lenient in how it gets paid back. Benefits are deliberately set to be less than one can live on, so it’s fairly normal for beneficiaries to get top ups via advances. These are then deducted out of the benefit weekly payment at an agreed to rate. Where the beneficiary is experiencing hardship, it’s better for the weekly rate to be as low as possible.

      The general public needs to understand that this isn’t an issue about fraud or wrong-doing by the beneficiary. Although those things can happen also, conflating them with debt recovery just feeds the bene bashing memes.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Thanks weka, didn’t know that.

        I agree, that agreed repayments between WINZ and a client should not be considered “debt” in the sense that overpayments/fraud/etc are considered debt. It’s stupid to lump both types of money together.

        • framu 2.1.1.1

          also – not sure if its changed, but …

          usually when the govt is talking benefit fraud the quoted numbers include not only payment errors and loans, but also money that has been in the WINZ budget but was defrauded by people who arent beneficiaries.

    • aerobubble 2.2

      I think you misunderstood. Its wrong for the Minister to argue that its okay to let off a business off tax debt to keep people in work, who might end up on a benefit otherwise, and then to argue that is akin to put people already under the most extreme economic duress who are forced too pay back money that may have been spent, here’s the misunderstanding, on some shoes, or lunch, for a child.
      As if the poorest waste the money they have, or wouldn’t use it very wisely, the burden being so much greater since once in debt its becomes much more onerous to live on the welfare when WINZ is cropping it to recoup debts. You as a citizen can no longer just wander and gather food, fuel, water and start a farm, where you want, and in fact are prohibited from such so that all may reap a bounty of food, fuel, potable water, in return for this transgression on our collective liberty its expected that all be maintain to a minimum of food, housing, education and health. Without the acquiescence of the poor, and all the others who use welfare, or believe in welfare even though have never or will never used it (those who understand basic economics that mass production of food, health care, etc drives prices down for even the richest, so own a reciprocal right to their fellow citizens ), so nobody would have much at all. Its called society, its does exist and our deeply soft fascist government should not be trusted.

  3. One Anonymous Knucklehead 3

    …and more:

    Who’s for government prescribed mandatory mass medication?

  4. tracey 4

    goodness, no srylands on this?

  5. freedom 5

    I realize this is slightly off topic but fraud comes in many forms and the ongoing spin from the government regarding beneficiaries is about as fraudulent as it gets.

    Having recently made that long walk from an empty pantry into a food bank, and under the threat of a looming eviction, I jumped through the protracted collection of new hoops in the WINZ office and am now in receipt of a Job Seeker allowance.

    two things ( three actually)
    one; I am grateful for the assistance

    two: I have had numerous discussions around the abatement assessment being done weekly ( or when income is received) and how it is not equitable with other taxpayers, but mainly focused on the reality that not all lives are carbon copies. To quote the Minister “an individual’s circumstances do matter.” After presenting numerous personal examples where I showed weekly abatement (applied across the board) was fundamentally flawed as a premise, they have agreed to assess my external / occasional income as it relates to the annual benefit income.
    - If this relates to your own situation, talk to your case worker and ask for the abatement assessment to be adjusted accordingly. They can do it, it is my understanding they have just been told not to.

    three: The level at which the abatement claw begins to dig in is NOT $100 per week. It turns out that only applies to Assisted Living (Invalid’s benefit), DPB recipients and undefined special cases that I could not get a clear answer on from either a case worker or the call center staff.

    ALL OTHER UNEMPLOYED PERSONS ARE STILL ON THE OLD LEVEL OF ONLY $80 PER WEEK GROSS, BEFORE LOSING 70 CENTS IN THE DOLLAR ON EVERY DOLLAR ABOVE THE 80 GROSS. That is of course on top of the income tax collected of the total gross .

    Take a basic ten hour per week part time job at minimum wage , now take out the income tax of around $16 and the abatement claw back of $38 and the person has worked ten hours for approximately $8 p/hr net. Add transport/food/clothing and the myriad of miscellaneous expenses that naturally accompany the requirements of having a job and the person is working for maybe four to six bucks an hour. This is daily reality for the thousands of good kiwis out there every day really trying to improve their situation.

    A situation that in the vast majority of cases was not of their own making.

    How does this help New Zealand? Let alone help the 250 thousand people trying to survive in an environment where we get three hundred people applying for a Super Market shelf stacking job.

    No matter how I look at it, all I can do is recall the words of our great leader
    ” I want to see wages drop”

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      How does this help New Zealand?

      It doesn’t but it does help a few people get richer.

      No matter how I look at it, all I can do is recall the words of our great leader
      ” I want to see wages drop”

      QFT

    • NickS 5.2

      ALL OTHER UNEMPLOYED PERSONS ARE STILL ON THE OLD LEVEL OF ONLY $80 PER WEEK GROSS, BEFORE LOSING 70 CENTS IN THE DOLLAR ON EVERY DOLLAR ABOVE THE 80 GROSS. That is of course on top of the income tax collected of the total gross .

      Take a basic ten hour per week part time job at minimum wage , now take out the income tax of around $16 and the abatement claw back of $38 and the person has worked ten hours for approximately $8 p/hr net. Add transport/food/clothing and the myriad of miscellaneous expenses that naturally accompany the requirements of having a job and the person is working for maybe four to six bucks an hour. This is daily reality for the thousands of good kiwis out there every day really trying to improve their situation.

      This.

      There’s no point in picking up a sub 24hr/week job while on the sickness benefit because you end up being penalised for working. Heck there’s an 8 hr/week job I’m looking at and it’s marginal to start with due to being Friday and Saturday nights from 9 until 1am and made even more marginal by secondary tax rates and the abatement of $20.3 + cost of the uniform. Late nights and depression do not fucking mix in the slightest and I’d rather have my weekends free for tramping given it’s very significant positive effects on my mood and sleep patterns. The $70 odd net income, despite being useful, isn’t really worth the 1:30am nights, sleep disruption and subsequent costs stemming from that, such as killing my motivation, low energy, decreased self-maintenance (not significantly enough thankfully) and general disinterest in everything. Along with decreased resistance (Nick fails initiative role) to junk food, turns out feeling depressed leads to nomming on not the best of foods…

      And I’d only be doing it until I was back to being fit enough to work fulltime labouring jobs, which is 3 months roughly from now _if_ my depression doesn’t get in the way. Then again, I usually improve in mood as summer rolls in and without $Douchebag to fuck things up* and WINZ not yet on my back for some reason**. So yeah, fun fun ahead.

      _____________________________________________________
      *purposely isolating a friend with depression is not the smartest idea, it tends to lead to more depression not less depression.
      **partly expect there’s internal, non-public policy concerning depressed individuals to avoid messy suicide-caused bad PR. Doesn’t deal with getting depressed people back into work though it seems, nor making it easy to get counselling. Basically, the more barriers there are, the more difficult it becomes for someone with depression to push themselves through it. Note – mentioning “positive thinking” will result in #CLUEBAT T_T and a frank info-dump of neuronal firing thresholds and what depression does to them.

  6. infused 6

    IRD has been tightened up recently. It’s very hard to get off any debt.

    I’d be quite keen to read the study if anyone has a link?? Curious to see if they are including provisional tax in their calculations which would greatly distort things.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Yes … they used to run tax amnesties which were very helpful to get people who had gotten into difficulties a chance to clean the slate and get back into the system. It was always recognised as an efficient and simple process that ultimately gained more income for the govt. than was ever forgiven.

      In many situations it makes sense to waiver penalties and interest which have often built up due to factors outside the taxpayers control.

      I can’t recall one happening in a while now. They seem to be into punitive taxation again. (Like they always are under a Nat. administration.)

  7. Short Plank 7

    I would suggest one answer to the question posed – why does the IRD forgive debt when fraudulent beneficiaries are pursued – might be that the IRD prefers to avoid costs fighting lawyers and accountants to recover disputed tax while Beneficiaries are rarely in position to fight back at the required bureaucratic levels.

    “It seems we’ve reversed the Biblical maxim that from those who are given plenty much will be expected – and we now expect more from those who’ve been given next to nothing.”

    Seems to me the Biblical maxim actually is the reverse of that: “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” (Mark 4:25)

  8. captain hook 8

    This country and its tory self made rugged individualist denizens are into bullying and hurting the defenceless big time.
    Its all they are good for.

  9. tricledrown 9

    The real statistic is the right are sadistic!
    Kicking the weakest when their down creating a nasty divided society!

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    But that’s the philosophy of this Government: beneficiaries are second class citizens and taxpayers are worthy of respect – especially if they don’t actually pay their taxes.

    FIFY

    While not excusing fraud at either end (no-one should break the union deal of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay), tax fraudsters also get off much easier than welfare fraudsters – despite tax fraud generally being for larger amounts by those who can afford to pay more easily.

    Easy fix: Legislation that fraud results in 1 year in prison for every $100k ($1m = 10 years in prison) and specifically no prison sentence for anything less than $100k. Brings about consistency.

    • Mike S 10.1

      would the legislation be adhered to by the ‘justice’ system. At the moment, as per a few stories here and elsewhere not too long ago, if you are convicted of benefit fraud you are 3 times more likely to be sent to prison than if you are convicted of tax evasion. This despite the fact that benefit fraud is a tiny drop in an ocean compared to tax evasion in terms of $ stolen from taxpayers.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        They stick to the legislation now, the problem is that there’s no consistency. As you say, beneficiaries are more likely to go to jail and they’ll do so for far smaller amounts. This needs to be addressed and the way to do that is to legislate the consistency.

  11. For people in Auckland there will be a protest at Paula Benefit’s public meeting on ‘Getting Waitakere Going” tomorrow (Thurs) at 5-45 pm.

    Waitemata Unite is organising it and put out this press release:

    Interest is building in a protest against the welfare reforms, at Paula Bennett’s Office, 429 Great North Rd, Henderson, at 5.45 pm, Thursday 15 August called by Unite Waitemata.

    Paula Bennett will be addressing a public meeting at 6pm about “Moving Waitakere Forward.”

    “We think the best way for Waitakere to move forward is to remove Paula Bennett from office” said Janet Robin, President of Unite Waitemata, which is a branch of the Unite Union.

    “Unite is a union for low paid workers and beneficiaries,” said Ms Robin.
    “The real purpose of the benefit reforms is to make everybody compete on the labour market for scarce jobs, which will bring down wages. This helps employers increase their falling profits.” said Ms Robin.
    “That’s why workers and beneficiaries need to unite against benefit cuts and wage cuts.”
    “The Government is more interested in corporate welfare than social welfare “, said Ms Robin.
    “WINZ punitive sanctions for such small things as being five minutes late for an appointment, mean that many people are just giving up trying to get a benefit at all, which is what WINZ wants.” she said.
    “The less people on the benefit; the more the government saves money.”

    “The government is focussing on getting the sick and disabled, and single parents, off benefits, because that is where the biggest welfare budget is”, she said.
    “They plan to save more than a billion dollars by taking benefits off single parents and the sick, who are the people who need them the most” she said.

    “With no jobs out there, it is hypocritical and ridiculous to pretend that WINZ really wants to help people get jobs.”

    “If that is really their intention, why doesn’t the government create jobs?” she asked.

    “Paula Bennett’s supposed caring for children suffering from violence is hypocritical when she is prepared to take half a benefit off a beneficiary family for something as trivial as not attending a doctor’s appointment.”

    “This contravenes the United Nations Rights of the child, for the necessities of life; as obviously a child cannot be supported on half a benefit.”

    “The biggest hypocrisy of all is the fact the Paula Bennett was on the DPB, was helped to get a deposit for her first home, and received a Training Incentive Allowance which helped her to study full time at tertiary level and eventually to get the career she now has. Yet she has destroyed all these possibilities for other beneficiaries now.”

    For more information call

    Dave 0272800080
    Keith 09 8369104

    or email
    unitewaitemata@gmail.com

    http://waitemataunite.blogspot.co.nz/2013/08/lets-get-waitakere-moving-without-paula.html

  12. Mary 12

    There’s a bill waiting to be passed that removes the current ability of Work and Income to decide not to recover debt.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2013/0098/latest/DLM5024915.html

    The power to write off debt that’s the result of work and Income’s error remains but the discretion to decide not to recover any other kind of debt is going to be removed.

  13. xtasy 13

    Yes, those figures from that Victoria Uni study reveal it all, it is all just an agenda, to prosecute, to scare, to discriminate, to chase, to minimise, to criminalise and dis-entitle beneficiaries, none else. But there is even more to it, a yet more worrying agenda, followed through under the most abominable, new welfare regime, put into place as supposed “reforms”, also involving outsourcing and privatisation of “services”.

    Yet: Paula Bennett and her tactics, of course thought out by the cabinet, and their advisors, who resorted to UK “experts” (Mansel Aylward, Gordon Waddell, David Beaumont and so forth), who all “hail” the “health benefits of work”, and you know by now what I am talking about, also including mad Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor of MSD and WINZ, who has in presentations for years compared benefit dependence to “drug dependence”, yes for real, the truth is hitting the main news channels now.

    Questions are being asked, finally, on Radio NZ National at Nine to Noon this morning, and during and item on One News tonight, on TVNZ. At last, finally the mainstream media are taking note, learning again, I am sure, from social media, like this great website and forum. See for yourselves, what was reported today, this is just the beginning of the challenge and exposure, and more pressure will be put onto Bennett and the government soon:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/live-stream-one-6pm-video-4927552

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/pressure-doctors-question-unemployed-patients-video-5533560
    (Paula Bennett excusing the pressure put on GPs and other health professionals to put pressure on sick and disabled beneficiaries to look for work!)

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2565599/the-government%27s-shake-up-of-child-protection-laws

    Listen to the very end of that report and interview on RNZ National and Nine to Noon this morning, as in the last few minutes Kathrin Ryan for once asks Paula Bennett that question, whether WINZ are expecting doctors to ask the hard questions on sick beneficiaries, re work and more. She did the usual cop-out, our dear Paula.

    We will hammer away, that the lies of this Minister, the hypocrisy, the self righteousness, the bias, the ill informed “evidence” that “work is good for your health” is nothing but a calculated agenda, financed at least initially, by controversial US health and disability insurer Unum Insurance!

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15188-medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-bps-model-aimed-at-disentiteling-affected-from-welfare-benefits-and-acc-compo/

    • Mary 13.1

      It was interesting on Ninetonoon this morning that the first two items were about bureaucrats creating policies designed to override independent opinions of qualified medical professionals.

      • xtasy 13.1.1

        Mary – I am hoping and praying, that RNZ National and a few others, are slowly wakening up, and are digging into what I have tried to raise awareness about for months. We may perhaps be getting somewhere, it was even mentioned on TVNZ One last night, albeit rather one sided by one doctor and short. But there must eventually be more questions being asked, and it cannot be, that Bennett and Key and their agenda gets realised without scrutiny.

  14. srylands 14

    Most of the posters on this thread are naïve. Three is no difference in the intent of IRD and MSD regarding debt recovery. Read their Statements of Intent (SOIs) and you will find similar debt recovery objectives.

    I can only assume that most of the commentators here have never dealt with IRD. Having been a client of both WINZ and IRD in the last two years, I know who I found scarier. Hint – it wasn’t the smiley woman who administered the welfare checks.

    The reason for the different outcomes is obvious – IRD debts are much bigger. If IRD doesn’t cut a deal the sad guys and gals declare bankruptcy and the Crown gets nothing. WINZ welfare debts are smaller, and critically, they can be recovered through withholding a slice of the welfare checks.

    But both agencies have the same obligations to maximise debt recovery for the Crown.

    So stop seeing evil where none exists. It is ridiculous. You have the whole thing arse about based on a totally unsurprising indicator.

    • richard 14.1

      Never let the facts get in the way of a good story eh?

      You should really do some research before committing pen to paper. Haven’t your econ101 lecturers taught you anything this year?

      More from Dr Mariott:

      New Zealanders take welfare fraud more seriously than tax evasion despite the latter depriving the country of much greater sums of money according to research.

      Dr Lisa Marriott, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, is investigating the differences in prosecution and sentencing outcomes for the two offences, both of which, she says, involve money, are premeditated and have the same victims – the government and society.

      “One is not giving what you should and the other is taking what you shouldn’t.”

      Her analysis of court data on the most serious offending from 2008-2011 shows that 22 per cent of people found guilty of tax offences received a custodial sentence while 60 per cent of benefit fraudsters were imprisoned.

      Dr Marriott’s investigation also shows tax crimes are more costly, with those given custodial sentences committing offences valued at just over $800,000. Benefit fraud averaged $67,000 per offender.

      Benefit fraud cost New Zealand $22 million in 2010, or around $5 for each New Zealander. While it is difficult to get accurate figures for tax evasion, the Tax Justice Network estimates New Zealand missed out on more than $7.4 billion of tax revenue in 2011, or around $1,500 per New Zealander.

      • srylands 14.1.1

        “You should really do some research before committing pen to paper. Haven’t your econ101 lecturers taught you anything this year?”

        Fool. The story is about debt recovery practices, not comparing penalties for fraud and evasion. Most WINZ debt is not a result of fraud.

    • weka 14.2

      “Three is no difference in the intent of IRD and MSD regarding debt recovery. Read their Statements of Intent (SOIs) and you will find similar debt recovery objectives.”

      Well, duh, it’s not like they’re going to put the differences into their SOIs, and we’re talking about application, not intent.

      “WINZ welfare debts are smaller, and critically, they can be recovered through withholding a slice of the welfare checks.”

      How do they recover debt from people that are no longer on a benefit?

      Are you saying that IRD has no ability to recover debt directly from individuals?

    • Tracey 14.3

      Beneficiaries can declare bankruptcy and I don’t know if that affects their ability to get assistance in the future.

      The percentile difference is the main are of interest imo.

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    We will return to our regularly scheduled coverage of party leader’s position on abortion. Meanwhile, this week’s Vote Choice series focuses on what we have heard from supporters across social media. We’ve also listed some interesting resources that can help...
    ALRANZ | 21-08
  • “Dirty Politics” and The Teflon Man
    . . The release of Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Secrets” has unleashed more of a political firestorm than many had anticipated. (Or, perhaps some did.) The glare of publicity has been shone like a laser-beam into the darkest, most noisome...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-08
  • “Dirty Politics” and The Teflon Man
    . . The release of Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Secrets” has unleashed more of a political firestorm than many had anticipated. (Or, perhaps some did.) The glare of publicity has been shone like a laser-beam into the darkest, most noisome...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-08
  • Is Penlink worth it?
    As the Council puts together its 10 year budget over the coming months there will be some really big questions that need to be addressed in the area of transport. When to start City Rail Link? How fast to build...
    Transport Blog | 21-08
  • Abandoning Science – And The Planet
    Weeping For The Planet: The famous "Crying Indian" advertisement, produced by Keeping America Beautiful, struck a deep chord with Americans when it first screened on "Earth Day" - 22 April  1971. It was a time when both the Left and the...
    Bowalley Road | 21-08
  • Peters: With Real Representation, Real Progress
    Speech – New Zealand First Party Early this month, the New Zealand First candidate for Tauranga, Clayton Mitchell, organised a meeting between local city councillors and myself. You will recall that back then he and New Zealand First gave a...
    Its our future | 21-08
  • The Green Party’s campaign video
    The Green Party's 2014 election campaign opening broadcast.A cleaner, fairer, smarter New Zealand.http://greens.org.nz #LoveNZ...
    The Jackal | 21-08
  • DHB industrial action withdrawn, workers to vote on new offer
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has withdrawn notices of industrial action covering 12,000 health workers at District Health Boards (DHBs)...
    PSA | 21-08
  • Required reading: “John Key – The End Game” by Bryan Gou...
    John Key – The End Game             It is one of the wonders of the modern world that the democracy that past generations fought and died for is regarded as of little consequence by those who currently enjoy its benefits.While many...
    Arch Rival | 21-08
  • John Key’s 69 Top Lies: Today no. 30 – Cameron Slater is nothin...
     3News Video John Key talks Nicky Hagers Dirty Politics  As much as John Key may wish it were otherwise, Cameron Slater is part of the National Party. Below is a photo of Cameron Slater's National Party membership card, taken by Cameron Slater himself as...
    Arch Rival | 21-08
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-08
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-08
  • Letter to the Editor: no phones in Hawaii, eh?
    . . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com> to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz> date: Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM subject: Letter to the Editor . The editor Sunday Star Times . Key says he was in Hawaii on holiday when...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-08
  • Letter to the Editor: no phones in Hawaii, eh?
    . . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com> to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz> date: Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM subject: Letter to the Editor . The editor Sunday Star Times . Key says he was in Hawaii on holiday when...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-08
  • From The Daily Blog: “We can have clean politics and get our democracy ba...
    This is my latest blog, cross-posted from The Daily Blog:   Something is rotten in our politics and it stinks. Dirty politics has sadly become one of the defining features of this election campaign. In the light of recent revelations...
    frogblog | 21-08
  • Poetiquette
    If you catch a bus tomorrow morning you may get a poetry performance for your trip as part of an NZ Bus campaign to improve bus etiquette. National Poetry Day is being celebrated this year with poets in residence onboard...
    Transport Blog | 21-08
  • John Key lied? Still no smoking gun.
    In recent days, John Key has been extensively questioned on what he or his office knew about Cameron Slater’s OIA request to the SIS. He’s steadfastly maintained that although his office was likely informed about the release of the documents...
    Occasionally erudite | 21-08
  • World News Brief, Thursday August 21
    Top of the AgendaVideo Stirs Renewed Concern Over ISIS...
    Pundit | 21-08
  • John Key – The End Game
    It is one of the wonders of the modern world that the democracy that past generations fought and died for is regarded as of little consequence by those who currently enjoy its benefits. While many parts of the world are...
    Bryan Gould | 21-08
  • Who is Jason Ede?
    Jason Ede is another go-between John Key and the National party employs to pass information on to their attack bloggers. Paid as a ministerial services staff member, Ede is in fact working directly for National's black op's team to undermine...
    The Jackal | 21-08
  • National party alleged rape culture
    TW: Discussion of rape culture. Cross posted from my own blog.In all the anger about the revelations in Nicky Hager’s book, I’ve seen massive discussions and posts about the SIS, Judith Collins’s toxic behaviour, and the various systems of corruption...
    The Hand Mirror | 21-08
  • Why foreigners are buying up New Zealand
    Because our lax tax system lets them cheat on their taxes: Why would an overseas buyer pay more for an asset than a New Zealander? Is it because they can accept lower returns on capital? Perhaps. Is it because they...
    No Right Turn | 21-08
  • According to its TV ad, National has fixed the economy
    The government is campaigning on the economy because surveys show people think the economy is going OK, even if they haven’t felt the benefits yet....
    Pundit | 21-08
  • Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research
    Mark Atkin (“Science and legal advisor” for FFNZ) and Mary Byrne (“National Co-ordinator and media contact” for FFNZ) promote their “magic” fluoride free water. These activists have a really weird understanding of science and the nature of scientific research. How’s...
    Open Parachute | 21-08
  • Cornered Government comes out swinging
    The National Government is so desperate to keep its dead-in-the-water expert teachers policy alive, it has refused to rule out forcing schools to participate through legislation, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “John Key today attacked the Educational Institute for...
    Labour | 22-08
  • Pacific people continue to go backwards under National
    A report from Victoria University highlights the fact that Pacific people are continuing to go backwards under a National Government, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “The report shows the largest inequality increases were in smoking, obesity, tertiary...
    Labour | 22-08
  • Wellington transport plan needs to keep moving
    The failure of the Transport Agency to properly look at alternatives to the Basin Reserve flyover is not a good reason for further delays to improving transport in Wellington, Labour MPs Grant Robertson and Annette King say. “The Board of...
    Labour | 22-08
  • Labour’s focus on inequality, kids and better job prospects
    Tackling child poverty and removing barriers to people working part time to enhance their prospects of moving into a fulltime job are highlights of Labour’s Social Development policy. Releasing the policy today, spokesperson Sue Moroney said while part-time work was...
    Labour | 21-08
  • Political staff should give answers under oath
    The Inspector General of Security and Intelligence should use her full statutory powers to question witnesses under oath about the leak of SIS information, says Labour MP Phil Goff. “Leakage of confidential information from the SIS for political purposes is...
    Labour | 21-08
  • High dollar, hands-off Govt sends workers to dole queue
    The loss of up to 100 jobs at Croxley stationery in Auckland is devastating news for their families and the local Avondale community, Labour’s Employment, Skills and Training spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The company’s inability to compete in international markets...
    Labour | 21-08
  • National’s flagship education policy dead in the water
    National’s plan to create executive principals and expert teachers is effectively dead in the water with news that 93 percent of primary teachers have no confidence in the scheme, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The fact that teachers are...
    Labour | 21-08
  • Dunedin will be a knowledge and innovation centre under Labour
    Dunedin will become a knowledge and innovation centre under a Labour Government that will back local businesses, support technology initiatives and fund dynamic regional projects, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Nowhere has the National Government’s short-sightedness been more apparently than...
    Labour | 21-08
  • Inquiry into SIS disclosures the right decision
    Labour MP Phil Goff says the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has done the right thing by launching an inquiry into the disclosure of SIS documents about a meeting between himself and the agency’s former director-general. “This inquiry is necessary...
    Labour | 20-08
  • Labour – supporting and valuing carers and the cared for
    Placing real value on our elderly and the people who care for them will be a priority for a Labour Government, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. Releasing Labour’s Senior Citizens policy today David Cunliffe promised that a Labour Government would...
    Labour | 20-08
  • By Hoki! It’s Labour’s fisheries policy
    A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Catching a fish from the rocks, beach...
    Labour | 20-08
  • Mighty River – Mighty Profits – Mighty hard to swallow
    Mighty River Power’s profit increase of 84 per cent is simply outrageous, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer. “Demand for electricity is flat or declining yet the company has made enormous profits. It is the latest power company to celebrate...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Collins’ actions were wrong, not unwise
    John Key’s moral compass remains off-kilter as he cannot bring himself to declare Judith Collins’ actions outright wrong, not simply ‘unwise’, said Labour MP Grant Robertson. “Under pressure John Key is finally shifting his stance but his failure to condemn...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Public servants behaving with more integrity than their masters
    The State Services Commission's new report on the integrity of our state services reflects the yawning gap between the behaviour of public servants and that of their political masters, Labour's State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says. “This report, which surveyed...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Phil Twyford Speech to NZCID
    "Labour's plan to build more and build better: how new approaches to housing, transport and urban development will deliver cities that work" Phil Twyford, Labour Party spokesperson on housing, transport, Auckland issues, and cities.  ...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Labour commits to independent Foreign Affairs and Trade
    “Labour is committed to New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs and Trade policy being independent and proactive, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “We are a small but respected country. Our voice and actions count in international affairs. Labour will take a...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Key must sack Collins over abhorrent actions
    The latest revelations that Judith Collins sent the contact details of a public servant to WhaleOil in a desperate attempt to divert media attention from a bad story is abhorrent, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “John Key and Judith Collins...
    Labour | 19-08
  • It’s downhill from here under National
    The forecast drop in exports and predicted halving of growth shows that it’s downhill from here with National, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Growth under this Government peaked in June and halves to two per cent in coming years....
    Labour | 19-08
  • John Key loses moral compass over Collins
    John Key has lost his moral compass over Judith Collins’ involvement with Cameron Slater and lost touch with New Zealanders’ sense of right and wrong, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Whoever is Prime Minister there are expectations they will not...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Mana Movement General Election 2014 List confirmed
    The MANA List is now confirmed with all the candidates as below (the numbers are the respective Internet MANA rankings). Candidate, Electorate, Internet MANA List Position Hone Harawira, Te Tai Tokerau (1) Annette Sykes, Waiariki (3) John Minto, Mt Roskill (4) Te Hamua Nikora, Ikaroa-Rawhiti...
    Mana | 18-08
  • PREFU likely to confirm dropping exports
    National’s economic management will be put under the spotlight in tomorrow’s PREFU given clear signs the so-called rock star economy has fallen off the stage, with plummeting prices for raw commodity exports, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Under National,...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Record profits while Kiwis face a cold winter
    The record profits by two of New Zealand’s largest electricity companies will be a bitter pill for New Zealand households who are paying record amounts for their power, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer. “No doubt the Key government will...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Time for John Key to answer yes or no questions
    John Key’s train-wreck interview on Morning Report shows he is no longer capable of a simple yes or no answer and has lost touch with what’s right and wrong, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “John Key has become so media...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Key must clarify who signed out SIS OIA
    Yet again John Key is proving incapable of answering a simple question on an extremely important issue – this time who signed off Cameron Slater’s fast-tracked SIS OIA request on Phil Goff, said Labour MP Grant Robertson. “John Key’s claim...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Time to invest in our tertiary education system
    A Labour Government will fully review the student support system – including allowances, loans, accommodation support and scholarships – with a view to increasing access and making the system fair, transparent and sustainable, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street says....
    Labour | 17-08
  • Labour will facilitate regional Māori economic development agencies
    The next Labour Government will facilitate the creation of regional Māori economic development groups lead by iwi and hapū to work in partnership with business and public agencies as part of its Māori Development policy. “Labour is committed to working towards...
    Labour | 16-08
  • PRIME MINISTER’S DENIAL AT ODDS WITH NATIONAL PARTY STATEMENT
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has today released an email from the General Manager of the National Party that directly contradicts recent statements from the Prime Minister in relation to the 2011 breaches of Labour Party website databases. In his stand-up...
    Labour | 16-08
  • Labour committed to a healthier NZ for all
    A Labour Government will shift the focus of the health system from narrow targets and short term thinking to make public health and prevention a priority, Labour’s health spokesperson Annette King says. Releasing Labour’s full Health policy today she said...
    Labour | 15-08
  • Time Key took responsibility for Collins
    It is well past time for John Key to take some responsibility for the misuse of power and information by his Minister Judith Collins, and follow through on his last warning to her, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “The evidence released...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Dear John, time to answer a few questions… – Harawira
    “When Cameron Slater says about Kim Dotcom ‘I have lots on him…death by a thousand cuts…wait till you see what comes out in coming weeks on that fat c***t’, you have to ask whether this is the same Cameron Slater...
    Mana | 14-08
  • MANA CANDIDATE FOR IKAROA RAWHITI OPENS UP ABOUT SUICIDE
    “This week suicide has claimed yet more lives in whanau and communities in Ikaroa Rawhiti, and my heart goes out to those who are dealing with such a tragic loss”, says MANA candidate for Te Ikaroa Rawhiti, Te Hamua Nikora....
    Mana | 14-08
  • Offshore betting in Labour’s sights
    A Labour Government will clamp down on offshore gambling websites that deprive the local racing industry of funds, Labour’s Racing spokesperson Ross Robertson says. Releasing Labour’s racing policy today, he said betting on offshore websites is a major threat to...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Key has serious questions to answer on Dirty Politics
    John Key must answer the serious questions raised in Nicky Hager’s new book which reveal examples of dirty politics that New Zealanders will be deeply concerned about, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Many people will be disturbed by the evidence...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Creating an inclusive society for disabled people
    A Labour Government will provide free annual health checks for people with an intellectual disability, Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth Dyson said today in announcing Labour’s Disability Issues policy. “We will also employ another 100 additional special education teachers and...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Media Advisory – MANA name change
    This is to advise all media that on the 24th of July the ‘Mana’ party name was officially changed to ‘MANA Movement’ under the Electoral Act 1993.  The inclusion of the word ‘Movement’ in our name shouldn’t come as a surprise...
    Mana | 13-08
  • New Zealand must help in the growing Iraq crisis
    The humanitarian crisis in Iraq looks certain to get worse before it gets better,” said David Shearer Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealand should urgently pledge increased humanitarian assistance to United Nations agencies and NGOs present on the ground....
    Labour | 13-08
  • Allegations of migrant worker rort should be investigated
    Labour is calling for an investigation into the alleged exploitation of workers at Hutt Railway workshops, hired to repair asbestos-riddled DL locomotives. Hutt South Labour MP Trevor Mallard has written to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment asking that...
    Labour | 13-08
  • Medical and dentistry students get reprieve under Labour
    A Labour Government will restore the right of medical and dentistry students to get student loans after seven years of study because it is the right thing to do, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street says. “Hard on the heels...
    Labour | 13-08
  • National must stop meddling with ACC before the election
    The redesign currently occurring at the Accident Claims Corporation (ACC) for sensitive claims needs to be put on hold immediately, said the Green Party today.The Green Party is concerned about work currently underway at ACC involving the sensitive claims service...
    Greens | 13-08
  • Markets slow but first home buyers still hurting
    First home buyers are hurting more than ever as the supply of affordable houses in the market dries up, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank will be happy LVR minimum deposits and rising interest rates have dampened...
    Labour | 13-08
  • Green Party celebrates MOU win on contaminated sites
    The Green Party is celebrating the announcement of a national register of contaminated sites today, and $2.5 million to start cleaning two sites up. The Green Party and the National Party agreed to include toxic site management work in their...
    Greens | 13-08
  • Emergency staff at breaking point
    The Southern DHB is so cash-strapped it is failing to fill nursing rosters, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson David Clark says.  “Every day emergency department nurses arrive at work knowing they are likely to be carrying more than their recommended workload. ...
    Labour | 12-08
  • ACC minister fails in mission to change culture
    The latest damning report by the Auditor General shows that the ACC Minister has failed to fulfil her mission to fix the sick culture at ACC and real change will not come till a new Government is elected, the Green...
    Greens | 12-08
  • Labour’s regional development fund to support Palmerston North
    Labour will consider a proposal to develop an inland port at Palmerston North, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “The Palmerston North community has developed plans for an inland port which will bring jobs and economic growth to a region which...
    Labour | 12-08
  • Green Party announces priorities for Christchurch
    The Green Party has today announced its plan for a fairer, smarter and more democratic Canterbury rebuild, with a focus on smart transport solutions, restoring local democracy, and keeping Christchurch's assets.The plan sits across all of the Green Party's priorities...
    Greens | 11-08
  • Rock-star economy unplugged by China log jam
    The collapse of log prices due to oversupply in China threatens to wash the gloss off what remains of National's so-called rock-star economy, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Already this year the price of milk solids has plunged by more...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Young job seekers dealt a poor hand
    National's "keep 'em poor" card for young people on a benefit is a sorry substitute for job training, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says.  The Government today announced it would extend its payment card scheme to all teen parents...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Labour – achieving change for Kiwi women
    Working towards being a world leader in eliminating violence against women and children will be a priority for a Labour Government. Releasing Labour’s Women’s Affairs policy today spokesperson Carol Beaumont said while Labour had a proud track record of achieving...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Accessible healthcare also affordable
      It is obvious from Tony Ryall’s hasty attack of Labour’s plans to extend free GP visits to older people that he hasn’t bothered to actually read the policy, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. "Mr Ryall’s response to Labour’s...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Full details of oil execs’ junket revealed
    Full details of a $237,000 taxpayer-funded oil executives' junket in 2011 have emerged.National paid the nearly quarter of a million dollars to wine and dine 11 oil executives in New Zealand during the World Cup.The trip included yachting, wine tasting,...
    Greens | 10-08
  • Steering By The Real: Chris Trotter responds to Paul Buchanan
    WHEN ACADEMICS take to blogging the rest of us best be careful. And when they offer comment on the subject of dirty politics we should all pay attention. I will always remember my history lecturer, Dr Michael Cullen’s, confident dismissal...
    The Daily Blog | 22-08
  • Interview Between Selwyn Manning & Sean Plunket Over SIS Release of OIA...
    During a RadioLive interview between host Sean Plunket and managing director of Multimedia Investments Ltd, journalist Selwyn Manning, a fiery exchange developed after Plunket attempted to “wet flannel” the issue of whether the Prime Minister has been truthful over what...
    The Daily Blog | 22-08
  • “Even though my hours are being cut, my rent doesn’t get cut to compens...
    Fast Food = Slow Pay   Lola is a manager at a major fast food chain. Last year her employer arbitrarily cut her hours from 32 hours to anywhere between 18 and 26 hours each week. “I said I can’t...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Hate Politics has no place in NZ Politics
    I wasn’t going to write about Nicky Hagar’s ‘Dirty Politics’.  There are plenty of policy issues to discuss. Then I read the book, and what it reveals strikes at the very heart of our democracy. My overwhelming feeling is one...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Pak’nSave pull adverts from Whaleoil
    Pak n Save have replied to complaints that their adverts were appearing on hate speech site Whaleoil by deciding to block their adverts from appearing on the site. Their reply… Congratulations for Pak’NSave on making this type of ethical stand. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Herald Poll – Why the Greens will hit 15%
    The biggest problem for John Key is that there are swathes of National Party voters who are educated and decent people whom will be forced to read Dirty Politics out of intellectual curiosity and will be horrified by what National...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Dirty Politics and Dirty Media
    The Nicky Hager book is mind blowing on so many levels. The revelations of government ministers and their staff colluding with vile and hateful schemers to attack other people, is truly ugly. When the dust settles on the illegalities, immoralities...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • “You just have to keep on fighting” – an interview with Metiria Turei
    We’re meeting in her office. It’s austere, though she does have a nice teapot. The view is startling. One can map the Bowen Triangle, though the teapot is still more interesting. A group of pink faced men are running across...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Taxation and Real Estate – turning housing debate on its head
    The debate about property prices in New Zealand is disingenuous. It is clear that there is a global process in which speculators are using massive amounts of unspent and borrowed money to blow bubbles in the world’s major asset markets....
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood – Faith and politics
    In a week which has seen our collective focus shift to those who see politics as a great game to be manipulated for their own ends, it is timely to reflect on the fact that many people are in fact...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Government’s Own Guidelines Show John Key Would Have Been Informed Of SIS...
    Analysis by Selwyn Manning. INFORMATION THAT I HAVE ACQUIRED, sourced from the State Services Commission, states in black and white the tight guideline requirements that must be followed whenever the SIS informs a Prime Minister of any pending release of...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Simply Not Credible: Dr Tucker’s “clarifications” are only making thi...
    THAT DR WARREN TUCKER, Director of the Security Intelligence Service in 2011, agreed to the release of politically sensitive material – thereby intervening in an on-going contretemps between the leaders of the National and Labour parties – without receiving the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • The Donghua Liu Affair: Evidence of Collusion between the NZ Herald and Imm...
    . 1. Prologue . The Donghua Liu Affair hit  the headlines on 18 June, with allegations that David Cunliffe wrote a letter in 2003,  on  behalf of  business migrant, Donghua Liu. Four days later, on Sunday 22 June, the Herald...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Dear Canon NZ – Malevolence should induce revulsion, it shouldn’t be ce...
    Giovanni Tiso’s analysis on Slater is possibly the best in NZ… It’s been a good week for some of us. A week of feeling vindicated, offeeling galvanised. Where it goes from here will depend on several factors, some of which are largely...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • 5AA Australia: After Dirty Politics Can National Provide Stable Government?
    AS WE ALL KNOW New Zealanders and Australians do not like political parties that are unstable, or can no longer assure us that they are able to provide stable government. And the big question for Kiwis as we prepare to...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • SIS letter means it’s over for Key
    It’s over. I may not agree with all of Phil Goff’s positions, but you can’t question his integrity the way Slater did in Dirty Politics and not be deeply concerned that our Secret Intelligence Agency is being used for political...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • who to vote for in Epsom
    who to vote for in Epsom...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • The Rise and Fall of John Key – who will be the next leader of National P...
    . . It was all set to go: Teamkey would be the cult of personality that would do Stalin, Mao, Reagan, Thatcher, or any of the Nth Korean Kim Dynasty, proud.  National and it’s “Teamkey” propaganda strategy   would cash-in Big Time...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Who said Kiwis couldn’t get a fire in their bellies over an arcane intern...
    An amazing team of activists has taken the campaign on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to local governments throughout the country. Their latest triumph came last Monday when the Dunedin City Council endorsed a resolution expressing concern about the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • National’s Dangerous Education Agenda Exposed
    Putting aside the dirty politics coming out of the Beehive and the right-wing blogisphere, there are some very strong signals that another term of a National Government would do even more serious damage to the public education system. The Education...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • We can have clean politics and get our democracy back.
    Something is rotten in our politics and it stinks. Dirty politics has sadly become one of the defining features of this election campaign. In the light of recent revelations about the extent of nasty and disingenuous political strategies, it would...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Book burning copies of Hager’s book? The next generation of National Part...
    It seems we are getting the next generation of National Party Dirty Politics now. There are claims the Young Nats in Hamilton are buying up copies of Dirty Politics and burning them. One witness was contacted by the Waikato Times...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • National Party Poetry Day Haiku
    Key’s inbox and Cam’s poison most foul, there he blows hoist by own harpoon...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Why Cunliffe will be the next PM
    David Cunliffe will be the next Prime Minister of NZ. Labour’s inclusive and positive TV adverts… …are in stark contrast to National’s team of white people powering away from the rabble of the ‘others’… …the messaging is vital and crucial...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • From smiling assassin to grumpy butcher – on giving Judith Collins a last...
    After #dirtypolitics Key isn’t the smiling assassin, he is the grumpy butcher. When he said Judith had  a ‘last chance’ he meant 1 second after voting closes on 20th September. Key would love nothing more than to cut Collins loose and end...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • If the National Party rowing advert was real….
    If the National Party rowing advert was real there would be more blood in the water. If the National Party rowing advert was real it would be Cameron Slater calling the strokes. If the national Party rowing advert was real,...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Cameron Slater: Zionist and political pundit
    It is hard to know where to start with right-wing blogger Cameron Slater (Whale Oil), especially after the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. This confirmed everything many of us thought Slater to be: a snivelling pundit who serves...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Bryce Edwards stood down from Herald for election season??? Are the editors...
    I only found this out via twitter last night and I am still in shock. Bryce Edwards, easily the best critical thinker and news analyst the NZ Herald has has been stood down by the NZ Herald ‘for the election...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • So who’s a “conspiracy theorist” now?!
    . . As the media storm over Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Politics“,  and allegations over smear campaigns continue to swirl,  National’s spin doctors have given Key, Collins, and other National Party ministers a string of  phrases to use in all...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Momentum shift
    When you are deeply immersed in a local campaign sometimes it can be difficult to see the helicopter view.   I don’t know how accurate the political polls are and have always known that things can change quickly in politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Dear Toby Manhire. Bad call on backing Farrar
    Oh dear. I say this as someone who regards Toby Manhire as one of the smartest journalists/commentators/columnists this country has, and I think Toby has made a terribly dumb call here. Let’s see if Toby is still singing Farrar’s praises...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Radio NZ apologise to me for getting it wrong
    Radio NZ have contacted me, reviewed the claim by their host that I had an advance copy of Nicky Hager’s book and they have concluded they got it wrong, they have called me and apologised and will make a statement...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Reclaim UoA – Students’ Message to Steven Joyce
    Tertiary Education – we’ve been sold a lemon  A group of 30 students attended an event on Tuesday evening about ‘the future of tertiary education’ at which the Minister of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce was slated to speak. As Joyce...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Can someone in the media please ask the PM of NZ to categorically deny any ...
    Now we see the MO of Slater & Co, the setting up, the digging for dirt, the use of staff to dig that dirt, can the Prime Minister of NZ categorically deny any National Party staff worked with Cam Slater...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Panic setting in for National as they realise what’s about to happen
    And the terror starts to set in. I’ve never seen blind panic like this before  and it’s spreading as the enormity of what’s about to happen starts to sink in. Hager’s book is a mere entree, Nicky’s personal ethics wouldn’t...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Hager’s Dirty Politics: what the book ultimately reveals is abuse of powe...
    Guide to the many faces of John Key Nicky’s book is now doing what I suspected it would do, create a shockwave of revulsion. Andrew Geddis over at Pundit Blog sums up this attitude best, and it’s reverberations build with every...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Fancy taking children seriously
    Let’s see why all political parties should pay close attention to the Green Party’s policy for children. First, it is a comprehensive attempt to put children, not ideology, at the heart of family policy. Wow, children at the heart of...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Amnesty International: Dear Azerbaijan, Stop Torture, Love Kiwi Kids
    This is a world where many adults often underestimate Generation Y. Being only a few years out of being a teenager myself, I feel I can make this statement with certainty. However, I have been the Youth Intern at Amnesty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • GCSB meetings today in Christchurch 1pm at Uni 7pm at Cathedral
    The 2014 GCSB meetings to discuss the mass surveillance state legislation passed by this Government will be debated in Christchurch today at two different meetings. 1pm at Canterbury University bottom floor James Height Building: Chair: Bomber Bradbury Ruth Dyson – Labour Party...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Things that 7 Sharp should probably be talking about
    Things that 7 Sharp should probably be talking about...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Guide to when Key is lying
    Guide to when Key is lying...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The State of the Student Nation …or is just Al...
    Students politics are dead and our student media is in terminal decline. The most disappointing thing about university is the politics, or should I say lack of? I was raised with the idea that students held the power.They were the...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Love Lifts Us Up: Thoughts from the Green Party’s campaign launch.
    Author Eleanor Catton wants people to give their party vote to the Greens.Photo by Peter Meecham NO ONE WAS QUITE SURE how he did it. Somehow Bob Harvey had persuaded the owners of the rights to Joe Cocker’s Up Where...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Test Stream
    width="600" height="400"> archive="http://theora.org/cortado.jar [3]" width="600" height="401">...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • LIVE STREAM: You, Me and the GCSB ChCh Public Meetings
    LIVE STREAM EVENT here at 1pm & 7pm: The 2014 GCSB meetings to discuss the mass surveillance state legislation passed by this Government will be debated in Christchurch today at two different meetings. PLEASE NOTE: TDB recommends Chrome and Firefox...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today,
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking on Radio Hauraki...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • How @whaledump might destroy the popular vote for National
    Dirty Politics is now creating a meltdown and National are in danger of a total vote collapse. The real threat to for National was if Nicky had all the emails released via the anonymous hacker who took them. That danger is now a...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Open letter to Radio NZ – you need to make a retraction now
    I have just sent this off to Radio NZ right now Dear Radio NZ Firstly, what a great interview by Guyon Espiner this morning with the Prime Minister. Great to see such hard hitting journalism. Unfortunately I am not contacting...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Radio NZ are lying about me
    I am getting this all second hand at the moment as I don’t bother listening to Radio NZ (except for that wonderful Wallace Chapman in the weekends) but there is a claim that Suzie Ferguson just insinuated on Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Farrar’s fake claim of being invaded + Slater’s claims of death threats...
    The counter spin to avoid focus on the series allegations made in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics continues. David Farrar’s ridiculous hysterics that he was invaded and his privacy has been blah blah blah has all been reduced from computer hacking to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Te Kuiti man imprisoned for images of young children
    A Te Kuiti man caught with pictures of children being sexually abused has been sentenced to ten months imprisonment. Sickness beneficiary Daniel James Parry, 35, appeared for sentence in the Tauranga District Court today (Friday) after pleading guilty...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Japan Maritime Training Squadron visit – Open Day, Band
    • The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Training Squadron will make port in Auckland from Wednesday 3 September to Saturday 6 September...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • MP Perk Transparency Needed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the increase in taxpayer-funded entitlements for MPs and their families published on the legislation website this afternoon . Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Debating the future of Auckland’s housing
    With only weeks until the General Election, Auckland’s mounting housing crisis will be put under the spotlight in an Election Debate hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland. The debate’s topic “Market forces...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Let’s sort this out – Human Rights Commission
    A Whangarei woman allegedly censured for greeting customers with Kia ora can get in touch with the Human Rights Commission says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy. “We really need to resolve these kinds of issues. I had thought that...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Aged Care Association welcomes Labour’s wages policy
    The New Zealand Aged Care Association welcomes the Labour Party’s announcement that if elected, it will raise the minimum wage for aged care workers within its first 100 days in Government....
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Honorary doctorate for Secretary-General of the UN
    An Honorary Doctor of Laws degree is to be bestowed on His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, by the University of Auckland on Wednesday 3 September, both in recognition of his role as an international statesman...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Surveillance of Mr Upul Jayasuriya
    The New Zealand Bar Association joins the International Bar Association (IBA) and other Law Societies and Bar Associations worldwide over the reported surveillance of Mr Upul Jayasuriya, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka....
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Bob Parker, China State Media and Tibet Forum
    Former Christchurch mayor was signed up to position statement without his knowledge; observed “happiness” in Tibet as Tibetan protesters elsewhere shot by security forces...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • “Walk the talk to reduce the wage gap”
    There’s just a few weeks left to convince the candidates of all political parties that reducing the wage gaps makes good sense....
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Digital Currency on the Drawing Board
    Government policies and digital currency ideas and issues will come together at three public workshops next week....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • NZ Cycle Trail welcomes $8 million fund
    Government funding of $8 million to maintain and enhance the Great Rides of New Zealand will help ensure the trails are delivering the best possible visitor experience, says Evan Freshwater, Manager Nga Haerenga The New Zealand Cycle Trail Inc. (NZCT)....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Judges Comments Bonkers – McVicar
    Napier Conservative Party Candidate Garth McVicar is accusing a Judge of forgetting that he is the gate-keeper for the community and not a benevolent caregiver for law breakers. "The comments by this Judge are not just alarming, they're completely...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Oxfam: World must suspend arms sales to protect civilians
    As the New Zealand Government prepares to ratify the global Arms Trade Treaty, and after ceasefire talks collapsed and violence erupted yet again in Gaza yesterday, Oxfam is calling on all states to immediately suspend transfers of arms or ammunition...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Degrees in Picking up Rubbish
    Responding to the Fairfax media report of a University of Otago survey of Wellington’s street-connected walkways, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Another Union row
    “ The teachers union the NZEA is getting ready for another industrial dispute. These disputes now only occur in the government sector. National has no one to blame but themselves” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Whyte: Speech to Grey Power
    National’s failure to increase the age for super and reform health is a threat to every New Zealander’s security....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Local Govt should not go into business
    “No one should take any comfort from the fact that “Infracon”, a roading company in Tararua and Central Hawke's Bay, is to go into liquidation. This puts the future of more than 200 jobs in doubt. ACT sympathises with those...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Join the hikoi to end child poverty in New Zealand
    CPAG is calling on people across society to join a march from Britomart to Aotea Square in Auckland to demand action on child poverty in Aotearoa....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Ngapuhi Chair Says Enough of the Political Sideshow
    Time for side-shows to end so we can focus on future of our nation – Raniera (Sonny) Tau, Chairman, Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Commissioner of Police v Kim Dotcom And Ors
    An order is made extending the duration of the registration of the restraining orders issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on 10 and 25 January 2012 and registered in New Zealand on 18...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Labour Announcement on Future of Hillside Workshops Welcome
    Labour leader David Cunliffe’s announcement in Dunedin today that a government led by his party would re-open Hillside Railway workshops was welcomed by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU). ‘Since the workshops were shut down in late...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Primary teachers and principals vote to put kids first
    Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Prime Time with Sean Plunkett: Educating for Success
    In all the turmoil stirred up by the "Dirty Politics" revelations, the real issues that the campaign should be about have been put to one side....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Dirty Politics – Number One Bestseller and Back in Stores
    An exposé of the hidden side of New Zealand politics, Nicky Hager's book, Dirty Politics , has been in hot demand since its release last Wednesday....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Epsom: profiling NZ’s most controversial electorate
    Welcome to the wealthy inner Auckland electorate of Epsom: home of coat-tailing, the Tea Tapes, a convicted outgoing MP... and heavy newspaper and magazine readership....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Families Free From Violence campaign and website
    We are pleased to announce the launch of our Families Free From Violence campaign and our new Families Free From Violence website. This website has been created to encourage people to take responsibility for ending family violence by seeking help...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • PSA And DHBs Reach Settlement on Five Collective Agreements
    The 20 District Health Boards are pleased to reach settlement via mediation on five Multi Employer Collective Agreements (MECAs) with the Public Service Association for 12,000 mental and public health nurses, allied, public health and technical staff,...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Refusal to complete census results in 46 convictions
    Failing to fill out a census form has resulted in the convictions of 46 people, Statistics New Zealand said today....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Council Amalgamations Still Bad Deal
    Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Wellington ratepayers should not be seduced into accepting the amalgamation of their Councils by a recent amendment to legislation allowing for local boards not community boards, Chris Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • DHB industrial action withdrawn
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has withdrawn notices of industrial action covering 12,000 health workers at District Health Boards (DHBs) across New Zealand, after progress was made in mediation....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Aged Care Pledge Needs Better Target, Says Care Agency
    Labour’s pledge to set up an aged care working group to address industry concerns is good to see, but appears to skirt the obvious issue of a looming lack of beds and carers for our rapidly growing elderly population, says...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Social inequality still rife in New Zealand
    Social inequality has worsened over the past decade in New Zealand, a new study from Victoria University of Wellington shows....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Working towards a living wage and more Māori in paid work
    The Māori Party will build on the gains it has already achieved in Government and accelerate job opportunities particularly for young Māori....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Deepwater Group Supports Changes to Catch Limits
    The Deepwater Group says the increase in the Total Allowable Commercial Catch for hoki shows the benefits of a long term commitment to build biomass in this major New Zealand fishery....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • ACT announces Ohariu candidate Sean Fitzpatrick
    “Our Ohariu candidate will be Sean Fitzpatrick. Sean has strong ties to the region and I’m glad to hear he will be doing his best to grow ACT’s party vote in the area,” says Dr Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • ACT announces Tauranga candidate Stuart Pederson
    “Our Tauranga candidate will be Stuart Pedersen. Stuart has strong ties to Tauranga and I’m glad he has agreed to do his best to grow ACT’s party vote in the electorate,” says Dr Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Green Party scores massive own goal
    Green Party scores massive own goal as their own policy auditor criticises their fiscal plan...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Green Party’s own Auditor of their Budget finds it dodgy
    “The Alternative Budget released by the Green's does not even stack up in the eyes of their chosen auditor – Infometrics” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • New shark finning laws fall short for threatened species
    Environmental groups are welcoming some aspects of a raft of law changes announced today in relation to shark finning, but say that overall the chance for New Zealand to catch up with international efforts in shark conservation is being missed....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Promoting Labour’s Positive Policies
    General Secretary of the New Zealand Labour Party, Tim Barnett, today launched Labour’s television advertisements for the 2014 election. The advertisements help tell Labour’s positive story for a better New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Drug Court: Rare Insight into New Alternative Justice Model
    Māori Television’s latest New Zealand documentary presents a fascinating look inside a new alternative justice model – through the stories of convicted criminals....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Political parties pledge to increase overseas aid
    A survey of political parties looking at how much New Zealand should spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA) shows the overwhelming majority of parties are committed to raising the bar according to the Council for International Development (CID)....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Top Kiwis backing Tip the Scales campaign
    Sir Graham Henry, former All Black Kees Meeuws, singer-song writer Jamie McDell and fishing guru Matt Watson have pledged their support to Tip the Scales, a pre-election campaign generating public support for rebuilding New Zealand’s depleted inshore...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Maritime Union continues to press over dirty politics
    Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says Ports of Auckland management is trying to get off the hook from its involvement with extreme right wing bloggers during the Ports of Auckland dispute....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • No end in sight to overwhelming human cost of conflict
    Two ceasefires have brought some respite to civilians in Gaza and southern Israel, amid hope that a durable cessation of hostilities might occur. In Gaza, these breaks in the fighting have barely given people enough time to seek medical care,...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Young Kiwi speakers to represent NZ at Gallipoli 2015
    The RSA is delighted at the announcement made by Veterans' Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse today, that all eight regional finalists of the 2015 ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition will be included in a group of 25 Youth Ambassadors...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • “Bromance” Marriage Stunt Insulting Says LegaliseLove
    A promotional competition asking two best mates to get married in order to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup is insulting, marriage equality campaign LegaliseLove Aotearoa claims....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Cannabis Party first to register for 2014 General Election
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party became the first party to register for the 2014 General Election today, when it meet with the Electoral Commission in Wellington at Midday....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • PGA: Addresses NZ’s ratification of Arms Trade Treaty
    President of Parliamentarians for Global Action and New Zealand MP Ross Robertson today addressed a celebration to mark New Zealand’s imminent ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is expected within the next few weeks....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
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