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Muddling through with “intelligent austerity”

Written By: - Date published: 4:21 pm, June 23rd, 2012 - 31 comments
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That’s what we’re doing – it’s official according to Treasury. It was revealed on Friday at a lunchtime seminar in Wellington with Dr Girol Karacaoglu, recently appointed Chief Economist at the Treasury.

The best response came from Dr Geoff Bertram, who asked “What’s intelligent about it?”, citing anti-tradables bias and income inequality as two unintelligent outcomes of current policy.

Karacaoglu admitted that Treasury were very aware of anti-tradables bias in current policy settings. Treasury were asking themselves what could they do in the face of high current account deficit, low savings, high real interest rates and low growth.

Good questions all – Treasury’s “intelligent austerity” answer was to focus on increasing savings of the Government sector – budget cuts in my language.

So it was with interest I read today  “How to end this Depression” by Paul Krugman in a recent copy of the New York Review of Books. This is what he had to say about austerity policies:

Assessing the effects of austerity therefore requires painstaking examination of the actual legislation used to implement that austerity.

Fortunately, researchers at the International Monetary Fund have done the legwork, identifying no fewer than 173 cases of fiscal austerity in advanced countries over the period between 1978 and 2009. And what they found was that austerity policies were followed by economic contraction and higher unemployment.

There’s much, much more evidence, but I hope this brief overview gives a sense of what we know and how we know it. I hope in particular that when you read me or Joseph Stiglitz or Christina Romer saying that cutting spending in the face of this depression will make it worse, and that temporary increases in spending could help us recover, you won’t think, “Well, that’s just his/her opinion.” As Romer asserted in a recent speech about research into fiscal policy:

The evidence is stronger than it has ever been that fiscal policy matters—that fiscal stimulus helps the economy add jobs, and that reducing the budget deficit lowers growth at least in the near term. And yet, this evidence does not seem to be getting through to the legislative process.

That’s what we need to change.

I couldn’t agree more. Seems much more intelligent to me. You can read the IMF research here.

31 comments on “Muddling through with “intelligent austerity””

  1. ianmac 1

    Austerity/cutbacks from Mr English in the late 90s made the Recession worse didn’t it? As a non-economist I do not understand how restriction on spending would encourage growth and confidence.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    There’s a problem with stimulation – growth. In other words, it’s unsustainable and I really can’t see that imposing unsustainability on the economy is any more intelligent than imposing poverty.

    • fustercluck 2.1

      Growth, in the sense of an expansion of the industrial system we use to manage our interaction with our ecosystem, is indeed unsustainable.

      Growth, in terms of the artificial imagined abstraction we call the monetary system, has no effect in the material world and can readily be used to avert crises associated with human manipulations of this system.

      To put it another way, we can ‘grow’ the monetary system to bring about a fairer distribution of ‘wealth’ and begin the process of turning away from the most destructive aspects of industrialism and towards more sustainable civil practices.

      Since ‘growth’ can mean almost anything one desires, especially in terms of pour abstracted value systems, the question is more how one brings it about rather than abandoning the concept entirely. After all, if we assign great value to sustainable practices, we can ‘grow’ our economy whilst improving environmental practices.

      To put it yet another way, we invented money and we can decide to use it for good or for evil.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Growth, in terms of the artificial imagined abstraction we call the monetary system, has no effect in the material world …Yes it does. It contributes in massive and obvious ways to the crises you suggest we use the money system to avert. and can readily be used to avert crises associated with human manipulations of this system. No. Manipulations leave the basic nature of the money system or economy in tact and the aspects of the economy you attempt to ‘tame’ through legislation (manipulation) will re-assert themselves. Money and the particular money system or economy we have are distinct entities. Scrap the latter and the former might become a useful tool… depending on the nature of the economy we construct to replace this one we have at the moment.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        An increase in monetary income results in an increase in resource use thus growing the “money supply” is as unsustainable as “growing the economy” as it’s essentially the same thing.

        To put it another way, we can ‘grow’ the monetary system to bring about a fairer distribution of ‘wealth’…

        No we can’t as the problem is distribution and overuse of resources. Without addressing distribution we cannot bring down the use of resources. As I’ve said before – we can’t afford rich people and monetary savings are delusional.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      Businesses do it all the time- for a limited time.

      eg “Fieldays” promotions for cars run all month on TV – then stop.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      Businesses do it all the time- for a limited time.

      eg “Fieldays” promotions for cars run all month on TV – then stop.

    • Stimulus is not an unsustainable strategy if coupled with saving during boom times- ideally your result is roughly zero-sum in that equation. There’s a reason we keep going back to Keynes- in many ways he was one of the original economists with the idea of economic steadfastness that is a sort of precursor to the economics of sustainability. (of course, in sustainable economics, your goal wouldn’t be to get back to growth, it would be to mitigate the extreme of the recession and to cut off the stimulus at just the right point before recovery to avoid an artificial boom without plunging yourself back into recession)

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    ALL of this is imminently depressing.

    Governments could spend more into the economy, as Krugman suggests, but that would mean significantly more taxes or significantly more debt. And stimulating the economy in this way necessarily means increased consumption of physical resources and energy.

    Notwithstanding that the banksters and financial economists run the show now; there will be no modern WPA.

    • KJT 3.1

      Not necessarily. If we transfer the money spent on jet flights to Hawaii to those who need it for food and housing.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Food and housing are a start, allowing basic survival. But people need to work and they need to have roles in building up society. That was what the WPA was about.

  4. Bill 4

    Austerity isn’t about ending recession.

    It’s about driving down wages and wage demands thereby delivering more profit (both directly through the financial precariousity of workers and indirectly through the demise of smaller businesses) into the hands of bigger businesses.

    And it’s also about gutting public services and the conditions of the workers within them and then delivering those public services up to private providers.

    It’s intelligent enough depending on the perspective you view it from. It just ain’t intelligent to believe the spin and call for ‘alternative recessionary measures’ as though seeking an end to the recession was ever really the game plan, is all.

    • Bill 5.1

      But if that scenario was to be pursued, how would it be different to ‘re-setting’ for a re-run and an even bigger mess?

      Financial institutions would bust their arses to overturn any restrictive legislation and know how to go about that stuff these days given their eventual success with regards the Glass-Steagall Act.

      How long would it take them next time around? Another 70 years – the time it took them the first time around? I don’t think so. They already have the ‘democratic’ institutions and personnel in their pockets

      And what about the continued addiction to market growth and consumerism and the climate collapse and resource depletion that results from those things?

  5. roger 6

    It might be smarter to introduce a CGT, introduce a carbon or pollution tax and give advance notice of an increase in the age for superannuation. These steps would bring in more revenue, close the government deficit and would enable raise the top tax rate. The stimulus should come from better (and more) government spending on R&D and high value exports from the manufacturing and tech industries.

  6. RedLogix 7

    And what about the continued addiction to market growth and consumerism and the climate collapse and resource depletion that results from those things?

    It’s hard to answer that decisively Bill. Perhaps the most credible voice is Greer:

    Collapse now, in other words, and avoid the rush.

    There’s a fair amount of subtlety to the strategy defined by those words. As our society stumbles down the ragged curve of its decline, more and more people are going to lose the ability to maintain what counts as a normal lifestyle—or, rather, what counted as a normal lifestyle in the recent past, and is no longer quite so normal today as it once was. Each new round of crisis will push more people further down the slope; minor and localized crises will affect a relatively smaller number of people, while major crises affecting whole nations will affect a much larger number. As each crisis hits, though, there will be a rush of people toward whatever seems to offer a way out, and as each crisis recedes, there will be another rush of people toward whatever seems to offer a way back to what used to be normal. The vast majority of people who join either rush will fail. Remember the tens of thousands of people who applied for a handful of burger-flipping jobs during the recent housing crash, because that was the only job opening they could find? That’s the sort of thing I mean.

    The way to avoid the rush is simple enough: figure out how you will be able to live after the next wave of crisis hits, and to the extent that you can, start living that way now. If you’re worried about the long-term prospects for your job—and you probably should be, no matter what you do for a living—now is the time to figure out how you will get by if the job goes away and you have to make do on much less money. For most people, that means getting out of debt, making sure the place you live costs you much less than you can afford, and picking up some practical skills that will allow you to meet some of your own needs and have opportunities for barter and informal employment. It can mean quite a bit more, depending on your situation, needs, and existing skills. It should certainly involve spending less money—and that money, once it isn’t needed to pay off any debts you have, can go to weatherizing your home and making other sensible preparations that will make life easier for you later on.

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/collapse-now-and-avoid-rush.html

    The problem most people have is that to live successfully like this you need a community around you and we just do not have this. I know you have thought about this a great deal Bill…

    • Bill 7.1

      The thing about increasing levels of exclusion through repeated crises isn’t so much the material day to day stuff (shit as that is) so much as the prospect of being denied access to health care, education and a level of welfare that affords some degree of access to resources etc. Think of any number of countries in Africa. Millions of people with no access to water or land (attempt to cultivate a bit of waste land and Go directly to jail. Do not pass go…) etc. That’s bad enough. Then add on the denial of health care etc and human life is a big fat zero.

      I know many people reckon they can hang on in there in the 20% or so that society…or social provisions… will function for in the future. But their kids? Grand kids?

      If we don’t lay the foundations while we still have access to resources or while we can still ‘cash in’ what we have accumulated as individuals in the market and use the resulting ‘pay out’ to invest in a functioning (and I’d maintain) democratic society then we, or more likely our children or grand children, are going to wake up one morning scratching dirt.

      Think Africa. Think South America. You wish that on your descendents? Or anyone elses?

      • Georgecom 7.1.1

        A couple of the best things to start doing

        1. reducing debt
        2. if you have your own home, figure out how you can grow food on it and make a start now putting in gardens, fruit trees etc

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          3. Maintain your health and fitness at best possible levels.

          • Bill 7.1.1.1.1

            So….acknowledge that capitalism did not deliver people from ‘short brutish’ lives (or however Hobbes line on the supposed nature of pre-capitalist societies ran) and will in fact deliver to that state of affairs?

            The suggestions above (Get lucky with health, grow food, kill debt etc) might be necessary, but they certainly aren’t sufficient in terms of creating a full or rewarding life. They are essentially ‘island’ solutions and since ‘no man (sic) is an island’….

            • Foreigh Waka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Three things that stand in the way of this utopian world and have aided the minority since time memorial:
              1/ greed
              2/ envy
              3/ gluttony
              always, always works. Never has failed and delivered on the spot. How do you propose to change that? It is a trait that in inherent in every person, not just the rich. This is why it works.

              • Bill

                Don’t know where you picked up the notion of utopia in this thread, but…What other traits, besides greed, envy and gluttony would you say are inherently human? And if we are talking of economic reward leading to reinforcement of certain traits, then which do you think it would be better to have rewarded and which not? And when you’ve decided on which traits to emphasise, then why not construct an economy that encourages those aspects of our nature and discourages the others?

                • Foreign Waka

                  Hi Bill, my comment was not meant to contravene yours, just to express my point of view over years of experience.
                  I referred to Utopia in respect to the belief that human nature can be changed. Wars have shown us over centuries that greed, submission to it and the envy towards others with more luck coupled with the waste of everything once the goods are in possession has not changed. So why would it now? Yes, the government can build incentives into politics, but do we not know that these are to create greater gain for those in power?
                  Given a chance, many would cheat the system. The rich with tax evasion the poor with benefit fraud etc…. You pointed out Africa. The mining that has produced so much wealth has impoverished the people of the continent and as long as the VALUE of society is centered around GOLD, MONEY, OIL, CROPS etc. nothing will change.

                  • That’s not what utopia means. In the lowercase sense, that’s not specific to the orignal reference:

                    2. ( usually lowercase ) an ideal place or state.
                    3. ( usually lowercase ) any visionary system of political or social perfection.

                    People are not agreed as to whether such systems or states are possible within human nature, and cynics use the word “utopian” as something of a synonym for “impractical”. Much of today’s society would sound fanciful or impractical if you focused enough on the positives when trying to describe it to say, someone from the 1700s. I imagine that if we can deal with the coming disasters the previous generations have managed to tee up for us, things will eventually level out, and from there continue to improve. There’s a lot of opportunity for positive social change in coping with disaster, anyway.

                    • RedLogix

                      The usual mistake people make is to assert that human nature is fixed and never changes.

                      In fact it is highly variable and adapts very promptly to the social circumstances it finds itself in.

                    • Foreign Waka

                      My apologies, – Utopia should be utopia? Despite speaking 4 languages, I have yet to master to be perfect.

            • Georgecom 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Bill, agree about maintaining some necessities of life as being different from leading rewarding lives. The first three items above (I have added a fourthm below) are simple individual actions someone can take. There will need to be societal modifications as well. These include, but not limited to, a stronger emphasis on localism over globalism, some guarantee of income/universal basic income, flexible sharing of work, maintenance of a social wage.

              This publication, as an example, speaks of “Prosperity without growth”
              http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=914
              I see that as the notion of ‘relative’ prosperity. If nothing else it is a strong repudiation of neo-liberal alchemist economics.

          • Georgecom 7.1.1.1.2

            4. Learn to grow and cure your own tobacco

  7. lefty 8

    This morning several people on this site are actually speaking political and economic sense.

    Why can’t any of our politicians understand this stuff?

    Instead they either want austerity (National) or another round of the same mindless cycle of growth which means even greater inequality, more power to the finance sector, less democracy etc (Labour) or a combination of the two but called green growth (the Greens).

    We are totally trapped unless we have a political revolution that redefines democracy in a form where thinking and debate are valued.

    • Bill 8.1

      Why can’t any of our politicians understand this stuff?

      Oh, I think they understand it alright. But there’s a belief problem that gets in the way: their belief that a capitalist (market) economy and parliamentary democracy are to some degree natural, necessary and/or benevolent.

      So their belief will determine that all solutions must be capitalist and parliamentary in nature.

      Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention the wee aside that their belief is aided and abetted in no small measure by the fact that their lifestyle and position in society is in that upper 20% tier…a position that offers them a daily perspective far, far removed from that of ever growing numbers of people.

      To be fair to them, it’s not as though too many of us did anything other than turn a blind eye to the underlying factors that decimated human life in places away from ‘the west’. Our focus revolved and revolves primarily around us, our well being, our prospects. Their problems were and are something to do with them…y’know, they were and are deficient in some way. But we were nice enough to donate a couple of bob when starving belly’s showed up on the TV screen. And we do have governments and NGO’s that continue to run aid agencies. So y’know, we are good people and we’re willing to extend something of a helping hand even in the most hopeless and sadly natural set of circumstances.

      Expect the same mindset to continue with the difference that the 20% will be viewing ‘us’ this time around, just in the same way we previously viewed the billions whose lifes were blighted in parts of Africa, S. America and Asia.

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  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    2 days ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago

  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    23 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    2 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    2 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    2 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    2 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    2 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    2 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    3 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    3 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    3 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    4 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    5 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    5 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    5 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    6 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    6 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    6 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    6 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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