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National’s screwed up new housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 9:59 pm, October 1st, 2013 - 43 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

We all know that there is a massive home affordability problem, especially in Auckland. There are 150,000 fewer homeowning families today than there would have been at 1991’s homeownership rate. So, here’s National’s plan: don’t build any additional houses, just sell some state houses (despite the waiting list for them) in provincial towns… where there isn’t an affordability crisis, and give 500 families these houses up to $20,000 of taxpayer money. That’s not a home affordability policy, it’s a parody of one.

National’s policy to give the buyers of these 500 state houses a 10% or $20,000 gift (whichever is least) will cost $6 million all up. That’s $6 million in subsidies to 500 families is a hell of a lot of money – $12,000 each on average for houses that are worth $120,000 on average.

And families with incomes up to $83,000 will be able to buy them. Usually when you talk home affordability crises, its because the average house is 5 or more times the average wage, not 1.5 times. What you’re going to see is a handful of middle income families buying houses that they can afford and getting a taxpayer gift on top. Helping middle class families to buy cheap houses (that, by the way, poor people want to live in!) seems like a bloody strange way to spend taxpayer money.

Ff the Government really doesn’t need these particular state houses anymore, it should just sell them at market price and use the funds to buy new houses of the type and in the place needed. There’s no need for a big subsidy to a random few. It’s not just that one middle class family gets $12,000 that they don’t particularly need while another down the road, or in another city, that can’t buy an ex-state house misses out.

The Greens say that they actually looked at deposit subsidies when they put together their housing policy at the start of the year. They quickly worked out it’s a big per unit cost – it can be help lots of people where it’s really needed only if it’s really, really expensive, or it can be tiny and half-arsed, which is what National’s presented. The Greens, instead, decided on a cost-neutral modern version of State Advances to compliment Labour’s KiwiBuild.

Actually, this subsidised sale scheme reminds me a lot of the Nats’ asset sales subsidies: they only benefit a relative few at relatively large cost to everyone else and for no good economic reason, just a political one.

43 comments on “National’s screwed up new housing policy”

  1. greywarbler 1

    I noticed that this help is for those under the average wage. Isn’t that half of NZ? Ooh we’d have given our grandma’s knickers for the average wage. Why we had to live under a house and sweep the joists with our moustaches etc.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “National’s policy to give the buyers of these 500 state houses a 10% or $20,000 gift (whichever is least) will cost $6 million all up. That’s $6 million in subsidies to 500 families is a hell of a lot of money – $12,000 each on average for houses that are worth $120,000 on average.”

    They say it will be largely cost neutral, in that by selling these houses (which are mostly vacant) they won’t have to pay ongoing maintenance, security, management costs and council rates.

    Of course if they didn’t give a subsidy then rather than being cost neutral it’d make them money, but on the other hand a cost-neutral subsidy to get the house off their books, freeing up capital isn’t the most terrible thing in the world.

    So is the policy by itself completely terrible? No. But it simply is far far too little, far too late, by this government. If it was a tiny line-item amongst a bigger housing policy it wouldn’t be too big a deal.

    Eddie: don’t fall for that ‘cost neutral’ bullshit. the alternatives are 1) rent the house and use the rent to cover those outgoings 2) sell the house and let the new owner take over the outgoings. If the state houses are really ‘surplus’ and this isn’t actually a sale of useful efforts, then just sell them, like governments have always done

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Re: Eddie.

      1. The houses are vacant because they can’t find tenants.
      2. That’s what they’re proposing. If the market price is $120,000 and it wouldn’t sell at that price (same reason the houses are vacant), but if you gave a (say) $12,000 subsidy to people in a select group to buy it, then it’s the same as if you sold it for $108,000, but you get to give the subsidy to a particular group rather than just anyone on the open market.

      • bad12 2.1.1

        Lanthide at (1), an entirely false proposition, the houses are vacant because they do not want to find tenants, there’s a huge difference…

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1

          They say it’s because the houses are in the wrong place and the wrong size.

          Reflexively disbelieving everything the government says because it doesn’t suit your political position isn’t particularly constructive.

    • Rogue Trooper 2.2

      Like

  3. xtasy 3

    From the Herald:

    “The new FirstHome scheme would allow modest wage earners to be gifted a 10 per cent deposit, and would give them priority to purchase empty homes which were no longer needed by Housing New Zealand.

    To be eligible, a buyer would have to earn $53,000 or less and commit to living in the house for a minimum of three years. A couple would have to earn no more than $80,600.
    Housing New Zealand would make a grant of 10 per cent of the property’s value, up to a maximum of $20,000.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11132933

    “Where will the state houses be sold?

    Housing New Zealand area Number
    Northland – 63
    North Waikato – 14
    Rotorua/Whakatane/Taupo – 31
    Hawke’s Bay – 27
    New Plymouth/South Waikato – 67
    Manawatu/Levin/Wanganui – 46
    Kapiti – 19
    Marlborough – 17
    Canterbury (excluding Christchurch City) – 26
    Otago – 27
    Southland – 23″

    Wow, what a magic solution by Nick “Shit”, ahem, sorry, Nick Smith(erines Brain). And I thought I was going “nuts” at times.

    So we have houses that Housing NZ no longer need. Why do they no longer need them? Is it because there are few if any jobs where the houses are? Maybe the new owners will be commuting from there to Christchurch and Auckland for work, that is not that easy to get in most provinces?

    By coincidence, I have been on the Housing NZ list for years, and I am astonished they now have houses they “don’t need”. What about those with permanent disability, serious illness and work incapacity to be given an option to rent – before selling them with a “sweetener” to some adventurous middle class people that may want to try the provinces?

    Next on the agenda: Nick Smiths great weekly HOUSING LOTTERY!

    All is done to address housing shortages in NZ now, rest assured, the government is taking real action now. Twyford said on the TV news that this is “nuts”, and proves that the government has no policies and no solution for the housing crisis.

    • miravox 3.1

      “So we have houses that Housing NZ no longer need. Why do they no longer need them? Is it because there are few if any jobs where the houses are? Maybe the new owners will be commuting from there to Christchurch and Auckland for work, that is not that easy to get in most provinces?”

      ^^ This.

      And after the new owners have bought their homes, there will be a reinvigorated policy of docking the unemployment benefit because they can’t move to where the jobs are because of their ‘investment’ in an area of economic decline.

      Regional development might fix that, but I think this housing policy shows that won’t happen.

    • xtasy 3.2

      Correction: Phil Twyford was stating on the TV news that these efforts by the government were “desperate”. I thought he used the word “nuts” at some stage, but maybe I heard him say that on a radio program last night? I do not want to put words into Phil’s mouth, apologies.

      • Phil Twyford 3.2.1

        I could have said nuts. It is nuts.

        • Rogue Trooper 3.2.1.1

          I have pondered on this announcement; it appears balanced (notwithstanding “property investors” taking liberties ); nonetheless, clever politics.

    • Treetop 3.3

      xtasy, the government narrowed the criteria to rent from HNZ, this is the main reason for any so called surplus.

      • xtasy 3.3.1

        Treetop – I know all about it, as I am affected as a long term “priority C” waiting list dweller. They shafted me and thousands of others, but I was never having a real chance anyway. Thousands are only kept on the list, as the Nat government “promised” during the tightening, that they would not throw anyone off the list, who was already on it. That though will turn out to be a lie, as they are only waiting for a good enough time and excuse, to clear that backlog. It is ONLY priority A now, who have any chance to get a HNZ home, all others will possibly at some stage be “assisted” to find something “suitable” on the market.

        Struggling with high rents on the market, while suffering ill health, constantly being between a rock (WINZ) and a hard place (“the market” and landlord), that does anything but assist my recovery from certain illness.

        But wait, Dr Bratt has the solution, I am told!?

      • xtasy 3.3.2

        I was also absolutely flabbergasted, when HNZ staff told me, that having an uninsulated home, where temperatures drop to 10 or less degrees in winter, was not a reason for getting higher priority for state housing help.

        If you are without running water, without proper toilet or cooking facilities, with no proper roof over the head, basically out on the street, or living in a tent or a garage (as a mother with kids), then you may have a chance.

        To “qualify” for HNZ support one has to be in very extreme circumstances, as the experiences I had with a mate of mine losing his flat (due to a developer buying the whole block and throwing all out) showed me.

        Even after months in a cockroach ridden, overcrowded, damp and noisy boarding house, he was left waiting and waiting. Only finally involving someone from the media brought about a “sudden change of mind” in the manager at the HNZ office he was registered with!!!

  4. Molly 4

    Just posted this on Open Mike but relevant for this post – and – I don’t know how to link directly to my comment – so –

    Create a different model than one that can systematically get destroyed every time National gets in.

    Utilise the current National Govt Policy and HNZ sales to:

    1. Buy adjacent state houses in blocks to create small co-housing developments.
    2. Existing tenants can either buy or be assured a state housing rental when development finished.
    3. Develop the land in the style of cohousing in Denmark – increasing the density, but reducing the cost of individual houses and making common areas/facilities
    4. Rent the same number of dwellings to HNZ, sell others to those who want to buy, and if possible set up a couple of dwellings in perpetual affordable housing.

    Benefits & added potential:
    1. Cohousing is similar to how healthy Maori and Pasifika communities live, and allow for shared use of facilities – ie. one commercial laundry room, one lawnmower, car sharing.
    2. Small strong community networks are formed – stress levels go down, and time and energy for local solutions to other problems can result.
    3. Tie in the building of these small developments with on-site training and apprenticeships and you have the basis for good, local upskilling.
    4. If this is run with the support of multi-partisan and Auckland Council support, development loans can be applied for at low interest rates from the Reserve Bank. Potential owners at planning stage will already have a good amount of equity in the property by the time it gets to personal mortgage stage.
    5. The ideal areas for this kind of development to take place are the low value areas in Auckland – they also have the community networks that will increase the chance of success.

    Been thinking about this for a while….and come up with a couple more considerations:

    1. If this is done in South Auckland an apprenticeship education partnership with the Building Department at MIT could help implement it
    2. Current/potential owners are the developers – cuts out the middleman proportion of the house price.
    3. Sustainable building methods that require high labour but have good environmental outcomes ie. earth building, cob – can be done by residents and apprentices upskilling both, while keeping costs down.
    4. Requires a team of consultants – designers, builders and planners – that will only get better with each and every development. This is the practical support that could be provided by Auckland Council and the government.
    5. A sustainable business model making standard fittings could result.
    6. National has a history of offering state housing as development sites – this makes the current residents the developers…

    • Ad 4.1

      Molly I would recommned if you are in Auckland that you drive out and see the Hobsonville development. That was a development corporation set up by central government on public land. It was supposed to have pepper-potted state rentals, and also “affordable” units within it, but they were killed by Key.

      But what you do have there is a well coordinated small town with health, police, education, public transport and sustainability features built in from the beginning. Unfortuantely that initiative began under a Labour government with the progressive Waitakere City Council, and I’ve not seen anything as good since.

      Instead we have a draft Unitary Plan in Auckland which actively discourages the kind of cooperation you are promoting, and special housing legislation going through in which greenfield sites will be plonked somewhere with little coordiantion whatsoever.

      Whatever Labour is planning, it will have to reverse a whole lot of that momentum built up over 6 years.

      • Molly 4.1.1

        I have seen the Hobsonville development, and the Salvation Army has written up that debacle in their Adding it all up report. Ngati Whatua is doing something similar to cohousing – but with development focus and prices start at around $700K

        Cohousing development is MUCH smaller than Hobsonville. Denmark has found the maximum limits are approx 50 adults/150 residents. Their optimum minimum size is 15 adults. This size seems to promote better connections between the households while making sure there is enough energy and diversity to thrive. Land area can be only 1- 1.5 acres, so 4-6 adjacent state houses, a different scale to Hobsonville.

        In community work I have been doing, I have been following the Unitary Plan closely, and compared to our Franklin District Plan – cohousing development will be easier under the proposed new rules. I consider the Special Housing Accords to be a concession to the bullying tactics of the government – and as you say, are completely at odds with affordable housing and good long-term planning.

        John Abrams, from South Mountain Company on Martha’s Vineyard in the US has written a book about his company which progressed from a design and build partnership, to a cooperative ownership/management model. Over the last couple of decades they have trialled and designed successful models for perpetual affordable housing, cohousing, relocations etc. Worth reading just to see how small projects can make a difference – The Company We Keep.

        Also, my sister is part of the management team for a non-profit affordable housing development company in Australia. They are not government funded, and they compete against private developers, but they have gone from fairly small developments in the last decade to much larger. So, development of affordable housing is achievable if the skills sets are in place.

        The component that is missing is professional and development advice. The developers are the owners/tenants and they are also the future residents, they will only go through this process once. A specialised consultant team that goes through the planning, design and development financing process is something that could be provided by a Labour Government or Auckland Council that is serious about creating communities along with affordable housing.

        Mana Housing policy is already halfway there.

        • Ad 4.1.1.1

          From the report you mentioned:

          “Swedes have tended to live in flats which are either cooperatively owned or rented from a not-for-profit landlord, while Australians either own houses or rent privately-owned houses. Kemeny suggests this difference in tenure leads to quite different lifestyle choices around where people choose to live, the mix of private and public space they have around them, and how they allocate their lifetime earnings to paying for their housing. From these suggestions, Kemeny contends that there is a link between more densely-built urban environments that make more use of public facilities (such as space and transport) and which
          are tenured through some form of corporately-owned rental housing, and less densely built suburban environments that are characterised by individual ownership with greater use of private space and private transport.”

          This if true (and the public submissions reaction to the draft-draft Unitary Plan tells me it is), says you won’t change much tilting at an entire culture of property-based entitlement. For me a more apposite comparison is the 1980s book from Mike Davis City of Quartz, which details well the contests between residents groups that ensured that noting in LA was built over 2 storeys for miles and miles. It’s a great analogue for Auckland and its politics – writ large right now.

          People such as your sister who rail against the degree of force are heroic. They will make a local difference, but not a policy-scale difference. I want to see Urban Development Authorities, Hobsonville-like partnerships, and other public sector-driven instruments that enable policy to partner with private capital drivers. There are large blocks of brownfields land we all know of across New Zealand cities that need attention, and don’t have to buy into the poor-quality construction standards and mezzanine-finance ripoffs of the previous decade.

          Mana-scale outcomes I am sure are rgeat, but what I am watching is the structural moves Mr Twyford will respond with.

          • Molly 4.1.1.1.1

            I too would like to see hard and fast policy at national government level for affordable housing – and communities. Small projects such as those I outlined will not negate that – but may be a way to provide relief at local levels.

            The reality is – a good national strategy will not happen immediately – or even within the forseeable future.

            Meanwhile, those tracts of HNZ land that are released – are being released to private developers – and are gone forever. If small developments – such as those I outlined above – are supported – then those policies that are currently decimating our HNZ services and communities – can be offset by some of those communities remaining. And by use of the cohousing model – (where the property is owned by the collective and the houses are owned by the individual) – keep those communities stable despite future changes in policy.

            Noted the reference to Australia – they actually have an affordable housing strategy… we don’t. And while this inaction remains – we continue to have state housing being used as a political punching bag everytime National gets in.

            We have communities needing local solutions now. There are opportunities that have been put in place for developers – that can be grasped by communities.

            • Ad 4.1.1.1.1.1

              What do you see as deficient with Kiwibuild as a national housing policy?I view it as a bold breakthrough.

              Also, I don’t believe that just because a state house is sold it is gone forever. The Public Works Act does not need amending to acquire further land for housing purposes, or indeed for urban renewal purposes.

              Are you aware of any cohousing examples in New Zealand that are operating? The only one I can think of is the earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood in Auckland’s Ranui.

              • Molly

                The only cohousing I know of is that in Ranui as well, that also benefitted from Council funding in order to build. I’m just suggesting that instead of these incentives or grants being taken up by private developers and individuals, some housing initiatives for social housing could take advantage of these when they occur.

                Why don’t we have more in NZ? Probably because of the persistence of the 1/4 acre dream. I would only be speculating. But Denmark only began their cohousing models in the 70’s and now have hundreds of these communities operating in all kinds of built environments.

                For affordable housing these models work successfully overseas – the fact that NZ hasn’t attempted it may be a lack of innovation and nerve on the part of politicians. Perhaps it is due to the fact that cohousing is developed by those intending to live on the property – rather than professional developers. A lot of Kiwi’s don’t like the thought of sharing space and property.

                However, cohousing – as I said – is in line with Maori and Pasifika cultural living styles, and looks to create community alongside housing. This can be done very expensively – or very cheaply. For me, the social housing that is provided using this model allows such as collaborative consumption of other items – such as cars, childcare, whiteware etc and does not only provide shelter – and provides social networks and support as well.

                Kiwibuild as a national policy is not flawed in intent, but may be in delivery. Affordable housing is more than building. Houses need to be affordable to live in, in terms of energy use, and access to amenities, activities and work. No use living in a house in the boondocks if it costs you $200/wk in transport costs. Also, vast areas of housing without planning can result in ill-conceived and built environments that do not encourage healthy communities.

                I don’t think that I’ve suggested it as a replacement for a national housing policy – I am advocating for an additional strategy at local level, not a panacea for all housing issues in NZ.

                There are opportunities available in policies like the Southern Initiative, Sustainability grants and HNZ sales that are currently being taken up by private developers – why not existing communities?

              • Rogue Trooper

                Agree

          • Rogue Trooper 4.1.1.1.2

            do not agree

      • greywarbler 4.1.2

        Ad

        Instead we have a draft Unitary Plan in Auckland which actively discourages the kind of cooperation you are promoting, and special housing legislation going through in which greenfield sites will be plonked somewhere with little coordiantion whatsoever.

        The ‘plonked’ subdivision far from facilities and with no amenities, was a feature in the past and has been assessed as bad and roundly condemned. There were expectations that lessons would be taken from that so it never happened again. Hadeehah.

        It is so naive to not recognise that the Nacts never learn anything and never let good research findings get in the way of quick, profitable, simple common-sense solutions for problems that can be flourished and implemented within a single government term. Look we are magicians, and will produce a rabbit from this empty top hat in only minutes!

  5. ScottGN 5

    Nick Smith is taking heavy fire from all sides with this half-baked policy. I must say it’s a rare day that I find myself agreeing with John Banks but he has a point when he says that first home buyers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will feel aggrieved to see people in provincial centres getting a pretty generous leg up from the government while their aspirations wither under theses new Reserve Bank rules.

  6. Sable 6

    Hmmm afraid that building new homes in central cities might jeopardise the capital gains on their mansions the Tories have come up with the genius plan of sending the peasants out to live in the boondocks. They don’t have jobs to go to and never will so what does it matter where they live, right? Give them $20K that should shut them up and hey, they may be so grateful they will even vote for us. Yay!

    Wankers….

    • greywarbler 6.1

      Sable
      But hold on. That idea of sending people to live in the boondocks completely contradicts recent social policy that has forced people to leave the cheaper boondocks because there were no jobs there in that region, and return to the more expensive cities.

      There in the concrete jungle there are established trails for the tramps (not trampers, that is a different cultural phenomenon) to follow between possible employers. Or maybe public facilities where they can do their personal PR using computers or such, just to show how modern they are, prepared for this new age of vital, thrusting, busy commerce offering work opportunities for capable people with similar descriptions keen to offer 110 per cent to their employer.

      Is this what an oxymoron is? It’s such an interesting word that pops into my head when I hear government policy these days. Or perhaps it’s just the moron part I should be applying.

    • Rogue Trooper 6.2

      This, does not follow

  7. bad12 7

    Bravo Nick Smith, a 6 million dollar publicity and propaganda campaign that will have gone down in the bigger cities like a lead balloon,

    The sad fact is that these HousingNZ properties could have all been tenanted by simply offering them to long term beneficiaries in the bigger cities,

    It is tho probably a good idea that Smith didn’t think of this in His rush to try and con the electorate that He is doing something about affordable housing as He would have been flicking off the houses vacated in the cities instead,

    Even the long dead ACT Party has come back to life long enough to criticize Smith over this latest sell off of the HousngNZ stock…

  8. fambo 8

    Doesn’t matter what the problem is, the answer is always sell a state owned asset. Anyone spot a pattern?

  9. Intrinsicvalue 9

    The basis of Labours housing policy is a CGT, and restrictions on foreign ownership. These policies have failed everywhere they have been tried, most notable in Australia. The basis of National’s housing policy is to release more housing onto the market, including substantial amounts of affordable housing. That will work because it is simple and sensible economics.

    [karol: Intrinsicvalue, aren’t you permanently banned?]

    • ScottGN 9.1

      You’ve conveniently left out a central plank of Labour’s policy which is to build 10,000 houses a year.

      • Intrinsicvalue 9.1.1

        Oh yes, shouldn’t forget the impossible should we? I must have been too busy rolling in laughter at DC’s latest blunder – using a yuppie wanna be property mogul as an illustration of the downtrodden! Hilarious.

        • ScottGN 9.1.1.1

          You guys have become totally fixated on this so-called misstep by Cunliffe. Guess what? Nobody else is really. National is getting a right butt kicking on housing issues and you know it.

        • Rogue Trooper 9.1.1.2

          of no intrinsic value, at all!

        • Lanthanide 9.1.1.3

          “Oh yes, shouldn’t forget the impossible should we? ”

          What’s so impossible about building 10,000 houses a year, exactly?

          You’ll note that National now have their own policy of building 39,000 in 3 years, or 13,000 houses a year. Except National aren’t even going to attempt to make them ‘affordable’.

          At least if Labour tries, and fails, they’re better than National who didn’t even try.

  10. Delia 10

    This is another one of those housing schemes with limited take up, will run for a limited time and be forgotten about.

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    Last Saturday, the ecologically pristine area around the Canary Islands was the watery stage of the next chapter in the story of the Arctic Sunrise. Last year, she carried Greenpeace activists across icy waters North of Russia, where they protested...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 22-11
  • New Wynyard Hotel disappointing
    More details were released yesterday surrounding a new luxury hotel – to be known as Park Hyatt Auckland – that is going to be built on the waterfront, on the site that currently houses the Team New Zealand headquarters.   The...
    Transport Blog | 22-11
  • Guest post: what should Andrew Little learn from Ed Miliband?
    John tweets at @mrduttonpeabody. A Labour leader being elected on the back of an election loss, through a system of weighted bloc votes, is familiar to anyone who follows UK politics. The 2010 UK Labour leadership election saw Ed Miliband...
    On the Left | 22-11
  • October 14 Patronage
    October’s patronage results show Aucklanders are continuing to flock to buses and trains. It’s especially true for the rapid transit network which is seeing staggering growth, up over 20% compared to the same month last year. It’s showing that the public...
    Transport Blog | 21-11
  • Hurray for “Hurray For The Riff Raff”!
     FIRST RATE AMERICANA came to Auckland's Tuning Fork venue last night in the form of the Alt-Country, Indie-Folk roots band Hurray For The Riff Raff. Led by Alynda Lee Segarra, the 27-year-old Peurto Rican singer-songwriter out of New Orleans via New...
    Bowalley Road | 21-11
  • Capture: Movement
    It felt like we were overdue for a post, and when I took the time to look back at what had come before, I realised yesterday we turned three. So before we get into it, thanks once again for another...
    Public Address | 21-11
  • Saturday playlist: new Labour leader
    It was difficult, but we managed to restrain ourselves from only posting songs with “Little” in the title … Add your (nice) suggestions below!...
    On the Left | 21-11
  • Stuart’s 100 #57: Grow your own
    57: Grow your own What if supermarkets could grow their own? Supermarkets, like service stations, are in that category of activities that are of such necessity and ubiquity to our daily life that they cumulatively have a very large footprint...
    Transport Blog | 21-11
  • The best of Neetflux (so far)
    A selection of our favourite Neetflux posters to date. Here’s to more awesome political satire to come! (Click through for full-size on Neetflux’s Tumblr)...
    On the Left | 21-11
  • Chipping away at police unaccountability
    Traditionally, our police have enjoyed a wide discretion over who to prosecute and how. Sometimes, this is a good thing - it means that the time of the courts is not wasted on minor crimes. In other cases, its use...
    No Right Turn | 21-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    frogblog | 21-11
  • CTU disappointed by poor government advice to workers on petrol station dri...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (‘MBIE’) regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue. Photo:  ...
    CTU | 21-11
  • Charging petrol station workers for drive-offs
    So workers at Masterton’s Night ‘n Day store have had their pay docked when criminals drive off without paying. From the flood of complaints coming from around the country, it’s not a practice that is confined only to Masterton, nor is it...
    Occasionally erudite | 21-11
  • Tearing up Westminster
    The central bargain of Westminster democracy is that the monarch stays out of politics, and in exchange they get to stay in the role, both legally and literally. Prince Charles - already famous for his undemocratic interventions in politics -...
    No Right Turn | 21-11
  • Journalism is not terrorism
    What happens if you're a UK journalist and you campaign for press freedom or report on police misconduct? The police database you as a terrorist:A group of journalists has launched a legal action against Scotland Yard after discovering that the...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • A century of changing transport spending
    Via Donal Curtin, I got wind of a fantastic Statistics NZ visualisation of changes to the Consumer Price Index over the last century. The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is a tool that statistics agencies use to track inflation over...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Boycott thieving employers
    In the past few days, we've learned of a new employer horror: petrol-station workers, often on th eminimum wage, being forced to pay for the crimes of their customers. Its unfair, immoral, and possibly illegal. So what can we do...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • Whiteboard Friday. How NZ’s welfare system traps people in poverty
    This Whiteboard Friday looks at how our current benefit system traps people in poverty, which is another reason we need to replace it with an Unconditional Basic Income. This week has been a big week for the Unconditional Basic Income....
    Gareth’s World | 20-11
  • Income mobility
    Recently Treasury has published a paper showing that most people do not stay at the same point on the income scale for an extended period. That is assuredly true, and is also a good thing in as far as it...
    Polity | 20-11
  • Read out, Xi in, as Hansen makes late change to All Blacks team
    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has sprung a surprise by picking Chinese President Xi Jinping to start in this weekend’s test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium....
    Imperator Fish | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    The chainsaws stopped in native forest on public land in 1999 after a strong campaign by non-governmental organisations such as Forest and Bird and Native Forest Action (NFA), supported by the Green Party. Immediately after the 1999 election, the incoming...
    frogblog | 20-11
  • Persuasion experiment
    Michael LaCour, a PhD student at the excellent UCLA Political Science Department, along with Yale's Don Green, have a fascinating new paper on what causes people to change their mind on gay marriage. Many people know that a doorstep conversation...
    Polity | 20-11
  • $4.8 billion gone
    As readers know, the NZ Super Fund now contributes around $27 billion to our net position as a country, It will help us pay for the wave of baby boom retirements. Sadly, it is now clear that National's decision to...
    Polity | 20-11
  • Secondary teachers vote IES into collective
    21 November 2014 PPTA members have voted to include two teaching roles central to Investing in Educational Success (IES) in their collective agreement.At paid union meetings held throughout the country over the past two weeks 80.3% voted to include the...
    PPTA | 20-11
  • Labour’s Hercules?
    Hero? Saint? Both? Neither? In making Labour an electable proposition by 2017, Andrew Little faces a challenge of Herculean proportions. Then again, Hercules was presented with twelve impossible tasks. Little can succeed by successfully completing a more modest (but equally...
    Bowalley Road | 20-11
  • Roger Sutton and deja vu all over again
    What to say about the Roger Sutton story? Well, Andrea Vance has done some amazing work setting out the basic facts behind the carefully stage-managed whitewashing of Roger Sutton’s pseudo-departure. And stargazer at The Hand Mirror has responded to the...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • MoT acknowledge changing trends and future funding issues
    Last week the Briefings to government ministers (BIM) were published. I’ve already looked at what the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and NZTA have said about transport in Auckland and so in this post I’m going to look at some of the other points...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Why we need to talk about the scientific consensus on climate change
    An interesting sequence of events followed the publication of a scientific paper the Skeptical Science team published in May last year. The paper found a 97% consensus that humans were causing global warming in relevant scientific papers. Finding an overwhelming...
    Skeptical Science | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • Stuart’s 100 #56: More Dignity for Daily Users
    56 More Dignity for Daily Users What if there was a moment of civic dignity outside the Auckland District Court? The Auckland District Court on the corner of Albert and Kingston Streets is I think at last count the busiest...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens | 21-11
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour | 20-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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