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Nats: Bring Back Debtors Prisons

Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, January 17th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: prisons - Tags: ,

The government is to introduce a new Courts and Criminal Matters Bill, much of which is sensible.  Suspending a repeated speeding fine-dodger’s license seems an appropriate sanction.

But sending them to prison because they can’t afford to pay a fine seems madness.  I find myself in agreement with this Herald editorial, seeing the ridiculous cost of building and maintaining ever more prisons as unsustainable.  Minor offences like unpaid fines should not result in the taxpayer spending vast sums to lock the offender up.

[T]he country cannot simply increase the prison population endlessly. That entails an unsustainable cost in building and running prisons, whatever arrangements the Government may enter to leaven the expense. New Zealand already has the second-highest imprisonment rate in the developed world. Jailing a large number of people for relatively minor offences makes little sense.

The government already has the power to take money automatically from bank accounts and wages for fines.  It can seize possessions like cars, boat and televisions.  It can stop people leaving the country.  It just needs to actually enforce these laws.

Currently the biggest unpaid fines are from companies and people who have fled overseas.  This law does nothing to impose on them.  The rich who thieve in the guise of companies cannot have that company’s driving license suspended, and there’s no provision to lock directors up.  And there’s no chance of extraditing people for an offence as minor as unpaid fines.

So it looks like it’s just an excuse to lock poor people up – at ordinary kiwis’ expense.

36 comments on “Nats: Bring Back Debtors Prisons”

  1. @ Bunji – no-one should be imprisoned because they CAN’T pay a fine. I would say that this policy is more targetted at those people who WON’T pay their fines, and who fail to comply with other sanctions imposed by the Courts.

    If you can afford to run a boy-racer type vehicle, you can afford to pay the fines that are imposed when you break the law; it’s called consequences.

    • Bunji 1.1

      the proposed law states: “unaffordable and unenforceable reparation orders” can be replaced with prison.

      I would say that when the govt can seize assets (including your boy-racer vehicle), or take money directly from income (wages or benefits), any fine should be enforceable, unless it can’t be afforded. And people who can’t afford it are specifically included.

      It’s a desperate desire for a pound of flesh, even if it costs us a ridiculous amount to get.

      • Olwyn 1.1.1

        While the boy racer is the public face of the unpaid fine, I suspect that many fines are run up by people with little money, who live outside the range of public transport and are forced to rely on unregistered, unwarranted rust buckets to work, shop, get kids to school and so on. It looks as if, having determined that you cannot squeeze blood from a stone, the time has come to experiment as to whether you can scare blood from a stone. And if that doesn’t work, at least we will end up with even bigger prison numbers to present to private investors.

        It is high time that we stopped equating callousness with strength, and the inhuman treatment of others with no-nonsense practicality. Such notions are now so entrenched that even those who argue for moderation often feel obliged to do so on practical rather than humanitarian grounds.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Uh, Inventory2, if these are people who could but as you say WON’T pay their fines, why does the Bill not just solve the problem by confiscating their assets?

      As Bunji has pointed out.

      Why cost tax payers more, and still leave the fine unpaid.

      Its National Government madness. And their property rich Righty mates would hate any kind of asset seizure law be introduced anyways, wouldn’t they?

      • Deadly_NZ 1.2.1

        Confiscate their Assets??? Oh joy what a fun person you are, Confiscate the assets of 1 person has a roll on effect as NOT all people with Fine problems are Toe rag boy racers, some are parents with small children, so Yes go ahead and confiscate the kiddies TV and Playstation, and Dont forget the family car so they have to walk to the doctors, Oh thats right they cant afford that either. I just love all you BASH the Bene and Asset strip the poor over a fine or 2 Fucking NAT shills

        NO CV next time engage BRAIN before (in this case) before the fingers hit the keyboard. Or are you one of these JKey fans of one size fits all? As long as the All are rich?

        • Maynard J 1.2.1.1

          So your solution is what? To formulate law based on the assumption that any penalty, financial or otherwise, must be inflicted based upon a scenario where the imposition of such penalty will prevent the recipient from taking their kids to the doctor?

          That\’s a good starting point.

          Why have fines and penalties, they might cost people money…

          Honestly, you might be a leftie, but you’re surely an idiot as well. How is it you propose laws be enforced? Make all penalties voluntary?

    • Deadly_NZ 1.3

      Hang on a minute there it’ will be more about those who can’t pay as well as those who won’t pay. Because the people in the fines office dont really care about your circumstances they just take and take. And to add insult to injury it seems every time they ring you up about unpaid fines, all you get ringing you is a bloody INDIAN. To which I just hang up on them! it’s just as bad as having all your call centers sent overseas. well call me a snob or even a RACIST BUT if i call telecom or the court system I want to speak to someone who speaks , but more importantly UNDERSTANDS english and the Kiwi nuances of the language. not someone who has just learnt the essential bits.

      But it’s just another old , failed policy, this one from about 250 years ago Surely the NACTS can come up with something a little more original.

      Oh and most who run Boy racer cars had them paid for by Daddy, but not the fines so that argument is invalid. It should be Find out who is the Guarantor for the vehicle loan costs, Fine them and then Crush the car. That will stop that little loop hole. But putting young teens in jail with hardened crims what a bright fucking idea that is. Yeah John good training for the next bunch of hardened crims if you start jailing them early. God what a fuckwit this Key is Not an original idea rattling around inside his empty head.

      • QoT 1.3.1

        And to add insult to injury it seems every time they ring you up about unpaid fines, all you get ringing you is a bloody INDIAN.

        Gods forbid New Zealand-based call centres should hire immigrants. If your beef with the phone or justice systems is so obscure you need someone to understand the “nuances” of Kiwi English (is that when you go off about how you don’t blame them for doing their job but you DO expect them to listen to ten minutes of expletives so you can feel better about yourself?) then I’m not surprised you have little luck getting your point across.

        [In the interests of full disclosure, I wish to state I have worked in call centres and transcribed call centre calls, and I’ve encountered plenty of wankers who just want to have a go and expect the rules to be changed because they say so, my dulcet vaguely-UK-accented tones notwithstanding.]

        • Deadly_NZ 1.3.1.1

          Oh so you live in the phillipines do you? So were you the one who could not understand that I wanted a phone moved from address a to adress b and who insisted that I had ordered it the other way. I knew which house i was moving from. That and the continual I’m sorry i apologise after every sentence. BUT who have the complete inability to do even the simplest of tasks properly? If so, I hope you have either been A: fired or B: more likely they made you a supervisor who CANNOT ever come to the phone.!! And 99% of call center workers seem to take great delight in just running so slow and incompetently No wonder they pay them peanuts Cos they not worth any more. Yeah and why is it that the only person who rings up for unpaid bills in an INDIAN??? I have never had anyone but an Indian ring up, and it’s always at about 8pm as well. NZ based call center??? now thats a rarity.

          • Hanswurst 1.3.1.1.1

            Well that’s just racist. Call centres tend to be outsourced overseas because it’s cheap. Employers in New Zealand employ immigrants because they apply and are deemed to be up to the job – why shouldn’t they be? If you wanted to complain about the outsourcing of call centres to places where the employees don’t have the local knowledge to answer your questions, that would be legitimate enough (although hardly on topic). That’s not what you did, though; you just went into several rants about “INDIANS!!!”.

            As I say, just racist.

    • bbfloyd 1.4

      Inventory….so we can assume that most of the unpaid fines outstanding are owed by this group?

  2. tsmithfield 2

    Some people would happily do a bit of lag if it meant they could get rid of their fines.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      I didn’t see anywhere that their fines would be wiped, is that what the proposed legislation states?

      By the way, make someone a convict, they are much less unemployable, how are they supposed to contribute to the tax base afterwards, after costing the tax payer a bundle while in prison?

      • Jenny 2.1.1

        In the original debtor prisons people were held indefinitly until either their friends or family paid the fine to get them out.

        The logic being if the victim was to impoverished to personally pay their fine, that their wider extended family or friends may be able too.

        It was like being held to ransom after being kidnapped by the state. With specialist debtor prisons built for holding the victims of this ‘legal’ kidnap and ransom.

        Is some version of this being planned?

        Will people be let out of prison if their fine is paid?

        capcha – “key” (so apt on so many levels)

        • Jenny 2.1.1.1

          This proposal is so sick and medieval.

          Lots of questioned will need to be answered.

          Will a court hearing be held to determine if such a sentence is appropriate?

          What if you are the sole carer for children in your care, the elderly or sick, or the sole provider for a family, will these grounds be considered before a prison sentence is imposed?

          Or will it be one size fits all?

          Will poor houses also have to be built to house the dependants of those in jail?

          Will there be set lengths of time depending on the amounts owed or some other formula?

          Most importantly will the fine be wiped, with no criminal record kept?

          After serving your time will records of your credit history be altered to say “paid in full”?

      • Sorry, I come late to this debate due to an unpleasant encounter with a jellyfish (the jellyfish won 🙁 )

        didn’t see anywhere that their fines would be wiped, is that what the proposed legislation states?

        Well, up there in a comment Bunji says:

        the proposed law states: “unaffordable and unenforceable reparation orders” can be replaced with prison.

        If that is indeed the case (I haven’t read the particular law) then I’d make two points.

        First, tsmithfield is dead right – a lot of people who have fines to pay would prefer to deal with it some other way. It needn’t be confinement to a high security prison – which is indeed wasteful overkill – but many would be happy to front up to a work camp for a few days and just get rid of the burden with their labour helping the community.

        When sentenced to prison in WA you can opt to do a few extra days to wipe your fines. I’ve yet to meet someone who hasn’t been only too hapy to sacrifice a few days of freedom for the freedom of being free of debt to the government, so it’s a matter of allowing those who aren’t already incarcerated for something more serious the ability to make the same choice, but at a net cost of zero to society.

        Second, if the Bill talks of reparations these are not fines at all! Reparations are money an offender must pay to their victims to compensate them.

        If the Bill is talking about terms of imprisonment to pay off reparations that’s a very different – and very wrong – thing, as it gives the state a pound of flesh while leaving the victim with nothing.

        So which is it? Anyone know for sure?

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Don’t know whether the fines get wiped or not. However, I know someone who recently came out of prison who had some fines also. He was quite happy to do some extra time on top of what he was already serving if it meant he could get rid of his fines.

    Reading the article, it looks like the threat of prison is just one of a number of options to encourage people to pay their fines. Problem is that it is easy for some people to give the government the one-finger salute when it comes to paying their fines. So their needs to be some tough measures to encourage compliance.

    Anyway, from the article that Bunji links to:

    “Labour Party courts spokesman Rick Barker supports the new law.”

    So, it looks like its Labour party policy as well. So, its a bit unfair to blame this on the Nats.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      So you made your comments that people would be happy to do time if their fines get wiped, but we don’t actually know if that’s the case?

      Speaking of tough measures, why not asset confiscation instead of costly prison, where is that in this Bill?

      • tsmithfield 3.1.1

        Looks like that option is already in the law. From the article:

        “The courts can already order compulsory deductions from wages, benefits or bank accounts.
        Possessions such as cars, boats and televisions can be seized, and overdue fines can stop people from travelling overseas.”

        So, what do you think about the fact that Labour is supporting the new law?

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          So, what do you think about the fact that Labour is supporting the new law?

          If the did they need to wake up, have another coffee and reread the legislation.

          • tsmithfield 3.1.1.1.1

            Well they certainly seem to support the new law. As I quoted from the article above:

            “Labour Party courts spokesman Rick Barker supports the new law.”

            And we all know that what is printed in the newspaper must be true, don’t we.

  4. JayDee 4

    I see from the Herald article, that the biggesdt defaulter at about 1.8 million is now in Australia and still cannot be tought. It might be a good, to start closing these types of loopholes.

  5. Irascible 5

    In many countries the fines register is linked to the passport /identity card of the individual. When you are at the airport or other exit ready to leave the country the friendly Customs man at Passport control simply says “sorry, you can’t leave the country, regardless of nationality, until these fines are paid” and presents you with the bill and sends you of to pay – with only hours to complete the transaction and return.
    The incentive to pay up is certainly great and doesn’t require the threat of debtors prison.

    • Bunji 5.1

      We already have that, but it doesn’t affect those who don’t leave the country, or those who’ve managed to leave before the verdict is handed down (see $1.8million defaulter…). But yes, enforcing that well is one part of an effective system.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Just make it automated – get a fine, can’t leave the country until the fine is paid.

        • mcflock 5.1.1.1

          What if you’re challenging the fine but haven’t got a court date yet? Or have arranged to pay by instalment rather than lump sum? Sounds like imprisonment w/o trial, unless these become exceptions and then all you have to do is go through the motions before skipping the country.

          But anyway, I have a certain feeling of uneasiness when people talk about replacing fines with imprisonment. It’s a bit like bribing the courts in exchange for freedom. I don’t mind fines as a punishment, or imprisonment, or both, just the outright substituting of one for another is a bit ookey.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            What if you’re challenging the fine but haven’t got a court date yet? Or have arranged to pay by instalment rather than lump sum?

            No change, both of these would see people skip the country without paying the fines and the whole point is to encourage people to pay the fine.

            Sounds like imprisonment w/o trial,

            No it doesn’t as people won’t be imprisoned. In other words, they would still be able to continue life as normal.

            • mcflock 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Cop writes ticket (and some tickets can be quite hefty). Person has good defense, but needs to go to court to get fine cancelled (e.g. cop didn’t realise the rural road was actually a private road when person was “speeding”, or put the wrong date one the ticket, or failed XXX etc etc etc). Wants to appeal, but has to go to Melbourne on a business trip (or a relative is dying) the next day. Under automatic updating, the person is prevented from leaving NZ because they refuse to pay a ticket that they wouldn’t have to pay if they could get to court earlier.

              Admittedly they’re only imprisoned within the confines of NZ (and I can think of worse things), but their freedom of movement is still limited, without trial. And if they have a genuine need to travel outside of NZ then it’s a bit unfair.

              And if tickets are a bit of a slide from court-imposed fines (and those can get REALLY hefty), it does become one law for the rich, another for the middle and working classes. Flat taxes are unfair to poorer people, so are flat fines. Rich person writes a cheque and holidays in the Caribbean, poor person can’t even pop over to aus to get work.

    • lprent 5.2

      Wouldn’t worry me. Last time I left the country was 1991

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    The whole prison for court thing is interesting too as it can go wrong.

    One woman who lives here did exactly that and worked out with the courts how long she would need to do extra to have her fines wiped.

    The sentence was agreed to by the court and off she went.

    Her lawyer forgot to mention to the judge that part of the sentence suggestedwas for the fine offset, she did her time and came out to find she still owed the fines.

    She was not a happy person and some 8 months later still hasn’t been sorted if it ever will.

    She’s pretty much given up and sold stuff to pay the fines – which she might as well have done in the first place.

    Caveats on properties for all crown money owing – not just fines seems to me to be a good idea. Seen plenty of people sell up and go to Aussie not paying their fines, etc. Particularly those fathers who don’t pay their child support.

    At least the money could be gleaned when the property is sold.

  7. Gina 7

    There needs to be money values specified in this legislation. Years ago I had an old unpaid fine of approximately $100. No one should be put in prison for something like that.
    I got a nasty shock when police turned up and escorted me to a money machine to get my almost last penny. I was an invalid with no benefit whos savings were at an end. The reason the fine was unpaid was I was too ill to look after myself and had no help. But there was no mercy. They took what was almost my last penny and in the car the officer made refernces to feminism. I am a feminist and I wonder if this is why I was picked on for such a small amount of money. The guy who I didn’t know obviously new I was a feminist so it appeared to me that I might have been harrassed by authorities for my personal belief.
    Unless labour can give me a reason for supporting this bill I think I’ll stop campagning for them. Really they might as well be National. It sounds like the scope of this bill is far too broad. There must be monetary limits to doing jail time. Say $10000 plus.

    Apparantly Canada is expanding prisons despite 2 decades of crime going down. Harper is also allowing double bunking to cope with an increased prison poplulation.

    Take a look at this article

    Harper government expanding prisons despite decades of falling crime rates.
    http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/2011/01/harper-government-expanding-prisons.html

    Another interesting look at private prisons and the cheap labour they create for corporations in the US. Prisons are becoming sweatshops. I believe this is the reason behind what the Nats are doing and it must be stopped.

    Prison Labor: Who Stands to Profit in USA’s Most Important Growth Industry?
    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/199622#ixzz1BHbF1Gto

  8. Jenny 8

    A lawyer friend of mine who deals with a lot of this sort of thing, told me recently that much of the unpaid fines total is made up of penalties automatically added to the original fine, for non-payment.

    If someone was given a fine at some time, say a particularly stressful time in their life where for what ever reason, (unemployment, sickness, depression, marital break-up) they couldn’t pay, if they get back into a position where they would like to be able to clear their debt, the accumulated penalties have snow balled so much it is often impractical to pay them off without returning to the level of impoverishment that originally prevented you paying the fine in the first place.

    I think that it is unreasonable to expect someone who has finally got back on their feet again after a bad patch, to be expected to put themselves back into penury possibly even for years to pay off such debts.

    If someone is on or near the minimum wage this is like asking them to accept a condition akin to slavery for no appreciable gain.

    The original fine sure. But the “fictional” added debt no, because it can never be recovered and should never have been imposed.

    Can anyone tell me how much of this unpaid fines mountain is penalties?

  9. orange whip? 9

    At the heart of this policy is the principle that if you have money you can buy your way out of jail while your poorer neighbour is imprisoned for the exact same offence.

    Disgraceful. Any party supporting this should be ashamed.

  10. Bunnykinz 10

    I apologise if someone has already made the connection here, but does anyone else find it fishy that after National has decided to privatise prisons, they have started introducing laws that will create whole new categories of prisoners?

    If I was going to set up a prison business, I would sure as hell want to make sure that the Government wasn’t about to stop sending people my way.

    I know it is not entirely related to the case here, but you can see what lengths private prisons will go to to ensure turnover http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE51B7B320090212

  11. Jenny 11

    Someone should tell these Dickensian throwbacks that it is the 21st century not the 19th…..

    The Labour opposition could be making huge political capital out of opposing this legislation.

    Unfortunately Labour seem to happy to play Whig to the Nats. Tory on this.

    Come on Labour, it’s election year. You have to show difference to the government if you are hoping to replace them.

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    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    9 hours ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    9 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    9 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    9 hours ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    9 hours ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    10 hours ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    10 hours ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    11 hours ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    12 hours ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    12 hours ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    12 hours ago
  • Spend and Tax
    As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in… ...
    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    13 hours ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    19 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the rise of the far right, and battle bots
    In his victory speech at the Cannes film festival this week, the British film director Ken Loach warned that the rise of far right parties in Europe was being fuelled by the economic policies of austerity, and manifested in a… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Why Corrections prevented Tony Robertson from getting treatment in prison
    Tony Robertson was sentenced to eight years in prison for indecently assaulting a five year old girl in 2005. He was considered a high risk prisoner and the parole board declined to release him on four separate occasions.  He was… ...
    PunditBy Roger Brooking
    22 hours ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Climate denial arguments fail a blind test
    As we saw in the recent legal ruling against Peabody coal, arguments and myths that are based in denial of the reality of human-caused global warming rarely withstand scientific scrutiny. In a new study published in Global Environmental Change, a team led by Stephen Lewandowsky… ...
    1 day ago
  • Palmerston North librarians gather to support UCOL colleagues
    At 5pm today at the UCOL Library, representatives of library staff from the City Library, Massey, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and local schools will meet in a show of support for UCOL Library staff whose jobs are threatened. “We all… ...
    1 day ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Not Quite But Getting There
    It seems that Labour might have finally gotten the memo about getting it’s A into G but perhaps not quite digested the content. Still it’s a start. The last month has seen a steady stream of both Labour and Little… ...
    1 day ago
  • Climate change: The latest inventory
    The annual inventory report [PDF] of our greenhouse gas emissions was released on Friday. The headline data: emissions are still increasing: There's been another "recalculation" in the last 12 months, making year-to-year comparisons difficult. Naurally, this seems to have shifted… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Climate change: The latest inventory
    The annual inventory report [PDF] of our greenhouse gas emissions was released on Friday. The headline data: emissions are still increasing: There's been another "recalculation" in the last 12 months, making year-to-year comparisons difficult. Naurally, this seems to have shifted… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Australia lets kiwi detainees literally rot
    What are our "closest friends" Australia doing to kiwis awaiting deportation? Letting them literally rot away in prison due to substandard medical care:A New Zealander held at an Australian immigration detention centre will find out today if his leg has… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Australia lets kiwi detainees literally rot
    What are our "closest friends" Australia doing to kiwis awaiting deportation? Letting them literally rot away in prison due to substandard medical care:A New Zealander held at an Australian immigration detention centre will find out today if his leg has… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
    The City Rail Link will be one of the most transformational projects Auckland has ever seen. Perhaps nowhere else will see experience that transformation more than the inner west of the isthmus which effectively gets picked up and moved much closer to… ...
    1 day ago
  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
    The City Rail Link will be one of the most transformational projects Auckland has ever seen. Perhaps nowhere else will see experience that transformation more than the inner west of the isthmus which effectively gets picked up and moved much closer to… ...
    1 day ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
    We all know that National works for the rich and screw over ordinary New Zealanders to funnel wealth upwards into the pockets of its rich mates. But how bad have they been? $13,000 bad:Yesterday, Mr Little said that since National… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
    We all know that National works for the rich and screw over ordinary New Zealanders to funnel wealth upwards into the pockets of its rich mates. But how bad have they been? $13,000 bad:Yesterday, Mr Little said that since National… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
    The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
    The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Review: The Block Party
    Did New Zealand’s 'premier urban music' event live up to the hype?   Photo: Nicole Semitara Hunt ‘Old school’ was the name of the game on Friday night at The Block Party, where several thousand converged on ASB… ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
    Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website… ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
    Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website… ...
    1 day ago
  • New research confirms water fluoridation does not cause bone cancers
    The most common type of bone cancer is Osteosarcoma. Image credit:  Osteosarcoma This time for Texas. A new study confirms what other researchers have found elsewhere. It is reported in this recent paper: Archer, N. P., Napier, T. S., & Villanacci, J. F. (2016).… ...
    1 day ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Selfie-takers think they’re the greatest
    Science says otherwise.  “People often perceive themselves as more attractive and likable than others [perceive them to be].” This is the cutting conclusion from a new study that has found you're probably not as great as you think you… ...
    1 day ago
  • UCOL cutting the staff who lifted student results
    UCOL needs to halt its proposed cuts to student support services now that it knows those services are improving student outcomes. On Friday, in an email to all staff, UCOL released its provisional 2015 Educational Performance Indicator (EPI) results which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Another Road Only Harbour Crossing on the Cards?
    The absence of rail as well as walking and cycling options to the North Shore has been considered an oversight by many probably ever since the Harbour Bridge was first approved for construction over 60 years ago. While Skypath will… ...
    1 day ago
  • Leaked UK Briefing Shows NZ-EU Trade Deal is a Sham
    Press Release – New Zealand First Party Rt Hon Winston Peters New Zealand First Leader Member of Parliament for Northland 23 MAY 2016 Leaked UK Briefing Shows NZ-EU Trade Deal is a Sham The Prime Ministers EU trade deal… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on bank scandals and air crashes
    Libor. It stands for the London Interbank Offered rate. Back in 2012, Libor became synonymous with a scandal involving the dodgy manipulation of how interest rates were fixed – during the years before and after the Global Financial Crisis –… ...
    2 days ago
  • March Against Monsanto
    Press Release – TPP Action Waikato March Against Monsanto (MAM)is a global form of action aimed at informing the public, calling into question the long term health risks of genetically modified foods and Roundup ready crops.Today Waikato people rally, at… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • 2016 SkS Weekly Digest #21
    SkS Highlights... El Niño to La Niña... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... He Said What?... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of… ...
    2 days ago

  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    3 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 hours ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    8 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    9 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    9 hours ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    10 hours ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    10 hours ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    1 day ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    2 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    4 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    4 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    4 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    5 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    5 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    6 days ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    6 days ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago
  • Under-reporting shows need to review quota system
    The Government must launch an independent review into New Zealand’s 30-year-old Quota Management System following a new report suggesting gross under-reporting of catch in the New Zealand fishing industry, Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker says.  “The Auckland University report found… ...
    1 week ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Law Commission speaks up for domestic violence survivors
    I want to give kudos to the Minister for Justice for getting the Law Commission to review options for how our justice system responds when victims of domestic violence kill their partners. This is a relatively discrete piece of work… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago

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