web analytics
The Standard

Nats ramp up attacks on local government

Written By: - Date published: 12:19 pm, June 8th, 2012 - 21 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, local government - Tags:

The neoliberals hate democracy. It tends to get in the way. Especially local government. It’s easier to control a single unicameral Parliament than it is to control 70-odd territorial authorities. National has attacked local government, particularly in Auckland and Canterbury but now they’re going all out with more dictatorships and forced mergers.

I/S at No Right Turn explains two nasty elements of National’s new local government bill.

A recipe for local body dictatorship

Two years ago, the Government imposed a dictatorship in Canterbury, suspending elections to Environment Canterbury, removing the elected councillors, and replacing them with a pack of unelected cronies with a mandate to run Canterbury in the interests of Wellington, not local residents. The move went far beyond what was permitted under the Local Government Act, and required special enabling legislation (which was of course rammed through under all-stages urgency). Now the government wants the power to do this to any council, whenever they want.

The new Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill introduced to the House yesterday contains exactly that power. Here’s how it works: first, the Minister of Local Government declares that there is a “problem” in a local authority. What’s a “problem”? Pretty much anything they want:

a matter or circumstance relating to the management or governance of the local authority that detracts from, or is likely to detract from, its ability to give effect to the purpose of local government within its district or region

Note that such a “problem” doesn’t actually have to be occurring; a potential problem – something the Minister thinks might happen – is enough.

The next step is to appoint a Crown Review Team. Currently, this requires that there be outright refusal by local government to comply with the law, which is impairing good governance or endangering public health. Now it merely requires the Minister to believe on reasonable grounds that there is a “significant” (meaning: likely to have adverse consequences – note the lack of scale in there) problem that the local authority can’t or won’t solve. Finally, if the Crown Review Team recommends it – and of course if the Minister picks the right crony, they will recommend whatever is desired – the Minister can roll the elected members, suspend elections, and impose a dictatorship (complete with terms of reference requiring them to act against the will of local voters). And this isn’t a short-term, limited power – such a dictatorship can last indefinitely.

Want a concrete example? Consider this: Christchurch has had an earthquake. This is a “problem” in terms of the new amendment. It is struggling to pay to rebuild its infrastructure after said earthquake, and raising rates and borrowing money in the process. This too is a “problem”.

The government thinks Christchurch should pay for that rebuild by selling its local body assets to their cronies, so they can extort monopoly rents from earthquake victims while paying lower rates on their expensive houses in Fendalton and Merivale and Cashmere. The council, responsive to its people, disagrees. At this stage, the government can either appoint a crony to “review” the council and recommend that it be rolled, or it can just declare that the earthquake rebuild is a “significant” problem, that failing to deal with it (e.g. by quickly rebuilding sewers and water infrastructure) endangers public health, that the Christchurch City Council isn’t willing to deal with it properly (because they’re not willing to pillage their city against the will of its people “take the financial steps necessary to ensure a faster rebuild”), et voila! Jenny Shipley gets another crony job, as unelected Mayor of Christchurch.

Don’t think it will happen? Wait and see.

(Interestingly, under the new rules, it will be easier for the government to suspend elections than call new ones. Which is a little odd, when you think about it)

Ministerial intervention powers are necessary when local government fails. But these go well beyond what is necessary, and allow the democratic decisions of local communities to be overturned by a central government which thinks it knows better. That is undemocratic, and it is wrong. These powers should not be enacted.

Another nasty surprise

While we’re on the topic of the government’s new Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, it has another nasty surprise: mergers. Currently, local bodies can only be reorganised (have their boundaries or responsibilities changed, or be merged or split) on application from the local authority, the Minister, or a petition signed by 10% of the electors of that authority. The new rules would abolish the petition requirement and instead allow “any body or group with an interest in the governance of the area or areas that the reorganisation application relates to” to make an application. So your unelected local Chamber of Commerce can force a reorganisation proposal, without any democratic mandate to do so.

It gets worse. Currently if a reorganisation involves a local authority being abolished, merged, or split, it must be put to the voters. In order to pass, it must gain a majority in each district affected. Under the new rules, there’s no requirement to have a vote. If local residents want one, they have to get 10% of eligible voters (which means about 20% of actual local body voters) to sign a petition demanding one. Otherwise, it just happens. How much time do they have to gather those signatures? 40 working days. That’s not a “democratic check”; it’s a bad joke. And even if they gather those signatures to force a poll, it passes or fails on a simple majority. So people elsewhere can vote to abolish your local government, take over your community, and sideline you from control of it.

…which is precisely the point: to let big communities take over and rule smaller ones against their will. Whatever you want to call this, it isn’t democracy.

21 comments on “Nats ramp up attacks on local government”

  1. Carol 1

    Following the experiences of the shift to Auckland supercity, it seems to me that the current shifts are towards a top-down form of organisation of local authorities. NAct seem to organise such things so as to stifle any grassroots input or consultation. They are inherently anti-democratic.

    I also have some concerns about the way that the Whau Board was set up with the supercity, which amounts to gerrymandering. And there was no consultation with people in the area before this was done. This seems to have split off New Lynn from the west – the west was pretty crucial in not supporting a vote for Banks as Mayor.

    New Lynn has continued to be the centre of re-development (begun under the Labour government and Waitakere Council).

    But now the revitalisation is serving to shift the centre of the West from Henderson, to New Lynn, which is now amalgamated with Auckland central city.

    http://www.localcouncils.govt.nz/lgip.nsf/wpg_URL/Profiles-Auckland-Council-Local-Boards-Auckland-Council-Local-Board-Whau?OpenDocument

    http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/ward_whau.pdf

    • ad 1.1

      Surely it can’t be that hard to find a hard-wrking and recognisable candidate to have a proper crack at Noelene Raffils? The MP has been Labour in New Lynn since it was invented. Surely the left can get their act together in the next local elections?

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        Ross Clow almost did it last time standing as an independent.  He is in the Labour Party.  He was previously a Waitakere City Councillor and is the chair of the Portage Licensing Trust.  I understand he is keen to stand again.  He would be a great improvement.

        • Carol 1.1.1.1

          Ah, I hope so, Micky.

          I recently had to move, and am in another part of the west, so won’t get to vote in Whau next time. But I still have significant links in the area, and have been watching what’s happening in New Lynn. Also, what happens there will clearly have an impact on the whole of west Auckland.

  2. ianmac 2

    Wonder how that Northern district where they have an $80million sewerage scheme debt, would fare? Perhaps the Government would declare it in need and sack the Council and clear the debt.
    The big question of preserving Democracy as I/S writes, does need eternal vigilance.

    • Dr Terry 2.1

      Too late to “preserve democracy, because there aint none anymore, since the day this country found their new Nero in Key. A case can be made that the country actually opted out of democracy in 2008.
      “Oh, what a fall there was . . . “

  3. True Freedom is Self-Governance 3

    So, they’re up for some good old-fashioned boundary moving, George Double-yah style? If we make sure all the poorest (probably darkest, too) people are within a limited number of electorates then they cant get too many seats. What an underhanded way to make sure that certain people’s votes dont count.

  4. ad 4

    It would be great if this was able to be read generously – as if central government wanted to integrate central and local government together into common accountability platforms that could make the most of every kind of public agency.

    But that hasn’t been the experience. The experience is to completely reverse the grassroots democratisation intent of the 2002 Act, and just corporatise everything into specialist disciplines with very little interaction other than in very formal conduits such as LTP and RLTP.

    Local Government has gone – particularly in the Auckland case – from a participatory to a representative model of democracy, almost overnight.

    Listening recently to really cold people in massively damaged houses in Christchurch shivering after a snowstorm when the whole public sector has left them to the mercy of market forces was pretty stark. It’s the job of the public sector to intervene in a case like that, with all the housing and Public Works powers and facilities it has at its disposal.

    But not according to this merciles Government.

    A Micahel Joseph Savage approach to both the reform (ECAN) and rebuild of Christchurch would look quite different, one suspects.

  5. Horus 5

    It’s not a surprise but it is nasty! In Hawke’s Bay, the Hastings District Council has for years been trying to ‘absorb’ Napier to create a Hawke’s Bay District Council. However, the people of Napier have repeatedly opposed these overtures. Hastings being the larger of the two is highly indebted and has not come up with a prudent way to resolve their debt other than by taking over Napier, who has lucrative assets such as the Napier port and shared airport.

    With the Local Government Act Amendment, the mayor of Hastings can’t wait until he can make his land grab.

  6. Jimmie 6

    There are two things that should require central government approval.

    1 Debt taken on by local councils for capital projects.

    2 General rates increases over/above the rate of inflation

    If each council was forced to justify either of the above to a government minister or board it would help avoid fiscal nightmares (which future rate payers have to deal with) such as happened in Dunedin with their stadium.

    Also why councils think that increasing rates year after year is their God given right is beyond me – often I think councillors simply don’t have the financial acumen to run their councils – and don’t get me started on senior council staff pay rates…..

    • Murray Olsen 6.1

      I can’t see a NAct government thinking that the building of a rugby stadium is ever a bad idea. I can’t see them thinking that the building of safe public housing is ever a good idea. Whatever the problem is with local government, running it from Wellington is not the solution.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Also why councils think that increasing rates year after year is their God given right is beyond me – often I think councillors simply don’t have the financial acumen to run their councils – and don’t get me started on senior council staff pay rates…..

      They’re stuck in a model of unsustainable economic growth.

      And you can solve the problem of excessive pay rates by introducing 49% and 59% income tax brackets.

  7. rosy 7

    The biggest problem with local government is that so many people simply don’t care about the entity that has the single biggest impact on their everyday lives – from whether the rubbish is collected to whether a factory is built next door – and that is allowing the government to simply remove people’s democratic rights with little opposition, it’s despicable that the government is using this to set up mini dictatorships.

    In terms of local government my view is that NZ is too small, population-wise for the number of local councils and elected representatives that we have. I’m all for direct democracy – a council CEO, and an army of technocrats who put together a 5-year plan and signal future concerns; and bureaucrats who deal with the day to day running of a city. Town hall meetings are run to gain approval of council plans.

    Instead of a mayor there is a liaison person to deal with central government and government advocates for the local body areas.

    Planning legislation and environmental legislation to be paid out of central government funds. There is no way that some small councils can adequately fund the planning process or provide the technical expertise for some major developments.

    • Roger 7.1

      Rosy, I disagree with your comment: “I’m all for direct democracy – a council CEO, and an army of technocrats who put together a 5-year plan and signal future concerns; and bureaucrats who deal with the day to day running of a city. Town hall meetings are run to gain approval of council plans.”

      Your “direct democracy” sounds like something modelled on fascism. A better model would be a decentralised community-based participatory model where residents decide on the priorities and elect representatives to ensure they are delivered. Council CEOs already have considerable power we dont’ need to give them more. In fact if you don’t value local democratic input and your goal is efficient delivery of services then you end up abolishing local government all together and handing it all over to central government. Local decisions are best made locally – by those most impacted by them.

      • rosy 7.1.1

        hehe – fair enough it does read a bit like that – unintentional… I truly believe communities should decide how their city should be. Of course community meetings and community decision-making should come first, definitely, then the technocrats make their 5-year plans based on submissions from the community. Conflicting interests are sorted at town hall meetings when the council are in a position to provide information about how the submissions would work in practice – cost, environment, safety – alls those things that the general community should not be expected to have expertise in (although they may).

        The most important thing to me is that people are involved in approving decisions – not some councillors that around 30 percent of people have voted for, because others don’t understand, and are alienated from the process of how their city runs – and they are unaware of the implications.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    If anyone saw Campbell on TV3 tonight, they would realise that the elected numpties who ran the ECANT for 10 years stonewalled the introduction of a super-efficient wood burner that produced virtually no smoke or particulates.

    At least now the commissioners in charge have recognised its value and are pushing to allow suitably efficient wood burners in Christchurch, which at least allow people to stay warm if there is an earthquake or snowstorm that cuts power.

    • Te Reo Putake 8.1

      Yeah, because earthquakes and once in a hundred year snowstorms were so commonplace back when they were making the decision? The numpty is you, TS. Ending the reliance on woodburners was a commonsense response to a significant problem that made the city a smog bound hole every winter. I can’t wait for this dismally average government to be gone from our lives. You’ve just added another reason to wish for an early election.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      What would actually be better would be retrofitting the houses up to reasonable standards and putting some solar panels on the roofs to run the heat pump. Unfortunately, the government (both local and central) are too stuck in their old, cheap and nasty, ways to do that.

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        “Ending the reliance on woodburners was a commonsense response to a significant problem that made the city a smog bound hole every winter”

        One point is that the woodburner that was the subject of the Campbell show produces particulates of 0.5 grams for every kilo of wood burnt. That is, virtually nothing. So, if all the inefficient burners were replaced with this one, the smog problem would be solved.

        Another point is that the elected numpties have allowed pellet fires over this period, which, while highly efficient, are not as efficient as the wood burner on TV3 last night. So, the resistance to the burner has been ideological and stupid.

        Finally, moving the city to electricity over wood burners is putting considerable extra load on our power system, pushing up prices. The demand for extra power is not without environmental costs in terms of C02 when coal generators are fired up, or environmental damage when new dams are built.

  9. Max Moss 9

    New Zealand is NOT a democracy. It is a parliamentary dictatorship.

    The next great battle will be for democracy: for the voters to be able to stop actions of parliament (via binding citizen initiated referendums) and for voters to have decision making power over local matters without interference from parliament.

    I predict there will be no support from our Labour MP’s for democratic reforms. I strongly support my local Labour MP, but only because I think he will be a better dictator than a Tory dictator. But what I really want is democracy, not another left wing dictatorship.

  10. captain hook 10

    they about to railroad the Wairarapa shortly and fold it into the wellington patronage machine with no representation.
    democracy it aint.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 hours ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 hours ago
  • Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act
    In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote.… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    10 hours ago
  • Mainfreight ‘appalled’ by Government’s rail madness
    The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The company has told shareholders it… ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 day ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    1 day ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    1 day ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    1 day ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    2 days ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    2 days ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    3 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    3 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    3 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    4 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    5 days ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    6 days ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    6 days ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    6 days ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    6 days ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    6 days ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    6 days ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    7 days ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    7 days ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    1 week ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    1 week ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    1 week ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    1 week ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    1 week ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    1 week ago
  • Charter school experiment turns into shambles
    The National Government’s charter school experiment has descended into chaos and it’s time for Hekia Parata to stop trying to cover up the full extent of the problems, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The Education Minister must release all… ...
    1 week ago
  • Disconnect between rates and income must be fixed
    Local Government New Zealand’s 10 Point Plan is a chance to stop the widening chasm between the rates some households are charged and their ability to pay, Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “There is a huge disconnect… ...
    1 week ago
  • Parole and ‘surviving the first year’
    “Intensive psychological treatment and early release to parole is far more effective at reducing reoffending among high risk prisoners than serving out the full prison sentence.” That’s reportedly the finding of Surviving the First Year, a recently-released study into Corrections’… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • Parole and ‘surviving the first year’
    “Intensive psychological treatment and early release to parole is far more effective at reducing reoffending among high risk prisoners than serving out the full prison sentence.” That’s reportedly the finding of Surviving the First Year, a recently-released study into Corrections’… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • If it’s good enough for Lake Taupō…
    Nick Smith supports helping farmers transition away from dairying and agrees we must set nitrogen caps that limit the number of animals on farms. He says this strategy is “world leading”. However we need action and pressure from him, on to… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • The importance of swamp kauri for climate research
    As early as 2010, international climate scientists were expressing concern at the rate of ancient swamp kauri extraction in Northland. Swamp kauri provides one of the best sources in the world for measuring climate fluctuations over the last 30,000 years.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Govt needs to heed warnings on med students
    The Government is being urged to act on advice it has received about the negative impact its seven year study cap will have on hundreds of medical students, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The 7EFTS lifetime limit unfairly disadvantages… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere