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Outsourcing poverty: Paula Bennett’s shame

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, October 29th, 2013 - 51 comments
Categories: benefits, bill english, brand key, business, child welfare, class war, health, housing, john key, national, paula bennett, poverty, slippery, uk politics, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

So, we now have a charity taking on the funding of the essential work on monitoring poverty, in the face of Paula Bennett, Bill English and John Key failing to do their job: a job that should be looking to ensure all Kiwis are adequately cared for and supported.

Simon Collins reports:

Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills has decided to publish his own annual stocktake of child poverty after the Government spurned his call to publish official measures and targets.

His first annual update will be published in December with analysis by experts at Otago University, edited by a private communications company and totally funded by a $525,000 grant from the philanthropic Wellington-based JR McKenzie Trust.

He said the project would not involve any taxpayers’ money and he did not need to get it signed off by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, who appointed him in 2011 for a five-year term.

This is a response to Bennett’s refusal to adequately measure and monitor poverty, while she continues to produce and support policies that demonise and harass beneficiaries so they are increasingly living in desperate circumstances.

Failing to produce a meaningful and accurate analysis of relevant statistics contributes to the demonising of beneficiaries.

Dr Wills’ expert group proposed five similar measures charting relative and absolute poverty, deprivation, persistent poverty and “severe” poverty.

Most of the data required for the measures is already published annually by the Social Development Ministry but Dr Wills said it needed to be interpreted for the public. He cited TV3’s The Vote in June, where he was challenged about a figure in the ministry’s report that 60 per cent of the median income for a family of two parents and two children, after housing costs, was $600 a week or about $30,000 a year.

The “expert group” points to the most urgent areas that need to be addressed:

The expert group said the three most pressing areas for further action were adopting child poverty reduction targets, reforming child tax credits to pay the same for young children as for teenagers, and more investment in housing and health through social housing, the rental housing “warrant of fitness”and free primary healthcare for children.

Meanwhile the Fabians in the UK have shown how similar circumstances are for those struggling on low incomes today, compared with 1913 Britain:

When the Fabian Women’s Group published ‘Round about a pound a week’ in 1913 it caused quite a stir. The pamphlet’s edge came not just from its forensic analysis of over forty working families’ budgets and its relentless account of their lives. Alongside this, author Maud Pember Reeves* coolly dismissed many of the myths that surrounded poverty then, as indeed they do today.

‘Round about a pound of week’ is acutely relevant to our times. The high rates of child mortality that originally motivated the study are thankfully a thing of the past, but low pay and precarious work are as familiar now as they were one hundred years ago. Similarly, the decisions low-income families made in 1913 between heating and eating are choices that are still being made today, and the link between overcrowded, damp housing and childhood illness remains intact.

One of the differences today in the UK is that most two parent families on low incomes now need both parents in paid work outside the home to survive financially.

That women’s paid work does make an important contribution to the family finances is clear – it is female employment that has protected many families from the worst effects of the recent recession, for example. However, the impact of women working on household budgets is muted for two reasons: women’s work remains lower paid than men’s and, as ‘The cost of a child’ research shows, much of the financial gain from female employment evaporates once childcare costs are paid.

Shame on Bennett, Key, English at al (NActs), for following the British government’s prescriptions for a return to a Dickensian approach to make life a living hell for those on low incomes.  This is especially so for those in precarious circumstances in times of a shortage of secure jobs paying a living wage.

poverty rescue

 

[Update] h/t mickysavage, who commented:

And here is a video showing the comprehension of and compassion for poverty by Paula Bennett …

Footnote

* Maud Pember Reeves, has an NZ connection. h/t Leopold, who commented,

Slightly off-topic, but there is a NZ connection. Maud Pember Reeves was married to W Pember Reeves, who as a member of the Seddon govt was shunted off to UK as Agent General – Seddon found WPR to be too leftish for his taste…

51 comments on “Outsourcing poverty: Paula Bennett’s shame”

  1. mickysavage 1

    And here is a video showing the comprehension of and compassion for poverty by Paula Bennett …

  2. LynWiper 2

    I posted on this earlier this morning on Open mike..but didn’t get accepted. Glad it has it’s own heading and article …thanks Karol. Thank goodness for people who won’t be silenced, people who donate to charities and journalists who write the facts. Oh, and bloggers who care!

    [karol:I see your comment went into the “spam” folder, along with comments from a couple of other regular TS commenters. Not sure why]

    [lprent: looks like akismet got some bad instructions last night. Seems to be fixed now. ]

    • karol 2.1

      Thanks, LynW.

      Simon Collins is one of the few NZ Herald journalist who writes well on social issues, especially with respect to beneficiaries.

  3. Leopold 3

    Slightly off-topic, but there is a NZ connection. Maud Pember Reeves was married to W Pember Reeves, who as a member of the Seddon govt was shunted off to UK as Agent General – Seddon found WPR to be too leftish for his taste…

  4. King Kong 4

    I don’t know how much history you understand, but I feel you might be getting a bit carried away with your claims of a return to Dickensian conditions for the poor.

    Ill informed or massively exaggerating. A pretty embarrassing choice.

    • karol 4.1

      I said “Dickensian approach” not “Dickensian conditions”.

      But, with the current NAct/Tory approach, we are heading towards Dickensian conditions for increasing numbers of people on low incomes.

      • King Kong 4.1.1

        really?

        ” Bill English and John Key et al failing to do their job: a return to Dickensian & Edwardian times”

        • emergency mike 4.1.1.1

          “failing to do their job” refers to the performance of the government, i.e. their approach.

          Really Kong if you’re going to make up a “quote” that karol didn’t even type to press a point at least try to turn your brain on. Talk about ‘pretty embarrassing’.

        • karol 4.1.1.2

          yes – a return to Edwardian times” refers to the approach and values, and is not an exact match with the conditions in England and NZ now. Also, even though the NZ government is following the same approach as the current British government, the conditions in each country are not exactly the same.

          I think the poverty and struggle for lower income people in 21st century Britain is more extreme than here: partly to do with the size of the population, and the legacy there of an aristocracy, and upper class whose “reality” is significantly divorced from the everyday struggles of low income people.

        • Foreign Waka 4.1.1.3

          If the government was to sit in an Employment review meeting – just lets not forget the general public is their employer, to make this clear on no uncertain terms – and would be measured against their targets, it would be a fail by all intent and purposes.
          Unemployment is up, despite revenues for companies increasing (peculiar isn’t it?!)- fail. Employment growth and planning – fail. Acting against the majority of shareholders and owners of assets – fail. Child poverty and a decrease in standard of living – fail. Corporate governance reform, review and implementation of measures to protect NZ interests – fail. Environment protection and preservation of valuable land and resources – fail. Employment conditions for all (no 0 hour employment, casualisation etc) – fail. Water resource protection, fresh water and sea – fail. Christchurch earthquake debacle -fail.This is just what is officially available on information. God knows what else could be added.
          Please list for every fail a plus for the NZ public – please do not use a corporate balance sheet where the bonus is being paid to the 0.5%.

  5. phil 5

    $9.4 M over 4years to feed
    poor kids in schools, by this government, and $5 million, straight away to feed the Americas Cup campaign. This is a mean and shonky government in ‘deed’ .

    • fender 5.1

      Good comparison, don’t forget the 5million to feed the overpaid unemployed boat enthusiasts will only provide caviar until May 2014.

    • dv 5.2

      What has anything actually been delivered in the food for schools program?

  6. Treetop 6

    I will trust Will’s over Bennett any day when it comes to stating what the actual position is regarding child and family poverty.

  7. Richard Christie 7

    Dr Wills said it needed to be interpreted for the public. He cited TV3′s The Vote in June, where he was challenged about a figure in the ministry’s report that 60 per cent of the median income for a family of two parents and two children, after housing costs, was $600 a week or about $30,000 a year.

    Too right, it needs translation. Are we really being told that the median household has $600 p/w after housing?. I simply don’t believe it.

    • karol 7.1

      RC, in the article, the next quote is:

      “So there’s people thinking that everybody [who is poor] is on $30,000,” he said. “They are not. If you look at the graph of people by income, the graph is really steep, so 60 per cent is the top of a really steep curve which falls away steeply below that, so of all the people under $30,000 the median is about $10,000. It’s tiny.”

      Maybe I should have included that in my post.

      • Wayne 7.1.1

        Karol,

        Just so I understand the figures, is Dr Wills saying that if you take all the people under the overall median, that their median, after housing is $10,000. Effectively the median of the bottom half or alternatively the 25% quartile.

        In NZ of course there is an effective floor, provided by the minimum wage, WWF, and accommodation supplement (or a Housing NZ house, given we are talking families here). Or alternatively the unemployment benefit as paid to a family of 4, plus accommodation supplement.

        It would be worth knowing how many people in this situation (family of 4) actually have Housing NZ houses, and how many are dependent on the private rental market.

        • karol 7.1.1.1

          Wayne, I can’t see any reference to HNZ stats in thereport from the Expert group on Child Poverty.

          Can you expand on the significance of families in Housing NZ Homes compared with those in private rentals?

          For me the aim should be to minimise tax payers providing profits to rentiers or supplementing employers wage bills.

          So, particularly there needs to be more state homes.

          • Wayne 7.1.1.1.1

            Karol,

            The reason I mentioned the role of Housing NZ houses is that they are much cheaper than private rentals, even taking into account the Accommodation Supplement.

            Basically a family of 4 will have a minimum income of around $30,000 net taking into account WFF (or UB for a family of 4). Housing NZ rentals are 20% of income, so that leaves around $24,000 money to live on. Not great, but not absolute grinding poverty.

            That is why I can’t really follow Dr Wills figures. They only make sense if the family is in a private rental, with a very low AS. As I understand it, AS is around $200 pw in Auckland. Lets assume the rental is $500 pw week (which is on the high side), so that means net income after housing will be $15,000 per year, which will be very daunting for a family of 4.

            By the way my figures are approximates, but I know they are not far off for minimum levels of income.

            • karol 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Wayne, you ask an interesting question. The 2012 (published 2013) Household Incomes Report offers some evidence but requires some maths analysis to make sense of it.

              Housing costs relative to income

              12 High housing costs relative to income are often associated with financial stress for low- to middle-income households. Low-income households especially can be left with insufficient income to meet other basic needs such as food, clothing, transport, medical care and education for household members.

              13 For the bottom income quintile (Q1), around one in three households have in recent years had housing costs of more than 30% of their after-tax income.

              14 There is evidence of increasing numbers of second quintile households with high housing costs. The rate has been rising strongly since 2004, so that in HES 2012, 42% of these households had housing costs of more than 30% of their income, more than for the bottom quintile.

              15 Half of households in the bottom quintile are mortgage-free (mainly older New Zealanders) or are paying only the subsidised income-related rent while living in HNZC houses. This is keeping the Q1 trend line reasonably flat. On the other hand the bulk of second quintile households (75%) rent privately or have mortgages and are therefore more affected by rising housing costs.

              [..]
              New Zealand had 217,000 children (21%) in beneficiary families at 31 March 2013, and 820,000 in working families. 25% of children (270,000) are in households with no FT worker.

              19 Poverty rates for children in working families are on average much lower than for those in beneficiary families (12% and 65% respectively), but 2 out of 5 poor children come from families where at least one adult is in FT work or is self-employed. This is an OECD-wide issue – the working poor. The In-work Tax Credit is really important here for alleviating poverty..

              20 70% of poor children live in rental accommodation (20% HNZC, 50% private).

              My bold.
              But it does show that life is a struggle for lot of Kiwis on low incomes.

  8. Tracey 8

    Interesting that the charitable trust considered it worthwhile given the hoops you have to jump thru to meet their criteria.

    that leaves national and the large ape believing you cant measure poverty or we have none.

    ps chickenpox running rampant thru mt albert schools. Just giving folks a headsup

  9. Tracey 9

    Kk this part of dickensian times is similar tho

    low pay and precarious work are as familiar now as they were one hundred years ago. Similarly, the decisions low-income families made in 1913 between heating and eating are choices that are still being made today, and the link between overcrowded, damp housing and childhood illness remains intact.”

  10. tricledrown 10

    King Kong law of the jungle.
    Only the strong survive.
    Obviously civilization has passed you and your bullying lot behind.

  11. Allyson 11

    Bill and Melinda Gates seem to be doing a good job stopping spread of AIDS in Africa. Maybe once the evil AIDS is dealt with he can help out UN Development program. Their struggles against poverty seems to have stalled with still not one person fed or clothed despite billions spent. Seems to me not all charities are evil and not all Govt sponsored schemes are worthwhile. God bless, Ally

  12. Tim 12

    Pulla Bent’s response: Who moyeeeee? Ya jarkin incha?
    ….. one of those very ugle specimens we’ll all be expected to feel sympathy for in the not too distant: a future ‘victum’ of the Neshnool Party. No doubt Pita and Turey will be lining up to be her suppotas- probably aided and abetted by the likes of a Finlayson claiming minority status and putting it all down to (something like) colonial snobbery and class distinction.

  13. Mary 13

    It’s the same the way MSD deliberately keep the number of benefit applications turned down out of the statistics. People are still being turned away either at the reception counter or over the phone, which has been going on for years and years. The latest and most disturbing extension of this is inviting an application only after the interview has been completed and when a decision has been made to grant the benefit. It wasn’t that long ago that if you managed to get past all the gate-keeping and did have an interview then the first thing you did was fill out an application form. Then if you were declined a formal decision was entered and you’d receive a letter stating the reasons (or purporting to state the reasons) and notifying you of review and appeal rights. Not any more. Now the application is only taken at the end of the interview so if after the interview it’s decided the benefit will be refused that final step of taking an application is skipped, then no letter is sent out, no review and appeal rights are conveyed and nothing goes into the statistics. So the statistics reflect a far more palatable difference between the number of benefits applied for and the number granted which, in turn, help the government’s case of saying that main benefit levels are adequate, that hardship provisions are being utilised fairly with not too many people being turned away and that this must mean eligibility criteria are about right and not set too stringently. In other words, everybody’s doing okay. MSD’s response, of course, which is what it’s always been, is that people make inquiries and that it’s not their fault people choose not to make applications.

    But why would anyone apply when they’ve already been told that they’re going to be refused? There’s been plenty of research done on this issue, even by government, but nothing’s ever done to fix it. This government, of course, not only does not want to fix it but counts on making it worse.

    • Rogue Trooper 13.1

      some learnings about Family Violence in NZ; Police, utilising the Canadian Response System- 10 domestic disputes an hour, 89,000 per year: NZ offenders “score highly” on risk to familiars.

      What a freakin’ joke this government and the people they ‘oversee’ are. Get ya’ freakin heads outta your backsides!!! (something the bad among us might want to consider, ‘You’re on my Sh#tlist .)

    • AsleepWhileWalking 13.2

      You are right of course.

      The prerequiste for a Review of Decision has already occurred with the decline, therefore the review rights are automatically triggered regardless of whether or not the client was informed. Sadly most people just take MSD at their word and subsequently the stats look better than they should.

      FYI reviews can be lodged out of time and in cases like this where the client hasn’t been informed of their rights the BRC should look favourably upon the application. The Scoble case (among others) established that indication of need is an application for ANY benefit. It is the responsibility of the ministry to inform clients of anything they may be eligible for.

      • Mary 13.2.1

        If a person hasn’t been informed of review rights I would say that time hasn’t started therefore the person isn’t in fact out of time.

        In any case, there’s real unfairness in the test for “out of time” applications for review to be lodged in that it’s whether there’s a good reason for the delay which is very narrow compared to other jurisdictions where all circumstances including the overall justice of the case are important. Not for applications to the benefits review committees, though, which if the committee says there’s no good reason for the delay, which they regularly do, there’s no right of appeal the Social Security Appeal Authority because the decision was made the benefits review committee, not the chief executive. Extremely unfair, especially when the decision is clearly wrong. Situations involving large overpayments are particularly worrying when this happens. Parliament needs to fix this to allow for reasons relating to the justice of the case, including merits and anything else to be relevant when considering whether an application for review can be heard out of time. Any MPs out there who’d like to take this issue up?

        • Mary 13.2.1.1

          “Any MPs out there who’d like to take this issue up?”

          Answer: No

          Why not: Because we’re talking beneficiaries here. You know we can’t be seen to acting fairly to beneficiaries. Of course we’d like to, but we just can’t do anything that looks like we might be taking things too far. Once that happens everything just falls apart. It’s just too risky. I’d really like to help, but my hands are tied. You really do need to understand this.

  14. captain hook 14

    Hey the tories need money to buy big cars and waste on their carbon footprint swanning around the world to prove that they are not peasants.
    tossing a few coins to the hudled masses and watching them fight for it is their idea of benevolence.

  15. Rosie 15

    Yes it IS Bennett’s shame that she has washed her hands of the responsibility to monitor and measure child poverty in NZ, measurements and reporting that are critical to understanding the depth of the problem and critical information for devising strategies and policies to alleviate and prevent it. This is her department, the aims of the Ministry of Social Development are her responsibility to meet and all she can do is giggle about it. Life is sweet.

    Whats also disturbing is that by transferring the responsibilities of the Ministry on to Otago Uni and the private communications company, the government are transferring the connection the citizens of NZ have with government services to an external source. It’s further weakens the social contract. Dr Wills says the project would not involve any taxpayers money. We are citizens first, being “taxpayers” is only part of role, and as citizens it’s our role to stand by one another. Our tax money SHOULD be going towards the Ministry carrying out it’s work effectively, which includes undertaking such projects, for everyone’s benefit.

    Finally, as an aside I watched Ken Loache’s new doco, The Spirit of ’45 in the weekend. It covers the work the Atlee government of the UK in introducing the welfare system, social housing, public health services and strengthening workers rights and improving conditions. How sad it is to compare the goals of those days to what the British have now after years of Thatcher and now Cameron’s government finishing the job (and in a most sinister way if the atos system is anything to go by). Seems like Key is only too happy to follow the lead of his buddy and Bennett only to happy to carry out Key’s will. By outsourcing essential MSD work, (because they can’t be arsed doing it anyway) they are yet again demonstrating how much regard they have for their own clients – none.

  16. Dr Terry 16

    Good for you Rosie, very well said. Karol, so many thanks to you.

  17. Lan 17

    Then again, Rosie, (not saying this to be provocative) an “external” and independent report may be of better value and quality than one produced by the Minister’s department? Thinking of ACC here where department very unlikely to be critical of its own unethical and unfair processes these days.

    • Rosie 17.1

      I hear what you’re saying Lan, especially in regard to ACC. The view I’m seeing however is one of abandonment by a Ministry to uphold it’s aim’s which is also an abandonment of its responsibility to those it claims to support. (Although, lol, yes, that could relate to a number of Ministries and Departments these days, including education and conservation)

      Aside from that, the govt researchers and report authors SHOULD be producing accurate and necessary work, as is their role to do so. There’s no excuse for a department to not produce first rate work that is essential to it’s very functioning. It should have never come to this – the Children’s Commissioner being compelled to undertake the work because the government failed to. It comes right back to karol’s opening paragraph.

  18. johnm 18

    Shonkey and Pull your benefit
    Rubbish scumbags that the I wannabe rich like Shonkey brigade have voted in.It really is that simple.

  19. Sable 19

    Bennett is human detritus. To expect anything that remotely resembles humanity from this callous well fed bitch is absurd. Whats also a joke is her inability to understand even basic stats, not only vicious but an ignoramus to boot. Apparently everything must be in pictorial form and even then tantrums are the norm. Its no wonder she is out of touch. Indeed she wouldn’t understand the results of any study even if she cared, which she clearly does not.

    • Murray Olsen 19.1

      I’m amazed at just how thick she is. It’s a bit of an indictment on the university that saw fit to award her a degree. She’s obviously Minister just because of her attributes as a performing seal. She can be trusted to do what she’s told – you can see it in the fawning adulation she has for Key whenever she looks at him. Yuck.

    • marsman 19.2

      Was talking with a family member and Bennett’s name came up and she said to me –

      ‘Paula Bennett should be shot with a ball of her own shit’

      Very apt I thought.

  20. AsleepWhileWalking 20

    Re the $10,000 left over after housing costs – that is a two parent family and it assumes they haven’t had to move three+ times a year. Moving costs could easily lop off a grand.

    Those who receive far less include:
    – frequent movers
    – disabled
    – people who do “portfolio” work ie multiple part time income streams without f/t benefits such as annual leave
    – single parents
    – single parents who have no support network (increases childcare costs + stress levels)
    – custodial parents who do not receive child support because their ex has a clever accountant etc

    These are the people in your neighbourhood.

    • miravox 20.1

      I agree with your comment AWW, I just feel like having a rant.

      “people who do “portfolio” work”

      The corporate framing of limited work conditions and no tenure makes me sick. This is precarious work for the precariat class.

      It’s not highly skilled contract workers and their ‘interns’ in IT, advertising and films that they pretend it is.

      “These are the people in you neighbourhood”

      Some years ago these people would have been in my neighbourhood, but now they’re ghettoised in suburbs that no-one wants to venture into and people like me have moved out of because we can afford not to have to deal with the stress of the poor houses, poor shops, poor schools, poor infrastructure and rip-off landlords, loan sharks and shopping vans that other poor people and their poor lives that the precariat children grow up thinking is normal because they haven’t seen any other way of being.

  21. Frank 21

    More outsourcing.

    Hi,

    A new news release is available for you to view on the http://www.police.govt.nz
    website:

    “NZ Post to trial fingerprinting process for employment/immigration”

    NZ Post will undertake a three month trial in the Auckland area commencing on
    31 October 2013 offering fingerprinting for employment, immigration and other
    purposes, a service previously provided by New Zealand Police.

    National Manager, Forensic Services Inspector John Walker says currently
    10,500 hours of staff time nationally per annum are spent by Police in
    providing this service.

    “Whilst the current service is time consuming, fully manual, and involves
    inking applicants’ hands, NZ Post will provide a cleaner, faster electronic
    capture and copy system,” Mr Walker said.

    Currently, the three month trial is limited to the Auckland area, with the
    participating PostShops being Wellesley Street (Auckland City), North
    Harbour, and Manukau. From 31 October Police will not be providing this
    fingerprinting service in the Auckland area. Applicants will need to go to
    one of the PostShops mentioned rather than to a police station to obtain the
    fingerprinting service. There will be a charge for this service.

    Outside of the Auckland area, this fingerprinting service will still be
    available from Police Stations as usual until further notice.

    EXCEPTION

    South African Nationals – Until further notice the South African High
    Commission has requested that Police advise all South African nationals
    requiring their fingerprints taken to contact the South African High
    Commission in Wellington.

    Ends

    Issued by:

    Kevin Sinnott, Police Public Affairs, tel: 04 4707316; mobile: 027 7050341

    Note: Queries regarding the new service being trialled by NZ Post should be
    directed to: Steve Wiggins, tel: 04 439 6914; mobile: 021 4684 20

    You can view full details online at:
    http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/nz-post-trial-fingerprinting-process-employmentimmigration

    Thanks,

    New Zealand Police

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • A bad deal
    For the past seven years the government has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. All along they've told us that this would be the road to economic nirvana, that the negotiations would deliver a "high quality" free trade agreement which would… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • A bad deal
    For the past seven years the government has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. All along they've told us that this would be the road to economic nirvana, that the negotiations would deliver a "high quality" free trade agreement which would… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Navel Gazing with Toni Street – a lesson in trust.
    They should rename this cross: Navel Gazing with Toni Street A diet requires a variety of food groups.  Yet whenever healthy eating is discussed in the context of legislating for better food sources in our supermarkets, or a new study… ...
    Politically CorrectedBy sleepdepriveddiva
    18 hours ago
  • The Impotence Of Purity
    "Certainly, The Impotent Are Pure": Gough Whitlam struggled to make the left of his party understand that purity at the expense of power is a poor bargain. “It is true that some parties can exist only as pressure groups… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Target Tokyo – Docs Show NSA Targets Japan Over Trade Deal
    Press Release – Wikileaks Today, Friday 31 July 2015, 9am CEST, WikiLeaks publishes “Target Tokyo”, 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    19 hours ago
  • K-pop’s loyal New Zealand fanbase
    Ahead of the Wellington K-Pop World Festival competition we talk to some of the stand out contestants.   K-pop is music at its pop-iest with ultra polished dance sequences, catchy melodies, and elaborate outfits. While it may be some… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Not just consumers, but patrons too
    Lydia Jenkin's New Zealand Herald feature on the paltry earnings of New Zealand musical artists in the age of streaming services is a story you should read if you care about having music made here. To say it's sobering is an… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Ban junk food marketing to kids
    One in three Kiwi kids are overweight or obese. They face a life where they are 3-10 times more likely to be obese, and this weight will be harder for them to shift than it is for others. Long term,… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    21 hours ago
  • Tauranga Eastern Link complete
    Yesterday the Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges officially opened just the second Roads of National Significance to be completed – the $455 million Tauranga Eastern Link. All up the project is 21km long from Te Maunga… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Secrecy of TPPA documents heads to court
    Press Release – Association of Salaried Medical Specialists A legal challenge to the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations will be launched in the High Court next week.31 July 2015 Secrecy of TPPA documents heads to court A… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Guild interested to learn more about TPPA details
    Press Release – Pharmacy Guild The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) is keen to learn more about how the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will impact New Zealands health sector if it is accepted by the Government.Guild interested to… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Secrecy of TPPA documents heads to court
    Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey Secrecy of TPPA documents heads to court A legal challenge to the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations will be launched in the High Court next week. An urgent application for… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Achieving Patient-Centred Care Or Floccinaucinihipilfication
    Press Release – ASMS Thank you for the opportunity to address you again. As always my comments are personal observations, although in broad terms at least I believe they are consistent with the Associations view on the matters discussed. In… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • A Free Trade Deal must include Free Trade
    Press Release – Federated Farmers Federated Farmers says the Government must hold firm on a deal for agriculture at the Trans Pacific Partnership talks in Hawaii.31 July 2015 A Free Trade Deal must include Free Trade Federated Farmers says the… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Will poor TPP dairy outcome stop National selling our homes?
    Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party After failing to protect the right to stop foreign speculators buying our houses its clear the Government is not going to get wins on dairy in their TPP negotiations either, Labours Trade and… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • More Farmland Falling into Foreign Hands
    Press Release – New Zealand First Party More Farmland Falling into Foreign Hands, Despite English Saying Only Kiwi Farmers Can Make a ProfitMore Farmland Falling into Foreign Hands, Despite English Saying Only Kiwi Farmers Can Make a Profit Finance… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Government Tilts the Playing Fields
    The most shocking example of Government bias can be seen when comparing the treatment of the Problem Gambling Foundation and Relationships Aotearoa with how they bail out failing private and Charter Schools.Wanganui Collegiate is an elite Private School of around… ...
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Tim Groser missing in action on the TPP
    While rapid change is always possible in trade talks as they approach the deadline, lets assume that the offers on the table for dairy at the TPP talks in Maui won’t improve much beyond the “appallingly bad” level currently being… ...
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Tim Groser missing in action on the TPP
    Column – Gordon Campbell While rapid change is always possibl e in trade talks as they approach the deadline, lets assume that the offers on the table for dairy at the TPP talks in Maui wont improve much beyond… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Tim Groser missing in action on the TPP
    Column – Gordon Campbell While rapid change is always possibl e in trade talks as they approach the deadline, lets assume that the offers on the table for dairy at the TPP talks in Maui wont improve much beyond… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Hone Harawira’s Open Letter to Barack Obama
    Press Release – Hone Harawira Heard you were able to get back to your dads turangawaewae last week. Mean hope you had a good catch up with the whanau. I also hear youre getting ready to endorse the Trans-Pacific Partnership… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • The Old Man’s Back Again (Dedicated To The Neo-Stalinist Regime)
    Read into this what you will. ...
    1 day ago
  • Top 10 stories of the month – July 2015
    In case you missed something, here are our most read stories for the month.   1 - THE PENCILSWORD: WHO'S AFRAID OF THE TPPA? Laws are made to serve people, not profits, says Toby Morris. So what does… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wynyard Quarter’s fourth birthday
    Given how successful it’s been and how cherished it already is by Aucklanders, we often forget Wynyard Quarter is only four years old. After years of planning and construction it opened to the public in August 2011 just before the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wynyard Quarter’s fourth birthday
    Given how successful it’s been and how cherished it already is by Aucklanders, we often forget Wynyard Quarter is only four years old. After years of planning and construction it opened to the public in August 2011 just before the… ...
    2 days ago
  • National ignores fraud at charter school
    So, in addition to ignoring poor attendance, bullying, drug use and management infighting at charter schools, National is also ignoring apparent fraud by staff:Staff who withdrew $4000 in cash from a school's account and failed to explain what they spent… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National ignores fraud at charter school
    So, in addition to ignoring poor attendance, bullying, drug use and management infighting at charter schools, National is also ignoring apparent fraud by staff:Staff who withdrew $4000 in cash from a school's account and failed to explain what they spent… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days 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… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Kick Out The Jams: Beatcomber
    Beatcomber are “a crazy, noisy, psychedelic, super-delayed, saturated, gear orientated, band from Wellington.” That’s how guitarist/vocalist Trent Williams describes them anyway. He says that he modelled his sound off surf music, which he was listening to a lot of when… ...
    2 days ago
  • Weekly Reading: Best longreads on the web
    Our weekly recap highlighting the best feature stories from around the internet.   She's So Rad. The true cost of streaming: Spotify paid Kiwi band with five-star reviews and 90,000 streams just $130 – by Lydia Jenkin,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Honouring Erima Henare – a lasting legacy
    Tamāki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare is proud to have been the “first Te Kōhanga Reo baby” elected to Parliament. All who follow in his footsteps and all Kōhanga Reo students and their families, past and present owe a debt… ...
    2 days ago
  • Honouring Erima Henare – a lasting legacy
    Tamāki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare is proud to have been the “first Te Kōhanga Reo baby” elected to Parliament. All who follow in his footsteps and all Kōhanga Reo students and their families, past and present owe a debt… ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate change: Halfway there
    In 1992 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change committed the world to preventing "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". This is generally interpreted as limiting climate change to an increase of no more than 2 degrees Celsius… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate change: Halfway there
    In 1992 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change committed the world to preventing "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". This is generally interpreted as limiting climate change to an increase of no more than 2 degrees Celsius… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate change: Halfway there
    In 1992 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change committed the world to preventing "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". This is generally interpreted as limiting climate change to an increase of no more than 2 degrees Celsius… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago

  • Will poor TPP dairy outcome stop National selling out our homes?
    After failing to protect the right to stop foreign speculators buying our houses it’s clear the Government is not going to get wins on dairy in their TPP negotiations either, Labour’s Trade and Export spokesperson David Parker says. “Labour has… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    16 hours ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    16 hours ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    16 hours ago
  • Bennett’s legacy a test for Tolley
    Former Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has been thrown under the bus by her successor after its been suggested that Ms Bennett gave the green light to an ‘unethical’ observational study of high-risk children, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Submission to Greater Christchurch Earthquake Recovery: Transition to Rege...
    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Draft Transition Recovery Plan on behalf of the New Zealand Labour Party.  It is important that the citizens of Canterbury have a voice in the governance of the next step of… ...
    20 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… ...
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days 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
    3 days 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… ...
    3 days 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… ...
    3 days 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… ...
    3 days 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… ...
    3 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    7 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… ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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,… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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

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