web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Outsourcing: Scamming the system

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, July 19th, 2013 - 21 comments
Categories: capitalism, democracy under attack, education, employment, john key, national, poverty, prisons, Privatisation, uk politics, welfare - Tags:

Recent legislation by the NZ government is resulting in more necessary and basic public services being outsourced to being run by private entities. With this in mind, it is sobering to read a new report on the UK government’s extensive “outsourcing” (of public services) programme.  The report is by a think tank, Institute for Government (IfG), that includes some people with academic backgrounds as well as a few people who worked with Blair’s government.  The report exposes major ways that outsourcing contracts are “gamed” (meaning scammed) and the negative impacts of the outsourcing being monopolised by two main players, G4s and Serco.  However, rather than call for outsourcing to be scrapped, the report recommends that the government slow down its outsourcing programme, and tinker with it to improve the regulation and oversight.

The report is by a think tank, Institute for Government (IfG), that includes some people with academic backgrounds as well as a few people who worked with Blair’s government.  The Independent of 18 July, lists these major findings (among others) from the report:

* Private care companies sending residents to hospital for minor conditions – developing a mentality of “just ring 999” to transfer costs on to the NHS.

* Private contractors cutting corners in the Government’s welfare-to-work programme by “parking difficult cases” and “creaming” money for getting people into work who would almost certainly have done so without their involvement.

* Significant concerns that plans to outsource the probation service will not be cost-effective and private companies could be paid for work carried out by local authorities and the NHS.

The scamming of the UK welfare-to-work programme is particularly concerning for for NZ, as our government has just brought in significant changes to the welfare systems. As Simon Collins and Teuila Fuatai report in the NZ Herald:

A further 1000 sole parents and 1000 people with mental health problems will be handed over to contractors who will be paid from $2250 to $16,500 for each person they place in employment for at least a year.

The Independent article says of the IfG findings on the welfare-to-work programme:

The report found particular concerns with the Work Programme, where private companies are paid by results to get the long-term unemployed back into work. It found companies regularly playing the system to ensure they made money. One expert adviser told them: “If providers cannot make money doing the things you expect them to do, they will make money by doing the things you don’t want them to do.”

One director of a Work Programme contractor added: “These contracts are on the edge of being financially viable. You have to aggressively cream and park.”

[...]

Providers were also cutting costs by using “group sessions” and telephone calls rather than face-to-face contact. Providers claim the low fees paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) discourage them from focusing on more challenging groups.

The IfG report also indentified the tendency for a couple of private companies to dominate, particularly G4S and Serco.  These two companies have already been facing criticisms for scamming outsourced public sector work:

The report comes just days after the Government placed all the contracts held by two of the UK’s largest outsourcing firms, G4S and Serco, under review, after an audit showed they had charged for tagging criminals who were either dead, in prison, or never tagged in the first place. The two firms are the major private players in both the privatisation of the criminal justice system and the Work Programme. Experts say it is difficult to see how any further large-scale outsourcing of police, probation or prison projects can succeed without their involvement.

The IfG are wedded to the philosophy of market solutions to social needs and problems.  However, this just encourages profiteering, over putting the care of people first.  David Walker is onto this in the UK Guardian of 18 July:

In politics, ideological conviction remains intact. Tory commitment to ‘the market’ is untouched and shrinking the state and outsourcing the state go hand in hand. Labour, so keen on contracting when in power, is still on board. Contractors retain their friends in high places, including NHS England. Their lobbying power is formidable.

Walker also points out that government contractors (like G4S and Serco) are becoming quite dependent on public sector work. He continues,

And yet they may still be facing a moment of vulnerability, even danger – at least in balance sheet terms. If £1 in £3 of public service spending now goes through contractors, you see ratios of up to 75% in contractors’ dependence on the state (not just UK central government of course). Tony Travers of the London School of Economics calls them ‘para-statal’, not so different from arm’s length bodies or quangos.

As with the privatisation of Whanau Ora, the accounts of private contractors are less open to public scrutiny than if the public sector work was being done by in-house state agencies.

Walker concludes his article with the question that the IfG report doesn’t ask:

On a genuine like for like basis, do private companies provide a better service – defined qualitatively or by price? Perhaps no such general formula is possible, perhaps too much depends on the detail of commissioning or the specifics of the sector (social care will always be very different from bin emptying). But the absence of the algorithm makes the entire debate somewhat flaky – and prey to the ideologues.

The same can be said of all the outsourcing that Key’s government is initiating.

Wanted Poster Paula Bennett large

21 comments on “Outsourcing: Scamming the system”

  1. paul andersen 1

    I am trying to figure out how I can tap into whanau-ora and relieve the tax-payer of some(lots) dosh. If I could tie it into a charter school,I could really clean up.If I rorted the government of enough,I might even bag a knighthood.!! score!!!

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1

      Step one: contact your local National MP and tell them you want to make a sizeable donation in exchange for some government contracts – you can always pay the bribe later when the money comes through.

      • Dv 1.1.1

        A better plan would be to offer the donation for the exchange AND then not pay it.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.2

        That would get you rebuffed in an instant-they arent that silly

        The way to really make it work is to call the local national electorate chair, who will be your conduit – for a cut of course- to the party HQ and then to the top cabinet members.

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2

    There is nothing much to add to your article except my complete agreement with the concerns you raise.

    The 1000 test batch of beneficiaries should be carefully scrutinized as the contractors will surely be on their best behavior – after all, if the preliminary results look bad they will lose out for future contracts. Whatever issues arise it now seems obvious that Work and Income will be hell bent on implementing the policy as we have seen happen with the drug testing (that according to GETS/NRT beneficiaries will be expected to pay for themselves) strong objections were raised by the Ministry of Health but ignored in favour of ideology.

  3. red blooded 3

    +1

    having said that, out-sourcing has been going on for years, including under the last Labour govt. I remember attending policy development seminars focused on the curriculum and assessment for secondary schools about 8 years ago, and they were convened by ‘consultant convenors’ with no link to the education sector at all. They didn’t understand anything about the issues under discussion and were spokes in the wheels rather than facilitating useful discussion and decision-making. Ditto with the original development of NCEA – there was a deliberate policy to exclude teachers from decision-making because of what was termed “provider capture”. Sheer idiocy, and getting even worse with schemes like charter schools.

  4. johnm 4

    The U$K is a steadily worsening disaster: they trying to privatise everything including the NHS. The Artist Taxi Driver puts it as Transferring public money into private hands ( Outsourcing). He covers these issues passionately and thoroughly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhv8qwS0kuY&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A

    Post WW11 the UK was a very poor country with an immense debt owed to the US for the war effort. Yet a socialist system was brought in of the NHS and security in misfortune with a benefit system. Mostly everyone wasn’t rich and there was no feeling of greed to get more than your fair share. No speculative Capital Gain Housing Bubbles for instance.Despite that basic life style for everyone the UK was a happy country and the 60s and 70s were a period of growth and almost full employment.

    Then Thatcher got in and the rot of greed and privilege took off again and the UK’s socialist system was attacked and destroyed and the process is reaching the bitter end now with outsourcing and privatisation of the NHS. The U$K rotted by the greed for unearned wealth especially in the City where Shonkey worked For Merrill Lynch is a miserable place now without hope or optimism for those who didn’t grab their bit of pie. Look at the riots? Almost certainly there’ll be more unrest.

    basic point is Shonkey is b@ggering our society the same way! If Camoron can do it so can he, both are from the same stable of greedy wretches for a society of winner takes all. For a refugee from Nazi Austria his policies will turn many kiwis into destitute refugees in their own homeland. The guy’s evil in that he doesn’t know any better, he has no concept of the commonwealth or socialist principles.

  5. I find it really bizarre that they keep following these techniques even after they’ve proven to fail …we in NZ then seem to pick up and run with them even though they’ve already failed elsewhere…. Crazies running the show

    • karol 5.1

      Well, they certainly fail public sector services. The key part of the articles I quoted is this:

      One director of a Work Programme contractor added: “These contracts are on the edge of being financially viable. You have to aggressively cream and park.”

      Private businesses aim to make a profit. It’s not possible to make a profit out of public services without cutting corners one way or another.

    • QoT 5.2

      It’s only bizarre because you assume the goals of these techniques are the ones they publicly mention.

  6. Everyone appears to be scamming the system, yet people seem to get the most angry when it is poor people who are being accused of it.

    Foreign Exchange: meh
    Libor: meh
    Banks: meh
    Ratings Agencies: meh
    Out Sources Companies: meh

    Sickness Beneficiary works for one hour more than they’ve declared: GET that bennie and HURL them off welfare they should STARVE The audacity of those beggars! SNARL

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      +1

    • tinfoilhat 6.2

      +1

    • emergency mike 6.3

      BL you have to understand that the people you are talking about own the system. So if they want to cheat, well that’s just fine, that’s what the system is for after all, to make them more rich. (Just try to be discrete about it please, we’ve got an illusion to maintain here folks.)

      The slaves however, they can’t be allowed to cheat. Because then there wouldn’t be a system at all. And that just wouldn’t do!

      • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1

        +1

        The double standards amongst the rich would be truly awe-inspiring if it wasn’t so sickening.

      • blue leopard 6.3.2

        @ Emergency Mike,

        That is the problem in a nutshell.

        It is my view (although am aware the point is debatable) that the people who ‘own the system’ now have not always owned it, I believe they have taken advantage of their positions, taken over and corrupted it and in doing so are burning their own nests (along with everyone elses’ first).

        I guess this view assists me in the thought…hope… that this sorry state of affairs can be rectified. :(

  7. the pigman 7

    Good article Karol. Although the Institute for Government sounds like the kind of think-tank that might promote, well, big government (which I have no objection to) this issue needs to be brought into the MSM narrative.

    I saw it first-hand in the UK working as a child protection lawyer. Social workers would palm off parents for “parenting capacity assessment” reports at shitty, inadequately-staffed private residential facilities (for the cool price of something like 50, 000 pounds a month IIRC) run by social workers who’d had enough of being drastically underpaid working at their local authorities. Had one mum stuff her newborn baby between the bed and the wall while being “assessed” and receiving “24 hour monitoring and parenting support” from the staff at the private facility. 1 dead baby, 0 accountability from the private residential facility.

  8. instauration 8

    It is Coming…
    The whole 9 metres of asphalt.
    Instauration usurps Insurrection.

  9. The Coming Instauration 9

    So many un-engaged.
    So much to do.

  10. lenore 10

    “Private contractors cutting corners in the Government’s welfare-to-work programme by …“creaming” money for getting people into work that would almost certainly have done so without their involvement.”
    That cuts both ways though. When I worked for a small org working to support people back to work. I was always seeing the best outcome was for these people getting the skills, confidence etc to do it themselves. When they did, Work & Income or ACC would just say well they did it themselves, why should we have to pay you? Yes they did it themselves – isn’t that the whole point that we want to build people’s competencies so they are independent of having to get ongoing support by orgs such the one I worked for. Some of the case managers only saw outcomes if we had directly played the part and that was frustrating to me as it often meant that those people still may not have the competencies and it continued the dependence.

    Also we have to be careful not to lump everything as bad. I actually found a mixture of group, face-to-face and technology was useful. If you do it right, the group becomes a team and especially for people really isolated, they build up their own resources within the group. I remember one group of mainly guys and they talked about stuff they couldn’t talk to others about. So it depends upon the purpose and motivation. Heaps of the people I worked with weren’t tech savvy so getting them confident on the phone – say when they are getting a phone interview was also part of the whole development of competencies.

    I am out of that whole area now because Work and Income and ACC made it too difficult to be client centred and it was more about getting people off the books. Which leads me to one of my pet hates.
    What pisses me off is that all governments are/have been dishonest and continue to hide unemployment and under employment by taking people off the books when they go on short term courses. We used to run an 8 week course and as far as I was concerned, these people were still unemployed/underemployed looking for work. Yet they would not be counted while on the course.

  11. captain hook 11

    Of course its a scam. The ideology says that governments cant do anything properly but in the meantime a whole cohort of leeches and nitwits have profited by siphoning our money out of the system. Its all about stealing off the treasury and they cant or wont do anything about it.

Links to post

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Comparing the CMJ
    This is a graphical representation of just how much land we’ve turned over to out motorway network. The image below is of what effectively constitutes the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ). This is 49 hectares in size. It kind of reminds me...
    Transport Blog | 25-04
  • Remembering the Dead and Thinking of the Living
    More people are attending ANZAC dawn parades across the country than ever before and the harsh realities of past wars are becoming more widely known. We now know about the lost opportunities that could have avoided military conflict, the poor...
    Local Bodies | 25-04
  • March Madness 2014 results
    We already knew that rail set a new record in March by rising above 11 million passengers for the first time. What we didn’t know is just by how much it had passed and how the other PT modes fared. We...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • A sacred day
    There will be no politicking on this site on Anzac morning, even if John Key is an evil monster who must be stopped at all costs....
    Imperator Fish | 24-04
  • Fatah and Hamas – a marriage made in peace hell
    Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas want to have another go at marriage.They can’t promise anything, but are willing to have a try in order to reinstate the dwindling legitimacy they are both suffering from their respective enclaves....
    Pundit | 24-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    Frankly Speaking | 24-04
  • Three Songs For ANZAC Day
     Eric Bogle:  And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda  Eric Bogle: No Man's Land (The Green Fields Of France)  Redgum: I Was Only Nineteen They tell us that at Gallipoli New Zealand came of age as a nation. Well, if that's true, why is...
    Bowalley Road | 24-04
  • Labels for climate data
    “These results are quite strange”, my colleague told me. He analysed some of the recent climate model results from an experiment known by the cryptic name ‘CMIP5‘. It turned out that the results were ok, but we had made an...
    Real Climate | 24-04
  • Solemn Falsehoods: ANZAC Day, 2014
    Worthy Sons? Every ANZAC Day we tell ourselves that the blood sacrifice of Gallipoli marked the birth of New Zealand nationhood. But as the above poster attests, it was not our independence that George, the King Emperor, acknowledged but our...
    Bowalley Road | 24-04
  • US President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan – Presser
    Press Release – The White House PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) On behalf of the Japanese people, I would like to express my heartfelt welcome to President Barack Obama, who is in Japan as our state guest. Barack and I...
    Its our future | 24-04
  • Shane Jones’ new job raises Ministerial interference questions
    The Public Service Association says the announcement that Labour MP Shane Jones is to move to a new ‘ambassador-level’ role...
    PSA | 24-04
  • Evidence lacking for Northland council amalgamation
    The Public Service Association has told a Local Government Commission hearing in Kaikohe that there is a lack of evidence supporting...
    PSA | 24-04
  • World News Brief, Thursday April 24
    Top of the AgendaObama Navigates Asia-Pacific Security Challenges...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • This is treason, sirs!
    A guest post by Captain Horace Cockwood, RN, on the problems besetting the Labour Party...
    Imperator Fish | 24-04
  • The Beatification of St Jonesy
    This has been even stupider than I thought it would be. The majority of the media commentary regarding Jones has been – as Malcolm Tucker would put it – borderline homoerotic. Morning Report featured Damien O’Connor, Clayton Cosgrove, John Tamihere, Chris...
    DimPost | 24-04
  • Photo of the day – ANZAC
    I don’t know if they’ve done it again this year but this from 2012 was one of my favourite things to happen in Takutai Square Photo are credited to oh.yes.melbourne...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • How to become a climate change denier (in 4 easy steps)
    Cartoon drawn by Joshua Cakeburger Drummond as a contribution to the High Water Project, and rooted in bitter experience, I suspect…...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • TV3′s The Nation: Antarctica and public understanding of climate change
    A few days have passed since Lisa Owen’s interview with Antarctic scientists Chuck Kennicutt of the US and Gary Wilson of New Zealand on TV3’s The Nation but I hope it’s still worth drawing attention to. Programmes like The Nation...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • Shane Gones
    So, Shane Jones is quitting politics.  The reasons given, according to Polity, are because he wants the Labour Party to embrace a wide range of opinions, and that that too many people have opinions he doesn't agree with, like forming...
    Left hand palm | 24-04
  • Australia welches on open government
    Last year, Australia announced that it was joining the Open Government Partnership. But now that Tony Abbott is in charge, they're backing out:THE Abbott government is reconsidering Labor’s pledge to sign Australia up for a major international transparency and citizen...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • A counterproductive waste of money
    That's the quick assessment of Britain's participation in the "war on terror":Britain's military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to an...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Shane Jones Nationalised
    Shane Jones is on Radio Live as I type this, explaining that he quit politics because he just couldn't be arsed etc.  "No reservoir of energy to..." as he put it.  Ridiculous.  Retirement at 54.  A career beginning and ending...
    Tumeke | 24-04
  • The ICJ orders Australia to stop interfering with witnesses
    Last year, in what was clearly the actions of a guilty government, the Australian government detained a former ASIS agent who was going to testify against them over their bugging of the government of East Timor, raiding his house and...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Here’s what a real bloke sounds like
    Kelvin Davis3 hrs ·...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • So long Shane, thanks for all the ‘fush’
    So Shane Jones is off. Retired from politics he says. Couldn’t give 100 percent to the cause so he did what he thought was best for the Party.Shane Jones has always been a polarising figure and never more so when...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 24-04
  • The benefits of transparency
    Ministerial expenses were released today, and as usual, I spent an hour trawling through the credit card statements hoping to find evidence of Ministers rorting us. So what did I find? Nothing. No $1,000 a night luxury hotel rooms. No...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Christchurch to use Auckland’s old trains?
    As the new electric trains roll out over the coming year or so, a question we don’t know the answer to is what will happen to the old diesel trains Auckland no longer needs. Of course we will need to...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • Access: Defective, deficient, deviant and delinquent
    As many NZ babies do, I developed eczema and asthma. My mother took me to various clinicians. I have vague impressions of kindly doctors with strange accents. In retrospect they were probably part of the Jewish diaspora - educated at...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • An FPP politician in an MMP world
    So, now that Shane Jones has gone, he's come clean about the reason: he didn't want to work alongside Russel Norman and the Greens. Which I think emphasises just how much of a throwback Jones was, and how unsuited he...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: News from talented women
    As I may have noted once or twice, Janine and the Mixtape's Dark Mind EP is one of last year's overlooked local gems. Or perhaps not-so-overlooked now, given that her new video for 'Hold Me' was premiered this week on...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • Focus on housing costs, raise wages not interest rates
    "The increase in the Reserve Bank's interest rate, while expected, shows little imagination and will raise mortgage costs for home owners," says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg. “The focus should be on getting housing costs down, and raising wages to make...
    CTU | 23-04
  • One year on: progress made to prevent another Rana Plaza tragedy
    Date of Release: Thursday, April 24, 2014Body:  An official from one of the two global union bodies that negotiated the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, currently visiting New Zealand, says that the Accord continues to make big steps forward to ensure...
    First Union Media | 23-04
  • Update from Dr.Gevil
    We wanted to share with you a little fun....
    Gareth’s World | 23-04
  • Matauri Bay: There are certain stories that get under your skin
    There are certain stories that get under your skin, stories that no matter how many times you hear them somehow strike you in a way that you never forget, stories that become a very part of you. The story of...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-04
  • Anit-fluoridation advertising deceptive
     Looks like the scientific fight-back against the misinformation coming from anti-fluoridation groups is having some success. This press release from the on-line Making Sense of Fluoride group. Anti Fluoridation Advertisements Rejected by The Advertising Complaints Authority Over the past week,...
    Open Parachute | 23-04
  • The Art of Letting Go
    via Porcupine Farm   While the big news with regard to the rebuild has been the scaling back of the Arts Precinct, this is just one part of a wider narrative that sees the grand plan unravelling. Since I wrote...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 23-04
  • Joyce tells Otago to ship in more students
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 11 Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is using threatened changes to university councils to bully the University of Otago to take more international students, says TEU national secretary Sharn...
    TEU | 23-04
  • New money for Māori innovation won’t cover cuts to Māori research
    Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori centre of research excellence is welcoming the  government’s decision to invest up to $2.5 million a year over the next two years in Māori-led science and...
    TEU | 23-04
  • UCOL staff given holiday but not pay rise
    UCOL staff got two extra days’ holiday they did not bargain for this week between Easter and Anzac Day, but what they really want is a pay rise. The polytechnic’s chief executive Paul McIlroy said...
    TEU | 23-04
  • Workers Memorial Day 2014
    Please be advised that there are three events planned to commemorate Workers Memorial Day (28 April) in Wellington. The media are invited to attend all three events.What When Photo:  ...
    CTU | 23-04
  • Shane Jones speaks out
    On 3news last night, Shane Jones gave a staged interview where he got some things off his chest. Not exactly a graceful exit, but there you go. Two of the things he said were especially interesting to me. Shane said:...
    Polity | 23-04
  • No Economic Rationale for $760m Warkworth Toll Road
    This is the fifth in a series of posts based on the Campaign for Better Transport’s submission to the Puhoi to Warkworth Board of Inquiry. The full presentation is over at bettertransport.org.nz In this post we look at the economic...
    Transport Blog | 23-04
  • iPredict Ltd 2014 Election Update #15
    Column – iPredict iPredicts 7000 registered traders continue to believe Winston Peters NZ First party will hold the balance of power after the election and allow National to govern. There has been a small gain to Act and the Conservatives...
    Its our future | 23-04
  • Photo of the day – Vulcan Lane
    Vulcan Lane alive with people Photo is credited to oh.yes.melbourne...
    Transport Blog | 23-04
  • Have your say on what Internet rights should look like
    Today I launched my Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill – NZ’s first ever bill crowdsourced by a political party. The launch happened live on Reddit, and I was joined in my office Joy Liddicoat (former Human Rights Commissioner and present...
    frogblog | 23-04
  • Michael Porter on Social Progress
    via CNN, Fareed Zakaria has a fascinating interview with Harvard's Michael Porter, architect of the Social Progress Index that was launched to great fanfare a little while back. New Zealand won the top rank in that index, and Porter's main...
    Polity | 23-04
  • Time running out to save uni councils
    There’s only a week left to have your say on the Government’s changes to university and wānanga councils. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has put forward dramatic changes to the way uni and wānanga councils are made up – removing...
    frogblog | 23-04
  • Another reason why we need an enforceable BORA
    Back in 2003, the then-Labour government, faced with the "threat" of an unpopular child-sex offender being released from prison at the end of their sentance, enacted the Parole (Extended Supervision) and Sentencing Amendment Act, allowing them to be detained for...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Attack of the Return of the Revenge of the Night of Boris Johnson
    The Great White Shark is circling closer and closer ...Boris Johnson is to announce he will stand for Parliament at next year’s election – to avoid speculation on his future overshadowing the Tory campaign.Friends of the London Mayor say he...
    Left hand palm | 23-04
  • The Greens’ "internet bill of rights"
    Today the Green party released their draft Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill. The bill is a response to government interference in cyberspace via the GCSB Act, TICS, and the Skynet law, and is intended to limit government control. Interestingly, they're...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Govt fails Southern Cross Forest workers
    The Government's failure to deal with problems in the wood processing industry has resulted in more needless job losses, Green Party forestry spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.Southern Cross Forest Products announcement of another sawmill closure brings the tally of closures...
    Greens | 24-04
  • Humiliation for Government in Chinese dictat
    New Zealand’s food safety systems should be respected by our trading partners, but instead the Government has been humiliated with the Chinese dictating the terms of our infant formula production, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.   “The Government...
    Labour | 24-04
  • Honouring our Pacific soldiers
    Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson and MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio, will pay a special tribute to the many Pacific Islanders who fought in the New Zealand Armed Forces during the First World War in a speech he is giving...
    Labour | 24-04
  • Government inaction on power and housing to blame for latest rate rise
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says today's interest rate rise, that will hit home owners and businesses, is a consequence of the government's failure to get a grip on electricity prices and the property market, particularly in Auckland."The Green Party...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Rate rise not needed if Government was doing its job
    Today’s interest rate rise wouldn’t have been necessary if the Government had been doing its job properly and targeting the sources of inflation, Labour says. “New Zealand interest rates are among the highest in the world, putting more and more...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Real independence needed in food safety
    The Green Party are calling for a truly independent body to regulate our food safety.Food safety Minister Nikki Kaye has announced the establishment of a Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council as part of the Government's response to last year's...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Another report won’t help the East Coast
    The Government has a critical role to play in regional development on the East Coast says Gisborne-based Labour MP Moana Mackey “The release of the East Coast Regional Economic Potential Study highlights a number of areas of strength and weakness...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Another interest rate hike will punish mortgage holders
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says another interest rate hike on Thursday will cost home owners an extra $25 a month on a $250,000 mortgage, on top of the $25 dollars a month from the previous rates rise, and she...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Green Party launches Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill
    The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand's first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party.Members of the public will be invited to shape the proposed law, which will protect ten basic rights and...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Sanil Kumar has to leave New Zealand tomorrow
    The Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye’s decision not to intervene means kidney transplant patient Sanil Kumar must leave New Zealand by tomorrow, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Rajen Prasad. “Kumar, a plumber and sheet metal worker, was on a work visa...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Time to do the right thing for our veterans
    A Labour government will adopt the Law Commission’s recommendation to ensure all war veterans are eligible for a Veteran’s Pension, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Veterans are only eligible for the pension if they are considered ‘significantly’ disabled, or more...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Public servant is owed an apology
    Nigel Fyfe is owed an apology from the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “The former MFAT official has now been restored to a position in the Ministry...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Laws for enforcing not trading off
    The idea that a Government department can give a nod and a wink to traders that it won’t enforce shop trading laws and for a Government MP to then claim it as grounds for a review of the law is...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Kiwis still paying too much for ACC
    Kiwis are still paying too much for ACC so that the National Government can balance its books, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “ACC Minister Judith Collins told Cabinet levies were too high but ACC’s proposed cuts would impact the...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Collins’ memory recovery raises further concerns
    Judith Collins sudden memory of briefing the New Zealand Ambassador to China about her dinner with a Chinese border official and her husband's fellow Oravida directors raises further concerns about exactly what was discussed, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This...
    Labour | 21-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how mu