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Pike River – Charges against Peter Whittall withdrawn

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, December 12th, 2013 - 44 comments
Categories: disaster, health and safety, law and "order", Mining - Tags:

pike river families

In breaking news all charges laid under the HSIE Act against former Pike River boss Petter Whittall have been withdrawn.

From the Herald:

In a shock development in the Christchurch District Court this morning, the Crown said that after an extensive review it was “not appropriate to continue with the prosecution against Mr Whittall”.

Mr Whittall has proposed that a voluntary payment be made on behalf of the directors and officers of Pike River Coal Ltd (in receivership) at the time of the explosions to the families of the 29 men who died and the two survivors.

It means $110,000 will be given to each of the families and survivors – totalling $3.41m.

Mr Whittall’s lawyer Stuart Grieve QC today said a bank cheque has been given to the court and asked for Judge Jane Farish to make sure the money was available by Christmas.

While I am pleased that further compensation will be paid to the Pike River victims’ families it is disturbing that the payment of money should result on the face of it with charges being withdrawn.  There are public policy considerations and the need to maintain deterrence which mean that sometimes prosecutions should occur even if some financial redress has been paid.

The amount, $110,000 per victim, is the exact same amount that Judge Farrish ordered the company to pay when the company was sentenced for the same offence.  I wonder if the payment is in full and final settlement of this claim?  If so it seems that John Key and the Government are off the hook.

The payment is apparently being made on behalf of the directors and officers of the company at the time of the explosion.  It may be that it will be in satisfaction of any potential civil liability.  The payment was justified on the basis that a successful defence would have cost about the same amount.

Finally an apology of sorts was tendered.

Mr Whittall wishes to reiterate his heartfelt sympathy for the families and friends of those men who lost their lives in the Pike River coal mine in November 2010.

He has offered to meet with the families to convey these sentiments in person.”

Expressing sympathy and saying sorry are not necessarily the same thing.  Why is it that sorry seems to be sometimes the hardest word?

Update:  Radio New Zealand reported that Bernie Monk on behalf of the families said outside the Court that the payment was “blood money” and said they did not want to meet with Mr Whittall.

44 comments on “Pike River – Charges against Peter Whittall withdrawn”

  1. Philj 1

    Xox
    Pike River mine.
    Justice has just left the country. Welcome to the jungle.

    • Paul 1.1

      Just read Rebecca Macfie’s book on Pike River.
      Beats me how he could have got off. given the evidence there.

      • phillip ure 1.1.1

        but what would he have got..?

        ..best-case scenario..guilty/sentenced..?

        ..six months home-detention..?

        ..and after a fortune spent prosecuting him..?

        ..better the money go to the families..

        ..than be thrown at lawyers..

        ..in an exercise in (however well-deserved) scapegoating/revenge..

        ..better the money than that hollow feeling..

        ..want to do something meaningful in their memory..?

        ..work yr/our arses off to get corporate-manslaughter on the books..

        ..with meaningful penalties..

        ..for those greed-driven/uncaring bastards..i would say..’lock em up!’..

        ..but for now..?

        ..better the money..

        ..phillip ure..

    • dave 1.2

      29 dead no compensation the corperations walk away not good enough cave creek all over again
      the nats have got to go

  2. Will@Welly 2

    Blood money – filth – welcome to John Keys brighter future. The crown withdrew the charges mainly due to cost – when has that ever been a problem if you’re poor or coloured.
    So no one is accountable for 29 dying in the mine – fuck me.

    • Arfamo 2.1

      Really? Is that all it was? Can you imagine how the DoL was going to look by the time the Defence had finished asking what it had done to protect the workers? Call me cynical, but I imagine shutting the whole thing down looked like the best option for a host of reasons.

    • infused 2.2

      It wasn’t just cost you fool. Read the damm article.

      • Will@Welly 2.2.1

        The Crown Prosecutor cited “cost” as a major factor in withdrawing the charges. A long and lengthy trial – so when has ever been an issue. This smacks of one big sham starting at the top with Key and Joyce. Find the money, find the trail, find the National Party coffers.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      Ask the Urewera defendents about ‘charges unlikely to succeed’?

      But they went ahead anyway, but of course the Police have unlimited budgets and patience for these sort of fishing expeditions where nobody was injured or harmed in anyway

  3. Sue 3

    Shame! – Shame on you Peter Whittall – Shame on the government – What a dark day for the families and survivors – in fact for all workers in this country.

  4. Bill 4

    12th December 2013. The day New Zealand achieved 3rd World status. The cost of the license to do anything to anyone with impunity? Four zero’s and two one’s.

    Wonder why I’m remembering a scene from an old western where some settler tries to buy her safety by offering jewelery to the Indians…who then stuff her mouth with it til she chokes and expires.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Justice has indeed left the country; the rule of corporate malfaesance begins in earnest.

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    CTU to consider seeking a judicial review.- Helen Kelly

    • alwyn 6.1

      I’m not a lawyer but can they get a judicial review on such a matter?
      And also would the CTU have any standing to seek such a thing?

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.1.1

        Google is your friend.

        “…judicial review is available when an Act of Parliament creates a discretionary power for public officials to exercise – be they Ministers, Chief Executives of Government Ministries, or Ministry employees – and somebody adversely affected by the exercise of that power challenges the decision on the basis that the person exercising it has not acted consistently with the power given by the Act, for example, by misinterpreting the provision giving it. ”

        My emphasis.

        • alwyn 6.1.1.1

          Yes I read that too but I didn’t understand what it meant. Is the CTU adversely affected by the no prosecution choice? Similarly are the Police, or Crown Law for that matter, reviewable?

          • Arfamo 6.1.1.1.1

            No, but the families might consider they are, and the CTU might perhaps, along with others, choose to assist them because of the implications for other workers.

            As I understand it the discretion whether to exercise any statutory authority, and whether it was properly exercised, can be judicially reviewed. Unless there is an explicit statutory prohibition against JR.

            Anyone with legal expertise able to clarify?

            • alwyn 6.1.1.1.1.1

              I hadn’t thought about the families being the direct apellants, not the CTU.
              I also read, but forgot to put it the previous comment something that, as I understood it, meant that a Judicial Review could only look at the way a decision was made but could not look at what the decision was. Again I wasn’t sure what they were talking about.
              Where do you find a “pro bono” lawyer when you want one?

              • Rogue Trooper

                Community Law Centre :-D

              • Arfamo

                Yes, that’s correct. As I understand it, in a judicial review the judge can’t simply substitute his or her own decision for that of the original decision-maker – they only decide whether the decision was properly made, with the statutory decision-maker having taken into account and given proper consideration to all the relevant matters that needed to be considered, including the provisions of fairness and natural justice under administrative law.

                Generally I think if the decision is found to be deficient, it will be referred back for reconsideration with directions.

  7. Ake ake ake 7

    Great precedence for big businesses coming into NZ (deep sea oil mining companies next?)
    Justice, culpability and punishment can be avoided quite cheaply and easily.

    /sarc

  8. shorts 8

    Our collective National Shame

    Might as well give the Pike Management and the Board knighthoods and be done with it all

    FFS

  9. ianmac 9

    Mr Key was in some trouble for ruling out a Government payout. Politically damaging.
    I bet he was surprised at the charges being dropped and the money appearing like a pot of gold at the end of his rainbow. Like what a co-incidence! Get a Lotto ticket John.
    What a relief for John Key.
    Are we reassured that all is well in NZ?
    (Really pleased for the families though.)

  10. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 10

    ..so what has been done to address the moral hazard aspects of this devastating event?

    What in this outcome ensures that both company directors and the NZ government actors feel something over and above a ‘duty’ to ensure workers are not being placed in circumstances of unreasonable danger? …because this sense of ‘duty’ appears to be in short supply at present.

    Is it left to those who have lost members of their family due to mismanagement of directors and the government to sue to ensure worker safety is taken seriously?

    Isn’t this something that is the government’s duty – not private citizens – to follow through with?

  11. greywarbler 11

    I needed to refresh myself so hae been doing some searches.

    First an interesting quote from Peter Whithall on one site.
    On sharetrader.co.nz site
    Some comments from sector and business people.Sideshow Bob wrote from Bolivia quoting unfavourable predictions.
    zorba disagreed using the silly tall-poppy put down that the well educated resort to when being confronted by negative factual arguments.
    “This is the classic Kiwi story of knocking a “tall poppy” project simply because its going to be a success …… he has an emotional investment in the project not succeeding.”

    A copy of letter by Peter Whitthall, General Manager, Mines written 23 May 2007 to the
    Greymouth Evening Star firmly criticising Dr Murry Cave saying in part –
    his description of deep, highly gassy coals and associated risk of outburst bears no relationship with the shallow, moderately gassy, non-outburst prone conditions at Pike River.

    Further detail –
    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/pike-river-mine-inquiry/pike-river-some-background-reading/

    Then there is the book that has recently been released which is said to be very thorough and factual and strong stuff.
    Book – Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and why 29 men died.
    by Rebecca Macfie
    launched in Greymouth
    16 November 2013
    Except despite early plans to pre-drain methane from the coal seam before mining began, this hadn’t happened. Instead, gas was bled out of the seam from the in-seam drill holes that Pike relied on to find out where the coal seam lay, and drained through a pipeline the company knew to be inadequate and overpressured.

    Pike had forged ahead with the introduction of its hydro-mining system before establishing the second means of egress that was required in law. It had widened the area to be mined with the hydro monitor without adequate knowledge of how the strata above would behave. It had started commissioning the system without having sufficient skilled workers to man it, and in the face of repeated spikes in the volume of methane released into the mine atmosphere.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/west-coast/9407313/Book-Excerpt-Tragedy-at-Pike-River-Mine
    and further from the book –
    http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/pike-river-mine-fatally-flawed/
    Nothing was heard from other people who had been closely involved in the development of the mine. Gordon Ward, who had been Pike River Coal’s chief executive until two monthsbefore the disaster, remained resolutely in Australia, where he now lived.
    Tony Radford, who had chaired the Pike board until 2006, remained a director until June 2011, and was chair of New Zealand Oil & Gas, wrote a brief submission under a compulsion order from the Royal Commission. He was not called to give testimony.

    Something about the interaction re Gordon Brown
    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/pike-river-mine-inquiry/pike-river-inquiry-phase-3-whittall-rejects-allegations/

    Some history –
    Various setbacks occurred during late 2007 and early 2008 delaying the start of coal production.
    The mine operators noted that technical difficulties with several mining machines were to blame for the delays, which also forced the company to ask for an extension from its financiers.[5]In February 2010, the first export shipment of 20,000 tons of coal was delivered to India for use in steel production.
    An explosion on Friday 19 November 2010 trapped 29 workers inside the mine.
    I lost my link to some of the factual information..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_River_Mine gives some more detail

    Finance and backers.
    Pike River Coal Ltd is listed on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. It raised NZ$85 million in additional capital for expanding the mine in 2007.[29] As of August 2007, over NZ$100 million had already been invested into developing the mine.

    The development was valued at NZ$2.3 billion and was initially held by New Zealand Oil & Gas (29% stake plus options and bonds[31]) as well as the two Indian companies, Gujarat NRE Coke Limited (17% share), and Saurashtra Fuels Private Limited (15% share),

    After the IPO, the ownership percentages changed to NZ Oil and Gas 31%, Gujarat NRE Coke 10%, Saurashtra Fuels 8.5%, with private minority shareholders holding 7.9% and the remaining 42.5% having been sold to the general public.[4

    Timeline of disaster
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4368031/
    and when Peter Whitthall General Manager –
    A company involved with lots of positive talk about expertise and chest-beating big business deal –
    http://www.tunneltalk.com/MacDow-Feb09-Award-winner-at-Pike-River.php
    and
    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/pike-river-mine-inquiry/what-really-happened-at-pike-river/

    and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_manslaughter

    • Paul 11.1

      Have just read the book.
      It makes you ashamed to come from this country, when our legislators set up the laws to protect profit above people. Pike River was a cowboy company, allowed to operate under the deregulated wasteland that NZ become after the neoliberals looted it from 1984 to 1993.

  12. greywarbler 12

    Don’t know where the smiley face got in. It looks as if there should be a capital D but I can’t edit.
    The ghost in the machine has a ‘funny’ sense of humour.

    [Fixed – MS]

  13. Will@Welly 13

    Time for that biddy goat Farish to hang up her robe, take her over-inflated pension, and find a new career. Perhaps Finlayson’s bitch.

  14. jcuknz 14

    I think it preferable that the families should get the cash rather than it be used to feed the legal aparatus with the likely result that nobody gets hung and nobody gets satisfaction in a long winded court action.

    • ghostrider888 14.1

      yes (sighs reluctantly with head bowed). Where does the power (Influence ) lie? Has there been a flood of judgements in favour of ‘labour’ (hmmm, reminds me of some Younger-than-me people I met today) and the environment under the behaviour over recent years of the Crown? ( reflects for , well didn’t need to really ) Tokenism , reminds me of all the greenstone pendants that re so visible as well collectively fail our kaitiakitanga (cannot incentivize the recycling of glass and aluminium for thsoe that would naturally benefit for example)
      That Graham McCready is a wonderful and atoning man though; just wonderful, people will not forget him like they shall John Key (restaint :-D )
      It’s not called the Peoples Republic of China by deception; Very wise people The Chinese; much can be learned from their reciprocation in trade (mercantile means, possibly alternative ends, we shall see) Must bring the rear along with the front; The Stick or The Carrot? (should be able to understand that; not certainly though, intoxication appears to be a popular past-time) :-D

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    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Treasury says failure to cut emissions could cost $34,000 per household
    Treasury figures, released by the Sustainability Council today, show failing to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will cost between $2,000 and $34,000 per household, the Green Party said. The Sustainability Council has obtained figures previously redacted from a...
    Greens
  • Greens call on the Auditor General to investigate serious conflict of inter...
    The Green Party has asked the Auditor General to investigate serious conflicts of interest over Food and Grocery Chief Katherine Rich's membership on the board of the Health Promotion Agency (the Agency)."I've asked the Auditor General to investigate because the...
    Greens
  • Central Govt to blame for Auckland rail delay
    The National Government is delaying Auckland's rail development, while pushing ahead with the expensive Puhoi to Wellsford motorway, a motorway with declining traffic volumes, benefiting fewer people and business, said the Green Party today.Yesterday, Mayor Len Brown proposed to push...
    Greens
  • Govt grants mining licence in marine protected area
    The Government is making a mockery of our marine protections by granting a mining licence for Chatham Rise Phosphate to mine for phosphate in a marine protected area, the Green Party said.Chatham Rock Phosphate was granted a mining permit today,...
    Greens
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Disabled parking spaces are for the disabled
    Many districts across the country have been changing the mobility parking spots to the vivid blue colour scheme as opposed to the simple yellow sign. This has been done as an attempt to make the designated spots more visible to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
    Scoop politics
  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
    Scoop politics
  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
    Scoop politics
  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
    Scoop politics
  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
    Scoop politics
  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
    Scoop politics
  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
    Scoop politics
  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
    Scoop politics
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
    Scoop politics
  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
    Scoop politics
  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
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  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
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  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
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  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
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  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
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  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
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  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
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  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
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  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
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  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
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  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
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  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
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  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
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  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
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  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
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  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
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  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
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  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
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  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
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  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
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  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
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  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
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  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
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  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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  • Government cutting back health services to dangle tax cuts
    The health service is already too stretched, and cutting further into New Zealanders’ health services to fund tax cuts is irresponsible, the CTU said today. Leaked cabinet committee papers have revealed District Health Boards need an additional $440 million...
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  • Christian Network calls for prayers and understanding
    New Zealand Christian Network director Glyn Carpenter is calling for people to pray and exercise understanding over the Sydney hostage incident....
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  • Labour congratulated on withdrawing bill
    Euthanasia-Free NZ congratulates Labour leader Andrew Little and MP Iain Lees-Galloway for resisting sponsorship of the ex-Maryan Street voluntary euthanasia bill....
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