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Piketty: inequality & capitalism’s flaw

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 am, April 30th, 2014 - 50 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, economy - Tags:

There is a major new economics tome out this year that’s sending waves through the economics community like none since Friedman in the 70s.

It’s Thomas Piketty‘s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Such is the impact that in a recent seminar at New York’s CUNY he was the headliner over Nobel-winning Krugman and Stiglitz.

Krugman’s review of his impact on conservatives in the New York Times is telling – they are warning that Mr. Piketty’s work must be refuted, because otherwise it “will spread among the clerisy and reshape the political economic landscape on which all future policy battles will be waged.”

And yet they cannot refute his superbly researched thesis, which spans hundreds of years of history and 700 pages.

So the conservatives – who have been focussing on denying the obvious and growing income and wealth disparity, and when that fails, insisting on the rich as job creators (except they’re not) – have resorted to name calling. Piketty, like any who acknowledge unequal wealth, must be ‘Marxist’.

That’s the sum of their refutation.

But Piketty’s argument is stronger than a bit of name-calling.  The essence is that:

economic growth will always be smaller than the profits from any money that is invested. Economic growth is what we all benefit from, but profits from invested money accrue only to the rich. The consequences of this are clear: those who have family fortunes are the winners, and everyone else doesn’t have much of a shot of being wealthy unless they marry into or inherit money.

So Piketty is doing more than acknowledging that inequality exists or is growing – he says that capitalism dooms us to it.  To combine it with a recent Nasa study shows us heading reasonably rapidly to societal collapse.  We’re at pre-WWI levels of wealth disparity and quickly heading to nineteenth century levels (and aristocracy).  That’s levels that hit beyond massive disparities in income, onto worryingly large disparities in equality of opportunity.  The rest of us have very little to no chance of ever catching up, without inheriting from or marrying into the 1%.

Wealth is no function of a fictional meritocracy as the right would have us believe, but of inheritance.

And wealth is where it is at more than income – the top 10% in Europe & the US earn 25-35% of income; but have 60-70% of the wealth.

So a wealth tax is where we need our answer, along with inheritance taxes and high taxes for high incomes.

Those things are beyond our current orthodoxy, but maybe economics may yet lead us there.


Another treatise on the economic (not political) impacts of inequality.

And join Closing the Gap for a NZ focus on reducing inequality.

50 comments on “Piketty: inequality & capitalism’s flaw”

  1. karol 1

    This looks to be a very important development in countering the myths of “neoliberalism” and moving towards an alternative approach to society and governance.

    I see there’s already a big queue for Piketty’s book, as on my public libraries’ website.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Of course, our forebears – who had direct experience of the aristocracy and income distribution of the gilded age barons – didn’t need Thomas Piketty to tell them these things. They instinctively understood what he has empirically now proved, which is why they introduced heavy death duties and progressive tax systems to force the break up of great wealth.

    BTW – Piketty’s book is only $22 for a kindle edition.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Thing is, these things have been known since ancient times when interest was first banned and the writing off of debts was a regular occurrence. Actions that prevent such massive accumulation of societies wealth by the few.

  3. “..So a wealth tax is where we need our answer – along with inheritance taxes -

    and high taxes for high incomes..”

    amen to all that…

  4. just saying 4

    I think inheritance tax is a no-brainer, except for the fact that those with trusts (the middle class and up) would again be able to circumvent paying their fair share.

    Already we have the offensive situation in which the aged of more modest means (and no trust) are asset stripped if they need care, but gazillionaires get a free ride (this situation was somewhat improved by a raise in the value of assets that the elderly are able to keep, under Labour).

    Undoing the inequity caused by trusts would be a natural policy for a Labour Party worth it’s salt but the Labour Party only represents its own nowadays – the minority middle-class who are comfier than they have ever been. It really should change it’s name to reflect the reality. I suggest ‘The Puku Party’.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      I think inheritance tax is a no-brainer, except for the fact that those with trusts (the middle class and up) would again be able to circumvent paying their fair share.

      The entire tax system, which has effectively been written by the wealthy for the last 500 years, needs to be re-written so that people can’t circumvent paying their fair share. The correct result of such would be that there would be no more wealthy.

      but the Labour Party only represents its own nowadays – the minority middle-class who are comfier than they have ever been. It really should change it’s name to reflect the reality. I suggest ‘The Puku Party’.

      QFT

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    This is what I wrote in Open Mike last night about Piketty. In essence, we are now in a world where the Red Queen rules. Because of energy depletion, resource constraints and climate change, we will have to work harder and harder just to stay in place, let alone “grow.”

    All the while, the power elite are taking over all the levers of power and are concentrating more and more paper and physical wealth around themselves. Piketty’s criticism of capitalism is excellent,but we are leaving that age behind. What we have now is an age of usury, extortion, neo-feudalism and imperial decline. Not capitalism.

    Piketty’s ideas are decent, but they are 25 years too late. We’ve actually moved far past the time the assumptions he uses will actually hold. Care of one of favourite websites Zerohedge:

    By Charles Hugh-Smith:

    The real problem with Piketty’s taxation/social welfare solution to wealth inequality is that it does nothing to change the source of systemic inequality, debt-based neofeudalism and neocolonialism. Simply raising more taxes to fund more social welfare programs leaves the unjust, rapacious, and ultimately destabilizing Status Quo entirely intact.

    I have laid out another path in my books: refuse serfdom, abandon participation in neofeudalism and neocolonialism, and build parallel systems of cooperation and wealth-building that are not debt-dependent.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-28/critique-pikettys-solution-widening-wealth-inequality

    And by James Kunstler:

    I doubt that the Warren Buffets and Jamie Dimons of the world will see their wealth confiscated via some new policy of the Internal Revenue Service — e.g. the proposed “tax on wealth.” Rather, its more likely that they’ll be strung up on lampposts or dragged over three miles of pavement behind their own limousines. After all, the second leading delusion in our culture these days, after the wish for a something-for-nothing magic energy rescue remedy, is the idea that we can politically organize our way out of the epochal predicament of civilization that we face. Piketty just feeds that secondary delusion.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-28/second-biggest-delusion-us-culture

    In relation to today’s conversations, my view is that Reserve Bank goals and interest rate settings are akin to trying to cleverly keep steam pressure up on the Titanic’s engines while the compartments are filling up with water. At this point nothing apart from getting ready for fossil fuel energy depletion, climate change, GFC II and permanent global economic contraction matters one whit.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    So a wealth tax is where we need our answer, along with inheritance taxes and high taxes for high incomes.

    That’s only part of the answer. A hell of a lot of that 60 to 70 per cent of owned wealth needs to be returned to the state as well. In NZ that would mean renationalisation of telecommunications, power and the farms. A maximum income of around $100k would help as well.

    • Not Petey 6.1

      Cuckoo

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Cuckoo You

        • Tracey 6.1.1.1

          but if petey cant be paid much more how will he know his self value or if he is succeeding.

          • Not Petey 6.1.1.1.1

            The $100k maximum income was the least cuckoo comment of DTB although still nutty one must say.

            The nationalisation of telecommunications, power and farms is the kind of cuckoo that could power all the clocks in Switzerland.

            • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s privatisation, otherwise known as feudalism, that’s totally insane. This is what the research that’s coming out shows.

      • aerobubble 6.1.2

        See that’s the point, we should actually just give all our wealth to the richest 1% of 1% because ‘Not Petey’ would say it was the smart thing to do. All hail the King.

    • greywarbler 6.2

      CV and DTB
      Good thinking stuff. DTB you are undoubtedly right and CV you give paths to self-help until the larger DTB suggested action can be brought about.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Yep, need stuff for immediate effect while working on massive medium and long term changes.

        • Tracey 6.2.1.1

          yesbut also need something to break the mindset. when you see the resistence to this thesis youcan see why your solutions are such a long way off.

          • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1.1

            the truth is that political parties and the Wellington elite will be unlikely to deliver for us as real physical constraints close in and start grinding the economy down. We will have to rely on ourselves, on local communities and our close networks to keep going and to find new ways of getting things done.

            A simple example is raising the retirement age. Whose interests exactly is this austerity measure in? A whole bunch of Labour MPs with super schemes and Kiwi Saver schemes worth a quarter million dollars or more are going to have the nerve to vote through an increased retirement age for all other NZers. That’s courage for you.

    • Colonial Viper 6.3

      I would broaden out your comment “needs to be returned to the state” to”needs to be returned to public ownership.”

    • srylands 6.4

      How stupid. A maximum income of $100,000? We would end up looking like a temperate version of Niue. Why would anyone bother getting out of bed?

      • Colonial Viper 6.4.1

        To do work which is personally and professionally fulfilling, to positively contribute to society, to find a unique role and sense of identity in ones local community.

        (I personally think that a maximum income of 10x the median income is more reasonable = $290,000 pa or so. Set the income tax rate above that at say 91%, like it used to be in the US in the early 60′s).

      • Draco T Bastard 6.4.2

        $100k is more than enough to live comfortably on. Any more than that is pure greed and it is greed that destroys society.

        • Tracey 6.4.2.1

          slylands doesnt realise that most people in nz earn less than 100k pa and get out of bed everyday. some even serve others ahead of large paypackets.

          he doesnt know how to measure his self worth unless he can strive for a further payrise, like the donkey and the carrot.

  7. Ennui 7

    The problem we will have with regulating top wage levels by means of tax is that the money will find its way elsewhere. With the public sector I believe wages could be easily regulated (by way of a State Services pay structure) to get rid of fat cat managers pretending to be the same as private sector managers.

    The basic difference between private sector CEOs and public sector CEOs is that the private sector has income risk. State services CEOs get their income via tax, no risk, no need to have to sell etc. In my book they have so little income risk that they are worth fekk all.

    Control of private sector salaries gets problematic in that corporates in particular are often monopolies, duopolies etc, in effect rentiers. Rentiers need to be thoroughly regulated, and taxing their companies at a high rate is a great idea. In my experience these companies (power, telcos etc) if allowed are a dead weight on productive enterprise, their CEOs a parasitic elite.

    Companies in competitive markets have pressure to sell, and price pressure, which means they have to be lean and mean. These companies generate the money that gets sucked into “rentiers” books and tax that pays for public services. It would in my mind be counter productive to try to hard to restrict what could be earned. Top tax would be OK but I suspect that the accountants would find a way of using profits elsewhere, so it becomes a matter of Treasury and the IRD etc of coming up with ways of channeling that cash into places where it benefits the whole economy.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      The basic difference between private sector CEOs and public sector CEOs is that the private sector has income risk.

      Uh, no.

      From what I’ve seen big private sector CEOs who screw up get shown the door with a big golden parachute. In the US, bank CEOs almost destroyed the economy. Did you see the likes of a Jamie Dimon or a Lloyd Blankfein get sent to the poorhouse? So where is the income risk exactly?

      Do you mean getting a base salary of $1M pa with a potential bonus of $1M “at risk”? Oooooh that’s so risky!!! You might miss out on the $1M bonus and only make $1M total for the whole year!!!

      State services CEOs get their income via tax, no risk, no need to have to sell etc. In my book they have so little income risk that they are worth fekk all.

      Nah. NZ was built on a tradition and culture of public service; public servants who were paid very moderately but who believed in the professionalism of their calling of ‘serving the public’. These kinds of people have either been pushed out over the last 20 years, have left for overseas, or have simply retired.

      Calling state services heads “CEOs” is a total neoliberalism, and one that both Labour and National have perpetrated.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        +1

      • Ennui 7.1.2

        CV, we dont disagree….you will note that I describe two reward systems that have very little risk attached.

        One is the leadership of state sector departments etc. The job is not to be strategic and to generate income. That’s the hardest bit in any job, it falls into that category of entrepreneurship, marketing and sales. In government the politicians should deliver the strategy, the IRD delivers the cash….wheres the risk. Its a bureaucratic delivery job. Your best monkey can lead the other monkeys, but monkeys are only worth bananas.

        So to corporate CEOs…..thats where I talked “rentier”. When you “own” a market or part of it your risk factor plummets. This is where the highest pay is given, look at what Telecom has paid its’ CEOs. What for, generally they are useless.

        Which leaves where the real money is made that all the corporate profits and tax take rely upon. That is in “productive” enterprise, and it requires strategic thinking, clear tactical direction, revenue risk, expenditure risk….and lots of people go broke, lose their shirts doing it. These to me are very valuable people and they should be encouraged.

        And in doing so these people should generate the wealth that is better spent rewarding aged care givers, dustmen etc rather than corporate of state sector CEOs.

  8. odysseus 8

    “And wealth is where it is at more than income – the top 10% in Europe & the US earn 25-35% of income; but have 60-70% of the wealth.”

    Does anyone know what the situation in NZ is?

  9. aerobubble 9

    I think the point is missing. That physic rules the universe. That the economic activity, called financialization brought about by neo-liberals like Thatcher and Douglas, has nothing to do with economics, or economists. It was due to the appearance and longevity, of the cheap high density liquid fuels flowing out of the middle east. Economics was what happen afterwards.

    Instead of using the money to go to Mars, end world poverty, we instead use the oil gusher to have wars and create financial empires. It was the biggest fraud in history, the worst kind of survival of the financial fittest. Dumb doesn’t do it justice, Thatcherism was always indecent and doggy, in its simplistic way that made the most boring of conservative feel like revolutionaries.

    Burn all the oil, as quickly as possible; how our animal brain took over our civilization.
    Our collective inner pyromaniac was unleashed.

    Piketty merely provides economists with a way to save their naff science credentials
    and provides a way back in for the neo-liberals to re-brand themselves.

    Monetary value depends solely on the people consenting to it having value, so it
    follows that we the people should benefit from its existence. Yet a media was born
    in the late 70s that use the propaganda machines to peddle that not only are economist
    market makers, rather than followers, but that we the people aren’t underwriting their
    whole neo-liberal experiment with the lives of our kids and grandkids.

    In order for growth, it was decided we had to have it all, now. Now the costs
    are appearing and the day of realization is upon us, least of course we accept
    the economist Piketty putting the heavens back into order even if dire.

    I suppose I’m trying to say, is I agree with Piketty its dire, I just think
    economists isn’t the intellectual sector that should have any say.

    • geoff 9.1

      Piketty’s argument for how 19th century economics snuck back in via Thatcher and Reagan is that the US and UK economies had flattened growth because their economies had finished post-war expansion. They compared themselves to other growing post-war western economies which were still undergoing enormous infrastructural rebuild and felt themselves falling behind. This somehow provided the political impetus to bring in neoliberalism.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      +1

      Economists wouldn’t know what an economy was if they tripped over one

      Piketty is right that capitalism, quite literally, sucks but he fails to realise that and so just says that we to have more taxes on the very well off. It’s not enough. We have to get rid of capitalism.

  10. Picketty’s ideas in their 19th C form were demolished by Karl Marx.
    Capitalist inequality is inherent in the fact that the class that owns the means of production forces the other class that is dispossessed to produce surplus-value as the basis of profits. The distribution of income that results is a mere symptom of these unequal relations of production.
    Worse, Picketty thinks that a widening income gap is accompanied by increasing profitability. Those bosses are truly bloody minded bastards.
    Marx refers to a fixation on the symptoms rather than causes of inequality as “The Trinity Formula” as in the father, son and holy ghost. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch48.htm

    This fetishism has its materialist roots in the alienation or objectification of human labour as a intrinsic characteristic of the commodity which is explained in the first part of Capital Vol 1.
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm#S4

    Ironically, it was the French translation of Capital that Marx thought the best since he had the chance to edit it and since it was serialised accessible to the ordinary worker. Even so, he had misgivings however that the French reader would be impatient to pass quickly from the difficult analysis to :immediate questions that aroused their passions”.
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/p2.htm

    Most of the 600 page books written since on social inequality have only detracted from the truth.

    So what you say?

    Well even though Picketty’s passions leads him to condemn Capitalism his French impatience puts him alongside the German moral socialists that Marx excoriated in the Critique of the Gotha Program for forgetting that capitalism leads to falling profits and that any equalising of income requires a socialist revolution. [Google for the Cached version of the Critique]
    So Picketty’s empiricist method leads to rising profits and a falling share of wages where the political solution that presents itself is a moral condemnation of capitalism, combined with a practical push for the poor to rise up and demand their ‘fair share’ of income, even though their production of profits was never fair.
    So like all those who think that climate catastrophe can be managed by ‘adaptation’ of capitalism Picketty’s analysis stops short of overthrowing capitalism.

    • geoff 10.1

      The value of Picketty’s book is that it leaves those in power, who have used the economic theories of Friedman and Co to justify neoliberal economic reforms, without a leg to stand on.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        We still have to raise the retirement age to balance the budget long term and ensure the sustainability of the super system

        We have to be able to force workers to hand over more of their hard earned money to private sector financial institutions in order to control inflation.

        The economic answer is in export led growth.

  11. BEATINGTHEBOKS 11

    The basic problem with socialism and communism is that homo sapiens will always try harder if they can get a better life by working harder, it is human nature. If there is no incentivisation they won’t try harder but will languish in mediocrity. This is the problem with socialist theory. It is also why there has never been a car made in the European eastern block that anyone in New Zealand or Western Europe wanted to buy. Marxism in New Zealand will never take hold. The desperate conditions necessary for it to become attractive are unlikely to ever exist, I contest that the percentage of the population to VOTE for it ( the irony is not lost on me) will not happen under the current government, maybe the next labour government, but they will probably vote national at the next ELECTION in protest. Life in NZ is simply too good. I know unemployment exists, but most of them won’t vote, and if they do their percentage will be too low. It is a situation carefully managed by the government. Socialism fails because it is human nature to try and win the prize, once fed the winner can spread the spoils, but why would you risk your own neck if somebody else will feed you. Catch 22. Marxist theory belongs to a different time, and a different country ( a poorer country with fewer opportunities) and a different generation. Marxism will never exist in the era of twitter and facebook. Goodbye marxism its over.

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    More than 600 US Economists, including 7 nobel laureates, assert that increases in the minimum wage have little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum wage workers ...
    Closing the Gap | 22-07
  • The NZ First conference: policy highlights
    What were some of the policy announcements that came from the New Zealand First conference?...
    Imperator Fish | 22-07
  • Saved
    The Basin Reserve has been saved: Controversial plans to build a flyover next to the Basin Reserve in Wellington have been killed off by a board of inquiry. In a stunning move today, four commissioners declined resource consent for the...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Not serious
    That's John Key's assessment of his government's failure in the Tania Billingsley case:"I don't make apologies unless there's a serious reason for me to do that." Except apparently it is serious enough to justify an independent inquiry (though one which...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Vote Choice: John Key – the Fence Sitter
    Welcome to ALRANZ’s Vote Choice series, where we offer you our views on candidate’s opinions on abortion and reproductive justice, so that you can make an informed decision on 20 September. We encourage members to go along to candidate forums...
    ALRANZ | 22-07
  • Barry Brill and Anonymous: U R A Fraud
    People send me things. Brightening my email inbox last week was a pithy little email, headed U r a fraud. It didn’t have much to say. Here it is, in its entirety, exactly as it appeared: Please take down your...
    Hot Topic | 22-07
  • Access: Power to (all) the people!
    The society we live in today has been shaped by many struggles, social movements, and revolutionary forces, most aiming to create a more egalitarian existence.  Women, indigenous peoples, LGBT communities, and even animals have secured hard won recognition of their...
    Public Address | 22-07
  • Up Front: Tomorrow Lives Forever
    A while back, I promised you that next time I wrote, we'd have more fun. In that time, the world in general and my life in particular have become much grimmer. Therefore, in my opinion, the Fun is even more...
    Public Address | 22-07
  • More Australian torture
    Successive Australian governments have systematically dehumanised and demonised asylum seekers as part of their war on refugees, and the results have been predictable: torture, murder, and ill-treatment. And now they're torturing refugees to cover up their crimes:Two asylum seekers in...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Petrol price elasticity, and supermarket vouchers
    As we all know, when the price of something goes up, we buy less of it. For some products, we’ll change our behaviour significantly (holidays or books, perhaps). For other products, we just grit our teeth, hand over the credit...
    Transport Blog | 22-07
  • Claudette Hauiti doesn’t wait for a third strike
    National Party list MP Claudette Hauiti has this morning announced her retirement from politics. It’s safe to say that since she came in to Parliament as Aaron Gilmore’s replacement, back in May last year, her career as a backbench MP...
    Occasionally erudite | 22-07
  • Who Shot Down MH17?
    Killing Fields: The tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 is amplified by the Western news medias' refusal to either contextualise the airliner's destruction, or provide its global audience with any explanation other than Russian guilt and perfidy. As if historical events have...
    Bowalley Road | 22-07
  • Good riddance
    Last week we learned that National MP Claudette Hauiti had been stealing from the taxpayer by rorting her expenses. Today, she decided to quit:National list MP Claudette Hauiti has decided to withdraw from the election and politics altogether. She has...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Those Left Standing: The Town Hall
    It depresses me to be writing this piece again. I thought we had put all of this to bed last year. Unfortunately, after the council suggested that the project was on hold, the opinion pages of the Press were once again...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 21-07
  • Juxtaposition
    First, the spin, courtesy of US Secretary of State John Kerry: Israel is under siege from a terrorist organisation... Then, the on the ground report, fromThe Guardian: As the sun begins to sink over the Mediterranean, groups of Israelis gather...
    Polity | 21-07
  • MH17 Routing
    In amongst all the bungling and politicking around a global tragedy, Joe Connell at The Silk Road (And Other Detours) has some solid, evidence-based work on the question of whether Malaysia Airways "made an error" or "cut corners" by flying...
    Polity | 21-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui's dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist...
    Greens | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.  ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has already lost hundreds of jobs, Labour says. Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Hamilton-based list MP Sue...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must not be used as an excuse to take resources away from the capital, Wellington Labour MPs...
    Labour | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable quota market, said Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. “Our reputation as a Lamb producer...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Ae Marika! 22 July 2014
    The big storm has gone, but the damage that it did and the saturation levels that it reached meant that smaller storms quickly overwhelmed roading, and water-flow systems again in the north. And although certain individuals are talking up the...
    Mana | 21-07
  • 2014 Roger Award nominations now open
    The Roger Award is for The Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2014 Nominations are now open please visit the website to nominate the worst TNC in Aotearoa. You will need to include reasons why you think your...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a fund to create breakthrough opportunities for jobs and sustainable growth, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 21-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Read our full regional development policy Download Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept Kare Kare beach with Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey. We talked...
    Labour | 21-07
  • Stop Israeli State Terror – Rally and March this Saturday 26th July, Aote...
     The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting much worse and the world is marching in unprecedented numbers. New Zealanders spoke out strongly last Saturday with a march of 5,000 people in Auckland (see picture below) – the biggest march ever...
    Mana | 21-07
  • NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza
    The New Zealand Government should support the United Nation's efforts to raise money to assist humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, the Green Party said today.The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has made a...
    Greens | 21-07
  • INTERNET MANA ROAD TRIP- LEG 2
      WAIKATO / TARANAKI / MANAWATU-WANGANUI  Tuesday July 29th, 6pm | RotoruaDistinction Hotel, Fenton Ballroom, 390 Fenton Street, Rotorua  Wednesday July 30th 6pm | HamiltonWaikato University, Price Waterhouse Coopers Lecture Theatre, Gate 7, Hillcrest Rd Hamilton  Thursday July 31st, 6pm |...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Road fix needed now, not later
    Northland’s roading system is in chaos and needs fixing fast, Labour List MP Kelvin Davis says.  “According to NZTA’s 10 year funding data every area of Northland has had a decrease in NZTA funding since 2008...
    Labour | 20-07
  • KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth
    The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s...
    Labour | 20-07
  • Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds
    The Green Party today announced that its key social platform for this election will be to tackle child poverty and inequality by ensuring every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive.The Green Party will make a series of policy...
    Greens | 20-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were served with trespass orders from their  local swimming pool in new market. With no warning or explanation from the pool staff Police ordered...
    Mana | 20-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    Address notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John Minto to Economic policy launch in Kelston – 2pm, Sunday 20 July 2014. Reducing inequality and giving everyone a fair go MANA Movement’s policy prescription for a rich man’s...
    Mana | 20-07
  • One-sided reporting on the Middle East Conflict
    The following was sent to New Zealand Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV3, Radio Live and ZB Network. We are writing to all of you because there are well established patterns of reporting which seem to have been adopted by New Zealand...
    Mana | 20-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    Lisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially passed the mantle of MANA President in a special ceremony at Potahi Marae in Te Kao this week, following her unanimous election into the...
    Mana | 20-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity
    A Labour Government will ensure more of our children have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori by encouraging the learning and use of it in schools, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says....
    Labour | 19-07
  • Work numbers not all they’re cracked up to be
    The Government's figures on the numbers of beneficiaries don't add up, Labour's Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says."Paula Bennett keeps saying 1500 people are going off the benefit into work every week, yet today she announced just 16,000 fewer people...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Flood relief for National voters first
    “The flooding in Tai Tokerau has hammered the north and impacted hundreds of families right across the region,” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “It’s bitterly disappointing to see that the first response from this National government...
    Mana | 18-07
  • Don’t contract out your loyal cleaners SkyCity3
    SkyCity should put aside its proposal to contract out its cleaning staff and not be lured by the prospect of washing their hands of these essential jobs and leaving them to the world of third party contracting, Labour’s Associate Labour...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Green Party statement on tragedy of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
    The Green Party conveys its condolences to the families of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.The Ukrainian Government has accused pro-Russia rebels in the east of the Ukraine of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines jet with a ground-to-air missile,...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Gaza ground offensive can only result in more deaths
    Israel’s decision to continue with a ground offensive into Gaza can only result in more civilian deaths and push a ceasefire further beyond reach, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “There is no such thing as a surgical strike...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Tackling childhood obesity is not rocket science Minister, but it is scienc...
    The Government's latest snub of scientific evidence - this time about its failure to address childhood obesity - is another example of National's reliance on 'tobacco science' to justify its denial agenda, the Green Party said today. An Auckland University...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Paying patients to go away not a solution
    A voucher system being used by emergency departments in Southern DHB - which pays patients to see a GP – is designed to skew figures to meet Government targets, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson and Dunedin North MP David Clark says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Common sense a better response
    The actions of two police officers who walked into a marae's wharenui in the early hours of the morning to search and photograph a group of children in their pyjamas are deeply concerning, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Taxpayer cash to plug Chorus copper hole
    The Chief Executive and Board of Chorus must be held accountable for striking a deal that uses taxpayer money that was intended to build a new fibre network to instead plug the company’s revenue gaps, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Labour won’t abandon regional New Zealand
    Labour will ensure no regions in New Zealand are ‘red-zoned’ by tailoring Regional Growth Plans for each province as part of our Economic Upgrade, Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Deputy Leader David Parker says. “The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Our...
    Labour | 17-07
  • Minister must come clean on amalgamation
    The Minister of Local Government is telling porkies to its supporters on local government amalgamation, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Su’a William Sio.   National’s arrogance on amalgamation was all too clear when the Minister shut down Napier’s deputy mayor...
    Labour | 17-07
  • Labour sends condolences to families of MH17
    ...
    Labour | 17-07
  • IPCA report proves need for full review of spy agencies
    A report into the Police decision not to prosecute the Government Communications Security Bureau over its unlawful spying of 88 New Zealanders proves the need for a full review into our security agencies, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant...
    Labour | 16-07
  • New Zealanders will never get justice over spying saga
    New Zealanders who were illegally spied on by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) will probably never get their justice, said the Green Party today.The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) today released its findings on whether the Police were negligent...
    Greens | 16-07
  • National issues mineral mining permits in Maui’s sanctuary
    The Government has issued mineral mining permits in one third of the endangered Maui's dolphin sanctuary, the Green Party has revealed today.This follows revelations that permits have also been issued for oil exploration in the sanctuary.There have been 254 Maui's...
    Greens | 16-07
  • No cosmetics tested on animals under Labour
    A Labour Government will help protect animals from harm by prohibiting the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.  Labour’s Animal Welfare spokesperson Trevor Mallard today launched the initiative at an event organised by Labour’s Ōhariu candidate Ginny...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Bridges cannot argue with the CPI –electricity prices are up
    Today’s CPI gives the lie to Simon Bridge’s claim that power prices only rose by 2.3 % in the last year. Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Its official; the CPI index says power prices increased by 4.2% in the...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Parata ploughs ahead with anti-democracy plan
      Hekia Parata is ignoring overwhelming opposition by ploughing ahead with plans to gut the political independence of the teaching profession and stifle democracy on tertiary institution councils, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is no surprise a massive...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Greens announce $1 billion additional investment in R&D, including busi...
    The Green Party has announced today that its economic priority for the election is building a smarter greener economy that benefits every New Zealander.In the Party's headline economic announcement, the Greens have launched their plan to build a smarter, more...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Families under more pressure as power, food prices rise
    Higher power prices, housing costs and food prices are behind today's inflation rise, putting already stressed families under renewed pressure, the Green Party said today."Families are facing rising costs from food, power, and mortgages, or rents; and most are getting...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Goverment drops recreational river reporting
    The Government pulled the plug on cleaning up our dirty rivers so they are safe for swimming, and now it has given up on annual reports about the problem, the Green Party said today. Two weeks ago the Government released...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Ae Marika! 15 July 2014
    It ain’t over by a long shot, but I can’t help feel good about Northlanders response to the week from hell. This last week has seen the worst weather over a larger region of the north, for a longer period...
    Mana | 15-07
  • From Here To There: How did Labour become so hopelessly lost?
    WRITING ABOUT the Labour Party these days puts me in mind of the joke about the American tourist and the Irish farmer. Seems there was this American tourist driving down a narrow lane in the heart of Ireland. He needed...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Oh NOW everyone thinks the ABCs are up to no good?
    Goodness last months June seems like years away doesn’t it? In June I pointed out a move by the ABCs to destabilise Cunliffe was under way. For pointing this out, Labour Party bloggers Rob Salmond and Lynn Prentice rushed to put...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – I have little interest in appearing on your show so th...
    After savagely critiquing Seven Sharp for trying to whitewash the repulsive history of a far right hate speech merchant like Cameron Slater yesterday, Seven Sharp have contacted me and offered to do a profile on me. Here is their email…...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 | Press Release “Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have undermined the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • CPAG Newsletter July 2014
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: CPAG Newsletter July 2014 22 July 2014 New child poverty data nothing to celebrate New data released by the Ministry of Social Development  indicates people living below the poverty line are worse...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages An Auckland hotel has been ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay nearly $80,000 in outstanding wages to two employees. Filipino couple Abraham...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Globa...
    MIL OSI – Source: CTU – Headline: Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Global Financial Crisis levels The Council of Trade Unions is calling on the Reserve Bank not to raise interest rates on Thursday. “Another...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime a...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties fo...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties for war crimes Amnesty International called on delegates to the Central African Republic (CAR) National Reconciliation talks due to take place...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign agents’ The Russian Ministry of Justice today registered four more Russian human rights organizations and one environmental group as “foreign...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community The decision by a World Bank Inspection Panel to refuse to investigate a complaint about forced evictions linked to a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: National out of touch with the regions John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Labour will revive the regions with new fund The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Speech to Local Government New Zealand Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Chris Perley – Confessions of an ex-Public Servant watching t...
    Back in the 16th century, good Queen Bess said to her Privy Council of advisors something along the lines of: “I want your free, frank advice, without consideration of fear or favour.”  In other words, tell me what you think,...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • The rise of the Internet/Mana phenomenon
    Commentators seem surprised at the popularity of the Mana/Internet phenomenon. The ultimate ‘odd coupling’ is doing reasonably well in the polls at over 2% support, and Right Wing pundits are guessing that the Party might even reach 5% by the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Which Party Would (not) Walk Away from a Crap TPPA?
    Trick question.  Any TPPA would be crap. But a future government will try to sell it to us anyway. It is clear that there won’t be any deal until well after the election and the new government is installed. So...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Te wiki – Maori Language Week
    Maori Language Week has become an entrenched feature of New Zealand.  New Zealanders have come to accept that for one week a year the normal institutions of the white settler society will make some attempt to engage their stakeholders using the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • A brief word on Cunliffe saying sorry for a 3 day holiday
    I’m not sure who the bloody hell is advising Cunliffe to apologise about a 3 day holiday, but it’s stupid. If you want to know what angry white reactionary NZ thinks about anything, go to a stuff.co.nz poll. Here’s their...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Seven Sharp – The day public broadcasting died
    I rarely watch Seven Sharp because it’s bullshit and sums up all that is wrong with current affairs in NZ, but even I can’t believe that Seven Sharp have stooped to being an apologist for Cameron Slater on this evenings show. This...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • ….except Israel
    ….except Israel...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • NZIFF Review: The Dark Horse – 6 stars
    This year’s opening New Zealand International Film Festival offering was a couple of nights ago, and I still feel this incredible NZ movie reverberating inside me. The Dark Horse is heartbreaking, heartwarming and terribly raw. Director James Napier Robertson has...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • TDB New Zealand International Film Festival 2014 picks
    NZIFF is here, our picks this season are… The Dark Horse Boyhood Leviathan Is the man who is tall happy?  Hot Air Maps to the Stars Snowpiercer Toons for Tots InRealLife Print The Legend E-Team The Internet’s Own Boy: The...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • A tale of two men: Cunliffe’s apology for rape culture vs Key’s dismiss...
    The manner in which Cunliffe has sought to address rape culture vs Key’s dismissal of it yesterday is a remarkable contrast as stark as the bias over Cunliffe’s holiday vs Key’s holiday. Key takes weeks off to pose for selfies...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in James Papali’i’Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in John Minto, Press ReleasesAddress notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: New President for MANA Movement  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in Lisa McNab, NewsLisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Flood relief for National voters first
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Flood relief for National voters first Posted on July 18, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“The flooding in Tai Tokerau has hammered the north and impacted hundreds of families right...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity A Labour Government will ensure more of our children have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori by encouraging the learning and use of it...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – National Party thugs destroying Internet MANA b...
    Last Saturday morning the volunteer brigade of Internet Mana  went out in the freezing cold to deploy Internet Mana billboards. They braved the cold weather of that icy cold morning only to have National party thugs destroy the billboards and...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Amnesty International: War crimes against innocent civilians – Why is his...
    27 December 2008, 11:30. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) commence military airstrikes on a list of 603 targets believed to house suspected Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip. In just three weeks, the devastating Operation ‘Cast Lead’ claimed approximately nine Israeli...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Rape Culture is not blah blah blah
    To some of our politicians and commentators, ‘rape culture’ has already become blah blah blah. A meaningless and overstated slogan to roll their eyes at and derisively joke about and deny. It’s something the ‘left’ takes seriously, and something the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Hot Air: Alister Barry presents the cold, hard facts about New Zealand’s ...
    IF YOU SEE only one film in the 2014 NZ International Film Festival see Alister Barry’s feature-length documentary, Hot Air. This chilling exposé of the strategy and tactics adopted by New Zealand’s largest industries to ensure that no effective action to combat...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • CTU resolution on Palestine
    Further to Unite’s position on Palestine, this is the Council of Trade Union position on Palestine… Preamble: Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organizations including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issued a call in July 2005...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Stop Israeli State Terror – Rally and March this Saturday 26th July, Aote...
    The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting much worse and the world is marching in unprecedented numbers. New Zealanders spoke out strongly last Saturday with a march of 5,000 people in Auckland (see picture below) – the biggest march ever...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Cafe chef awarded $50,000 for unfair dismissal
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Cafe chef awarded $50,000 for unfair dismissal A former chef at an Auckland cafe has been awarded more than $50,000 in unpaid wages and compensation for unjustified dismissal. The Employment Relations Authority...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza Monday, 21 Jul 2014 | Press Release The New Zealand Government should support the United Nation’s efforts to raise money to assist humanitarian...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Road fix needed now, not later
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Road fix needed now, not later Northland’s roading system is in chaos and needs fixing fast, Labour List MP Kelvin Davis says.  “According to NZTA’s 10 year funding data every area of...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal,...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Internet MANA Auckland road show at Kelston – what the media are missing
    The Town Hall in Kelston yesterday was packed well before the start time of 2pm. What many welded to Wellington in the Press Gallery don’t understand about Internet MANA is that its energy and flaxroot mobilisation is far larger than...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds Monday, 21 Jul 2014 | Press Release This is an investment in familie