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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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    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    1 day ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    1 day ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    1 day ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    1 day ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Fuck TV3
    TV3 has announced that they will be shitcanning Campbell Live. Oh, there'll still be a programme - but it won't have John Campbell, it'll only be four days a week, and it will almost certainly turn into the sort of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    4 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    4 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    7 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    7 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    9 hours ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    1 day ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    1 day ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    2 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    3 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    3 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    4 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    4 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    4 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    1 week ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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