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Power disconnections increase as hardship grants are cut

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 am, March 25th, 2014 - 38 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, national, paula bennett, same old national - Tags:

paula bennett photo op

Radio New Zealand has reported this morning that since 2008 the number of power disconnections has soared at the same time that hardship grants by WINZ for electricity and gas are falling. Work & Income made nearly 7,000 fewer hardship grants last year than in 2011, but disconnections rose more than 10,000.

The Government sent Simon Bridges to be interviewed. This is a strange decision as you would think that the Minister in charge of WINZ who issue the hardship grants should have been interviewed instead.  The issue is clearly related to poverty and WINZ’s refusal to deal properly with clear cases of hardship.

It was reported that in 2008 there were 10,000 power disconnections although this figure had dropped after the death of Folole Mulianga and steps then taken to ensure that medically vulnerable people did not have their power cut.

Bridges told Radio New Zealand that he wanted fewer disconnections to occur.  The way he discussed the matter it seems that an inability to pay is somehow the power companies fault.  And good luck with that once they are all privatised and have obligations to private shareholders.

He said he had written to the power companies outlining his expectation that disconnections should come down and has threatened to use regulatory powers against them.  He has told his Ministry officials to work with WINZ officials to “work on some of the processes they have to just ensure that if there is any room for improvement there that we are improving and we are assisting beneficiaries …”

He thought that a solution would involve better communication to WINZ clients of their rights.  You get that, better communication will pay outstanding bills and there is no problem with hardship grant policies.

Brent Edwards noted that disconnections had increased from 10,000 in 2008 to four times that level today.

Instead of blaming the Electricity Companies Bridges Bennett and Co ought to have a look at the increasing incidence of poverty.  Maybe they should start by developing an official measurement of poverty.

38 comments on “Power disconnections increase as hardship grants are cut”

  1. Tangled up 1

    Brent Edwards noted that disconnections had increased from 10,000 in 2008 to four times that level today.

    The requirement for electricity companies to operate according to commercial criteria isn’t working.

    Surely electricity should be a service that everyone can access without breaking their budget.

    Why can’t electricity be delivered via the public sector (funded/subsidised through taxation) like education and health?

    • bad12 1.1

      Tangled up, agree with you entirely, along with the single desk wholesaler of electricity it is my view that a Labour/Green Government need build a Government owned nationwide retailer tasked with delivering electricity to household consumers at a rate that can be clearly seen as 1-2% above what the wholesaler is charging,

      Such a company should be modeled upon the ‘best’ of what is currently available including an ‘online provider’, and, if such a company sends all the other retailers to the wall, wouldn’t that be tough, but, that’s what REAL competition is all about…

    • Ergo Robertina 1.2

      It isn’t working as a commercial model, and this goes to a fundamental flaw in our market economy that neither side wants to acknowledge.
      Because politicians of both stripes are not sure how to set up an economy that does not depend on price gouging and ticket clipping on basic services in a small population base.
      NZ Power is not a game-changer.

      • bad12 1.2.1

        Ergo Robertina, i tend to agree with you in the vein of ”what would a single desk wholesaler do to hold down the profit gouging of the retail providers of electricity”,

        i somehow think that it is wishful thinking that just because prices at the wholesale level are kept in check the retailers will be somehow constrained in their attempts at profit maximization,

        However, a Government owned retailer charged with delivering electricity to households at cost plus 1 or 2% certainly would…

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Why can’t electricity be delivered via the public sector (funded/subsidised through taxation) like education and health?

      It can be and, in fact, that’s how it used to be but we got those fools in Treasury demanding that everything needs to make a profit and preferably be privately owned including government services. The 4th Labour government started the implementation of theses delusional and psychopathic policies and they’ve been followed ever since by our political parties.

    • PapaMike 1.4

      Are there any figures as to whether the total disconnections are from the same families ?
      Are they all separate families ?

      • freedom 1.4.1

        There were reportedly 40,000 disconnections in the last year alone PapaMike.

        I am sincerely interested in your questions,
        mainly because I cannot decipher what you are trying to spin from this?

      • Tracey 1.4.2

        yes, there are four families in total, being regularly disconnected since 2008.

        by day they are cleaning windscreens at major intersections and not declaring tgeir earnings, so its not really about poverty.

  2. Colt45 2

    One miunte at The Standard you’re all talking about gambling being the plight of the poor in NZ.

    And the next minute you’re all talking about increased power disconnections amongst the poor in NZ.

    Just saying.

    • bad12 2.1

      Dolt45, do we really need to sit here and patiently explain to you the proliferation of gambling outlets and their relevance to an increased rate of power disconnections of an increasingly desperate demographic who are increasingly being denied additional financial help from WINZ,

      That question was entirely rhetorical in nature, intent and content,we all here at the Standard could spend the whole of our day explaining such relationships to you but in the final analysis it is doubtful your ‘wing-nut’ would with deliberation choose to comprehend such relationships,

      My view is that you are in fact an empty vessel, a mere spitoon, and far from waste my time giving elongated explanations to the likes of you i would propose that we all use you as the destination of our sputum as we en masse expectorate it in your direction…

    • Tracey 2.2

      so you agree that cutting funding to an effective provider of treatment and prevention of gambling problems will lead to even more power disconnections amongst the poir?

    • Weepu's Beard 2.3

      I think one “miunte” gambling (and spelling, heh) is a social problem foisted upon us by marketing types, like smoking and drinking. And the next minute electricity is, well, a survival tool. Can you not see the difference?

    • miravox 2.4

      “One miunte at The Standard you’re all talking about gambling being the plight of the poor in NZ.

      And the next minute you’re all talking about increased power disconnections amongst the poor in NZ.”

      Great that you’re seeing links between different factors of the economy and society and how these links might impact on the everyday lives of people. Mind you, in this case you’d need to show causation between the gamblers and the whole of the 40,000 disconnections to make your point, I assume, that poor people gamble therefore they have their power disconnected.

      If only we had a government that was as smart as you. Then we might have policies to reduce the links between (to start a random list)

      gambling and money taken out of communities
      gambling and unattended children
      low pay and empty cupboards
      high electricity prices and no fridges
      high house prices and high rents
      casualised workforce and delayed visits to doctors
      rugby and domestic violence
      alcohol availability and emergency department admissions
      domestic violence and kids missing school
      dairy farming in dry areas and polluted groundwater
      a market model for electricity, low pay and people choosing between food and light

      Just imagine if we could link 3 or more factors without doing our heads in? We might be on the way to a brighter future.

  3. Bastables 3

    @Colt45
    Are you inferring a link between those in poverty being shafted from multiple vectors in a society that is increasingly predicated on inequality?

    Mate welcome to western thinking/discourse in the 19th century[and present day New Zealand]. Haere mai, Haere mai.

  4. vto 4

    Electricity has become a necessity for survival in Aotearoa. It is required for heat and cooking. Most of us are not allowed to burn wood for heating or cooking and so are forced by law to use electricity. This is a fact.

    So imagine if we were not allowed water because we could not afford it?

    Eh?

    Water and electricity are essential for survival in NZ. As such they cannot be left to the vagaries of private ownership and maximum charge. The fact that electricity is so left is disgusting and a sign of a poor society with little regard for its citizens. Poor us. Shameful.

    • bad12 4.1

      vto, yep, water, electricity,food, and a decent affordable ‘shelter’ as a home should be the basic rights of every New Zealander, no ifs nor buts, simple basic human rights,

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        +111

      • Olwyn 4.1.2

        +1000. If we had the collective will to fiercely defend these basic human rights, any economic system we followed would be forced to accommodate us, rather than the other way round.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Water and electricity are essential for survival in NZ. As such they cannot be left to the vagaries of private ownership and maximum charge.

      QFT

      And it used to be considered, many years ago, as a public good which is why the government built the generators and the lines.

    • Tracey 4.3

      100% agreement with this.

      I also believe the unit price should be the same regardless of where you live in nz.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1

        The unit price should be the same no matter if it’s a home using it or a business.

  5. FrizzleFry 5

    Interesting. It would appear that after a brief dip following the death of Folole Muliaga in 2007 disconnections for non-payment have returned to the 2006 level (~45,000), when the economy was doing reasonably well and unemployment was at a generational low.

    https://www.google.co.nz/#q=disconnections+for+non-payment+ea+nz

    • Tracey 5.1

      if correct this shows that good economic news or bad economic news the poor struggle and the neo lib capitalist plan has notched up another loss.

    • mickysavage 5.2

      Looks like working for families kicked in and the power companies started behaving themselves no doubt in part because of Folole Muliaga’s death.

      So how does this excuse the cutting of emergency grants at the same time as disconnections have again soared?

  6. Tracey 6

    if this were a caption contest…

    “this is MY bowl of soup”

    is bennett overseas on hols, hence bridges roped in?

  7. Tracey 7

    gordon campbell nails my thoughts on paula bennett and labour *??

    “Unfortunately, the inability of politicians to look in the mirror is evident close to home as well. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s recent description of Kim Dotcom as a “fat German” is a crass and obvious example. Bennett would be better advised to address the culture of cruelty that she – and her Labour predecessors – have fostered within Work and Income offices. Routinely, WINZ abuses the people who seek the welfare support to which they are perfectly entitled, as taxpayers and citizens. The courageous, eloquent accounts of her experiences at WINZ by sickness beneficiary Sarah Wilson have gone viral in recent weeks for a reason. Clearly, this is not the way that New Zealanders want to treat each other when they’re in need. Bennett and her colleagues should be ashamed for enabling such a culture to exist, and for making political capital out of it. At the same time, if Labour MP Maryan Street really is going to take up the challenge and address the issues that Sarah Wilson has exposed, we need to know that a Labour government would act differently on welfare issues. Is Labour for instance, still fully committed to making Working For Families available to beneficiaries – or has that policy gone down the memory hole?”

  8. Richard@Down South 8

    Anyone able to find the breakdown of inflation measures?

    As i understand it, big ticket items such as cars, tv’s are taken into account (both of which have gotten cheaper over the years) while things such as power, rent and food have gone up at rates higher than inflation.

    My theory is if you’re spending your money on essentials (like even a lot of dual – middle income families who are struggling), and wages/benefit increases are set at inflation related rate, say 2%, which is fine, except if inflation minus the big ticket items, is say 8, 10 or even 15%, it would be easy to see why people aren’t getting ahead.

    (I read somewhere, perhaps NRT, last year, that rent is on average, 77% higher scaled to incomes, than it was 30 years ago)

    • Molly 8.1

      I read a while ago that sudden increases in some products and services can be designated as “volatile” and as such are excluded from inflation calculations – as the inflation figures are to measure long term trends.

      I took this to mean that, if petrol rises 45% over the year, this increase will be flattened out. If rates go up 20% – that too is considered volatile and adjusted to fit the trend.

      So the inflation rate does not seem to measure the difference in price for essentials – which would be useful. So although NZ’ers pay more for these things, the inflation figure does not reflect it. Another reason why linking wage increases to inflation is flawed.

      I’ve never had much time for inflation figures since. But if anyone can be bothered, the Reserve Bank has a couple of links: Inflation calculator and A pdf: Measures of New Zealand core inflation.

      “Note that in using the CPI to measure price changes, the calculator may not give a good estimate of the level of prices of assets (e.g. house prices) or the prices of individual goods/services whose price levels have on average changed by significantly more or less than the change in the CPI in the specified years.”

  9. Bill 9

    You’re missing something here ms.

    40 000 disconnections are for people who are paying for their electricity on a monthly basis. That figure does not include those on some kind of pay-card meter…those people don’t get disconnected; rather they just quietly and invisibly, go without electricity until they can top up their cards.

    I believe, as an aside, there was something about those costs being 60% higher than in ‘regular’ scenarios.

    Anyway. Go to WINZ a few times and you get sent (pointlessly) to a budget adviser or/and portions of your entitlement will get directly controlled by WINZ (rent payments, electricity payments etc)…meaning that there will be even more weeks when a person claiming entitlements is short, and worse, they will have lost the ability to juggle since so much of their payment is out of their budgetary control. Point is, once WINZ are making payments directly from your entitlements, you can’t then pop into WINZ and say there is an emergency because you had to pay every last penny on electric and need a food grant or whatever. And that means there are fewer hardship grants.

    Meanwhile, if you are on a pre-pay card meter, then hey…you’re screwed.

    • Ergo Robertina 9.1

      ‘I believe, as an aside, there was something about those costs being 60% higher than in ‘regular’ scenarios.’

      David Shearer highlighted the 60% differential this month (it was also highlighted in a 2012 Otago Uni study) between prepay and monthly bills. Truly a disgrace, when the customers present zero credit risk. A better example I do not know of what Gordon Campbell in a column in 2012 labelled New Zealand’s ‘predator society’ where both the arms of Government and the private sector basically do over a small isolated population where free market values reign supreme.

      • Tracey 9.1.1

        deserves a more expansive post of its own

      • rhinocrates 9.1.2

        Fuck Shearer. Captain Mumblefuck bashes beneficiaries when he finds it convenient. Don’t expect him to be any use if Labour gains the treasury benches – a fair-weather friend is a traitor in waiting. You can trust him as far as you can trust Bennett.

  10. Tanz 10

    she is just a Key puppet, doesn’t care, no empathy, she’s alright, so stuff everyone else.

    • Weepu's Beard 10.1

      Paula Bennett? Indeed. Not sure she had to pick herself up by the bootstraps with no power in the house.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        No, she didn’t. She had full government support – support that she’s been taking away as fast as she can.

  11. tc 11

    Plenty of other grants and ancillary benefits seem to be getting chopped by letter leaving folk to approach those lovely people at winz.

    Ive had a few chats with elderly folks who winz have put through the blender just to maintain what they have been getting for years with limited sucess leaving them in trouble if family and friends werent helping.

  12. Richard@Down South 12

    Last time I was in my local branch, there was a newly taped line about 3 metres from the counter, maybe 4… chairs had been displaced, and people were standing because all the chairs were full

  13. A VOTER 13

    PULA BENIFIT a good aka for the subject
    Poverty credentials
    Over fifty and still labouring for a living
    Ill and paying 3 fifths of 5/8ths of FA of a benefit to live
    Taxed at 45 + % on every thing you buy or earn
    Cant see poverty on that what an AH

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    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
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  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
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  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
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  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
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  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
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  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
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  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
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  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
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  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
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  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
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  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
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  • New Ombudsman opinion
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  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
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  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
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  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
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  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
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  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
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  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
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  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
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  • Bascand: Brighter Money
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  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
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  • 25 years of children’s rights
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  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
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  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
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  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
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  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
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  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
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  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
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  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
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  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
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  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
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  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
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  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
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