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“Predistribution”: From Miliband to Cunliffe

Written By: - Date published: 10:11 am, September 23rd, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, david cunliffe, democratic participation, education, housing, infrastructure, labour, minimum wage, poverty, social democracy, wages, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Andrea ‘s latest op ed piece on Cunliffe focuses on his use of the idea of pre-distribution, following it being embraced by UK Labour leader Ed Miliband. I posted a quick analysis on open mike of the ways Vance incorporates a right leaning stance in her piece.  In this post I want to focus more on the idea of pre-distribution, and whether it can under-pin a new direction for the left in NZ: one that will be relevant to the challenges of the 21st century, especially in countering the too wide inequality gap.

“Pre-distribution” offers a way to break with the failure of the soft neoliberalism of Third Way politics.  Third Way politics aimed to let the market work, then tidying up after it with re-distributive policies.  “Pre-distribution aims for more government intervention to prevent the developments of vast inequalities, while proactively providing more opportunities for all, in times when money is tight.

It is a centre left, social democratic position, that does not aim to end capitalism, but to restructure it so that it works better for the many, not the few.  It puts strong emphasis on giving all workers a fair go; on encouragement of employers to provide a living wage;  on promoting educational opportunity form early childhood up to university level; on re-vitalising apprenticeships and training; on promoting research and development; improving housing affordability; on providing access to health care, pensions etc for all.  While moving aware from bennie bahing, it still treats social security as something that does not get a lot of budget funding.

Cunliffe said this about pre-distribution in his Daily Blog interview last week:

I don’t think however that our tax and benefit system is inexhaustible. And there’s a whole bunch of literature around about building into the wage system, better structures and processes, so that we have more social equity.

So stuff like industry standard agreements, which would put unions back at the heart of industrial relations; the idea that we would have a living wage, and that we would highlight that through the government sector; the fact that we would raise the minimum wage; the fact that we would protect vulnerable workers; and the fact that we would get better jobs –  is all part of a package that, rather than redistributes, you might say pre-distributes by hard wiring and better levels social equity right from the start. And we have to change the industrial relations frame work to get there, and we will.

The most significant point in Vance’s article, was this one:

Pre-distribution is an agenda that British Labour leader Ed Miliband is flirting with. Critics believe he is being too cautious.

The downsides are it is a deeply un-sexy thing to sell. Cunliffe is planning a ”major unveiling” of his 2014 election strategy at the Christchurch conference in November. Expect it to contain many of the elements of pre-distribution.

It was Ed Miliband that put pre-distribution on the left wing political agenda as a new big idea.  But the pressures from the right wing elites mean he has promoted it in a very weak and increasingly diluted way.

Miliband took the pre-distribution idea from Yale University Professor Jacob Hacker. As argued by Hacker, in the Guardian, and this interview, the notion of pre-distribution incorporates a reworking of macro-economic policy, while also aiming to provide more educational opportunities and fairer employment practices in times when there are budgetry restraints.   It aims to revamp social policies and public provisions, strengthening the role of governments in relation to markets, at the same time as promoting the importance of “civil society” in a democratic market society.  However, it aims to maintain a market economy, while winding back the role of markets in society.

An article in the New Statesman identifies ways in which UK Labour could flesh out the idea of pre-distribution in its policies.

For one, predistribution will not succeed unless the bargaining position of low-paid workers can be strengthened. This will require a very different balance to be struck between regulation and flexibility in the labour market, including a higher ‘living’ minimum wage with scope for sectoral pay bargaining to prevent under-cutting. It will require stronger collective organisation too, with scope for ‘new unions’ to organise the lowest paid workers.

[…]

Neither will predistribution be credible unless Labour can advance a bold education reform strategy for Britain. In the UK, raising the economy onto a high wage, high skill, high productivity trajectory entails sustained investment in training and human capital.

[…]

Further education colleges need bold reform to raise quality; apprenticeships should be guaranteed for young people who achieve the requisite qualifications in English and Maths; access to university, regardless of social background, must be further expanded.

However, the final recommendation in the New Statesman’s article is a worry, suggesting continued austerity for beneficiaries:

Finally, an effective strategy of predistribution will require Labour to resolve major debates about the balance between targeting and universalism in the welfare state.

[…]

Many of the benefit cuts introduced by the coalition cannot be reversed by an incoming Labour government: the price of the contributory principle will be declining benefits for the workless poor.

However, in the above linked interview with Hacker, he does indicate that “pre-distribution” could mean more investment by the state in state and/or social housing.

I would say that one way to make this agenda broader than just Keynesianism is to say that it is about encouraging macroeconomic stability overall, which is something that needs to be figured out now, before the next asset bubble. It is really important to make both the housing and financial markets more resilient.

With housing, I think this could come primarily from the public sector writing better sets of rules, and getting involved through investment. In fact I would argue that the most straightforward way in which you could tackle both the housing and the macroeconomic problems simultaneously would be to undertake significant public investment in housing in the short-term

So, while policies on social security remain a worry, there is much to be excited about in the Cunliffe focus on pre-distribution: moving towards  a living wage for all, a fair go and financial security for all workers, access to higher education across all socio-economic classes, and more affordable housing for all – and all provided within a responsible and manageable budget.

It is a move towards the most successful examples of Nordic social democracy, and not towards ending capitalism.

41 comments on ““Predistribution”: From Miliband to Cunliffe”

  1. The good thing about ‘pre-distribution’ is that it will show that the capitalist state exists to defend capitalist property and that it cannot ‘predistribute’ what really counts, the ownership of the means of production.
    Cunliffe explicitly says he is against the state owning the means of production.
    This is the fundamental limitation of social democracy – that private property in the MP should be retained and with it the fundamental reasons for capitalist inequality.
    So now we have this question out in the open again after half a century.
    No accident since the crisis has forced much ‘rethinking’, even if much of this is recycling the old ‘Clause 4′ type debates of the 1930s and 1940s, and Keynes vs Marx.
    But the crisis this time, the worst since the 1930s because it fuses economic decline with global warming, and the rise of the left that has resulted, will not only pose all the right questions about going beyond capitalism, it will make it necessary for our survival.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Cunliffe explicitly says he is against the state owning ALL the means of production.

      fify

      Cunliffe has no problem with the state owning the country’s main power generators, for instance. Or of the state’s Landcorp owning tens of thousands of hectares of productive farm land.

      • Ennui 1.1.1

        The real argument here is to bring back into the equation the very concept that Friedmanite Chicago schoolers managed to leave out: RENT. Their true genius was to dump this from the economic conversation. Prior to this, since Adam Smith there has been a realisation that capital left unregulated has a tendency toward monopolistic / cartel practices.

        Owning utilities is what governments do to be able to supply the rest of the “market” with something they need at a price that cuts out “rent” seeking behaviors: so I dont think Cunliffe would be opposed to state ownership of all utilities and regulation of all monopolies / cartels.

        So how far do you go toward state ownership of the means of production? The state based Red model has failed where it has been tried along with the inhumanity of the gulag. The capitalist unregulated model has also failed and left human detritus scattered to the winds. maybe the question should be “where is the balancing point?”

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          All core strategic economic infrastructure with monopoly characteristics should be publicly owned for the public good.

          You identify such infrastructure by, amongst other things, the consequences which would arise if that infrastructure were to financially fail, and also the leeway for rentier/parasitic behaviour arising from control of that infrastructure.

      • Peter 1.1.2

        Without the State we would never have built the power generators and a good deal else besides.

  2. just saying 2

    How was the “third way” described by Cunliffe?

    Oh that’s right – thinkering around the edges.

    And this is?

    Seems to me to be a rear guard action to protect the elites, the very comfortable and capitalism itself, with the veneer of “doing something”.

    • Alanz 2.1

      Is ‘thinkering’ like a good combo (portmanteau?) of thinking and tinkering??

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      You can easily take the view that putting more time and energy into mainstream parties is a waste of both your time and energy.

      I have some sympathy for that view: mainstream political parties hardly ever do anything particularly useful unless there is pressure from a mass movement of people outside of formal power making them do it.

      Or perhaps you are looking for a political party which aims to do away with capitalism altogether. Corporate systems of capitalism being systems of environmental and community destruction.

      • Ad 2.2.1

        Not sure about your second paragraph there. Muldoon, Lange, Bolger et al spring to mind.

        The tough thing about running central government is there’s only a few areas where you can make large scale change that is also irreversible.

        I hope Cunliffe and coalition get into power, and when they do, they choose a few large and pretty much irreversible things that both generate huge opportunities for great careers, and also greatly decrease inequality.

        The available speeches and quotes from David certainly shows that he’s ready for the second part of that. But I don’t just want people to be more equal; I want people to be more equal, and a whole lot richer.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          Growing real wealth in the last 100 years has been founded on ever increasing access to and use of concentrated energy.

          That era is now drawing to a close. We are all going to have to question what “wealth” means to us in such an environment. Electronically recorded financial and paper assets which can be wiped out in a single server farm fire may not be it.

    • karol 2.3

      Well, Cunliffe is certainly moderate left, and not the “hard” left that Key tries to smear him with.

      The changes under Cunliffe would be step-by-step and not radical. Hence I will still be giving my party vote to the Greens (or Mana).

      However, I am interested to examine this “pre-distribution” idea. More importantly for me, will it provide a narrative break from “neoliberalism” and result in a new direction for society and politics?

      The resulting policies may be very moderate, but it does look like a new structural approach underpinning such policies.

      I agree with CV below, real change will come from mass pressure from below. We can’t rely on the good will of those in parliamentary politics.

      • Ad 2.3.1

        Not sure what you mean by “not radical”. Why don’t you give the guy a moment to find out what the extent of Labour’s colletive policies area? He’s making the moves as fast as he can.

        • karol 2.3.1.1

          Ad, that’s based pretty much on Cunliffe’s own statements. he is presenting himself as centre left, as with Nordic forms of social democracy.

          • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.1.1

            Most NZers know that the country is on the wrong track and that significant change (of some sort) is required. However, I don’t think that what most people want to see is a “radical” up-ending of things leading to a lot of uncertainty. So I think that Cunliffe is on the right track politically with his messaging.

            Having said that, there are also many “radical” ideas which can be implemented in the macroeconomy eg. around the RBA, around currency speculation, etc which most people probably wouldn’t even notice. But TPTB will.

      • Sosoo 2.3.2

        I thought Cunliffe already stated that he was a New Keynesian and was prepared to alter macroeconomic policy away from a sole focus on inflation.

        If he did that, it would be a very big win, even though it would not appear so.

        I happen to think that David Graeber is right about neoliberalism. By all economic measures and even on its own terms, it is a failure. All its energies are spent on preserving the idea that it is the only conceivable system. If you introduce doubt into the mix, you win.

        That’s what Cunliffe appears to be doing. Left wing politicians being apologetic about economic policy is just enabling the right.

        The left don’t need radical economics. We win with the orthodox kind once the limitations of the market mechanism are evident.

        Predistribution is a politically convenient way of dealing with the limitations of market. It’s not the only way, but it is worth a try.

    • miravox 2.4

      “Seems to me to be a rear guard action to protect the elites”

      I think predistribution is is a cool, hip and trendy concept for English-speaking nations that has been, to a degree, part of social democratic economic policy for years – at least the labour market bit. Strong labour market planning and protection, which Cunliffe has already been talking about, and added wealth taxes, rather than protecting the elite improves the education, employment, bargaining and pay of employees. If it works properly, it should also mean there is more of everything to redistribute to those who cannot work in paid employment.

      A universal basic income and financial transaction tax along with social democratic labour market and works council laws, still appeals to me, but I do think ‘predistribution’ could be a fundamental shift to increase social and economic equality, if the pollies take it seriously rather than just as a slogan.

  3. tracey 3

    Frankly most strides for the poir and poirly paid were through concessions to green and alliance policy…

    insulating homes
    paternity leave
    4 week hols

    anyone else remember how 4 weeks leave was going to cripple nz? Turned out it was financial institutions we needed to be wary of.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Unlike the rest of us, the NZ Government is not simply a user of NZD. It is an issuer of NZD. Therefore the NZ Government has chosen to artificially constrain it’s fiscal policies by only using debt and taxes to fund it’s spending.

    The Government could easily choose to part provision itself through the issuance of new debt free money into the real economy, instead of relying on interest bearing bank debt to issue new money (credit) into the real economy.

    And another point: the main reason that we have so many unemployed in this country, is not that we have a shortage of work which needs to be done in our society. It is that we have decided that we will not spend the required money to employ them and create formal jobs.

    • Ad 4.1

      Is there a policy stream leading up to Labour Conference that you need to get into? This feels like the right time to get minds like yours in there, testing the propositions with experts. Refreshing the RBA is a big DC plank. Get in there.

    • just saying 4.2

      And another point: the main reason that we have so many unemployed in this country, is not that we have a shortage of work which needs to be done in our society. It is that we have decided that we will not spend the required money to employ them and create formal jobs.

      I find it very worrying that there is still no committment to full employment. What we need is to get the work done – in conservation, in cleaning up our cities, in planting forests, in planting urban fruit and nut trees, and community vege gardens, in providing quality care for the sick, disabled and aged, in extra help for disadvantaged kids in education, in ……… hell I’ve got the flu, I can’t be bothered listing all the avenues, but you get the idea. The thing is, pay anyone willing to work a minimum of $18.50 an hour to do these things. Enough taskforce green, enough exploiting dirt poor volunteers. A. Job. For. Everyone. Who. Wants. One. For a living wage dammit. Then we’ll see if the problem with unemployment is “lifestyle choices”

      There would be no need to raise the minimum wage, just make private enterprise compete with the state. Same with a massive state housing programme.

      • aerobubble 4.2.1

        Society, as stipulated by MSM, is about profit, if citizens cannot provide opportunities to the market to make profit the government should not waste its legislative time. What is the TPP but essentially allowing the private sector to sue government when it ‘allows’ citizens to engage in free non-profitable or non-fiscalized activities. When citizens are on the benefit, or in jail, they have a financial presence. The TPP will allow security companies to sue government that bring down the crime rate, that will cut welfare numbers and so undermine private welfare companies that have taken government contracts. How is this any different from the blank labeling of tobacco products, no government could engage in full employment or do away with the crime by targeting the causes unde a TPP.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.2

        just saying: yes.

      • Sosoo 4.2.3

        Cunliffe has already committed to full employment in the sense that everyone seeking a job should be able to find one. That’s not full employment in the literal sense, but it is a lot better than what the pig party is offering.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.3.1

          The classical definition of full employment is that there are more full time positions available than persons looking for full time work.

          • Sosoo 4.2.3.1.1

            If you want to know what Cunliffe meant, why not send him an email or ask him on Twitter. He seems OK with queries.

      • miravox 4.2.4

        “I find it very worrying that there is still no committment to full employment. “

        Harping on about social democratic policies again – In this graph Guess which EU country has a legislated commitment to full employment?

        In the Labour Market Service Act, labour market policy is allocated the task of :

        – Contributing towards the avoidance and elimination of unemployment
        – while preserving social and economic principles
        – and thus working towards balancing the supply and demand for workers to as great an extent as possible and in an economically meaningful and sustainable way

        The goals of labour market policy are:

        – Achieving and maintaining full employment
        – Keeping older employees in work for longer
        – Taking active measures to raise the level of qualifications and of equal opportunities
        – Increasing transparency in the labour market
        – Developing human resources
        – Re-activating the unemployed
        – and combating long-term unemployment……

        … to a greater degree than other areas of the economy and society, the labour market cannot function without intervention on the part of the state

        4.8% unemployment is the highest rate of unemployment here (up from 4.5%) in the GFC era. A commitment to full employment and a functioning economy are not mutually exclusive.

  5. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5

    How is this ‘predistribution’ any different to what we had prior to neo-liberalism taking over?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Many of the concepts will be the same or similar, but rejigged for a new environment with new goals.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5.1.1

        Thanks Viper,

        Guess I will have to read up on it. Can’t see the difference at present.

    • Lefty 5.2

      The idea of predistribution disregards those living in poverty. Indeed, like neo liberalism and thirdwayism it is obsessed with making people work, regardless of whether that is the best thing for them or the country.

      The middle class will do better, as will already unionised workers but the unemployed, the precariat, the ill etc will continued to be punished for having no value to the capitalists who devise these clever catch phrases.

      I was worried Cunliffe might come up with something different and breathe new live into the hapless social democrats, giving them some credibility among the 30% who have been betrayed too often and ceased engaging with mainstream politics.

      This would have been a disaster as they would only be sold out once more and their hard won resilience to the never ending bullshit of our capitalist politicians would be diminished.

      If predistribution is the best Cunliffe can come up with, this is clearly not going to happen.

      The middle class and the aristocracy of labour will be pleased though, and even some low paid workers may benefit if they are in secure employment.

      Indeed Cunliffes commitment to predistribution gives everyone except the poor a good reason to vote for him in the short term – an improvement on the Nats I guess, if these things matter in the larger scheme of things.

      • just saying 5.2.1

        Pretty much my reading of the situation.
        Good to get the total fucking betrayal out of the way earlier rather than later.

        Loving the way Labour stripped out working class communties in the first place and now, this new, alleged move to the left, abandons the human destruction they created yet again, with the promise of a few more apprenticeships for some kids, and early childhood education, which also, handily, will make a few more hard pressed solo parents available to sit by the phone waiting for a few hours of shit work for shit pay.

        More perks for the middle class more kicks in the teeth for the dirt poor. Still at least those in poverty who do make it to retirement age might have a couple of easier years, before the damage done by decades of poverty finishes them off prematurely.

        Rearranging deckchairs anyone?

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5.2.1.1

          Thanks Lefty and Just Saying,

          Have to say I’m not altogether liking the sound of this….however will have to find out more. Am certainly not impressed with Miliband being linked to Cunliffe in this post after Miliband’s foolish performance last night seemingly endorsing Mr Key, what a tosser-endorsing a right wing leader and the worse, most corrupt clown-of-a-PM we’ve had, NZ is small but I betcha ‘they’ know the score about us over there in those circles. Fuckers.

          Hopefully something that actually works and is not a proven failure will be applied…for a change.

      • McFlock 5.2.2

        Doesn’t that mean that “middle class” is synonymous with “almost everybody”? Well, that might be the case for your social group. Thanks for the press release from Planet Key.

        There is no depression in New Zealand.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.3

        The ‘middle class’ is nothing more than a pseudonym for those between the very rich and the very poor. There are very few very rich in NZ, and almost no very poor.

        Apart from the fact that you have no idea of anything, what makes you think that you can now start acting as a source reference for the English language?

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    Thanks for the introductory summary, karol.

  7. Sable 7

    Personally I have no issue with ending capitalism, its a philosophical plague. As to Andrea Vance well really, who cares, she’s just another die hard mainstream journo spouting the same tired rhetoric as the rest….

  8. tricledrown 8

    Sable what’s your alternative.
    Capitalism will never disappear
    Even Lenin wasn’t completely against it.
    Hey paid the ultimate price,
    Then it was back to totalitarianism in another guise.
    Utopic ideas are all very well but you will get less than 1% support for any party with your ideology.
    So the next best option is democracy incremental change is better than no change!

  9. vto 9

    To put in place an alternative wealth distribution model the current existing model must first be solidly described as a wealth distribution model itself.

    Many people see the current wealth distribution model as some sort of natural order. This is because many people have limited vision and cannot see how their current wealth is to do with anything but themselves and their great works and enormous goodness. When suggestions are made for alternative arrangements these people see this as going against the natural way of things.

    This is a great hurdle which must be overcome before describing an alternative.

    Something like “… we of the left see the current wealth distribution model in NZ as seriously flawed as can be seen by the fact some get paid a wage less than what is needed to live on and some get paid so much they cannot spend it in a lifetime. We of the left want to change the current distribution model with a new and fairer model…

    … These models comprise such things as tax rates, minimum wage settings, business and employer subsidies, etc etc.” on it goes…

    This perception that the current model is some kind of natural order must be heavily attacked. It will be a long job and a hard slog and many people will get upset that some do not see their great works or enormous goodness. It must be bold, strong and courageous this attack. It must not flinch.

    Some 2c

  10. Venezia 10

    Cunliffe shows he is in touch with progressive thinking on “pre-distribution”. Professor Robert Wade promoted this idea on his lecture tour. We have had it in the past and we can do it again.

  11. Dean Reynolds 11

    For Social Democracy to work, the State needs to control the commanding heights of the economy, (finance, energy, transport, communications, education, superannuation, workers’ compo, social security, health, housing) so that they work for everyone’s benefit. Private enterprise can do evertything else, from the second tier downwards.

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    ...
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  • The price of rotten cops IV
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Best and worst New Zealand flag designs
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    1 day ago
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  • A hard rain is a’gonna fall.
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    1 day ago
  • Got business out of town? Need a hire car?
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  • An abuse of the OIA
    In the wake of revelations that Prime Minister John Key had systematically and repeatedly bullied, sexually harassed and assaulted a cafe waitress, the New Zealand Herald published a piece exposing the victim. It seemed like retribution, and the involvement of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day 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… ...
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    1 day ago
  • Calling Peak Car?
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    1 day ago
  • Australia’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on...
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: Removing the opposition
    Last year, Nauru's government abused its parliamentary majority to suspend the opposition from Parliament on a spurious privilege motion. Its a disease which is spreading: last night, Fiji's "democratic" regime did the same, suspending an opposition MP for making a… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    1 day ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
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    1 day ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    1 day ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
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  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
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  • What next?
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    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    2 days ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
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    2 days ago
  • April-15 Patronage
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    2 days ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
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    2 days ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
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    2 days ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
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  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
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  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
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  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    6 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    10 hours 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… ...
    1 day 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
    1 day 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… ...
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  • 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
    1 day 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. ...
    1 day 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… ...
    1 day 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
    1 day 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… ...
    1 day 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… ...
    1 day 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… ...
    1 day 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… ...
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days 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
    3 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… ...
    3 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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
    4 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… ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
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    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 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… ...
    6 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
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    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?
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    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
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    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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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

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