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Rorty rorty

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, November 11th, 2013 - 89 comments
Categories: same old national - Tags:

You’ll remember that, back in 2009, Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English was caught claiming an ‘out of town’ allowance – intended to pay for non-Wellington-based MPs’ accommodation in the capital – to pay the mortgage on his family home in Karori. Key’s solution was to let all his ministers claim the rort. Now, it turns out some of them are doubling down on the rort.

The play goes like this:

MPs are able to get Parliamentary Services to match their superannuation contributions at a rate of $2.50 of every dollar they put in up to $28,920. Why that much? Well, it equates to the MP contributing 8% of their salary, the maximum you can put into Kiwisaver.

But what if you don’t want to contribute 8% yourself to get your 20% top up from Parliamentary Services? How can you get your hands on the bonus cash anyway?

Set up a private superfund. Make that superfund own your house. Your mortgage payments go into the superfund. Now, the mortgage payments you would have to make anyway are getting matched 2.5 to 1 by Parliamentary Services.

You’ve gained $29,000 a year for doing nothing other than add a step to how you pay your mortgage.

Add in the accommodation allowance for another $37,500 if you’re minister, $24,000 for a backbencher.

I suspect there’s more to this. The housing double-dip is being used by 6 MPs, but why do another 29 National MPs have private superannuation funds as well? 35 of National’s 59 MPs have private superannuation funds. The entire rest of New Zealand’s 4.5 million-strong population has just 203 private superannuation funds between us. Put it another way: 59% of National MPs have these funds; just 0.005% of the rest of the population has one. They’re up to something.

I reckon it will be more payments that they need to make anyway being routed through superfunds as contributions to get the Parliamentary Services bonus.

89 comments on “Rorty rorty”

  1. Chocolate 1

    Higher standards, said John the Con.

    Higher standards of rorting! That is what he meant!!!

    • Labour Voter 1.1

      Please do not forget that there four labour MPs doing this also…

      • Murray Olsen 1.1.1

        Any MP from any party doing this should have to pay the lot back and resign in disgrace.

      • Yes but at least they believe in a decent minimum wage and are supporting the Livable Wage campaign.

        • Rob A 1.1.2.1

          Doesn’t matter. They got to go. 99% of the impact of this on the swing vote is gone because now the right can say “but Labour MPs do it too”

          If these Labour MPs really believed in “a decent minimum wage and are supporting the Livable Wage campaign” then getting rid of National is phase 1. Nothing else matters

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Another round of Double dipping –

    Get the taxpayer to pay you to live in whats effectively your own house, and get a superannuation subsidy as well.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    So how come MPs can set up a superfund and get contributions like this?

    Couldn’t any ordinary Joe-Schmoe do the same, and get their employer to pay what otherwise would have been their kiwisaver contribution into the fund?


    [a quick look at the Kiwisaver website shows nothing about people being able to set up their own Kiwisaver-compliant schemes, which it would need to be to get the employers’ contribution. Maybe it was done special for MPs when Kiwisaver was created and replaced the old super framework that Parliament had. Eddie]

    • Tat Loo (CV) 3.1

      Ordinary Joe-Schmoe don’t have the right lawyers and accountants to do this kind of work.

      • Mariana Pineda 3.1.1

        But some of those doing it are lawyers themselves ie Sam Lotu-IIga and Simon Bridges.
        This must reflective of the ethics they assumed they learned in law school.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.2

      Probably, but the crown pays mps 2.5 for every 1 the mp puts in, which is a large part of what makes it all worthwhile.

    • mickysavage 3.3

      Anyone can register a trust under the Superannuation Schemes Act 1989 but there is no reason for Joe Bloggs to do so.

      MPs and Judges do so because they can then direct the Government contribution to their superannuation to be paid to a trust they control. If they do not have their own scheme then the Government scheme administers their superannuation including the Government contribution.

      I would say that pretty well every scheme belongs to a Judge or MP.

    • Lanthanide 3.4

      Eddie – ah, I was thinking it wouldn’t be a qualifying Kiwisaver fund, you’d just tell your employer “You’re going to pay 3% of my salary anyway, instead of putting it into KS fund, just put it into my own superfund”.

      The difference here though is that your superfund wouldn’t be eligible for the other KS tidbits, like the government “tax credit”.

    • Labour Voter 3.5

      Eddie – you are right. This is MPs only arrangement

  4. it is worth keeping in mind that todays’ is part one of a three-parter..

    ..i am assuming labour mp’s (and others) will be up next..?

    ..d’yareckon..?

    ..this could be a multi-party ambition-killer..eh..?

    ..and some ‘real’ journlalism from the herald..

    ..go figure..!

    (this is kinda interesting too..the detective-work that went into ferreting out this hidden/secret info..)

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11154978

    “..More than 7.2 million property records were extracted from Land Information titles and owners’ lists.

    These records were combined using cloud servers to create a searchable database of property records.

    Since the property titles data do not include addresses-

    – a piece of custom software was created to identify and locate each property –

    – while another extracted MPs’ trusts – companies – and declared properties –

    – from the Register of Pecuniary Interest.

    Combining all of these tools resulted in a map of properties owned by every MP –

    – both personally and through trusts – superannuation schemes – or companies.

    While MPs who control their own trusts and superannuation schemes are readily found through this database –

    – other MPs structure their affairs in ways that make it difficult or impossible to find their properties.

    For example – John Key’s “blind trust” means his name never appears on a property record..”

    ..phillip ure..

    • Pete 4.1

      Of the 238 private superannuation schemes registered in New Zealand, about 40 belong to current MPs and 35 of those are National MPs.

      NZ Herald

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      – other MPs structure their affairs in ways that make it difficult or impossible to find their properties.

      For example – John Key’s “blind trust” means his name never appears on a property record..”

      Which tells us that blind trusts need to be outlawed. Society needs to know who owns what.

  5. Pete 5

    Keith Ng is quickly becoming one of NZ’s best investigative journalists. The next government better keep their noses clean.

    • Tim 5.1

      I hope he backs up his database/evidence offshore/safe somewhere. I’m pretty bloody sure he does. Reminds me that I’ve still got a Finacial Management Database from a govt department during the last time the Natzis were in power. (it was ekshly done under instruction from a careerist muddle management when fears of the Y2K impending disaster were imminent).
      One or two juicy bits in there I seem to remember. Oh … as were things like policy analyst’s reports taken from a Whanganui server into the perception of racism evident in a Police District when some poor bugger got shot.
      Funny thing though, when I last looked at it, the names of protagonists and players involved – THEY’RE ALL still around FFS! (quite a few ‘performance bonuses’ later as well).

      It’s really easier to just be str8up me thinks

  6. infused 6

    And why aren’t you naming them then? majority of them on your team?

  7. amirite 7

    Any MP participating in this rort should resign instantly, regardless of the party they belong to.
    If we want any change, Labour should lead the way in this. Otherwise, it’s more of the same old, same old and that won’t win them votes.

  8. ianmac 8

    If asked Mr English would say that it is quite legal and it probably is.
    But ethical/moral? Huh!

  9. bad12 9

    Ah the sweet stench of corruption wafting across the future of this National Governments re-election chances,

    The electorate expects it’s elected representatives to behave not only to the letter of the rules but in the spirit of transparency which should surround the financial dealings of all our elected representatives,

    Bridge’s non-declaration of a property He claims to be ‘holding’ on behalf of a ‘friend’ should in a normal world see His Ministerial warrant the first to be withdrawn, but watch as He is allowed to worm His way out of this by making a ‘late’ statement to the Parliament,

    This has all the hallmarks of double and triple dipping by all those involved and while those with their noses buried deep in the trough via an until now unseen loophole might not pay for such rorting as they should this will serve to further tarnish Slippery’s Government heading into election year…

  10. Will@Welly 10

    And dear old Dame Margaret Bazley was the one who said they didn’t need to let anyone know about these rorts back in the day. The National Party’s crony – think Ecan and the person who was supposed to do a hatchet job on the Fire Service – gives these self-serving buffoons a free pass.
    As for J.K., he has turned a $10 billion debt into almost $60 billion in less than 5 years, so he is not that fiscally prudent, so “give him a break” – yeah friggin’ right !!
    It shows how complacent this country has become, thanks to Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson – their policies have taken the guts out of this country. With what we are seeing, there should be rioting.

  11. ianmac 11

    Mr Key reassured listeners on TV1 that it was all OK and that they weretold by the Registrar for Pecuniary Interests not to do so.Pecuniary bosses had told the MPs to not declare their hidden assets?
    No one is asking why would they be told to hide these assets? Why? Why?

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      Because they were in the private super scheme.

      The question isn’t ‘why didn’t you disclose?’, it’s ‘why did you set it up so that the Registrar would tell you not to disclose’.

      • mickysavage 11.1.1

        Yep. The pecuniary register rules require disclosure of

        “1(f) the location of each parcel of real property in which the member has a legal interest in the fee simple or leasehold or stratum estate, or in which any such interest is held by a trust that the member knows (or ought reasonably to know) he or she is a beneficiary of, but does not include land held by a member as a trustee only or property held by a superannuation scheme disclosed under subclause (1)(g), and
        1(g) the name of each registered superannuation scheme in which the member has a pecuniary interest … ”

        The details are at page 65 of http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0000193444

  12. Once again, National reveals itself as the fish that rorts from the head.

  13. amirite 13

    When you’re earning a 6 figure salary you’re not only allowed but you’re entitled to rort the system. Actually, you are ADVISED not to declare.

    • Bob 13.1

      Yip, throw back to when you used to be hit by rediculous top tax rates, so you simply shift your income to different areas. Doesn’t happen so much anymore (which is part of the reason the income from the current top tax rate has increased so dramatically), but if Labour introduce their proposed tax on earners over $150,000 watch the tax take drop as it starts happening a lot more.

  14. Tracey 14

    Interesting that a couple say the house is their super scheme while another in the same city said if hed bought as an investment he would be very disappointed.

    The point is not that what they have done is legal its that they fight a 15 minimum wage but on their huge salaries plus expenses feel they need even more.

    isnt this the same sense of entitlement the nats posters here hate in some beneficiaries?

  15. Tracey 15

    Didnt hipkins declare despite being in a private scheme? Suggests they can disclose if they want to.

  16. Pascal's bookie 16

    Here’s a crazy idea.

    Build a hostel. Charge ’em board. let them deduct that board from their taxable income for PAYE. better deal that most other workers get whose job of choice in another town.

    All other fringe bene’s to be managed by winz case officers.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      Build a hostel.

      That’s exactly what needs to happen. It’d be a lot cheaper for us than the rorts that our MPs presently have going.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 16.2

      After all if its good enough for the Pope to live in a Vatican ‘hostel’ surely MPs can do the same.

      After all 20 years ago most out of town Mps shared flats , and only Ministers lived in single family houses ( owned by the taxpayer )

    • Horace in the east 16.3

      There’s a bloody good hostel in Taranaki Street they could all stay at. It’s in their quality of class, it’s called the night shelter – reasonably cheap too. Only trouble, they’d drag the standard of clientele staying there.

  17. Tracey 17

    Oh but bookie they shouldnt have yo live in such cramped circumstances… thats for poor people

  18. yeshe 18

    Is it valid to ask why the super contribution remained at $2.50 per dollar when Kiwisaver was cut down to $1 ?? Are they related or not ? Thx.

    This is the most corrupted and selfish bunch of sods ever in this blue party with the Arch-Duke Slippery himself. They are sickening.

    • Lanthanide 18.1

      The government KiwiSaver contribution used to be up to a matching $1,042, at $20 a week, and was reduced to $521, at $10 a week, for every $20 the saver put in.

      • Hayden 18.1.1

        Was that before or after employer contributions were raised by 50%, to then be taxed at 33%?

        • Lanthanide 18.1.1.1

          Employers started taxing contributions at your marginal tax rate before the contribution rate was raised to 3% from 2%. Both of those changes happened after the government reduced the “tax credit” contribution to $521 from $1,042.

      • yeshe 18.1.2

        thx Lanthanide

  19. Tracey 19

    And this is why labour greens have to hound the message..

    WHO has the economy succeeded for?

    Not….

    not….

    and so on

  20. Pascal's bookie 20

    Keith Ng is doing an AMA on this at the Herald now:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11155031&ss=1

    and slaying the predictable Farrar fed trolls with righteous abandon. take that, whallop. And you, smack. etc.

    • Fisiani 20.1

      Keith Ng is pointing out that National MP’s have been following the rules. Shock horror. He obviously does not like the rules., but cannot claim that is a rort to simply follow the rules. This is another Keith Ng facepalm.

      • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1

        Read his comments moran.

      • Tracey 20.1.2

        He didnt write it was a rort but he implied it was wrong.

        I know you struggle with the concept of behaviour being higher than the minimum required by law fisiani.

        but it is the pm who set the mark higher than the previous labour govt whose mantra was “if its legal” but you are cool with his lies cos hes on your “team”, right?

      • Draco T Bastard 20.1.3

        Rort

        verb
        [no object] Australian/NZ
        engage in sharp practice.
        [with object] manipulate (a ballot or records) fraudulently; rig.
        [with object] work (a system) to obtain the greatest benefit while remaining within the letter of the law.

        Rort is the correct term. It comes back to: Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it’s right. In this instance, what the MPs are doing is obviously wrong.

    • Bob 20.2

      He might be getting smacked himself soon:
      The Privacy Act states:

      Privacy Act 1993 Clause 59 Public Register Privacy Principles …

      Principle 2 Use of information from public registers

      Personal information obtained from a public register shall not be re-sorted, or combined with personal information obtained from any other public register, for the purpose of making available for valuable consideration personal information assembled in a form in which that personal information could not be obtained directly from the register.

      Whoops, probably should have investigated the law first Keith.

  21. amirite 21

    Why are Labour politicians quiet on this? Where the hell is Cunliffe? He’s been a no-show for quite a while, how the hell does he think he’ll win in 2014?

  22. Saarbo 22

    I think this shows how much the poor and vulnerable in New Zealand are in serious need of a political party that has real integrity and leadership. This is absolutely shocking, these people clearly are not in parliament to serve, they are there to maximise their personal financial return. And I get pissed of with people who say “well its legal so its ok”, that is utter bullshit, we should expect a lot fucken better than this. Of course the other question is around Capital Gains Tax and what are the right economic policy settings to get this country going, with all these MP’s buying investment housing combined with their self serving financial structures to rort the system, it shows why these National MP’s are so resistant to implementing a Capital gains Tax.

  23. Pete 23

    I wonder where the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union stands on this.

    • Pascal's bookie 23.1

      They sent out a tweet linking to it, job done. Busy working out much coffee is used in civil sector lunchrooms that isn’t greggs red rebbon roast bought from the past its expiry date shop..

  24. wyndham 24

    Why is everyone getting so wound up over this? Don’t they know that there is “Nothing to see. Nothing to hide”?

  25. Tracey 25

    engage in sharp practice = rort

  26. AmaKiwi 26

    I’m surprised Key didn’t say, “They’re only following the Golden Rule: Them that control your gold make the rules.”

  27. Simeon 27

    This is a tough one considering MPs need somewhere to stay whilst in Wellington. So how do you provide for this by not allowing the MPs to benefit personally?

    1) the Crown buys a pool of apartments to assign by way of a lottery system
    2) the MP’s rent from private landlords
    3) they stay at hotels

    The 2nd doesn’t stop the MP’s renting from a mate and the 3rd is just too expensive. So that leaves the first option as the only non-corrupt method. The out of town MP’s are no better off than those from the Wellington region.

    For those MPs who choose to move their family to Wellington whilst being a MP out of town should not be allocated a crown property.

    P.S. I do love it though when the MSM publish something that is seen to be against the Left you are quick to knock it down. But once the same news outlets publish something that attacks the Right it is taken as being gospel. As someone said this is only part 1.

    • Tim 27.1

      I think there’s a building in Lambton Quay they could pick up for a song. It’s the old T&G or Harcourts building. They could make some shady deal and keep their troughing mates happy while they’re at it.

    • QoT 27.2

      But once the same news outlets publish something that attacks the Right it is taken as being gospel.

      1. The news outlet may be the same, but the journalist who actually did the work is Keith Ng – not your average pundit.

      2. The article – and Keith expanded on this in his live chat earlier today – clearly mentions that there are Labour MPs who are using the same rules, and the previous issues with Green MPs’ accommodation allowances. From the article:

      As well as the six MPs with Wellington properties in Super funds, a further 26 MPs who get accommodation allowances also have properties in Wellington which are disclosed on the register. Nineteen are National MPs and four are from Labour. The others are the two Maori Party co-leaders and NZ First’s Denis O’Rourke.

      Nineteen out of 26 are National MPs. Four are from Labour. Looks like a pretty rightwing problem to me (thought Keith Ng himself was far more gracious, pointing out that National MPs are more likely to have business backgrounds and thus more assets/better accountants).

    • Ron 27.3

      State Houses. There are plenty of them in Hutt Valley places like Taita would be idea as it would bring MP’s closer to their voting public. Great train service from the Valley into Wellington so no need of Crown Cars.

    • Dormitories! (Segregated, of course!)

  28. lolitas brother 28

    I think many people would rather see an MP and Minister salary package which incorporates other benefits.

    This argument of Eddies says that because there is a housing accommodation allowance
    and because there is also a Superannuation, this is double dipping. Eddie could have completed his word mince by saying that if we then add in the MP salary its triple dipping, then add in travel allowance its quadruple dipping.

    Doesn’t matter where those incomes go, it’s the allowance given to MP’s.
    The system where the MP buys a home in family Trust in Wellington does give that MP or Minister advantages, no doubt about that.
    The home allowance , and superannuation allowance are two things separate.
    It may be an MP or Judge places both these benefits in a Trust owning a home. But socialists can do the same if they want to.

    If the application of funds to a home is a rort, is it still a rort if a Labour Government is returned next year, and continues the present system. Maybe not that would be different .
    If the public see these benefits as favouring some , then maybe we can get ready for transfer of housing and superannuation benefits to salaries.
    These would then be big salaries. It would be very hard for the socialist MP’s to accept these salaries of course, and many of them would probably choose to donate that salary to charity as does John Key

    • Pascal's bookie 28.1

      What a load of absolute shite, nicely wrapped up with a final piece of nonsense.

      Bet you can’t offer any evidence whatsoever that Key donates his salary to charity.

    • amirite 28.2

      Oh fuck, not that urban myth again. He donates a PART of his salary to charity – for all we know it could be just $20, if that.

      • Ron 28.2.1

        But of course he would get 33 cents in the dollar back courtesy of Inland Revenue

      • felix 28.2.2

        “Oh fuck, not that urban myth again. He donates a PART of his salary to charity – for all we know it could be just $20, if that.”

        “Good causes” is what he said he donated part of his salary to as leader of the opposition.

        So anything he happens to think is “good” would count. The Waitemata Trust, for example.

  29. rob 29

    Perhaps John throw them some slack should declare the charities!
    Just wondering?

  30. Chocolate 30

    Ian who??

    (Today’s second part.)

  31. Bearded Git 31

    It was interesting that TV3 News last night named and pictured the 6 MP’s involved in the personal superannuation rort but never once said that they were all National MP’s.

    Not good enough.

  32. Dumrse 32

    Never mind BG, look again tonight and see if there is anything about Labours Auckland Mayor and his junket to HongKong. Seems to be an interesting development in the wind.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 32.1

      Brown was elected as an independent. Dont you think its unusual a so called “union of taxpayers’ is asking about a privately funded trip ( Hong Kong government) during the time Brown was on leave.
      Where is the taxpayers money ? . As normal for these things the host picks up the costs- As David Farrer well knows , he even specifies which airline not to use when HE gets a junket

  33. Tracey 33

    … and Key keeps a straight face when he talks about kiwis love affair with property has to stop. Was surprised double dipton didn’t feature.

  34. And each one of these toerags voted against a livable wage .E

  35. And each one of these toerags voted against a livable wage .E

  36. lolitas brother 36

    Pascal’s bookie28.1 12 November 2013 at 6:14 am

    What a load of absolute shite, nicely wrapped up with a final piece of nonsense.
    Bet you can’t offer any evidence whatsoever that Key donates his salary to charity.

    I just love the language and the bile that comes from this site. You people do get worked up.
    Pascal the logic of the salary benefits is quite straight forward, just try to read carefully and not foam.
    Pascal the PM told me he donates salary to charity. I asked him specifically if it was a minor or a major contribution. He said major. I said more than half. He said all of it is a major donation.

    • Tracey 36.1

      “You people…”

      Pascal’s Bookie is one person as far as I know. If you love bile and vitriol may I offer the following suggestion;

      go to whaleoil or kiwiblog where the comments use far more offensive language.

      As an aside, how did you come to be having that conversation with the PM, and in what context were you able to get him to speak so freely to you?

      Have a read of this post to test the trustworthiness of the PM’s word.

      http://thestandard.org.nz/an-honest-man/

    • felix 36.2

      “Pascal the PM told me he donates salary to charity. I asked him specifically if it was a minor or a major contribution. He said major. I said more than half. He said all of it is a major donation.

      When was that? Cos I asked him just now, like 30 seconds ago, and he said he only donates to weapons manufacturers and Al Queda.

      Also he said he doesn’t really like you, he just pretends to because he wants to fuck your sister.

      etc.

  37. Brian 37

    A govt of hypocrites. They are little more than thieves. Morally bereft and barely legal.

  38. felix 38

    Idiot Savant asks a very important question: Can other people make contributions to these private superannuation schemes?

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  • 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
    23 hours 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… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    24 hours 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
    24 hours 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
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    1 day ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 day 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… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    1 day ago
  • April-15 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.… ...
    1 day 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.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    1 day ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    2 days ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    2 days ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    2 days ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days 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… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    19 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    20 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    20 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    23 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    23 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    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… ...
    4 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
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    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
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    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
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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