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Shocking the people into submission

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, May 29th, 2013 - 23 comments
Categories: class war, democracy under attack, economy, human rights, International, john key, poverty, privatisation, same old national, slippery, spin, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The documentary The Shock Doctrine (2009)aired on Maori TV last night.   It is based on Naomi Klein’s book of the same name.  This presents a convincing and well-supported argument of the way “neoliberal” have been imposed on countries since the 1980s by capitalising on a range of natural and human-induced disasters and economic shocks.  She exposes the hypocrisy of the the Chicago School-based, “neoliberal” theory compared with the practice.  Milton Friedman’s theory claims that with economic liberalisation will come a more democratic and socially liberal society.

It is extremely important  to understand the way disasters, wars and economic shocks are used by the wealthy and powerful right wingers to further many of their policies. However, it is important to note that, this is not part of a carefully orchestrated, well-cordinated plan.  Rather, it shows how those with a mix of economic, financial and political power opportunistically capitalise on unexpected shocks, while focusing on their own self-serving interests.

As graphically shown in the documentary, the first attempts at imposing the Chicago School model was through the dictatorial regimes in Pinochet’s Chile and Argentina in the 1970s- brutal, murderous regimes that accepted no opposition, especially from the left.  The documentary is compelling viewing, using the style and format of Hollywood movies, with the sights and sounds of graphic explosions in war zones, and devastating images of the poverty that resulted from the “neoliberal” revolution.

And here lies the dilemma with an otherwise excellent documentary: it presents an important argument and evidence in a way that might likely get the attention of many beyond those already opposed to “neoliberal” capitalism.  However, it does tend to treat the “shock doctrine” as a carefully planned, well0orchestrated campaign, following a neatly unfolding narrative.

It is important to learn from the way shocks are opportunistically manipulated within the broader global setting.  Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine needs to be read in conjunction with David Harvey’s Brief History of Neoliberalism.  Harvey shows how there are massive inconsistencies with the way “neoliberal” policies are put into practice.  When necessary, the elites will use anti-democratic means, and practice market protectionist strategies that are anything but “free”.  The main thing that is consistent within “neoliberal” regimes, is that the wealth is shifted from the majority (including those with least power and wealth), to the few (most of whom are already pretty well off).

Throughout the Shock Doctrine documentary we see excerpts of speeches and comments from Naomi Klein, explaining how the doctrine works.  Klein’s most important statements come towards the end of the documentary, after it has traced the trail of shocks from Chile through Bush Jnr’s “war on terror”, to the shock of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.  Of the GFC Klein says (in the segment that begins around 1 hour 11 minutes), in spite of the rhetoric of taming the big banks:

We are witnessing a transfer of wealth of unfathomable size.  It is a transfer of wealth from the public hands, from the hands of government collected from regular people in the form of taxes, into the hands of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the world.  Needless to say the very individuals and corporations that created this crisis.

The documentary ends on a positive note.  Klein says that the shock doctrine depends on people not being aware of what is happening.   It works only because the people are immobilised, confused and disoriented by the chaos and impact of the shocks.  If people are aware of what is happening, they can resist. Along with this suggestion, I’d also look to David Harvey’s book which shows the imperfections, failures and inconsistencies of the “neoliberal” revolution.  “Neoliberalism” succeeds because the elites are single-mindedly focused on their aims, even if they don’t all agree on the means.

A week or so ago, I also felt somewhat immobilsed by the Key government’s latest blitzkrieg.  They seemed to be launching one attack after another on our democratic processes.  It was hard to know where to focus opposition.  Now they and their MSM cheer team are focusing on the (alleged) positives of the direction the country is taking us.  For instance, Tracy Watkins, while putting the boot into David Shearer’s leadership, claims:

The poll shows a sudden surge in people who think the country is on the right track – a combination of the wealth effect of a rise in house prices, particularly in Auckland, a drop in the number of jobless, better growth figures and a feeling that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the economy.

There are plenty of niggles with the Government but they are just that – niggles.

None has taken on the tsunami-like proportions of the nanny state backlash that swept Labour out of office.

And with optimism on the rebound, National’s message at the election in 2014 looks like an increasingly potent one – we’ve taken our medicine, done the hard yards, and we’re starting to reap the gains. Why put that all at risk?

However, such triumphalism ignores what has happened as a result of the NAct government’s relentless anti-democratic shocks.  Michael Field, also on Stuff this morning, reports on the rising inequalities in NZ:

New Zealanders might believe they live in an egalitarian nation but a worldwide “better life index” shows the quality of life here is being significantly harmed by the gap between the richest and poorest. ..

New Zealand’s average household net-adjusted disposable income is US$21,892 a year (NZ$27,077.34), less than the OECD average of US$23,047.

“But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20 per cent of the population earn five times as much as the bottom 20 per cent,” the report says.

People in New Zealand work slightly less than the OECD average while 13 per cent of employees “work very long hours”, more than the OECD average of 9 per cent.

Focusing on the broad employment statistics can be misleading.  What good is higher employment and less unemployment, if more jobs pay less than a living wage?  In its attacks on workers’ and beneficiaries’ rights, this government has been doing a good job of helping to shift the wealth upwards, and strengthening the power of the corporates, while weakening the power and finances of those on low incomes.

23 comments on “Shocking the people into submission”

  1. New Zealand’s average household net-adjusted disposable income is US$21,892 a year (NZ$27,077.34), less than the OECD average of US$23,047.

    International Monetary Fund (2012)

    […] 5 Australia 67,723 2012[…]
    14 Netherlands 46,142 2012
    15 Finland 46,098 2012
    16 Ireland 45,888 2012
    17 Kuwait 45,824 2012
    18 Belgium 43,686 2012
    19 Iceland 41,740 2012
    20 Brunei 41,703 2012
    21 Germany 41,513 2012
    22 France 41,141 2012
    23 United Kingdom 38,589 2012
    24 New Zealand 38,222 2012
    — Hong Kong 36,667 2012
    25 Italy 33,115 2012
    — European Union 32,518 2012
    26 Israel 31,296 2012
    27 Spain 29,289 2012[…]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
    Despite the ‘financial crisis’ the government is still failing on the GDP front, so much for ending the income gap with Australia.

  2. Tim 2

    “And here lies the dilemma with an otherwise excellent documentary: it presents an important argument and evidence in a way that might likely get the attention of many beyond those already opposed to “neoliberal” capitalism.”

    If I recall, from the credits, it was made in 2009 – not too long after the 2008 ‘GFC’. I’m hoping that the consequences of the neo-liberal programme will have become a part of many more people’s life experience (i.e. they’ll have become more directly affected).

    • Tim 2.1

      I tried to edit – I see you’d already included the 2009 release date: read from the “I’m hoping….”

  3. johnm 3

    The current Neoliberal order has a horror of democracy and even the mixed economy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_economy

    We have The Corporate Welfare State http://www.monbiot.com/2011/11/21/the-corporate-welfare-state/

    ” areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power. ” http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/rise_up_or_die_20130519/

    We have two headed one party state.

    This subject is so big it’s hard to know where to begin. The invasion of Iraq and its prior siege to starve it out and the lies to justify the invasion are epic war crimes on a parallel with Nazi Germany and Japanese war crimes worthy of another Nuremburg trial.

    basically the rich and wealthy and the banks and corporations have a total abhorrence of democracy and the lumpen proles having any effective voice. Profit is the new tyranny.

    • johnm 3.1

      All the Privatisations are day light robbery from the common good of the people. The presstitute media comply with the dumbing down of the public most of whom now wouldn’t have a clue what the term “common good” means or that it’s the foundation of any decent society and that the term includes the natural world as well–no deep sea oil drilling. We have a wealth worship growth sickness that even the Planet itself is rebelling against in the form of climate change that could eventually be the demise of most of us.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        We have a wealth worship growth sickness that even the Planet itself is rebelling against in the form of climate change that could eventually be the demise of most of us.

        Yep and the way things are going it looks like we’re not going to learn that lesson until after the planet’s crushed our “civilisation”.

      • johnm 3.1.2

        On a lighter note here is an example of a shocking doctrine closer to home: Australia:

        “Conservative billionaire Gina Rinehart called for the sterilization of the poor today, arguing that the only way to alleviate poverty is to stop the “underclasses” from multiplying.

        In a video uploaded to her official YouTube account, the Australian mining heiress said that income inequality is caused by differences in intelligence, and eugenics is the only answer.

        “Our nation faces a grave economic crisis as the combination of a strong Australian dollar and falling commodity prices sap our ability to compete globally,” she explained. “The only logical solution to this crisis is to strengthen the quality of our most precious resource: human capital.”

        Bloody ell! 🙂 To think our governments really do listen to people like this.

        http://dailycurrant.com/2013/05/28/gina-rinehart-calls-for-sterilization-of-the-poor/

        She resembles someone here in NZ Paula B……

        “I believe that any couple making less than $100,000 a year should be forcibly sterilized through a vasectomy or fallopian tubal ligation. Those earning more than $100,000 a year should be encouraged to have as many as 10 or 12 children.” Holy Motherf@cker!!!

        “So I’m willing to pay a decent wage, as long as I’m getting the son of a doctor and not the son of a failed bartender on welfare. The problem is that the underclasses seem to be outbreeding the intelligent folks, and I can’t find a decent worker anywhere.” What Planet She live on!? OH yes the billionaire’s planet privilege

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.2.1

          In a video uploaded to her official YouTube account, the Australian mining heiress said that income inequality is caused by differences in intelligence, and eugenics is the only answer.

          She should look in the fucking mirror before opening her mouth on eugenics again.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.2

          Everything I’ve seen of Gina Rinehart shows that she’s rather stupid. Having more of her running around is definitely what will kill this world.

          What Planet She live on!? OH yes the billionaire’s planet privilege

          Planet Key.

        • millsy 3.1.2.3

          I hope that’s satire….

          I really do.

  4. tracey 4

    Karol, if you get a chance, find a book called “from Good hands to Boxing Gloves” It outlines the impact of McKinsey on the USA’s largest insurer and how they moved from having policy holders at the centre of their business to shareholders, which saw years of higher premiums and significantly lower payouts while misleading customers as tot he extent of their coverage.

    I believe it outlines a similar modus operandi as you outline here.

    Could be important given the QBE and other insurance issues faced by Christchurch. It is likely to have implications for all kiwis as insurance companies try to claw back losses from all clients.

  5. tracey 5

    My brother often says what this country needs is a dictator. No stuffing around, decisions made action taken. He does vote National but he is no right-wing fanatic. he does constantly moan at all his wasted tax dollars… He’s no rich lister but he is very well off

    • lprent 5.1

      Dare him to say that down in Christchurch. Brownlee effectively has dictatorial powers down there. Somehow that hasn’t stopped the rebuild down there being a total clusterfuck according to *everyone* I have talked to from Christchurch over the last year. Doesn’t matter if they are left, right, or uninterested in politics – they are all freaking pissed off. Especially at Brownlee, CERA, EQC, and even the city council because bugger all of any significance to the residents has been happening despite all of the dictatorial powers.

      He could get a better idea about how useless dictatorial powers are.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      The problem with benign dictators is who replaces them.

  6. saarbo 6

    Thanks Karol, well summed up…I haven’t red the book but the doco was outstanding. Big thumbs up to Maori TV.

  7. Roger Douglas articulated the ‘shock doctrine’ in NZ with his statement to the effect that ‘reforms’ had to happen fast before people woke up. The urgency and ruthlessness which which the ruling class implemented their reforms at the time was not part of a conscious conspiracy, it flowed from the crisis of capital that broke out in the 1970s. This was caused by a fall in the rate of profit resulting from a rise in the organic composition of capital. As the cost of plant and machinery required to make labour more productive increased as a ratio of labour employed, labour had to generate higher profits to cover the total capital investment. This meant that the rate of exploitation needed to increase. At a certain point in the late 60’s, that rate (the willingness of workers to work harder or face cuts in living standards) could not keep pace with total capital invested, and profits began to fall. This is well documented, not only by Marxists. Capitalism needed to be restructured. So whatever the means used the ends were the same. Capital had to drive down its costs to restore its profits. In NZ this meant that industry had to be restructuring to cut costs and become internationally competitive. Rogernomics was the Labour Party’s answer. It was economic kiwi shock therapy.
    This was captured at the time by the Socialist Alliance in their “Rogercomic”. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1949769616850.2100256.1020893687&type=3
    The best account of the underlying forces at play is in the late Geoff Pearce’s PhD “Where is NZ Going”. http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/1024
    Brian Roper has summarised and updated this analysis in ‘State and Economy in NZ’ which as far as I know is not online.

    • Ennui 7.1

      Red, I had a quiet laugh clicking on your site and seeing Trotsky…..seemed very ironic considering that you quote Rogers statement to the effect that ‘reforms’ had to happen fast before people woke up”.

      This is directly out of the Lenin school of revolutionary practice, probably his greatest contribution to turning theory into reality. It amuses me that what was pioneered by the Reds got appropriated by the Neo Libs….not surprising that these two are mirror images, both practitioners of “rationalism” and “materialism”.

      Your guys should never have publicised the methodology nor proven it. Funny also your analysis of capital in crisis, looks very much like a rerun of what brought the Soviet Union to its knees to me.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Not online but in libraries.

  8. Paul 8

    Naomi Klein could easily use Christchuch as an example for her book.
    Earthquake, dodgy insurance companies, forced school changes, people living in broken houses for over 2 years, charter schools, removal of democracy with Ecan..
    Yup, that’s shock doctrine in action.

  9. TheContrarian 9

    Would have liked to have seen that but The Fly was on Prime.

  10. xtasy 10

    Karol, I am in agreement with your comment that what the Nats in government have been presenting us of recent, is nothing short of policy and legislative “blitzkrieg”. Yes, bringing in unconstitutional, undemocratic, the BORA and Human Rights Act breaching laws, some under urgency, and rushing them through select committee, some even not going through that stage, that is clearly a speedy or hasty attack on the democratic process that should actually be followed, upheld and applied.

    The main problem is, most people in the public have such a dim view of politicians, and are also so superficially and poorly informed, they take little interest in details, and they do not even know that their rights and entitlements are signed away with a stroke of a pen, when these new laws and amended laws get their assent.

    We know how practically “complicit” the leaders in the mainstream media are in supporting this government, and they keep their staff (the average reporter on rushed feet, the journalist not given time and pay to research details) at a tight lead, so they do not go astray and do what they actually would be supposed to do.

    I did not see that film, and I rely on your assessment.

    With the continued “neo-liberal” onslaught, I fear the NatACT government have just started to run the bulldozer over us. Wait and see how they will implement the welfare reforms soon, it will start in harmless fashion (see the “calming” info contained in brouchures at WINZ offices), but once the regime is in place, there will be thousands thrashed off the benefits, forced to work, whether actually signed off as sick and incapacitated by doctors, or not. They will simply circumvent or override medical decisions, as they have already tried increasingly over the last two years.

    The new “assessments”, separate to medical examinations, will be so constructed, that they will find many capable to work, even if it is for non existing, hypothetical jobs. The goal is cost cutting and sending the message to others: Do not even bother applying for benefits, as you will most likely not qualify anyway.

    We are in for an onslaught, for sure, at that and other levels. It is highly dismaying, that most out there do not get it, and simply shrug their shoulders and turn away, letting all this happen.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Karol, I am in agreement on your comment that what the Nats in government have been presenting us of recent, is nothing short of policy and legislative “blitzkrieg”.

      Lucky that we have our very own Red Army to defeat them. Maybe. Not.

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    by Denis Godard The movement of occupation of squares in France is [over] two weeks old. [1] Its evolution is difficult to predict, because it is open to many unforeseen events, even though its roots are deep. At this point… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Free the Wicklow 2
    Protests around the imprisonment of these two activists are taking place around Ireland and also in Britain.  Anyone fancy organising something at the Irish embassy in Wellington  There is also an Irish consulate in Auckland. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • DIY Touring The World: New Zealand
    New Zealand has a small population, few places to play and not much money for touring bands - but you can’t beat the beautiful landscapes, hidden gem venues and fantastic audiences. Music impresario Ian Jorgensen has been touring bands… ...
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protected: Tributes to Dame Margaret Sparrow
    This post is password protected. You must visit the website and enter the password to continue reading.Filed under: Uncategorized ...
    ALRANZBy ALRANZ
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.In places… ...
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
    Your right to swipe for threesomes is under threat.    Some clean-cut millennials enjoying the 3nder afterglow. 1232RF Those for whom three is the magic sex-number should know that one's right to swipe one's way into a six-limb circus is… ...
    2 days ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    2 days ago
  • Some big news, for me
    Two pieces of news that are kind of a big deal, for me. Firstly, I’m ditching my landline! I’m not a student and I’m not in a low income band, so make of that what you will. Secondly, after 10… ...
    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago

  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    16 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    16 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    16 hours ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    18 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    20 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    6 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    7 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    7 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago

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