web analytics
The Standard

Sir Edmund Thomas: “Reducing Inequality” – new ‘Values’

Written By: - Date published: 5:48 pm, November 6th, 2013 - 29 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, democratic participation, economy, political alternatives, Social issues, unemployment, vision - Tags:

Sir Edmund Thomas’s recent Bruce Jesson lecture, “Reducing Inequality: A Strategy for a Cause’ is available online now: abridged version (h/t greywarbler).  He outlines the key elements of “neoliberalism” that have resulted in vast inequalities that are damaging to our society and it’s future.

I particularly like his focus on the need to shift from values led by economics, to those that put people and communities first.  It is from there that economic policies then flow.

(1) Values directed by the economic order

The first damaging feature of neo-liberalism I would identify is the fact that the economic order has been permitted to direct, if not dictate, the values and morality of the community.  But the morality of capitalism is a pagan morality; a morality bounded by the profit motive and the obsession with consumerism and the materialistic values it engenders.  The prime example of this perverted morality exists in the fact that a person’s worth is measured, not by the value of his or her contribution to the well-being of the community, but by their accumulation of personal wealth.

My immediate point, therefore, is simple; naked self-interest (for which it is easy to read greed) is a malign foundation for a healthy society.  The free market should not be permitted to dictate or direct the values of the community.  Rather, the community must determine its own values, and impose those values on the free market.

He mentions some “neoliberal” myths that need to be exposed:

“Trickle down” economics is a prime example.  Other myths I touch upon are:

  • The myth that a progressive tax of the wealthy depresses production and retards economic growth;
  • The myth that the poor have only themselves to blame;
  • The myth that a person’s wealth is due solely to his or her own hard work;
  • The notion that the free market is the most efficient means of allocating the distribution of resources;
  • The claim that privatisation is economically beneficial;
  • The notion that the country’s finances are the household or family’s finances writ large; and
  • The claim that high CEO and senior executive salaries and large bonuses, even if they appear obscenely high, are essential to the operation of the free market.

I have some misgivings on the way Thomas focuses on individualistic human rights, and the way he aims to recast capitalism rather than to replace it.

I take the view that the main vehicle for reducing this extreme inequality and bettering the lot of humankind will be in the area of human rights, more specifically, economic, social and cultural rights; the substantive human rights.  Human rights are basically ego-centric.  As a result, the enforcement of human rights by individuals – or groups of individuals – is compatible with individualism.  The enforcement of human rights is probably now the most productive means of protecting the individual or groups of individuals from the harsh extremes of liberal individualism and capitalism.

He outlines various areas that need to be worked on to produce a more equal, fair and well-functioning society.  One of the key ones he mentions, which I am in agreement with, is that it requires us to be working at a community level, and not to wait for the government to bring about necessary changes.

Economic, social and cultural rights, I suggest, are the key. These substantive rights embrace the right to work, in which I would include the right to a living wage, the right to health care, the right to freedom from poverty and an adequate standard of living, the right to security, the right to free and equal education, the right to a reasonable standard of housing, and the right to a habitable environment.  Such rights must be articulated and pursued with a vigour that is capable of shaking and shifting the political and economic order.  Discussion needs to be more focused and directed to generating sustained pressure from those deprived of their economic, social and cultural rights and those who aspire to achieve a fairer and more equal society.

[…]

In short, what I am suggesting is a focused campaign to promote substantive human rights.  Not being indirectly enforceable in the courts, such rights will not have the force of political and civil rights, but the objective must be to ensure that they possess sufficient force for people to claim that the minimum social, economic and cultural standards they reflect are theirs as of right.  Thus, such rights would have the same natural law underpinnings as political and civil rights.  They would be demanded by those denied those rights with the same vigour and dedication as the community demand their political and civil rights

In spite of my misgivings, I like his statements about the need for a massive struggle from those disadvantaged by the current “neoliberal” order:

Consequently, change will come, if it is to come at all, as a result of the social dissatisfaction and unrest that would follow the more aggressive assertion of economic, social and cultural rights.  With people viewing the various substantive rights, not as matters to be negotiated or compromised in an imperfect and indifferent political system, but as requirements that are theirs as of right, pressure for change would be unyielding.  Just as people will vigorously protest against the suppression or denial of their political and civil rights so they would come to vigorously protest the denial of their substantive rights.

However, it does seem like a harsh and difficult struggle ahead of us.

29 comments on “Sir Edmund Thomas: “Reducing Inequality” – new ‘Values’”

  1. Philgwellington Wellington 1

    Xox
    It has to be a peaceful revolution. Anything less is unrealistic, too little and too late. Where ever I look I can’t see it. Where is the hope?

  2. Ad 2

    This is one seriously brave ex-Supreme Court Judge.

    Not even Lord Cooke of Throndon was this political, and he was the first to enforce the Treaty of Waitangi amongst other innovations.

    Thankyou Grey Warbler for the text you have managed to capture.

    No one should expect Sir Thomas to promote replacing capitalism or any other kind of system. This is a man from deep within the system; he is indeed the Queen’s representative of the entire thing.

    Are there other uncowed judges or ex-judges out there who can speak? We are so lucky to have this man speaking now.

  3. Tracey 3

    Our judiciary are operating as a bulwark to the executive. This would not be the case if we had the us system of appointment of judges. National will have a think tank to address this anomoly

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      More importation of US systems is my guess. Political appointments to the judiciary seem to have worked so well over there.

  4. TightyRighty 4

    Tracey, who made the executive appointments to our a surpreme court? I think you should be careful about hurling accusations at national. It was labour that had us-style appointments. And apart from fatty Elias, they’ve worked reasonable well so national let them continue in their roles

    • lprent 4.1

      …so national let them continue in their roles

      Perhaps you should look at the role to which they were appointed, and in particular how long they are “appointed” for – which is essentially until they decide to stand down.

      There was nothing that National could do. Besides the government has less to do with the appointments than the judges in the other higher courts do. Try over-riding them and find out how far they get. Which is of course why judges have been “appointed” from the court of appeal.

      You should really apply yourself and learn some of the basics of the legal systems in NZ rather than relying on half misunderstood right wing myths.

      • Wayne 4.1.1

        The Law Commission has recently completed a Report on the Courts, which deals with the appointment of Judges in the Higher Courts. It has been accepted by Govt (and I am fairly sure also accepted by the Opposition Parties) which will lead to broader consultation on appointment of Judges.

      • TightyRighty 4.1.2

        just labour that technicality there lprent. tracey made up some bullshit about what she neurotically believes national would do given the opportunity. fact is, they’ve had the opportunity. and did nothing of the sort.

        I know quite a few basics of the legal system in new zealand. national couldn’t override the appointments to the surpreme courrt. never suggested they could. but they could have put stoolies in place when vacancies arose in the surpreme court. they didn’t though did they?

        so before questioning my understanding of how judges are appointed in this country, try comprehend what i’m actually saying.

  5. Macro 5

    There needs to be a wholesale nation wide debate upon this very topic…

    “what’s the economy for anyway?”

    Only after we have consensus on that can we possibly move forward.

    I would sincerely suggest that the economy is NOT about growth… In the past that may have been the case,and in developing countries that may well be the case. However what is it for an economy to be “developed”?

    Is there any need for a developed economy to continue to grow? And is it at all desirable or even possible? J S Mill did not think so, and neither did Adam Smith. Continuous growth defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics for a start, and is only being “achieved” now by a pernicious redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.

    Sir Edmund Thomas has it correct. He will have seen the effects of burgeoning inequality in the courts. The sick society is the society the fails to support its most vunerable, and the more inequality the greater the proportion of those who are vunerable

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      We have to redefine “growth” as being that which focuses on improvements in quality, resilience, inclusiveness, and human wellbeing. Not on unsustainable exponential financialised volumetric and quantitative increases.

      Because in reality all we have been achieving for the last 20 years or so is uneconomic growth. Growth which damages, harms, and increases disparities and inequalities.

      • Macro 5.1.1

        Actually I believe we have to stop talking “growth” completely. The focus needs to shift to what the economy is all about anyway – and that is prosperity. What should now be the focus of all political leaders on the left – and even from the right – is how to achieve prosperity for all. Not just the chosen few. In the past there was a requirement to grow the economy because there was not enough goods for all. But when an economy is developed, there is supposedly enough. That is why there are so many who are incredulous when it is suggested that poverty exists in this country. Surely there is enough? They simply fail to recognise the existence of inequality.

        It is possible to have a sustainable economy that provides prosperity for all in a developed economy, the challenge now is to work towards that goal.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          I’d take it one half step further and say that human well being, achievement and satisfaction has to be the goal, not “prosperity.”

          • Macro 5.1.1.1.1

            I purposely did not define “prosperity” Neither does Tim Jackson in his book “Prosperity without Growth” (recommended reading) But it could well be used for all of the above. Wealth without general well being achievement and satisfaction is hardly prosperity. :)

          • Francis 5.1.1.1.2

            I remember learning about an alternative measure to GDP in economics several years ago, one which takes into account things like literacy rates, morality rates, wealth distribution, etc. That’s probably the kinds of measures the world as a whole should be moving onto, rather than just the production of goods and services divided by the total population…

        • Mike S 5.1.1.2

          The actual word ‘economy’ has been hijacked. It really means to economise or arrange things so that we have the most efficient (economic) and sustainable distribution and use of the resources available. Growth is relevant only in how it relates to the economic use of resources.

          I’ve written before in an old thread that under our current system, “there is no room in the market economic model for social relations or responsibility. People and their welfare are not deemed important other than they are producers and consumers. Take any of the free market model calculations or measures and you’ll see none of them have the welfare or stableness of society as part of the equation. The family and their ability to survive are not considered as relevant in terms of inputs into calculations.

          The world is saturated in debt (all money is created as debt) and is going bankrupt. Debt doesn’t even exist in the physical reality, it is just part of a game called economics that we’ve created. Yet the well-being of billions of people is now being compromised due to debt.

          Unfortunately, there is no profit in things that are beneficial to society such as saving lives, peace, sustainability, social responsibility. We live in a society where there are unprecedented levels of wealth, yet there are also unprecedented levels of social failings; increasing levels of violence, self harm amongst kids, drug abuse, mental illness, child abuse, etc. Does that not seem wrong? Activities which are detrimental to society and human kind such as war, illness and disease, financial speculation, greed, etc; are the activities which within our monetary and economic system are rewarded with massive profits. That’s a defective system surely? Poverty shouldn’t exist yet it does and is increasing rapidly. This clearly shows the system is not working.”

          A sustainable economy is impossible under our current monetary and economic system. Our current system is based completely upon exponentially ever increasing consumption. The world has finite resources so exponentially increasing consumption of those resources obviously has to come to a crashing halt at some stage.

          No amount of tinkering will resolve the issues we face. The system needs a complete redesign, which is a hugely difficult task, mainly due to politics and the fact that the very wealthy control the system and are obviously reluctant to change from that which has rewarded them so handsomely and continues to do so.

          Unfortunately, drastic change on a societal level usually only comes about due to some sort of catastrophic event or natural disaster. It could be that a complete financial collapse (which is a mathematical certainty under our current system) will be the thing that forces massive changes.It could happen very soon, or maybe not for a couple of decades or more, but it will happen.

  6. Olwyn 6

    “Human rights are basically ego-centric. As a result, the enforcement of human rights by individuals – or groups of individuals – is compatible with individualism.”

    Karol, I understood this statement as suggesting that a good starting place for change is a promising point on the current conceptual map; that the individualism the neo-libs have cultivated in people might be able to be extended in the direction of substantive human rights. I did not take him to be endorsing individualism as such.

    • karol 6.1

      That’s a good point, Olwyn. I read that paragraph a couple of times because I was troubled by it. I some ways it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of his lecture.

      There’s a couple of places where I stopped to ponder. On the one hand Thomas is advocating all out uncompromising, possibly turbulent, resistance to the current status quo. On the other hand he’s talking of (individualistic) human rights as a buffer against the harshest elements of market capitalism – as the

      most productive means of protecting the individual or groups of individuals from the harsh extremes of liberal individualism and capitalism.

      Then he also seems to contradict that with this:

      The free market should not be permitted to dictate or direct the values of the community. Rather, the community must determine its own values, and impose those values on the free market.

      Which is very much a focus on the collective putting extreme pressure on the “free market”.

      But maybe he is advocating more of a multi-facted struggle as you indicate.

      • Olwyn 6.1.1

        I was at the lecture. Apart from his rejection of neo-liberalism, he seemed rather agnostic about the economic system to be followed, provided it did not dominate community life and values. And he seemed to see substantive human rights as the issue capable of uniting people in a situation where their historic power bases have been lost to them, or greatly weakened.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          Human rights do have a lot of unifying potential. Although, I suspect it’s Thomas’s legal background that gives it strong meaning for him.

          It may not be the term that’s as important as the values that communities agree on for themselves – as he suggests. Maybe focusing on various grass campaigns for more equality and livable communities (housing, income, affordable basic services and resources, etc) would lead to a set of (more abstract) basic values.

          I’m all for not treating “economy” as a leading philosophy.

          • Olwyn 6.1.1.1.1

            Substantive human rights are outlined in a 1948 UN document. Their lack, in common with the lack of civil rights, greatly reduces people’s agency. I think he is also looking at the the way the Civil Rights movement in the US was able to make its presence felt, despite the lack of a recognised power base underpinning it. The idea also transcends the varying interests that can set the left bickering with each other. The more I think about it, the more I am in favour of it.

            • karol 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. I was thinking of the UN on human rights. I’m not sure if everyone on the left is all that keen on the UN. And I do mean that I’m not sure. Need more information on how “human rights” are seen throughout the left.

              • Olwyn

                Whatever the shortcomings of the UN, the document in question outlines a standard that the neo-liberal countries, including New Zealand, are failing to meet. Which gives it a certain authority – it cannot simply be dismissed as the latest harebrained scheme.

  7. Adele 7

    TightyRighty

    Why be ugly about Sian Elias? Methinks you aren’t that tight a righty otherwise you would be wallowing at her feet in awe.

    Sian Elias is the epitome of what the right aspires to represent. She breathes a privileged atmosphere; wears conservative attire; sits at the top table; is at the pinnacle of her profession; has lots of money, and is even married to a captain of industry in Sir Hugh Fletcher.

    Perhaps her being a decent human being is the cause of your puku ache. In which case, poor you, not even an enema shaped like John Key can loosen your particular tightness.

    • TightyRighty 7.1

      Right oh Adele. Whose Sue Kedgley married to again? the great thing about having a strong belief in feminism amongst right wing men as that they can tolerate the diversity of their wife’s opinion from their own and even have a happy home life. you don’t see that on the left now do you? just because you couldn’t tolerate having someone who didn’t slavishly worship the same beliefs beside you for life, doesn’t mean others can’t bigoted much?

      I think Sian Elias was a political appointment by the previous government, US supreme court style, and therefore deserving of scrutiny and a certain cynicism about her judgements. to be fair though, she’s done pretty well at being an upholder of justice in this country.

      and who let tricledown out it’s cage again? just puerile rubbish from that ip address. so because you googled “Sian Elias – Privy Council” you somehow become smarter than me?

      • lprent 7.1.1

        Hey political idiot…

        I think Sian Elias was a political appointment by the previous government

        Stupid and wrong. Go and read up about the formation of the Supreme court. In particular where the judges came from and how the chief was picked

        Jez. You really are a bit of a fuckwit when it comes to just looking stuff up….

  8. tricledrown 8

    +1
    Dame Sian alias has also sat on the privy council.
    Tighty almighty has sat on the privy and left what little brains He has got in the sewer.

  9. Adele 9

    Kiaora Karol,

    I see no ambiguity in Sir Edmund’s rather excellent speech.

    I thought his argument was that human rights (despite being ego-centrically driven) would eviscerate the extremes of individualism and capitalism from the human psyche.

    That human rights are compatible with individualism sets up the dilemma for the typical individualist capitalist. Human rights allows them to function as individualist and as capitalist therefore to argue against human rights is to argue against their own self-interest.

    They may of course think that some are entitled to more human rights than others but as history shows that sort of thinking eventually ends up being garrotted. Which is the substance of his other kōrero. Revolution is inevitable under conditions of extreme disparity. Substantive human rights are in everyone’s best interest.

    How human rights evolve beyond the current understanding is where indigenous peoples intersect with the moralising.

    • karol 9.1

      Thanks, Adele.

      Yes, I can understand the logic of this. I guess in the longer term, I would like to see a term more based in cooperative community values.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bullying contributes to Auckland being stripped of ICU training
    Complaints of bullying and harassment by supervisors which have contributed to Auckland’s critical care department losing its training accreditation are further evidence of the appalling culture at executive level, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The department had its accreditation… ...
    1 day ago
  • Broadband failure sucks up more cash
    The Commerce Committee has blocked an inquiry into the $300 million rural broadband initiative (RBI) despite mounting evidence it’s a massive policy failure and waste of money, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “The Government is about to spend an… ...
    2 days ago
  • TISA – Another secret trade deal you may never have heard of
      This post first appeared on The Daily Blog You’ve probably heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by now and the widespread concerns around it but what about the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) also being currently negotiated by… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 days ago
  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    3 days ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    3 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    3 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    3 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    3 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    3 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    3 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    3 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    4 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    4 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    5 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    5 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    5 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    5 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    7 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    7 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere