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Snouts in the trough

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, August 1st, 2009 - 160 comments
Categories: corruption, national/act government - Tags: ,

NZPA reports:

Taxpayers are contributing nearly $1000 a week to allow deputy prime minister Bill English to live in his own million-dollar Wellington home.

According to the title, the Karori home was bought by Mr English and his wife, Mary, for $800,000 in 2003. However, in March this year the title was transferred to Mrs English alone.

Mary English is a GP in Wellington, their kids go to school there, Bill spends most of his time there. The house in Karori is, in reality, his primary home. Yet he is claiming $1000 a week to live there from the Wellington accommodation allowance. That allowance is meant to compensate non-Wellington-based ministers for the costs of accommodation in the city arising from the need to be there for their work. The Englishes own their Karori home regardless.

National is claiming that it’s not a breach of the rules. Even if that’s the case, it’s clearly a rort and clearly unethical. The movement of ownership out of his name has obviously been done to facilitate the rort.

In 2000, Marian Hobbs and Phillida Bunkle lost their ministerial warrants for a similar rort of the Wellington accommodation allowance. The expenses scandal that has shaken the UK Parliament and seen a number of resignations has also centred around MPs rorting the system around housing allowances.

English doesn’t see anything wrong in his behaviour. Key, no doubt, will be ‘relaxed’.

Once again, we see the Key Government has one rule for themselves and another for the rest of us. At a time when they’re demanding the public accept cutbacks in services, attacking solo mums raising their kids on low incomes while trying to get off the benefit, and joking that there’s no pixie dust to help unemployed they’ve got their noses planted firmly in the public trough themselves.

As dodgy behaviour from minister after minister comes to light, this Key government is rapidly gaining a reputation for corruption and sleaze.

160 comments on “Snouts in the trough”

  1. Jasper 1

    Im picking this will be an issue that will gain traction over the coming weeks.

    The ideal situation for Labour is to step back on this one as our own MP’s are less than perfect and we don’t want to give the nacts the chance to spin this onto Labour as they no doubt will.

    Leave it up to the media to fan the fires of this taxpayer rort, with No Comment responses from Labour. Let National try and get off this flypaper without our help.

  2. bobo 2

    I just hope this has the same effect on the public as in the Uk , alot of these generous perks hark back to a day when politicians pay was well under 100k a year.

    Good on Metiria Turei for pushing on this as both major parties will be against changes to this, just like in uk its completely legal but don’t expect the public to think it’s OK when we hear of cuts to the vulnerable and disabled budgets first.

    It seems Roger Douglas ideology of less government spending only kicks in after he has got his holidays bills reimbursed, what a James Blunt..

  3. bill brown 3

    It’s good to see all the facts on the table about this one.

    One of the longest and hardest sucks on the state’s teat, and he’s a tax dodger too.

  4. Clarke 4

    And while we’re on the subject of corruption, hypocrisy and sleaze, there’s Sir Roger Douglas, cheer-leading from the front. Here’s what he said back in February:

    In New Zealand we have come to believe that we are all getting a free lunch; but there is no free lunch. Pensioners may enjoy free trips to Waiheke now, for instance. But unless you know what kind of trade-off has been made to obtain such free rides it is hard to think of this as bad policy.

    So presumably the takeaway message is that free trips to Waiheke for pensioners are bad, but free trips to the UK for politicians of pensionable age are just fine, thanks.

    This is the kind of weapons-grade hypocrisy that should be banned by UN treaty.

    • bill brown 4.1

      Yeah, let’s have a round of applause to the citizens of Epsom for that one.

      Mind you, I assume he was eligible whether Wodney won or not.

      If he wasn’t in parliament now would we have heard of it?

  5. SPC 5

    So Bill is being paid $1000 a week by the taxpayer to live with his wife.

    Given Treasury advice about the need to realise greater efficiency in the wider public sector, perhaps we should see if others would be prepared to live with her for less. Nice house, free in house medical services …

    • No no, no no, no no, no. It is to stabilise his family life and we all want a stabilised family life don’t we?

      The “zing” of the Guillotine is sounding better every day.

      Captcha: bury. LOL.

  6. felix 6

    So it’s outrageous that we pay a woman $700 a week to raise three children, but it’s ok that we pay Mr Bill $1000 a week for nothing at all!

    Righties, I want to hear from all of you on this. You must be disgusted. Everyone who’s been banging on about solo mums and the DPB needs to get in here and take a firm stand on this.

    vto, where are you on this?

  7. roger nome 7

    So – Atlas has been caught fondling the crown jewels again. All at a time when NAct is telling us to tighten our belts, and deal with redundancy, benefit cuts and pay-cuts. Same old state cushioning for the elites, and market-discipline for the masses. These people make me sick.

  8. roger nome 8

    felix – i want Burt to remove his tounge from English’s behind for long enough to give him a verbal tongue lashing on this. Common KBR where are you?

    • burt 8.1

      roger

      The issue is the rules are written by MP’s for MP’s. Then when they break the rules because it is convenient and expedient complete muppets support them validating themselves.

      Look it goes on everywhere. Jolly Jim get’s circa $2,000 a week for being in a separate party while he gives his vote unconditionally to Labour… but it is withing the rules.

      Don’t sweat the legal stuff roger, just grow some balls and stand up when they break the law rather than say it’s OK because it is your side doing it.

      My opinion for what is is worth: English is taking the piss – but he is doing it with the blessing of the self serving rules all MP enjoys.

      • Marty G 8.1.1

        wow. that was a long and confused way of saying ‘English is ripping us off but I’m OK with that because he’s on my side’

        • Daveski 8.1.1.1

          The only one playing sides is you Marty and some of your fellow standardistas. I will wait with interest but I strongly suspect that the Labour party in parliament will leave this largely to the great unwashed as the issue is the expenses not so much that English is rorting the system.

          Having said that, English clearly loses any moral ground around efforts to save costs.

        • burt 8.1.1.2

          Marty G

          I draw a line, is it within the rules. When they break the rules, declare the referee wrong and change the rules to how they like to play – then we have a real problem.

          I don’t like how this works as it is blatant snout in the tough. The disclosure of MP’s expenses will bring about change in these areas. Good on National for letting that happen eh – we finally get the new standard of openness and accountability promised many years ago by a prior govt.

      • felix 8.1.2

        To clarify, burt:

        You’re ok with it because it’s not illegal?

        • burt 8.1.2.1

          felix

          I’m not really OK with it. That is going to far. English has played within the rules and his party has disclosed what he is up to. Lets see what happens next, what rules get changed by public pressure and which get removed from the reporting list for expediency.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        And he’s doing it with your money. Isn’t that always the argument when the left spend a little cash? But now that it’s your team spending a lot of our cash for his own personal benefit it’s Ok.

        Gee, why am I not surprised.

        This is obviously one set of rules that needs tightening up but

        When they break the rules, declare the referee wrong and change the rules to how they like to play then we have a real problem.

        burt doesn’t think so as they’re not being broken.

  9. Undoubtedly a bad look. However, politicians of colours have their noses completely in the trough as evidenced by the fact that MAD applied to the travel expenses – neither major party was prepared to attack the other. Agreed also that the Greens come out of this with more credibility.

    • Eddie 9.1

      Why do you think MAD applies? because the newspaper told you so?

      The highest accommodation claim from Labour was $12K, less than $500 a week. Half a dozen Nats are claiming $1000 a week. The only one who seems to be out and out abusing the system is English is the worst because he’s claiming for a property his family would own anyway.

      • Daveski 9.1.1

        With respect eddie, read my comment again. I was referring to the travel figures released yesterday and the lack of comment by either major party was deafening. Indeed, I not that so far that the issue has been driven by the MSM (strange as you are all convinced they are right wing puppets).

        Apart from that, the first issue is is it allowable under the rules. It appears to be so but it won’t be the first time that politicians right rules in their own favour.

        I have no doubt that the rules need to be changed. I have no doubt that English’s position is in stark contrast to his expectations of Govt agencies.

        For all your outrage, it’s the law that is an ass and it needs to be changed for all MP’s

        • Eddie 9.1.1.1

          Fair enough, you were talking about travel expenses. My bad.

          My reference to the newspaper was that is was in one of them that the MAD reference was made (or was it Colin’s blog?)

          I think your comments are fair, except denying the hypocrisy in English’s actions. I think you do have to acknowledge there’s a rort here, even if it falls within the rules that doesn’t make it acceptable.

          • Daveski 9.1.1.1.1

            In the spirit of brotherhood engendered by my LKJ flash backs (thanks Sprout!) yes, it is a rort. Yes, English is compromised because while it is legal, it’s far from a good look for someone in his role.

            As I said, get all parties to change the law. No one else gets away with the level of expenses MP’s can claim. We can now see why they don’t want to change it.

            I’ll wait to be proven wrong but at this stage, I’ve yet to see Labour jump on the issue for the reasons i”ve outlined.

  10. Lew 10

    This sort of thing – transferring ownership or redefining ‘primary’ residence as ‘secondary’ – is precisely the sort of thing which has gotten UK parliamentarians in such trouble in recent months. It should get traction here on that basis.

    L

    • Quoth the Raven 10.1

      Eternal optimist, Lew. Being pessimistic I expect a bit of spin from the government and the lackeys in media to drop in short order. I hope I’m proved wrong.

  11. RedLogix 11

    Bill English MUST loose his job over this. No if’s, no but’s… no ‘relaxed about it”.

    When I think of all the noise National has made over the years about corruption, waste of public monies and so on… this really is the last straw.

    Exactly this issue has rolled numerous heads in the British Parliament.

  12. RedLogix 12

    vto, burt, mike…. where are you?

    Not got your CT attack lines yet?

    • Eddie 12.1

      They’ll be along once David puts up his post to give them their lines.

      I’m predicting it’ll be a bluster reaction ‘what a bunch of rubbish, just wowsers complaining, all legal etc etc’ and the old ‘those bastards did it too and it was awful, so it’s ok that he did it’

      • Marty G 12.1.1

        burt etc will be in the conference. Farrar will be there too but able to post.

    • IrishBill 12.2

      They’ll be flying the research unit back from Christchurch to get started on the digging for the “they did it too” doublespeak misdirection.

      All I can say is Key’s big package for youth employment better be a cracker because National are going to struggle to bury this story.

      • Marty G 12.2.1

        ‘Key promises a gazillion youth jobs – programmes will only cost $2450, says PM’

        • IrishBill 12.2.1.1

          Minimum wage protections for under 20’s scrapped: “nanny state red tape holding back youths’ ambition dealt with in bold move from centrist PM!” thunders Herald editorial.

    • Daveski 12.3

      I think you;ll be surprised if you scan the comments under General Debate … not as moderate as my (albeit typically) stifled response.

      The Bill English situation is simply not on. Truly disappointing. I can’t see how his claims be justified.

      And my favourite:

      Being paid $1000 a week to live in your own house and having 90% of your overseas travel paid because you happened to be a prime minister once .. to me this falls under the category benefit fraud. It might be legal but it certainly isn’t right..

  13. John Dalley 13

    I look forward with interest for David Farrer’s defense of Bill English’s rorting of the taxpayer.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    Too many quotes, too little time. But here’s one for starters.

    Asked in the House about the pay prospects for public sector workers, specifically teachers and nurses, Bill English replied:

    “Many New Zealanders see State sector workers as having relatively secure jobs, and would be concerned if the representatives of State sector workers were out of touch with what was going on in the wider community and the private sector. (Hansard, July 2 2009).”

    Concerned? Yes Bill, we are.

  15. Ianmac 15

    On one hand MP’s should be paid well thus less need for bribes (?) but when is enough enough? Telecom boss paid millions.

    It has been said that by keeping the MP salaries modest, then entitlements make up the real benefits: a deliberate MP plan from years ago. Travel, acommodation, entertainment, power (Note that power and phone is on top of Bill’s $1,000 pw. Therefore Bill probably gets $1,000 + 150? pw)
    Bill is astute enough to weather this but will Public Opinion?

    Spam: “receives”

  16. felix 16

    How about:

    When will the Minister show some leadership in his economic management and tighten his belt and the Government’s belt the way that homeowners have to because they face the highest interest rates in the developed world

    Who said that? Any guesses?

    burt? mike?

  17. exbrethren 17

    Am surprised that its English that’s been caught in this way as he seems to be far more intelligent than a lot of the Nat caucus.

    I guess its part of the Nat / ACT double standard arrogance on display recently – c’mon kiwis tighten your belts so that your lords and masters can live on the hogs back.

  18. Zaphod Beeblebrox 18

    Was this identified as ‘Low quality spending’ as Bill would put it? I’d put it in the ‘Low hanging fruit’ category

  19. Eric C. 19

    Like Hobbs and Bunkle, English has got to resign over this one.

    But, let’s remember that the issue is not about English owning a property in Wellington. I’ll bet other MPs do too. We know that John Key does, but the coverage that place got a few years ago described it as an apartment, not the family home. We don’t really want our PM entertaining foreign leaders in a little apartment. Do we?

    English is different, because unlike Key, he is a Wellington based MP. He represents a Southland electorate, but he and his family are established in and are living in Wellington full time. He doesn’t have to travel back and forth to see them. So, he should get no more of an allowance than Peter Dunne or Heather Roy.

    • Marty G 19.1

      exactly. If it was genuinely renting for a house they wouldn’t otherwise have, eyebrows might still be raised at the amount of money but the real issue here is that this is the family home and he’s claiming an out of town allowance for it.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 19.1.1

        Which was exactly what many of the UK ministers all did. Of course they did it on a much more spectacular scale, though this does not improve the level of ethiicality of the act.

  20. ghostwhowalks 20

    Farrar has previously used the attack lines that Goff doesnt live in his Roskill electorate, ( but in Auckland) how unethical ‘that’ was.
    When reminded that English didnt even live in the South Island, all he could respond was that , ‘they had holidays in Dipton’
    Sounds like English billed the taxpayers for the flights ( his family has 6 kids) to his ‘holiday home’.

  21. toad 21

    The transfer of title in March was caused by “changes in the trustee arrangements for personal and family reasons”.

    Translation: “Mary and I can scam $1000 of taxpayers money a week if the title is in her name alone. We couldn’t if we were jointly on the title. So, in March we changed it so my name was no longer on the title.”

  22. Eric C. 22

    Hey, I just had another look at the allowances and it is interesting that even if you buy English’s line that he can take this money from taxpayers because the rules say he can, which I don’t buy, of course, he still has a problem.

    Look at Sharples and Williamson. They are both ministers. They say that they are out of Wellington MPs and they collected nothing for Wellington accommodation as a minister, but they did claim Wellington accommodation from Parliamentary Service.

    Now, I don’t know if they own Wellington properties, but it suggests that if you are an out of Wellington MP and you are a Minister not taking a minister’s house, you should claim your allowance through Parliamentary Service as a regular MP.

    English got his allowance from DIA. What’s with that?

  23. sausage fingers 23

    Releasing the private details of someone deriving their income from the taxpayer in order to silence him? How shameful.

    • Marty G 23.1

      this information is public. The wellington accommodation expense information was released by Parliamentary Service on Thursday. The ownership of property is a matter of public record – LINZ.

      Also, are you now conceding that Paula Bennett was in the wrong?

      And, furthermore, don’t you think that our elected officials should be held to higher standards by the public than private citizens?

  24. outofbed 24

    thanx to the Greens for starting the process of disclosure

    having said that time for a rave

    Fuck I work my nuts off for about half of what he is scamming for his house

    Its fucking disgraceful. The cunt should go

  25. RedLogix 25

    Exactly. For someone who is already on the taxpayer’s tit for the tune of $5,500 pw, its contemptible, regardless of whether it is ‘legal’ or not. As someone else hinted at before, the most revealing aspect is that English is not a stupid person, he only had to look at what was happening in Britain to see it coming, so why the hell compromise his entire political career for a $1000pw?

    Only two possible explanations; either he truly believes that like all ‘born to rule Tories’ he is above the same moral rules that apply to the rest of us, or he’s taking the piss … knowing that John Key is in no position to do anything about it.

    Whichever way it’s cut up though, his moral authority is scragged. Every public servant who is asked to ‘save money’ can now laugh in their manager’s face and ask if they can ‘save as much as the Minister of Finance, and where do I get the application forms please?’

  26. felix 26

    From the Dom:

    Mr English has defended the payments, saying it was within the rules and was the same as other ministers were getting. He had made the best option for his family and the cheapest for taxpayers.

    Ho ho.

    I think you’ll find that the cheapest option, Mr Bill, is to NOT GET PAID TO LIVE IN YOUR OWN FUCKING HOUSE!!

    Sorry for the caps, and the cussing. But jeez, $1000 a week to live in your own house? Come on!

    • Maynard J 26.1

      Ms Audrey Young made that point in the herald… cheapest option would be claiming nothing.

  27. graham 27

    the rules are written by all mps.dont try and tell me the greens are saints either as the collective own the property they rent out to them selfs so all green mps as guilty as bill english.I think alot of the allowances should be changed especialy the ex mps travel.again i point out all green mps are as guilty as bill so keep up the campain we can aford to lose him can you guys destroy your own party

    • felix 27.1

      Care to arrange those words into sentences so I can dismiss them as wrong instead of just stupid?

  28. graham 28

    by the way its not 1000 a week it will 920 a week or 48k a year

    • felix 28.1

      Really, is that all?

      In that case it’s a bargain for having someone live in a house that they own.

    • gobsmacked 28.2

      It’s a thousand a week. Because perception is all, details are nothing. National taught us that last year.

      “Explaining is losing” – John Key.

      A thousand a week. A nice, round, disgusting grand.

      • felix 28.2.1

        Could be more. Seems there might be $150 a week in power and phone costs too.

        For his own home, remember.

        • BLiP 28.2.1.1

          Then there’s the free internet, newspaper subscriptions, taxis to and from the Beehive, and subsidised kai at Bellamy’s (or whatever they call it now), I don’t begrudge them their perks but this legal manoevering to rort the public purse really is disgraceful. I wonder how many TIA’s English’s rent-scam would provide.

          Burp – Pike ?

    • Marty G 28.3

      Oh! Well! that makes it OK then.

      It was only the extra $80 a week I thought he was rorting that was pissing me off!

      $920 is $200 a week more than that woman on the DPB has to raise her three daughters, two of whom are sick. And this is just his rort to add to his $270K salary

  29. RedLogix 29

    In all likelihood Key will not sack English over this because it would be too destabilising. On the other hand it will damage him, English and the Speaker (who has apparently been responsible for approving this rort), leaving them all exposed to attack.

    I can just see Labour running a 2011 election ad featuring the “Claim Master General”.

    If nothing else we can always torment the dittoheads about the moral relativity involved in signing a painting to raise funds for a charity auction, versus claiming $50,00pa for living in your own home…. for the next decade or so.

  30. SPC 30

    Just wondering, is the owner of the house charging Bill $1000 a week to live with her? Thus he can claim it as an expense …

  31. outofbed 31

    A fucking grand .. I can’t believe it

    “I focused on making sure my family is together and it has some stability,” he said.

    “I get the same deal as everyone else. This isn’t about the money this is about the support I get which I appreciate that enables our family to be together.”

    Sp presumably if he didn’t get a grand a week his family would split up ?
    They wouldn’t just carry on loving in the house they already FUCKING own?

    This is just taking the piss

  32. toad 32

    Hey, I’ve just been doing a bit of digging, and it is even more corrupt than I thought.

    The property in Karori, which was reportedly transferred to Mary English’s name in March (so was in Bill’s name as well as hers from 2003 until then) does not even appear in the MP’s Register of Pecuniary Interests published in January of this year.

    Do I see a Ministerial resignation coming on?

    • Daveski 32.1

      It might pay Toad to clarify the situation with the Greens who as I understand it own their properties as part of a super plan?

      Again, I’m not defending English who if nothing else will be branded a hypocrite.

      But noted on TV3 not one opposition politician having a dig at English.

      • gobsmacked 32.1.1

        TV3’s Scott Campbell is auditioning for a Beehive job, like his predecessor Stephen Parker. He pretty much runs the Nats defence lines these days.

        Still, English gets the lead story on both bulletins – not quite what Key had in mind for the triumphant conference coverage.

      • toad 32.1.2

        That one’s already been the subject of much scrutiny Daveski – in particular by Farrar.

        The only advantantage to the GreenFutures Superannuation Scheme (that owns the properties) in renting its properties to MPs provides security of tenancy – i.e. that unless an MP resigns the Super scheme will have a secure tenancy for 3 years, whereas, property owned by the Greens Super scheme that is rented to non-MPs may occasionally have unanticipated short periods that it is not tenanted.

        Technical, and trivial – not like the scam English is apparently perpetrating (and Phillida Bunkle did years ago, I seem to recall).

    • Marty G 32.2

      I’m confused. The Nats are saying it’s owned by a trust… but the ownership was transferred from Bill to Mary? So it’s not owned a by trust?

      If it is in a trust, that explains why it’s not in the register of interests… but wait… there’s no mention of a trust in the register and if there is one that owns the house he lives in then he clearly has a pecuniary interest in it.

      Not adding up.

      • mickysavage 32.2.1

        Trusts never appear on certificates of title, only the trustees do. So if the Bill get rich English trust appointed his wife as the trustee only her name would appear on the title. It can get even more complicated than this but that is the general rule.

        It seems really sloppy. Bill could have appointed a couple of lawyers as trustees and their names would have appeared on the title and no one would have been the wiser.

  33. outofbed 33

    I thought i saw i ministerial resignation with Bennett
    no chance with this lot of “born to rule hypercritical bastards”

    • toad 33.1

      We may still do. If the Privacy Commissioner rules she has broken the law, then it will be difficult for her to stay.

  34. outofbed 34

    English is the MP for Clutha Southland. As the Register of Pecuniary Interests reveals, he owns property there, but I understand it is or was either leased or rented out. So where does he stay when he is in his electorate overnight on constituency matters. In a motel or hotel perhaps, with the costs of that being charged back too.

    Good point Toad

    • RedLogix 34.1

      And if he is renting out that home, no doubt he’s been claiming expenses and deductions on that too.

      So can we look forward to a full release of English’s IRD returns for the last decade in order to clarify what has been going on? After all it is ‘relevant’ information.

  35. Marty G 35

    Redlogix. There will have to be an accounting from him.

    Toad. any source on what you say about the dipton house being rented out? Because if he’s claiming accommodation expenses for being in Dipton and accommodation expenses for being in Wellington that’s game set and match.

    Unfortunately, we can’t OIA his expenses, and I don’t know if it can be asked under the written or oral question process. That only leaves the media to get the answers…. that’ll be a big ask.

    captcha: potentially

  36. graham 36

    since you dont understand felix.the green party set up a trust which all its mps belong to they use the same money that bill gets to rent flats to themselfs which they also own.do understand now felix or is that still to hard for you.rember no abuse as it is againist the policy

    • felix 36.1

      Sentences, graham, or no talkie talkie.

      • BLiP 36.1.1

        Something about them elves what the Greens own . . away with with fairies obviously.

    • Marty G 36.2

      the superfund owns the houses, they rent from that fund. Nothing wrong with that. The alternative would be renting from someone else – the taxpayer funds get spent either way.

      It’s not wellington resident MPs living in their family home claiming an out of town allowance like English is.

  37. toad 37

    Well, according to what Audrey Young says in the NZ Herald”:

    He is MP for Clutha Southland at the bottom of the South Island but with six kids and most at school, his wife and kids have made Wellington their home. She works there and the kids go to school there. They rented for many years but had to shift twice. They moved to the Wellington place in Karori a couple of years ago and it still has a mortgage.

    English insists that his primary residence is still Dipton in the electorate where they still have family home and which he frequently visits.

    So, only mediated evidence via the Herald, but “frequently visits” have to be the significant words.

    And I can’t imagine he leaves the property vacant for weeks on end when he, his partner, and his kids are all living in Wellignton without getting some income from it.

    That’s how Tories operate. But just my speculation – I have no hard evidence it is being rented.

    All the same, I think the big story in this is the undeclared pecuniary interest in the property in Karori that I Iinked to above. Lying in a Parliamentary declaration surely has to require a Minister to resign.

  38. Rodel 38

    The mafia doesn’t believe there is such an entity. Al Capone believed he was a
    benefactor to the American population.

    Roger and Bill live in a similar blissful state.

    I do think they really believe their own words.John’s pretty relaxed about it though.
    I suggest Roger deseves a 100% subsidy but only on one way tickets.

  39. illuminatedtiger 39

    This is disgusting – it’s just one perk of many and more than most of us earn in a week!

  40. outofbed 40

    Does he frequently visit the electorate or frequently visit the Dipton Home?

  41. This is fascinating.

    There are at this stage 82 comments and only three anti comments from two obviously delusional wingnuts.

    The silence is deafeaning. What can this mean?

    Can we now start to use the C word?

  42. outofbed 42

    sorry about the c word earlier I was pissed off (what a silly bunt)

    However from the Herald

    It would be much more expensive for us to move out and expect the Government to find housing for eight in Wellington,” he said. ” So we made a decision that was best the family and lowest cost for the taxpayer. And kept to the rules.”

    So because he choose to have 6 kids it cost the tax payer more money eh

    much like a certain beneficiary Eh ?

  43. outofbed 43

    Anyone know if the house in Southland is rented out ?

    • toad 43.1

      He is registered on the electoral roll as Mr Simon William English Strongyle, 179 English Road, Dipton, 9791 – 03 2485066 / Elec: Clutha-Southland.

      But that still doesn’t mean he actually lives there at all.

      • Marty G 43.1.1

        there are rules around residency for electoral roll purposes – there was a case of a recount involving Wyatt Creach (I think) where the court decided that, contrary to what everyone had understood, students must enrol to vote in the electorate they are living in when the election happens, not their ‘home’ where their parents live, which they might actually not go to often.

        If English’s ‘residence’ of Clutha-Southland involves nothing more than owning a farm that he leases out, well, that might be trouble for him.

  44. MikeG 44

    What electorate are the English’s registered to vote in? If it is Ohariu does that confirm that Wellington is their home?

    • Lew 44.1

      MikeG, if it is Ohariu, then he owns a second house, because Karori is in Wellington Central.

      L

      • MikeG 44.1.1

        ok – I was under the impression that Karori was Ohariu. Many years ago Ohariu was primarily the old Karori electorate.

  45. gingercrush 45

    Bah Mr. English, Southlanders will be very disappointed. I can’t see National being able to spin this at all. /late Typical drunken Southland wedding hooray.

  46. gobsmacked 46

    The silence of the sheep has been noticed:

    http://poneke.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/h/

    National must be in serious trouble if they still can’t sort out their spin, a whole day after the story broke.

  47. Craig Glen Eden 47

    Hey does this home have a moat that needs cleaning by any chance?

    $1000 a week, great coin if you can get it aye! I have to love “I have done this to keep my family together” please, what a bloody wrought!

    Bloody beneficiaries scamming the system taking our hard earned tax payers dollars,outrageous!

  48. Akldnut 48

    From Cactus Cates blog:
    English’s office states:

    The spokesman said taxpayers could have faced a higher bill if Mr English had opted to rent elsewhere at current market rates.

    Mr English’s spokesman said there was “no formal upper limit set on rental payments, but Ministerial Services had set an informal limit for rental costs of around $700 a week”.

    I’m glad the fucking wanker didn’t own a house worth 2-3 million and have already fleeced us of more due to the “No formal upper limit!”

    The Prick must GO

    • burt 48.1

      Akldnut

      OK, hypothetical time.

      English is not the only MP that has ever done this. Do we hunt down all and get rid of them as well or do we just set English for the high jump – for working within the rules. It would seem unfair to just punish English because others have been doing it to. Perhaps we should just validate an unknown amount of this sort of expenditure and change the expenditure reporting to exclude accommodation expenses. Parliamentary services will be all a flutter so we will need to do this quickly.

      • felix 48.1.1

        Sorry burt, did you just say “because others have been doing it too”?

        That’s awesome.

        • burt 48.1.1.1

          felix

          Yes I framed it like the defense of Clark/Labour was framed – pathetic wasn’t it.

          • felix 48.1.1.1.1

            It’s no different to anything else you’ve ever typed here burt.

            • burt 48.1.1.1.1.1

              Really ? Is that the best answer you have to being caught shooting yourself in the foot. Did you not understand the word ‘hypothetical’ felix ?

            • felix 48.1.1.1.1.2

              Oh I see that went over your wee head.

              I was pointing out that your attempt at parody is more self-parody than anything else – indistinguishable from the tripe you usually write.

              Poor thing. Must be hard being the only person in NZ defending your hero.

      • Akldnut 48.1.2

        Burt
        At the end of the day its a rort that hes been snapped doing and if there are others in the same boat then they should go too!!!

        I would also not put it past this govt to make a retrospective ruling to try and shift the point of attack to previous govts to cover their arses.

        Its pathetic that there’s an allowance for this that they take willingly while an allowance for less fortunate (with better results for the people of NZ) is scraped. And then the less fortunate are persecuted by the fucking hypocrites

  49. burt 49

    The facts about Bill English and his “expenses” was brought to you courtesy of a new standard of openness and accountability.

    A new standard of openness and accountability has quite a catchy ring to it – why didn’t Labour think of that…. dooh!

    • felix 49.1

      Of course – Labour bad!

      Took a while and he had to squint, but there it is. Well done, burt.

      Oh and burt, did you hear? Bill English is cheating the public by charging us $1000 a week to live in his own house. Awesome, eh?

      • burt 49.1.1

        felix

        To be honest I don’t see this very differently from the likes of the property trusts run by other political parties with multiple properties leased out to parliamentary services.

        • Marty G 49.1.1.1

          elaborate.

          you’re not just talking about the greens who rent from the superfund, rather than renting from a private landloard are you?

          because that’s totally different, those mps aren’t living in wellington and claiming on their primary home. they could just by the properties themselves and claim the cost of the mortgages but they have the fund because they know most of them won’t still be mps needing a place in wellington in 25 years.

        • felix 49.1.1.2

          It’s pretty simple actually burt – see if you can spot the difference between:

          a) renting a house from an actual trust, and

          b) calling yourself a trust so you can rent your own house from yourself.

          (There’s another substantive difference too, but I’ll wait until you’ve got your head around that one I think.)

          • burt 49.1.1.2.1

            Yes I understand the difference felix.

            In one case you build a personal asset with the help of tax payer money pouring into MP accommodation. In the other example you build a personal asset with the help of tax payer money pouring into MP accomodation.

            If you seriously think it is different in principle rather than just slightly different in implementation then you have less between the ears than I previous thought.

            • felix 49.1.1.2.1.1

              Personal? Really? Still having trouble distinguishing an actual trust from a pretend one eh burt?

              Hint: the beneficiaries.

            • burt 49.1.1.2.1.2

              Define a pretend trust felix. Is that like the one Winston used and was legal therefore OK ?

              I’m not going any further with this till you define pretend and real because it seems some imaginary classification of the trusts being real or pretend has allowed you to find a difference between the two situations.

            • felix 49.1.1.2.1.3

              You’re not going any further anyway, burt – you never do. It’s just round and round the same old hogwash with you.

              If you don’t know what a pretend trust is I can’t help you.

              To clarify: I don’t care if what your hero is doing is legal or not, so don’t waste your time trying to make legal equivalences.

              You do know what a trust is though, don’t you burt?

            • burt 49.1.1.2.1.4

              felix

              Rest assured I know a bit about trusts. Enough to know that they are legal entities and they are valid or invalid according to a legal context not according to the ‘felix is not impressed’ test.

              I think you have adequately displayed your lack of comprehension. If you were as smart as you want us to think you are you would give me a serve explaining why one is pretend and one is real as you assert.

            • felix 49.1.1.2.1.5

              Simple, burt.

              According to the “felix is not impressed” test, a pretend trust is one where the trustees and beneficiaries are indistinguishable for all actual purposes.

              You’re the only person trying to make it a legal argument burt. Everyone else sees it as a matter of right and wrong.

            • burt 49.1.1.2.1.6

              No felix, I’ve said I think it is wrong. You seem to be missing that and fair enough. There is more than one train of though being considered at the same times in this discussion so it must be hard for you.

            • felix 49.1.1.2.1.7

              You’re not difficult to follow burt.

              So far what you’ve said on the topic (heh) can be summed up as:

              Labour are not as transparent as the Nats, the Greens are just as bad as the Nats if not worse, and PLEASE DON”T FORGET ABOUT WINSTON!! Oh and mumble mumble it’s not a good look for Bill but it’s probably all legal so no big deal.

              I think that about covers your contribution, burt. Anything you’d like to add?

            • burt 49.1.1.2.1.8

              Yes one thing:

              You are incapable of admitting when you are wrong.

            • felix 49.1.1.2.1.9

              Oooh, sick burn.

              Not.

            • burt 49.1.1.2.1.10

              Still waiting for a definition of pretend and real trusts felix. I’ll also give you a clue – that definition is not tainted by the actions of the unions in the 70’s so running personal attacks like that will not add any clarity to your position.

            • felix 49.1.1.2.1.11

              Look above, retard.

              I defined it real simple, just for you. In “felix isn’t impressed” terms.

              I’ve got better things to do than this. Like watch a doco about Kinski.

            • burt 49.1.1.2.1.12

              You could just admit that the principle of property in a trust leased to PS is the same irrespective of the technicality of living in that same house or receiving tax payers money to live in some other house. I agree there is less ‘arms length’ in English’s case but there is only marginal arms length in the other cases and apparently you are more concerned about the right/wrong than the legal/illegal.

    • Marty G 49.2

      Burt concedes English is in the wrong and wouldn’t have been caught if it weren’t for the new transparency rules led by the Greens.

      Thanks Burt

  50. outofbed 50

    The facts about Bill English and his “expenses’ was brought to you courtesy of a new standard of openness and accountability.

    It easier to just say brought to you courtesy of the GReens

    • Ianmac 50.1

      Herald on Sunday claim that it was their efforts that lead to the disclosures. Take that!

  51. outofbed 51

    This is a comment from cactus kates blog

    This is a disgraceful show by Bill English. The banks are paying $2b+ b/c they have not met the “spirit of the law” (or whatever). I fully support this. The banks have used technicalities to evade the tax law. Bill English is no different. Bundling up his house like a present, passing it around him, his wife, a Trust that he is probably a Trustee of, etc and then pretending he does not own it, so he can receive $1000 per week in rent from the taxpayer is corrupt in principle. This is $52,000 tax free dollar a year. This is the same as if Bill earned an extra $84,240 per year. Effectively, the taxpayer is helping Bill pay this amount to his mortgage. Which, because there is no capital gains (and he was quick to quash this), he accumulates as a tax free gain in his residential property.

    Overall, this fails the smell test, fails the political judgement test, and sets an incredibly poor example for a govt that he is leading to – rightly – take the fat and sense of entitlement out of the public sector. It is that sense of entitlement that stinks so much here,;

  52. Akldnut 52

    Burt The facts about Bill English and his “expenses’ was brought to you courtesy of a new standard of openness and accountability.

    Thx Burt – Could you pass the name & address on to me of the person who bought all this out into open. I’d like to send a thankyou letter.

    Huh WTF???

    Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
    1st Floor, 16-20 Cambridge Terrace, Wellington
    PO Box 11-652, Wellington, New Zealand
    Phone: 04-801 5102
    Fax: 04-801 5104
    Email: greenparty@greens.org.nz

    The way you’ve put a spin on it, it was all thanks to National.
    Defend the indefensible

    • burt 52.1

      Akldnut

      Yes thanks to the Green’s for pusing that – no argument there.

      Perhaps before you make the weakest spin attempt I have ever seen and try and say I’m defending the indefensible (while I bag English for this) you could ponder just a millisecond why it took a National govt to make this happen. Then after that millisecond you could ponder how fabulous the glorious self serving non disclosure Labour party really were and stfu making ridiculous assertions that I’m defending this.

      • r0b 52.1.1

        the glorious self serving non disclosure Labour party

        Your grasp on reality is as gloriously one eyed and tenuous as ever Burt. Only one major party is publicly open with its accounts, and that party is Labour:

        Nevertheless, it should be noted Labour is the only party in Parliament willing to allow public perusal of its annual audited accounts.

        Neither – unlike National – has it used special trusts through which to channel donations and thus avoid disclosing the source.

        Any claims from National to be the “open” ones are the height of hypocrisy:

        After a week of climbing into Labour boots and all over the Owen Glenn saga, one thing has become abundantly clear: the Nats have lost any defence of their right to keep their own campaign donations secret.

        It is the height of hypocrisy for National to claim, as both its leader John Key and deputy Bill English have done this week, that “Labour’s relationship with its largest donor looks very murky indeed’ when National’s own relationship with its donors is not so much murky as totally hidden.

        So this new openness that you think National is such a big fan of Burt – why don’t National open their books like Labour? What dirty secrets are they hiding?

        • burt 52.1.1.1

          rOb

          You might want to ask a National supporter those questions. You seem to have me confused with someone who will defend them.

          I’m happy about the disclosure and I have highlighted how it is a new standard of openness and accountability but I’m in no way saying it is complete openness and accountability.

          If you a feeling defensive because Labour would not even release this level of detail then I’m sorry that is not my problem – look in the mirror for what standards you support before deflecting your own disappointment onto someone else.

          • r0b 52.1.1.1.1

            So what dirty secrets do you think National is hiding in their closed accounts Burt? Do you care? Are you going to be calling for them to open their books like Labour? Better get on to it…

          • felix 52.1.1.1.2

            Good point r0b.

            burt, if there were ever a time to call for openness and transparency from National, this is it.

            If you don’t do it now, you never will.

            • burt 52.1.1.1.2.1

              I think you are confusing what is wrong but within the rules and what is wrong because it is illegal. I’m not surprised as being Labour supporters you have made an art form of blurring those lines for expediency. Me, I’m less worried about what the MP’s do within the rules and more concerned about the rules themselves and the MP’s who break them then validate themselves – because they can and because partisan hacks will run cover for them.

              I must say though, it is great watching defenders of appallingly low standards in one party scream for high standards in another. Keep it up guys, you are gold.

            • felix 52.1.1.1.2.2

              I’m not confused about that, burt. I don’t care if it’s legal, I do care that your hero Bill is taking an extra $1000 a week from all of us for living in his own house.

              You might as well get back to banging on about how bad Labour is though burt, you’re making a bosh of defending the Nats.

    • burt 52.2

      Oh, a quick scan of frog blog would also find I have commended the greens for disclosure before – but hey, why would you want to know what you are talking about – it’s a liability to do that when defending Labour.

  53. andy 53

    ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS A WEEK!!!!111!!!!

    I work 50 hours plus and only pull in half that, glad to see my tax dollars paying for more police, nurses, operations and the English family to live in a house they already own.

    Next you will be telling me his kids go to Catholic Schools that just suckled up to the $35 million that the Nat govt just handed out to them.

    This is truly aspirational for NZ beneficiaries, this is how you claim your ENTITLEMENTS!!!!!!!

    SinceAudrey Young put Bills kids schools and his wifes work in the public domain I await with baited breath the release of details as to how much the kids fees are how much the wife earns and the tax paid and claimed on the school fees and the LAQC that the house must be in, also the IRD file on the legality of Mr English’s house in trust renting back to himself (as legality is questionable)

    I suspect the right wing outrage ‘always the victim all the time’ machine will reach maximum spin velocity tomorrow, with howls of ‘but, but Labour did it 9 years ago waaaah, waaaah.

    Capcha: grants

  54. andy 54

    $1000 per week, that would pay for the special needs kid to get the in school help, (throws up in mouth) so much for that great catholic tradition of helping the poor!!!!

  55. Eric C. 55

    English must be kicking himself for another bad decision that overshadowed his party’s conference. Last year he ‘misspoke’ about the Nat’s secret agenda on tape and this year he got caught with his snout in the trough. His chances of leadership have to be getting slimmer every year.

    And, what an own goal from Key on his timing. I bet he is kicking himself for choosing to release the allowance info just ahead of his grand conference entrance.

    How arrogant can he be?

    Did he think the media weren’t smart enough to pick up on the English rort? Or, more likely, did he just see nothing wrong with it, because he makes the rules now?

  56. Daniel 56

    You complain about $1,000 wasted a week when there are Billions wasted in unnecessary moochers and unnecessary bureaucracy. If you actually cared about government waste you would find millions a week wasted without much effort. You don’t really care about government waste, you just want to attack your political opponents. Get a grip on reality, gain some integrity.

    • felix 56.1

      You complain about unnecessary moochers and unnecessary bureaucracy when all along Bill English is ripping off the public purse for $1,000 a week. If you actually cared about government waste you would find a grand a week wasted without any effort. You don’t really care about government waste, you just want to attack your political opponents. Get a grip on reality, gain some integrity.

    • andy 56.2

      How can we as a nation cut waste when the very people who we recently elected ‘to set a higher standard’ and be better at managing the public purse are rorting the system. Its as good a place as any to start cutting the waste.

      Not very aspirational is it?

      Integrity is a bit over rated, ask Roger Douglas.

    • Draco T Bastard 56.3

      Nobody’s managed to find such wasted billions yet. Hell, National even had to close it’s wastewatch site because of the total lack of waste.

  57. vto 57

    I look forward to the coming period of high entertainment as all our glorious politicians try to defend themselves over spending on this and spending on that.

    We have already enjoyed seeing Roger Douglas score in the negatives for his initial defence..

    And now English..

    Out here in Punterland we will scrutinise and come to instantly quick decisions about whether a particular spend is justified or not.. And you know what? Those decisions will mostly be right on the button. Possums in the headlights here we come… yahoooo………..

  58. Open season on politicians may be fun, and critical comment may be appropriate, but it is usually the Right that gains from any destabilisation of the democratic process. So, one ought to be very clear about the difference between a political system that may require adjustment, and a wholesale bagging of the democratic model. Perhaps a degree of perspective is called for across the political spectrum on this issue?

  59. outofbed 59

    I think Mrs English has the rawest deal .
    She only gets 1000$ per week to live with Bill English
    doesn’t seem much too me

  60. SPC 60

    I was just considering the words justice, fairness and equity.

    I have a dilemma.

    For I am told that a person losing their job gets no dole if their partner has a minimum wage job. They are supposed to live on $25,000 (before tax) for two people. This is little more than the dole which would be about $19,000 for two people over 25. They might get an accomodation supplement if they were renting or paying a mortgage – but this would not cover some of the initial cost and then only a proportion of the rest and only up to a maximum claim limit.

    Why is the income of Bill English’s partner not considered?

    Why is it that Mrs English cannot provide for the housing needs of herself and her partner and their children on her own doctors salary. Do doctors not earn enough to do so? She is a GP in Wellington is she not? Her family live with her do they not?

    If not living with his wife, all Bill needs is a one flat for himself, or to share a flat with another Cabinet Minister or MP or secretary who is prepared to do the household chores (who needs a Finance Minister eating corn beef and peas and washing their own socks in a wash basin). Even in Wellington that does not cost $1000 a week (there are hotels who would charge less than that for regular guests).

    If living with his wife, he needs no allowance.

    Frankly that a person on near $200,000 income with a working professional partner living locally needs an out of town allowance at all is a scandal, yet it became worse when they claimed a greater amount when their salary increased to well over $200,000. That reflects badly on all those in this system who put their hand out for their entitlement and who thus consented to its continuance.

    It should be income tested AND partner tested like any other government handout. There need to be some limits on the housing ambition of claimaints – only compensating for a proportion of their housing costs as for the accomodation supplement.

    This system (especially when seen in comparison with what government provides to others in greater need) does not do justice, it is not fair and it is not equitable.

  61. outofbed 61

    I am particularly angry about this . probably because of the deep financial poo I am in, through increasing my mortgage to pay for me to care for a very sick daughter for two years. I just could not to suffer the ignominy of going back Work and an Income
    Blah blah rave rave
    Now back at work I now struggle for take home pay less the half of what English is getting from the tax payer each week to live with his wife.

    It is most unjust but then I am just bitter and twisted.
    However daughter has recovered (sort of) got her degree and is off on her OE
    Mean while another meal of instant noodles awaits

    NOTE :On reflection I should have take a support person advocate with me to WINZ
    I recommend people needing there services do the same

    • r0b 61.1

      Hang in there OOB. There are good people in the world as well the troughers. I’m glad your daughter recovered, and I hope her OE goes well. In the end it is family that matters.

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  • The week in politics vs. Gilmore Girls
    This week in politics: Andrew Little became leader of the Labour Party. Julia Gillard spoke at the University of Auckland about gender and politics. Gerry Brownlee was fined for breaching airport security. Tony Abbott threw down with Vladimir Putin at APEC....
    On the Left | 19-11
  • Whither the class line?
    In 1995 I published a book that explored the interaction between the state, organised labor and capital in the transitions to democracy in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The book was theoretically rooted in neo-or post-Gramscian thought as well as the...
    Kiwipolitico | 19-11
  • This video shows the pain caused by NZ’s current benefit system
    Darryn bravely talks about the stigma that comes with being on the benefit, and how that has affected his life. This stigma is just one of the many problems our current benefit system creates. These problems would be removed if...
    Gareth’s World | 19-11
  • Climate change: The cost of past inaction
    For the past 20 years, New Zealand's climate change policy has been one of inaction and delay. While we've seen no less than four failed attempts at putting a price on carbon (including the current ETS), we've never really tried...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • Policy of fear
    Community groups have a vital role in New Zealand. In addition to speaking out on social problems such as poverty, mental illness and addiction, they also often have a direct role in fixing them via government funding. Unfortunately there's an...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47A
    A carbon tax could bolster wobbly progress in renewable energy A dam revival, despite risks Congress is about to sabotage Obama’s historic climate deal David Cameron urges Tony Abbott to do more on climate change G20 pledges lift Green Climate...
    Skeptical Science | 19-11
  • ‘Consult on promotions policy’: TEU to Auckland VC
    TEU is asking the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland to engage in a process of consultation on the university’s Academic Grades, Standards and Criteria policy and other policies so the two sides can avoid further litigation. Earlier this month the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Asia-Pacific plans for gender equality
    New Zealand is one of the few countries who have not sent a government minister to an Asian and Pacific conference on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Thailand, but it has sent TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb.  The conference...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • TEC, Ministry and Treasury want new funding model
    The government should consider a radical shift in tertiary education funding policy according to advice from the Tertiary Education Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Treasury. All three agencies advise the government to shift tertiary education funding away from...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • The awkward question of New Plymouth
    It’s rather common knowledge that Andrew Little wasn’t exactly a star in New Plymouth. He stood in the former Labour Party seat in 2011 and 2014, losing ground in both the electorate and party vote on each occasion. Overall, the...
    Occasionally erudite | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas. Staff and South Auckland community members had been campaigning to turn around the polytechnic’s proposal for mass redundancies since they were announced last...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Proud’s Britain
    Alex Proud has a very good long piece in the Telegraph that is as disturbing as it is accurate. The subject? Baby-boomers, and the way they have blindly robbed the generations that came after them. He is writing about Britain,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • This year’s (super) model: visualising atmospheric CO2
    Here’s a superb high resolution supercomputer visualisation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center of the flows of CO2 in the atmosphere around the planet. Apart from being beautiful to look at, it shows the major sources of CO2 emissions in...
    Hot Topic | 19-11
  • Public Service Announcement: Advice to Andrew Little
    Over the last 48 hours absolutely everyone and his/her dog/cat has been publicly advising Andrew Little what he should with his front bench and much else decides. Good for them. Free speech is super. I won't be joining the chorus,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • Jordan uses Islam to battle ISIS
    My former UCLA colleague Larry Rubin, and my former Michigan colleague Michael Robbins, have a fascinating piece at the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog overnight, all about how Jordan is setting Islam against ISIS: Many people in the Hashemite Kingdom...
    Polity | 19-11
  • a respnse to robyn malcolm
    yesterday i had a brief exchange on twitter with robyn malcolm regarding roger sutton, and you can see the whole exchange from this tweet:A CERA employee with some humanity https://t.co/VgjwPhpUVz http://t.co/2Q9s8efQBx— Robyn Malcolm (@robynmalcolm) November 19, 2014twitter is unfortunately not...
    The Hand Mirror | 19-11
  • Gordon Campbell on the SAS role against Islamic State, and Podemos
    Could this news report serve to explain – in a nutshell – why Prime Minister John Key has not ruled out the SAS forming part of New Zealand’s contribution to the fight against Islamic State? From the New York Times...
    Gordon Campbell | 19-11
  • Support Andrew Little
    We need to get in behind the new Labour leader. Let's focus on the need to defeat National in 2017, and not concern ourselves too much with the utter destruction of everything we had ever hoped to achieve for this...
    Imperator Fish | 19-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens | 21-11
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour | 20-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Why lifelong prisoner surveillance is evidence of our failing prisons
    The intrusion of more and more State surveillance is easier to implement if the State begins with groups the populace are frightened of. Muslim radicals, Maori radicals, environmental radicals and prisoners are all easy fodder for ratings chasing media to...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • REVIEW: The Blind Date Project
    The Blind Date Project Silo Theatre 4-29 November The Basement  Part of the excitement of a live performance, be it music or theatre or a circus with trapeze artists and lion tamers, is the risk that it could all go...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Good News For The Left!
    EVER SINCE the debacle of 20 September 2014, the New Zealand left has been hanging out for some good news. Today, thanks to Stephen Mills, the Executive Director of UMR Research, it has finally got some. UMR Research has for...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • The SIS won’t use 48 hour warrantless spying for ‘evidence’
    Let’s just slay one of the myths the Government are trying to use right now to justify the SIS 48 hour warrantless search fishing expeditions shall we? The Government has been telling all who listen over the weekend that the SIS...
    The Daily Blog | 09-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Right to Life Congratulates the new Labour Leader
    Right to Life congratulates Andrew Little MP, on being elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. This is a very important election as Andrew Little is now a Prime Minister in waiting His election follows a line of...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Reply to open letter on earthquake repair in Christchurch
    You raise many points and I acknowledge the frustration some people are experiencing when their homes are still not repaired or rebuilt. We have consistently said that the scale and complexity of events has always meant that it will not...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little New Labour Party Leader
    In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Labour Party Caucus room at Parliament, it was announced Andrew Little had been voted in as Leader of the Labour party....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Liam Butler interviews Professor Jay Kandampully
    Jay Kandampully is Professor of Consumer Sciences in the Department of Human Sciences. He also serves as a visiting professor at University of Innsbruck, Austria; Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China; and Furtwangen University, Germany;...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Judge joins calls for tourist driver tests
    A district court judge has joined the growing number of professionals calling for tourist driving tests....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU congratulates new Labour leader
    The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union congratulates Andrew Little on his election as Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. “I have worked closely with Andrew and know he will be a strong and successful leader,” says Bill Newson,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • WHO Highlights Devastating Global Impact of Drowning
    The global drowning report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 372,000 lives are lost each year to drowning. Safekids Aotearoa, as a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, has joined the worldwide effort to focus more attention...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPA must refuse phosphate mining application
    Text of the Press Release issued by KASM (Kiwis against Seabed Mining), Greenpeace and Deep Sea Conservation Coalition on 17 November 2014: “EPA must refuse phosphate mining application” The New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency should refuse...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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