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So much for ambition

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, July 14th, 2008 - 39 comments
Categories: labour, national, spin, transport - Tags: ,

Yesterday on Agenda, SOE Minister Trevor Mallard said that the Government was undertaking an exploratory study to see whether the factory that currently repairs trains could also be used to assemble trains. If its economical, specialised parts would still be imported but a major manufacturing job would take place in New Zealand, building up New Zealand’s manufacturing skill base, saving money, and reducing the current account deficit.

This used to happen back before privatisation of rail. At the time the locomotive assembly industry was protected from foreign competition (local assembly was also required in a range of other industries). That was economically inefficient and meant, at the end of the day, Kiwis ended up paying more for manufactured goods.

There is no suggestion of returning to such a system. The Government is simply researching whether local assembly would be competitive with imports. It is fantastic to see them thinking in such an innovative manner to find ways of boosting the local economy and improving a vital, energy efficient transport system.

So, it is terribly disappointing that National has come out against the idea even before the report is complete. National’s Gerry Brownlee simply states that it would be impossible for Kiwis to assemble trains at lower cost that complete imports without protectionism. Automatically, National believes we can not do as well as other countries; that New Zealand can’t compete.

Guess that ‘ambitious for New Zealand’ thing is just so much empty spin.

39 comments on “So much for ambition”

  1. max 1

    innovative for trev given hes likely to lose the hutt unless he can bribe the voters with some half arsed railways workshop scheme.

  2. It’s borderline offensive really. Of course we can!

  3. This move makes sense, given the rising and rising of the trade deficit as we export more and more jobs overseas.

    There is no economic rationale that justifies manufacturing non-perishable goods in New Zealand if transport becomes expensive…and it is becoming more expensive.

    You have to give the present government credit for looking forward and thinking about what may have to be done in a world that is changing.

    You have to wonder why the National Party consistently fails to see into the future….and doesn’t really understand the present or past very well either.

    Prudence used to be a conservative value. The very essence of conservative is to “conserve”…which makes it deeply and sadly ironic that modern so-called conservatives are racing to wreck and disperse, for short term gain, industries that maintain important engineering and manufacturing skills in sufficient quantity to allow the people who live here in this country to operate, maintain and support the daily operation of New Zealand.

  4. BeShakey 4

    Although I don’t know whether this will work for trains I do know that the New Zealand bus industry imports bus chassis that are then ‘built up’ within NZ. This is both cheaper and of a higher quality (for instance the NZ firms figured out how to construct a super low floor bus (the ones with no steps between the front and back doors) on a chassis that wasn’t designed for this, at no extra cost). Why on earth is the party that supposedly supports business so opposed in principal to this?

  5. Phil 5

    Steve’s argument is, in effect, this;
    We have lots of good automotive mechanics in New Zealand, therefore we should manufacture/assemble cars here. Can anyone see the problem(s) here?

    BeS,
    Designline is a great company, no doubt. But they are a one-off in the industry – we still import plenty of completed buses. I would also question the “higher quality, no extra cost” claim. Sure, a kneeling bus is kinda-cool, but is it a more elegant or practical solution than a simple fold-out ramp like many other buses have? I doubt it.

  6. RedLogix 6

    Phil,

    The compelling argument is that assembling these locomotives here will also build up the necessary knowledge and skill base to service them over their lifetime. These locomotives are not like cars. There is no established industry of distributors and trained service technicians to leverage off.

    Assembling them here is the best way to build a critical mass of people who know how they are put together and how to look after them.

  7. coge 7

    RedLogix, why is it necessary at all to have a critical mass of people here in NZ to build locomotives? Surely this is contrary
    to the logic of economy of scale. Especially as NZ does not have a requirement for a great number of locomotives. Don’t you think it would be superior financial sense to lease them from overseas producers?

  8. Peter Wilson 8

    New Zealand has designed, assembled, and maintained locomotives in New Zealand facilities since around 1900. Albeit, most locomotives designed and built here were steam, but since the 1950s at least, our railway engineers have had the at times unenvieable task of maintaining some fairly antiquated diesel technology. The bulk of the current locomotive fleet was built in the 1960s, and has undergone multiple rebuilds since then.

    So, when National rubbishes the idea it is knocking Kiwi workers. “New Zealand Sucks” – there’s a good campaign slogan for National.

  9. Building trains would be a very heavy carbon emitting industrial process now wouldn’t it?
    Surely the present govt wouldn’t want to be suggesting we do that now would they? ;)

    If you think agriculture is bad imagine what large heavy industry would be like! Not very Green!
    Such hypocrisy. Tut tut tut .

  10. Draco TB 10

    How many locomotives are bought every year?
    How many train carriages?
    How much competition?

    These are the simple questions that need answering – I suspect the answer for all of them is in the vicinity of low to SFA. Cars get replaced fairly often so the car industry can get a good profit on massive turn over. Trains have a decadal replacement period which will mean that the profit component of the price will be much higher. Throw in the fact that we’re in the middle of nowhere with transport costs rising and asking if we can produce our own rolling stock cheaper than importing it whole seems like a good idea.

    Am not surprised that National would oppose this – they show no indication of having any economic nous at all.

    Such hypocrisy. Tut tut tut .

    I don’t think this will really belong in the heavy industry category simply because their not looking at supplying the entire world with trains. Besides, I’m pretty sure that the report would take carbon pricing into account as well.

  11. BeShakey 11

    Remember that Labour isn’t saying that the trains will be built there, and people have given reasons why it might end up being a bad idea, all Labour has said is ‘Let’s see if NZ business can do this in a way that is competitive with overseas options’. National has criticised them for CONSIDERING it.

    Phil – I’m not sure KiwiBus would appreciate you describing Designline as a ‘one-off’. As far as urban passenger buses go, we import very few, if any, largely because of the cost. And in terms of the kneeling vs fold-out – yes kneeling is much much better, and is the preferred option of the industry, and people who need help accessing buses (including people like the elderly who could use help, but would refuse to use a ramp), and, since it adds no extra cost, is very cost-effective. While the NZ bus industry could do better in a range of areas, we are pretty much a world leader in bus accessibility and a large part of this has been driven by the fact that NZ based bus builders are very cost-effective and innovative.

  12. Peter Wilson 12

    The carbon footprint of assembling locomotives in New Zealand would be pretty much exactly the same as the current operation, so I’m not entirely sure where you are coming from there.

    Locomotive assembly does not emit large amounts of carbon, unless you want to get into minutiae like welding emissions etc. And then a comparison with New Zealand agriculture would be several orders of magnitude out.

  13. All those raising technical or other reasons why assembling of locomotives should not happen, you’ve got the dichotomy wrong – it’s not one side saying ‘let’s assemble them’ and the other saying ‘it don’t make sense’ – it’s one side saying ‘let’s see if assembling them here is feasible and economic’ and the other side saying ‘can’t be done’…. it’s the party that’s campaigning on being ambitious for NZ that is saying, without evidence, that we can’t do it.

  14. bill brown 14

    I thought we were doing it already. Most of the work done today is basically a full pull apart, make new bits and put together operation. Only difference here is the not needing to pull apart to start with.

  15. The only problem I have with such an idea, is that supposedly, such a concern would only assemble/produce components for domestic use. I don’t foresee that much demand for locomotives, even rolling stock – outside perhaps an initial capital upgrade.

    Any work offered would either be sporadic or employ very few people. However, the government is right to investigate whether such a concern is both profitable, and competitive.
    Of course, any assessment should naturally include the benefit of having a repair and parts facility located domestically.

  16. Nick C 16

    Is it just me or is Clark beginning to look more and more like Muldoon? First she decides to use his smear tactics, now she is adopting his policies.

    As much as you may fake offence at the suggestion the reality is that its unlikely New Zealand could compete when it comes to cheap assembly of trains. All of the costs would be higher. Not only do they have to pay the Labourers much more, but they all have to have things like 4 weeks annual leave, enforced daytime lunch breaks etc.

    So really its partly because of Labour policy that we wouldnt be able to compete (im not saying that we should oppose the policy for that reason, just pointing it out). We should be looking to do the things we can compete in such as agriculture. Are there any economically literate authors on this blog?

  17. So Nick C,

    are you therefore vicariously advocating that New Zealand needs Roger Douglas to swoop in, sell off all our assets, and save the day?

    Muldoon might have been authoritarian, corrupt, even senile, but at least he wasnt beholden to the New Right.

    I can cite “Someone Else’s Country” all you like. In fact, Nick, I suggest you watch it.

  18. Nick C 18

    “Are you therefore vicariously advocating that New Zealand needs Roger Douglas to swoop in, sell off all our assets, and save the day?”

    No, im saying that we shouldnt assemble the rail carts in New Zealand, so how about instead of puffing your chest and telling me to “watch it” you tell me how New Zealand could possibly assemble trains as economically as China?

  19. Nick C. How about waiting for the expert report rather than assuming New Zealand isn’t up to it?

  20. BeShakey 20

    Nick – as I’ve pointed out above, NZ can (and does) do something analagous to this for the bus industry, and they do it cheaper and better than importing them from China. It may very well be that NZ can’t do the same for trains, but that leaves two questions – a) how can you know without investigating? and b) why would the party that is ‘ambitious for New Zealand’ oppose CONSIDERING whether NZ businesses could do something cheaper and/or better than overseas competitors?

  21. “Nick C
    tell me how New Zealand could possibly assemble trains as economically as China?”

    I guess we have the low wage economy, and the lack of workers rights, but sounds to me like you are advocating for government sponsored slave labour (and lets me honest, thats how it is in China)

  22. Nick C 22

    Killinginthenameof thats a straw man if ive ever seen one. The only assersion I made was that it would be more efficent to assemble the trains in China. Nothing about getting rid of 4 weeks annual leave or the minimum wage. As to whether i support slave labour in China, I dont see it that way and niether does the government who have signed a free trade agreement with China so we can import more of those govt sponsered slave Labour goods.

    Steve im saying that the report is a forgone conclusion, theres simply no way we can do it more efficently then the Chinese. If we could then why did the private sector never choose to do so? Muldoon used to have a policy that all cars would have their parts imported and they would be assembled in New Zeland. It created some jobs but it wasted a lot of money.

  23. BeShakey 23

    Nick – if it is a foregone conclusion how come the bus industry does it cheaper and better here. As I’ve said, they aren’t the same thing, but it makes it harder to say it couldn’t possibly be done here. The reason the previous owners didn’t build them here is that they refused to invest at all. If you aren’t doing any upgrading there isn’t a question about where you would get the upgrades from.
    Finally, from the governments point of view there are a range of benefits to building here that don’t apply to the private sector. For instance, building here could reduce total government spend by creating jobs, building here could produce less CO2 emissions etc etc.
    But the key point is, what evidence do you have that it is IMPOSSIBLE that NZ could do anything more efficiently than China?

  24. Nick C 24

    Im not sure exactly how the bus industry works, but the reality is that this is a low end assembly job, no room for innovation as you talked about earlier. People working it would get close to minumum wage. Any other concieved benefits do not outweigh this, saying that you reduse government spending by creating jobs is nonsense.

    Given this I think a more relevant case study is when Muldoon made it the law that cars had to be imported in parts and assembled here. Besides do you have any relevant economic analysis to explain how we could be more efficent then the Chinese?

  25. bill brown 25

    Im not sure exactly how

    anything

    works

    but I’m gonna go on blathering anyway

  26. BeShakey 26

    Nick – good to see you admit you don’t know how the closest comparison industry works before telling us all how it works. In fact pretty much every claim you made was false. In terms of innovation, I gave a very significant example of innovation earlier. Not only a significant leap in quality, but at no additional cost. In terms of minimum wage – firstly, there isn’t anything wrong with that, but secondly, most of these people are highly skilled, and get paid well for it. The quality of the product also means that there is a growing export business to Australia and the US. So the volume is there to produce enough revenue to reward employees. Lastly, the point was hypothetical, but, given your desire to spout on about economics, surely you recognise that the value government can get from an investment is different from the value a business could get from the same investment?

    The Muldoon comparison shows you have no idea what you are talking about. No one has suggested legislating that NZ must build these things.

    Lastly, I don’t need economic analysis to show that. A business wouldn’t. They’d simply look at the options and (for instance) run a competitive tender. If a Chinese firm produces the best tender all well and good, and if not…
    Only someone with a complete lack of business know how would suggest ruling out providers from all bar one country based on an ‘economic analysis’ (I doubt anyone reputable economist would produce such an analysis).

  27. Andrew Hamblyn 27

    I think it is a great idea that the government are looking at assembling locomotives “in house” again.

    The last batch of locomotives assembled here was a fleet of shunting locos made by Toshiba in Japan, and sent out here in C.K.D form (Completly Knocked Down) for our workshops to assemble in the mid 80’s.

    To say that we dont have the staff to do the job today is very short sighted.

    Our mainline diesel loco fleet is getting old, the oldest still running today were “new” in 1972!

    Recently these locos have been getting a full rebuild at the Hutt workshops that involves stripping them right down to nothing more than their steel beam chassis.
    They then get re-wired with new computer controlled electrical gear and new cables throughout, installing new diesel motors (same as original ones, just new…) fabricating brand new cabs to replace the rusty old ones, and straighting out the carbodys.

    If the government were to import some of the basic components (diesel motor, traction motors, generator…) I am sure we would have the staff and skills to assemble new locomotives.

    We have the skills to rebuild just about anything. Have a look at the “Capitol Connection”, the Wellington – Masterton services or the Auckland suburban trains that are made up of ex british passenger cars rebuilt locally, once again stripped down to the bare bones and manufactured to our local designs….

    So, we have the staff and skills to do it….

    but, is it cheaper than importing ready made equipment – I guess thats what they want to find out.

    Brownlee needs to do more research before blurting out stupid statements like “its daft”….

  28. Swampy 28

    It’s a long long long time before privatisation since any significant number of locomotives were made in NZ. Something like 25 years.

  29. Swampy 29

    “Why on earth is the party that supposedly supports business so opposed in principal to this?”

    Because we’re not talking about a business, we’re talking about a government corporation that Labour wants to compete unfairly against private business.

    Remember the featherbedded old Railways department that lost hundreds of millions every year?

  30. Swampy 30

    Anyone who suggests NZ can compete with overseas builders experience needs their head read.

    Just for the person who mentioned our locomotive fleet built in the 60s, they were all built overseas.

    The last time any significant volume of locomotives was built in NZ was also in the 1960s, and there were about fifty of them of which few are still in use.

    The fact that the majority of what exists in NZ now was built in the US and a small number of other countries is simply because those plants use production line manufacturing that no one in their right minds would advocate be set up in NZ specially to manufacture just a handful of locomotives by international standards. This is why only those fifty or so locomotives were built in the 1960s at a rate of just a handful each year. They were Pommie locomotives and the Poms didn’t use mass production which is why today there is no Pommie locomotive industry because they didn’t learn the same lessons as the car industry did.

    If there is going to be any locomotives put together in NZ now then they will be manufactured overseas and shipped to NZ as a kit of parts to be assembled which seems like a dumb idea when they can also be shipped, probably for the same price, fully assembled and tested as well with the benefit of the existing experience that the overseas manufacturer has. That is why hundreds of locomotives over the past fifty years or so have been shipped to New Zealand fully assembled.

  31. Swampy 31

    BeShakey – the writing is on the wall for Designline as with every manufacturer due to our government policies pushing up the costs of doing business and exporting, the fact there are now numbers of Chinese buses being imported being evidence it is cost effective to bring them in.

  32. Swampy 32

    BeShakey – NZ hasn’t been able in the past (when fuel prices were as high as they are now) to do it better than even the US, Britain or Australia.

    The majority of locomotives have always been built overseas. There were some built in NZ but most of them were in an era of steam when the technology was a lot simpler and a signficant number of those were constructed by the private sector in any case.

    Compare that with coachbuilding which has always been a significant industry in NZ and you can see that the comparison you use is rather invalid.

  33. RedLogix 33

    Well Swampy, you seem to have confirmed our starting point… ‘so much for ambitious’.

  34. Swampy 34

    Andrew Hamblyn,

    the oldest locomotives in the fleet were new in 1979/80,

    the four or five Toshiba locomotives you refer to were probably imported to give the workshops something to do i.e. for political reasons, without cost consideration (it was strangely an election year when the deal was signed to produce them) and were very low tech (no computer equipment, just the basics).

    they were as you say “knocked down” which was how Muldoon made everyone run a “manufacturing” plant in NZ which on all counts was more expensive than assembling overseas and shipping to NZ fully built up and that’s why we have no car assembly in NZ today.

    and in fact all locomotives built in NZ in the last fifty years have been low tech stuff at a very low rate of output.

    I’m guessing here that the manufacturers could not certify their locomotive built overseas unless they have been fully assembled, they then have to dismantle them, crate them up and ship them to NZ to be reassembled, which I think would add to the cost compared to shipping them already assembled to NZ which is probably why nothing over 400 hp has been built in NZ since the days of steam.

  35. Andrew Hamblyn 35

    Dear Swampy.

    A wee bit of train nutter facts for ya…

    The oldest mainline diesels still in use today are the first batch of the DX class built by GE in the USA delivered here new in 1972.
    The last of them arrived in 1975.

    The youngest mainline diesels we have are the GM built DF class that were new in 1981. The DF’s were rebuilt at Hutt in the early 90’s with turbo’s and micro processors added and reclassified DFT.

    The mainline electric locos that run between Palmy and Hamilton were delivered new in 1988.

    You mentioned the fact that the small Toshiba locos assembled here in 1984 were “basic” with no computers.
    That was in 1984 and I think you would be hard pressed to find any locos in the world in 1984 that had computers in them…

    In the last two years, the DFT’s and the DX’s have been retrofitted with GE’s “Brightstar” computer control systems, again done locally.
    You can buy brand new locos that are equipped with exactly the same computers in them.

    As I tried to point out in my last post, the local workshops staff are basically building new locos out of the old ones we have here, installing the latest computer controls, and getting very very low rate of failures.
    The DX’s that have been rebuilt locally have been taken from 2750hp out to 3300hp after the rebuild.
    Problem is, you can only re-invent the wheel so many times.

    I would welcome the chance to build “new” locos from “new” gear here. Would create employment and boost the need for trade apprentiships.

    Lastly..

    “The last time any significant volume of locomotives was built in NZ was also in the 1960s, and there were about fifty of them of which few are still in use.

    The fact that the majority of what exists in NZ now was built in the US and a small number of other countries is simply because those plants use production line manufacturing that no one in their right minds would advocate be set up in NZ specially to manufacture just a handful of locomotives by international standards. This is why only those fifty or so locomotives were built in the 1960s at a rate of just a handful each year.”

    There were in fact 52 built in a 5 year period, from the ground up at two NZR workshops, designed by a NZR engineer. Out of that 52 there are more than 30 still in daily use, 40 years on.

    What is being proposed by the government is the ASSEMBLY of locomotives from locally made and imported components by the Hutt workshops to meet the (small by world standards) rquirement of our country’s rail system.

    Regards

    Andrew

  36. cheers, Andrew. very informative

  37. Swampy 37

    Sure, the workshops are rebuilding old locos using the manufacturers’s standard upgrade packages for that model of locomotive. I doubt they’re going out on a limb there.

    Most of the locomotives currently in NZ are just stock US models adapted slightly for our gauge which is also shared with parts of Australia.

    I would like to see if the proposal said that major parts like bogies and underframes were going to be manufactured locally, as these are the major cost saving areas (if any) due to their size and weight. Part of the reason I’m skeptical is that the workshops have not built new parts like these since the 1960s, and have substantially downsized since.

    Building major components locally is going out on a limb, because that area has been a real source of trouble for many an assembler where they don’t have the experience of locomotive building.

    As I noted no mainline locomotives have been assembled in NZ new since the steam era. It only happened before because the workshops were run politically without any regard for cost. If it happens again then it is probably going to be for political reasons because that’s what the railways are going to be set up like again.

  38. Kevyn 38

    So Mallard thinks the railways should do what the truck and bus industry does. Will wonders never cease? Only real question is will it work efficiently and effectively with only one company doing the work and only one company buying the product?

  39. Swampy 39

    I did all that foamer thing for quite a few years, got sick of it, posting in forums like these is much more interesting. the rail community can be very insular. Who wants to talk numbers all day long.

    Now some foamer’s facts, the oldest mainline locomotives in NZ were brand new in the mid 1960s, the Queensland locomotives rebuilt as DQ which operate various services and some of those DAs rebuilt as DC class go back that far.

    In the same era the old NZR built 52 of the DSC class shunter which was pretty much a local effort as a lot of the steelwork and bogies and the like were all built in NZ and the electrical parts were imported. These things trickled out roughly at 10 a year and were built in two shops so from that it is a reasonable assumption that each shop was only building one at a time. One of those shops was Addington which no longer exists.

    In bringing a kit of parts from overseas to assemble a locomotive the heavy parts are things like the engine, bogies, traction motors, and probably the underframe which are all specialised bits that could be very hard to make in NZ and for which the local capacity may not exist any more given the state of our engineering industry. If these are all imported fully built then there is perhaps a small space saving but not a lot of weight saving so how much would you actually save on the shipping cost.

    The workshops are geared up to overhaul all these components and the sheet metal parts like the carbody/hoods/cabs are relatively straightforward to manufacture as it already happens in the NZ workshops as we know. Whether the workshops have enough capacity to get these things into service as quickly as they are able to be built overseas and shipped to NZ, given the builders have big factories worldwide that do this sort of thing all the time, is one of the biggest questions of the whole equation. We are told that these things are desperately needed but I guess a few more years won’t hurt as long as Mallard can get the votes of local people in his electorate.

    And that really typifies what sucks about this whole rail buyback deal, that is the political stratification of it, the fact that it cost so much money, there was no limit, there is no limit on how much money Labour is prepared to spend on the rail system because they like taking our money and spending it on everything under the sun. The rail went into the sunset back in the 1980s when the politicians realised they couldn’t continue to prop up an inefficient monopoly. Labour is going to try to shut out that reality by creating a new political railway system again, Mallard can buy votes in Hutt by promising a new subsidised scheme at the workshops there.

    I’m quite looking forward to National’s rail policy. Probably something like contracting out the running of the operation. There’s a big company out there that has the expertise to do it. The Labour party hates them but they’re just a bunch of politicians so who cares.

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    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill...
    CTU
  • Hard News: Team Little: pretty good
    New Labour leader Andrew Little has announced his first caucus lineup and, with one or two questions, it would seem to be pointing the party in the right direction. A clearout of a few of the usual suspects is offset...
    Public Address
  • Class of 2008
    Labour announced its new lineup today, and the change in leadership has led to a significant change: their top 10 are now absolutely dominated the Labour's class of 2008, while the old guard of Mallard, Goff etc have been shuffled...
    No Right Turn
  • Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
    Dental fluorosis is really the only “negative” side effect of community water fluoridation (CWF). It occurs in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas but is often a little more common in the fluoridated areas. However, there is a lot of...
    Open Parachute
  • Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
    Dental fluorosis is really the only “negative” side effect of community water fluoridation (CWF). It occurs in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas but is often a little more common in the fluoridated areas. However, there is a lot of...
    Open Parachute
  • Funding system pushing tertiary institutions towards fraud
    Pressure for funding is driving institutions to take illegal shortcuts says TEU national president Lesley Francey. News that the tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is investigating alleged fraud of at least $10 million from public tertiary education is shocking, but...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • GOP gulp
    The Daily Kos in the US is solidly on the liberal left side of the spectrum, so to see them declaring trouble for the Republicans despite their midterm win isn't much of surprise. But the source they are quoting is...
    Polity
  • 2014 New Zealand River Awards
    The second annual New Zealand River Awards will be announced this Thursday evening in Wellington. The Awards recognise the most improved river in each region where there’s robust data, and also identifies the three most improved rivers in the country....
    Gareth’s World
  • Economy, effectiveness and efficiency – yeah Right
    So - Gary Romano who took the fall for the Fonterra botulism scare was head hunted by Shanghai Pengxin -http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11226262the company which bought the Crafar farms (the original purchase of which was financed by loans made to Crafar by Fonterra) and which are...
    Te Whare Whero
  • Christmas singles and the White Saviour Complex
    In light of Sir Bob Geldof’s recent re-recording of ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’, controversy around the so-called ‘white saviour complex’ continues to grow. Naturally, I thought I would add my two cents to the debate surrounding the song and...
    On the Left
  • New Bus Priority coming
    Auckland Transport want to roll out 40km of new bus priority measures over the next 3 years to speed up buses, make them more efficient and support the new bus network being rolled out across the region. This is fantastic news as the...
    Transport Blog
  • Gordon Campbell on Rick Ellis as Te Papa’s new CEO
    The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial...
    Gordon Campbell
  • 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #47
    SkS Highlights President Obama's climate leadership faces the Keystone XL challenge by John Abraham attracted the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Coming in a close second was John Cook's Why we need to...
    Skeptical Science
  • Andrew Little as Labour Leader
    So Andrew Little is the new Labour leader. I don't particularly agree with him axing capital gains but entirely agree Labour should ditch raising the retirement age. Andrew needs to handle the members better. Cunliffe ditched some policies such as...
    Topical
  • Hard News: Music: Watching on Twitter from afar
    TV3's decision to broadcast the Vodafone Music Awards live to air was a great call. Not that I was able to actually watch it, but being able to read tweets both from Vector Arena and the living rooms of home certainly...
    Public Address
  • Sunday music: Talking Heads on cities
    A blast from the past: the Talking Heads’ ode to urbanity, “Cities”. This is from the band’s fantastic concert film Stop Making Sense: The Talking Heads emerged from 1970s New York. The city itself wasn’t doing so well at the...
    Transport Blog
  • Our social betters
    by Michael Roberts In a great new book, Billionaires: reflections on the upper crust (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120092/billionaires-book-review-money-cant-buy-happiness), Darrel M West outlined various social surveys that show the richer a person is, the less likely they are to redistribute some of their wealth...
    Redline
  • More details on the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr path
    Auckland Transport have released more details about the route for the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr shared path that they and the NZTA are going to build over the next few years. The $30 million path will be built between 2015 and 2018 in four...
    Transport Blog
  • Headline of the week
    Original. To quote our very own Lamia, “Maybe the Maori Party should have included a history lesson in their confidence and supply agreement.”...
    On the Left
  • Who or What Was Onboard MH370, That Someone Doesn’t Want Found?
    239 people (including crew) were onboard MH370 when it mysteriously disappeared on March 8th this year.  Not one single piece of confirmed wreckage has ever been found, nor has a definite crash area been identified. I, like I am sure...
    An average kiwi
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47B
    Acid maps reveal worst of climate change Buffalo mega snowstorm tied to climate change? China will place a limit on coal use in 2020 Climate change investment falls for second year in 2013 Fossil-fueled Republicanism  House Republicans just passed a...
    Skeptical Science
  • For oil companies, our rights are just another obstacle
    Once upon a time fossil fuel exploration took place far away, out of sight and out of mind. But as oil and gas giants become ever more desperate for new reserves they’re prepared to drill in places that were previously...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • The Arctic Sunrise, her journey continues
    Last Saturday, the ecologically pristine area around the Canary Islands was the watery stage of the next chapter in the story of the Arctic Sunrise. Last year, she carried Greenpeace activists across icy waters North of Russia, where they protested...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • New Wynyard Hotel disappointing
    More details were released yesterday surrounding a new luxury hotel – to be known as Park Hyatt Auckland – that is going to be built on the waterfront, on the site that currently houses the Team New Zealand headquarters.   The...
    Transport Blog
  • Guest post: what should Andrew Little learn from Ed Miliband?
    John tweets at @mrduttonpeabody. A Labour leader being elected on the back of an election loss, through a system of weighted bloc votes, is familiar to anyone who follows UK politics. The 2010 UK Labour leadership election saw Ed Miliband...
    On the Left
  • October 14 Patronage
    October’s patronage results show Aucklanders are continuing to flock to buses and trains. It’s especially true for the rapid transit network which is seeing staggering growth, up over 20% compared to the same month last year. It’s showing that the public...
    Transport Blog
  • Hurray for “Hurray For The Riff Raff”!
     FIRST RATE AMERICANA came to Auckland's Tuning Fork venue last night in the form of the Alt-Country, Indie-Folk roots band Hurray For The Riff Raff. Led by Alynda Lee Segarra, the 27-year-old Peurto Rican singer-songwriter out of New Orleans via New...
    Bowalley Road
  • Capture: Movement
    It felt like we were overdue for a post, and when I took the time to look back at what had come before, I realised yesterday we turned three. So before we get into it, thanks once again for another...
    Public Address
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    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...
    Scoop politics
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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