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So much for ‘ambitious for New Zealand’

Written By: - Date published: 12:35 pm, May 3rd, 2010 - 153 comments
Categories: Economy, jobs, national, public transport, same old national, Unions - Tags: , , ,

A new report says that building the half a billion worth of new trains for Auckland in New Zealand would boost GDP by $250 million, improve our current account deficit by over $100 million, add $70 million to government revenue, and create 1200 skilled jobs. The Rail and Maritime Workers Union says its members have the capacity and experience to do the work in Dunedin and Lower Hutt. But the Government has put the kibosh on the idea. They just want the cheapest price for the rail cars, and that means going overseas.

Going for the cheapest tender might make sense if the bidders are all in New Zealand or the tender is a private company. But this is a government that is supposedly committed to growing the economy. It should be willing to put its money where it’s mouth is and support New Zealand industry. Steven Joyce says it doesn’t make ‘commercial’ sense for Kiwirail to buy the trains in New Zealand where they will be more expensive, but that’s not the point. He should be looking at what makes economic sense: not what’s best for Kiwirail’s bottom line but what’s best for the country.


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his contempt for this country and his inability to see beyond simple commercial decision-making to a larger economic vision when he says “New Zealand isn’t very good at heavy industry”. He may as well have said ‘Kiwis can’t do this’.

The fact is, we used to be good at heavy industry until men like Joyce decided it would be cheaper to get others to do the work and New Zealand would just borrow from overseas to buy manufactured goods from abroad. The capacity is still there for New Zealand to do this work. We’re still building and refurbishing rail cars in this country, but not for long if the Government maintains its penny wise, pound foolish attitude.

Sure, it will be a bit more expensive to the government’s company but the gains for the economy that this government is meant to be rebuilding would be enormous.

On a deeper level, this illustrates the flaws in the commercial model of state asset ownership. By only looking at the cost to Kiwirail and ignoring the wider benefits, the Government is actually creating wider costs for itself – lost taxes and higher benefit payments for starters.

The same goes for the Government’s attacks on Kiwirail in general as an unprofitable ‘worthless’ asset. That’s only true if you look at Kiwirail as a company in isolation and ignore the tremendous benefits the wider economy gains from having a rail network. We don’t value the State highway network on the basis of how much it would bring in if it were sold but on the value it creates to the economy, and the same approach should be used for all pieces of critical national infrastructure.

If we had a government with some vision and some economic prowess, then backing Kiwirail to build their new stock in New Zealand would be a no-brainer. But this is a government of small time businessmen, not economic leaders. They don’t understand how to manage an economy and promote New Zealand industry. They can only look for the cheapest deal in each individual transaction, a small-minded approach that leaves us all worse off in the end.

153 comments on “So much for ‘ambitious for New Zealand’”

  1. As oil runs out the provision of electric trains will become more and more important and I anticipate the rail system becoming larger and larger. It will be powered by wind or sun but it represents possibly the only way to keep our cities running.

    Local expertise is vital and the Government should be bending over backwards to develop this.

    They seem to be fixated on the dollars without any understanding of the overall benefits to the country.

    I bet the jobs summit would have gone for it.

  2. Terry B 2

    Spot on. Oh for a political class that actually believes in New Zealand.

    Maybe Mr Joyce would like to ponder Recommendation 64 from the Australia’s future tax system

    “On routes where road freight is in direct competition with rail that
    is required to recover its capital costs, heavy vehicles should face an additional charge on a
    comparable basis, where this improves the efficient allocation of freight between transport

    • Clarke 2.1

      The National Party was paid $55,000 in donations by the Road Transport Forum (read: the truckies) at the last election to make sure they thought nothing of the kind. So far it seems to be working pretty well from the truckies perspective.

  3. Hamish 3

    While it would be great for Hill Side and or Hutt to build the new EMU car’s, I think Kiwi Rail has to go for who can meet the requirements of what we need, for the best possible price. Fact is, while we rebuild British Rail Mark 2 Rail car’s into brand new car’s that look amazing and are great quality, we’ve never built an EMU, let alone the amount that Kiwi Rail need for the Auckland Network. I’m not sure that Hill Side can compete with overseas business that build thousand’s of EMU’s per year.

    At the end of the day, Hill Side will put together an offer, and if it is good value for money, it will win. I’d hope they get it, but I don’t think they will.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      “At the end of the day, Hill Side will put together an offer, and if it is good value for money, it will win. I’d hope they get it, but I don’t think they will.”

      Man, it’s like you read the post and don’t understand a word. Looking at the issue in those narrow commercial terms is stupid.

      The government should at least consider the value of tenders from a whole of government perspective – how much extra tax revenue does the govt gain if the manufacturing happens in NZ? What is the economic multiplier, the reduced welfare costs etc etc? It will be worth paying more for the trains to get all those other benefits that are lsot if the work is done overseas.

      This is government decision, it should be made on the basis of what delivers the most value to NZ (or at least the government) not just where they can buy the trains the cheapest.

    • Clarke 3.2

      You may be right, but surely there’s scope for licensing the designs from overseas manufacturers. Given our specific requirements and rail gauge, it’s not like the manufacturers have the rolling stock sitting around in the train yard – so if they have to be built to order, surely we could do that here once the design work had been done overseas.

      And bear in mind the Ganz units in Wellington will need replacing sometime in the next few years …

      • Hayden 3.2.1

        Don’t get out much do you Clarke?


        Of course, this is quite aside from the fact that there will; be fewer Matangis to replace the Ganzs – most of which have been effectively scrapped in anticipation of the new Matangis.

        I heard a rumour that “Nice work Joyce!” has been busy scrapping the old trains before there are even enough Matangi’s to replace all the Ganzs.

        • Clarke

          Nah, hardly get out at all! :-)

          The problem with the Ganz units is that they badly need refurbishing, but the cost is getting as expensive as buying new Matangi’s – which are a far better unit. In my view the Regional Council should add a few more Matangi to the current production line and retire the Ganz.

  4. Fisiani 4

    In other words
    Borrow loads more money from overseas and take a punt on designing and building something never ever done before in NZ. Worsen the economy by doing so and put at risk thousands of jobs. Or buy them in cheap as a job lot from overseas.
    Listen to the link re Joyce and hear his REALISM and PRAGMATISM. Explains why National is consistently sitting North of 50%!
    The Brits and French tried this decades ago with a monstrously expensive yet beautiful plane called Concorde. Nuff said.

    • lprent 4.1

      You’re pretty young aren’t you (I’ll leave the implied bit unsaid)

      The railway workshops used to be capable of doing all of this work. There are heavy engineering skills in NZ to draw on. We’re not looking at being at the cutting edge. It isn’t that hard….

      • Peter Wilson 4.1.1

        Once upon a time our railway workshops *were* cutting edge, right up until the end of steam locomotive design and manufacturing in the 1950s. Railway companies from all over the world used to send engineers to Hutt, Addington (now closed), and Hillside to learn. Many developments (eg the Pacific class locomotive) became universally adopted across the railway world.

        However, we made the political decisions to run that skill base down, and that seems set to continue, despite the hard-working and well-meaning folks here in Dunedin.

        • Swampy

          Never heard that claim before “that railway companies worldwide sent engineers to NZ to learn”. Steam locomotive technology is not cutting edge and in NZ was not exactly revolutionary.

      • Swampy 4.1.2

        The railway workshops used to do what, exactly? We never had an electric locomotive manufacturing industry in NZ, they were all designed overseas and about 8 assembled in NZ about 70 years ago.

    • Clarke 4.2

      That’s such a collection of nonsense it’s difficult to know where to begin.

      1. “Borrow lots of money from overseas” – actually, the New Zealand government doesn’t borrow any money from overseas, and hasn’t since the time of Muldoon.
      2. “Something never ever done before in NZ” – the railway workshops in Wellington and Dunedin have been building rolling stock of all kinds since before WWII, and have a long track record of skilled workmanship.
      3. “Buy them in as a cheap job lot from overseas” – thanks to the specific narrow-gauge requirements of New Zealand, no manufacturers have appropriate rolling stock lying around in the yard; all of it is a custom build-to-order, which is one of the reasons it’s relatively expensive to buy new kit.
      4. “Listen to the link re Joyce and hear his REALISM and PRAGMATISM” – This is the same blithering idiot who is all set to build Transmission Gully at a net loss to taxpayers of $400 million plus cost over-runs, I presume?
      5. “Insert dumb-ass comparison to Concorde here” – That’s such a specious display of brainless idiocy that it doesn’t justify a response.

      • jcuknz 4.2.1

        While I think that the Kiwirailworkshops should do the work … it is plain commonsense to look after one’s own industries .. I wonder if the wonderful skill base is history due to the foolish [National I think, or was it Labour? I've lost track] largely killing off the apprentice system from what I see of all the ‘ex Hillside’ workers who had to move into other industries. Yes NZR did build great locos but really can they do it now. Mind you if they can refurbish rolling stock I’m sure the skills are there to buy overseas motive power to power chassis built here. It would be wonderful to have the skill base at Hillside with all the supporting industry around it. Dunedin would be less an old peoples home but a thriving city. I’m sure the same applies to Hutt and a reborn Addington to a lesser degree. With maybe exports to South Africa and other countries with our gauge..

    • Bright Red 4.3

      Fisiani. The Brits and French weren’t trying to decide whether to build concorde in their own countries or get it done overseas. It’s nothing like this situation.

      The question is which makes more economic sense for New Zealand as a whole, rather than just Kiwirail? It’s pretty clear that even if the trains cost a little more the government will more than make up for it in tax revenue and reduced welfare payments. Let alone the wider economic benefits.

      You righties really don’t understand economics do you? I mean, you can understand a small business’s balance sheet, but a whole economy is a bit beyond you, eh?

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1

        You righties really don’t understand economics do you? I mean, you can understand a small business’s balance sheet, but a whole economy is a bit beyond you, eh?

        That’s about it. They expect an entire national economy to operate just like a small businesses finances.

        • Clarke

          I think that’s rather over-stating their abilities. Practically every Rightie I’ve ever met tries to equate fiscal and monetary policy with running a household budget – up to and including Bill English. And given that households can’t create their own currencies, theirs is not an analogy that sheds much light on the subject.

          • Jim Nald

            That is correct. And re debt: households take them on, eg mortgage, and work towards paying them off. A country taking on debt is not in itself an evil thing where there is a clear purpose for development, with specific timing to pay back and a clear economic PLAN.

            • Clarke

              And just to be clear on this … despite what the msm mindlessly repeats from neo-liberal economists, a government deficit is not a debt and it never needs to be repaid. Assuming that the NZ government continues to issue sovereign debt in our sovereign currency, then it is utterly impossible for it to ever default – a fact which seems completely beyond the comprehension of every Rightie trying to create an analogy between Greece and New Zealand.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I was going to use “household” but a household economy is actually far more complex than a specialist small business. Of course, we don’t actually have household economies any more.


            This is even before factoring in the financial elephant in the living room of the old one-income family: the economic benefits of the household economy. It’s only in the last half dozen decades that the home has become nothing more than a center of consumption; before then, it was a place where real wealth was produced.

  5. insider 5

    The MTA garage maintains my car and there’s heaps of mechanics and demand for cars in NZ. So why waste money buying them from the Japanese. Let’s use our assets to build a kiwi car.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      If the government owned facilities that were capable of building cars to the specs it needed would it make more sense for it to buy cars from abroad for slightly less, and give up all the tax revenue etc of building them here?

      Simple question insider. No complicated maths, just simple addition and subtraction should show you which is the better deal.

    • Clarke 5.2

      It’s a spurious argument. Cars are a mass-produced commodity that use the same infrastructure (roads) everywhere in the world, so you can take the next one off the production line in Japan and know that it will run in New Zealand. But trains are custom-built to run on the specific gauge of rail line in each country, which requires a fair bit of design modification for each unit and the destruction of many of the economies of scale.

      To use a much better analogy, if building custom-designed America’s Cup yachts in New Zealand makes economic sense, then so does assembling custom-designed rolling stock.

      • insider 5.2.1

        The economies of scale will still be there in terms of much of the basic train platform, componentry, design experience, tooled up factories and workforce. YOu are asking for a major tool up for very small run of vehicles with all the start up and wind down costs that would accompany that, as opposed to adapting existing plant and processes.

        There is no doubt we could do it. The doubt is over the sense of such a risky investment.

        • Draco T Bastard

          YOu are asking for a major tool up for very small run of vehicles with all the start up and wind down costs that would accompany that, as opposed to adapting existing plant and processes.

          No, we’re not.

          The tools and skills already exist in NZ.

          The doubt is over the sense of such a risky investment.

          It’s not risky at all. NZ is the only customer for the gauge of rail that we run and the long term use of the rail will ensure that the workshops will be continuously used. No risk.

          • uke

            By controlling the process you build trains that last for decades of hard use. After they’re built, ongoing repairs become in-house.

            On the other hand, cars, as consumer commodities, usually have a high degree of built-in obsolescence and eventually have to be chucked.

            Modern cars, to boot, have complex engines that you can’t even repair for yourself (like grandad used to do).

            Oh progress.

          • insider

            I suspect we have the tools to maintain but do we have the metal fabricating and casting tools/machinery? How many trains are designed and built here? If the answer is none, then in what way do we have anything but generic design and engineering skills?

            NZ uses the Cape Gauge. According to wikipedia this gauge is used on 112,000 km (70,000 mi) worldwide [4].

            Rail transport in Southern and Central Africa
            Indonesia 5,961 km (3,704 mi)[5]
            Japan 20,182 km (12,541 mi)[6]
            Russia – Sakhalin Island presently being converted to 1,520 mm (4 ft 11+5⁄6 in) (Russian gauge)
            Taiwan 1,097 km (682 mi) (Taiwan Railway Administration)
            Philippines 900 km (560 mi)[citation needed]
            New Zealand 3,900 km (2,400 mi)
            Australia 15,160 km (9,420 mi)
            Western Australia
            South Australia

            In case you hadn’t noticed we use a lot of second hand aussie engines

            • Draco T Bastard

              If the answer is none, then in what way do we have anything but generic design and engineering skills?

              And it needs to be other than that because….

              …Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t.

              Yes, I was wrong about the use of the gauge but that doesn’t detract from the very simple fact that producing our trains in NZ from NZ resources will be better for our society than sending the work over seas in jobs, improved learning, technology and boosting our manufacturing capability. It will likely end up cheaper in the long run and more sustainable – especially once oil prices start going up due to Peak Oil.

              • insider

                “And it needs to be other than that because .

                Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t.”

                You are right but then that increases hugely the level of risk. What if the designs are poor? what if they underestimate the cost and delivery schedule? By going to experts you reduce the investment risk (in theory, the Navy seems to disprove that time and again!)

                “producing our trains in NZ from NZ resources will be better for our society ”

                So this is about social engineering not just train? How many times has the govt got that wrong in the past and what was the bill?

              • Pascal's bookie

                “So this is about social engineering”

                Right wing shibboleth watch!

                if ‘social engineering’ means anything at all, it means things like using taxes and welfare settings to ‘incentivise’ behaviour, and restrictions on who can and can’t get married.

              • Draco T Bastard

                By going to experts you reduce the investment risk (in theory, the Navy seems to disprove that time and again!)

                I’m sure you’ll find that our engineers are experts. They’ll have a look at what has gone before, what worked and what didn’t and then apply their own ideas to that. Again, there is no risk. Why is there no risk? Because even if they do make a couple of mistakes here and there the community will, overall, be better off.

                So this is about social engineering not just train?

                It’s partially about having a viable community that’s capable of sustaining itself. Something that capitalism and shifting everything that we need done to over seas manufacture can’t do.

            • Peter Wilson

              Hillside and Hutt have extensive fabrication facilities. We can definitely build from scratch. I think Hillside have one of the most advanced metal foundries in the southern hemisphere.

          • jcuknz

            New Zealand is not the only country running on 1067mm gauge track. South Africa and I think Malaysia because we sold off our passenger cars there some years back didn’t we?

          • Swampy

            The tools and skills do not exist in NZ where there is no track record of experience in designing and building rolling stock of this nature, ever.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 5.2.2

        The gauge doesnt matter so much. Its merely the distance between the wheels, which is easily changed. More important is the envelope the carriages fit in , important for tunnels as you dont want the carriage striking the wall under some circumstances.
        Of course this comes to the part NZ can do. Build the carriage only , on the overseas manufacturers ‘chassis’.

        Plus some trains in Australia , bought off the shelf , have had problems since the specific design didnt suit Australian conditions

  6. Hamish 6

    >>> Man, it’s like you read the post and don’t understand a word. Looking at the issue in those narrow commercial terms is stupid.

    No, it is not. You people want us to build the EMU’s. Fine, let’s get Hill Side to do it. Just promise me that when we only get 20 not the required 120 (due to cost of building in NZ) you’ll zip up and be happy ?

    >>>how much extra tax revenue does the govt gain if the manufacturing happens in NZ?

    So you propose we pay more just to get some of the money “back” in tax revenue. With thinking like that you could lead the Labour Party…

    >>>Given our specific requirements and rail gauge, it’s not like the manufacturers have the rolling stock sitting around in the train yard

    Where do most of our DMU unit’s come from ? Where do the Ganz unit’s come from ? Where do the SA/SD set’s come from ? Nice “own goal” there…

    >>> The railway workshops used to be capable of doing all of this work. There are heavy engineering skills in NZ to draw on. We’re not looking at being at the cutting edge. It isn’t that hard .

    We also made cars. We don’t now. We should know why. The same applies here.

    >>> the railway workshops in Wellington and Dunedin have been building rolling stock of all kinds since before WWII, and have a long track record of skilled workmanship.

    We’ve never built ANY EMU unit’s, nor the amount required. Why do you think we import BR MRK 2 car’s rather than building cars new here ?

    >>>thanks to the specific narrow-gauge requirements of New Zealand, no manufacturers have appropriate rolling stock lying around in the yard; all of it is a custom build-to-order

    Again, rubbish. See above. Do you ‘think’ we are the *only* country with Cape Gauge ? Look over the ditch….

    >>>This is the same blithering idiot who is all set to build Transmission Gully at a net loss to taxpayers of $400 million plus cost over-runs, I presume?

    Do tell me, what is the cost of *not* having a road into Wellington which is not falling into the sea ?

    • pollywog 6.1

      We also made cars. We don’t now. We should know why. The same applies here.

      I still reckon we should start making cars again… cutting edge budget electric ones and combine it with making next generation batteries and solar panels to sell as a complete self sustaining package.

      • felix 6.1.1

        You’re darn tootin we should.

        • pollywog

          Sweet…whos gonna spot us some dosh and commission the Yike Bike guy to rustle us up some blueprints and maybe get the Hulme supercar guys to prototype and ramp up production on them ?

          Graeme Hart maybe ?… I hear he’s flush with cash ?

          or am i being too ambitious ?

          • felix

            Well there’s this guy John Key, came back to NZ with heaps of ping and wants to help us all out I heard. Talks a lot about ambition.

            I think he means ambition purely as an aspirational goal though.

            • pollywog

              Thing with that Key fulla is…I heard his background isn’t in producing or manufacturing and that he only supports ‘charitable’ ventures.

              Sounds like a nice guy but i wouldn’t want him running my country, creating real jobs or anything like that, and fucked if i’d let him near my wallet.

              nah…i want someone with a proven track record.

          • Jared

            Haha, Hulme isn’t a good example. Hes been sitting on that design for quite some time and is yet to put it into production.

      • insider 6.1.2

        It’s easy to reckon. Do you know anyone anywhere with the capability to do so let alone do so in NZ?

      • Lanthanide 6.1.3

        I reckon we should have cutting edge fusion power plants in NZ. What’s your point?

      • Alwyn 6.1.4

        We never did make cars here.
        We imported packs of parts which we then assembled. In practice these were assembled in their country of origion, in the latter stages Japan, disassembled, packed into crates, shipped to New Zealand and then put together again.
        About all we did in New Zealand was things like upholstering seats and a few other trivial items.
        I’m afraid I can’t remember the details now but the extra cost of New Zealand cars was about twenty times the amount that people in the industry were paid.
        When they got rid of the import protection and the tariffs New Zealands finally got cheaper, and MUCH more up-to-date vehicles.

        • Bright Red

          yeah, no-one’s suggesting we do that in the case of these trains.

        • prism

          The cheaper vehicles were really appreciated by the young boy and girl racers. Brought in insects too, that sort of biodiversity we didn’t need.
          Was useful though in establishing reciprocal trade with Japan I guess.

        • Adrian

          Sorry mate, they wern’t “disassembled” in country of origin, they were the pressings of the main parts which were welded and fully assembled in NZ. Anybody of a certain vintage did time at a car factory, I was at Ford Lower Hutt while at Varsity. In fact, a huge amount of the vehicle in most cases was made in NZ, even down to the pistons, rings and bearings, all upholstery , batteries, steel and mag wheels ( Fords plant at Wiri exported to Ford plants all over the world) most of the plastic and even some of the metal pressings. The only thing that changed was the Japanese for one getting very efficient at building cars, using dedicated ships for complete car exports and succesive Governments not insisting on NZ manufacture. I can’t remember the total NZ content but it was high even by world standards, and even today the number of NZ new cars exported from here is quite surprising. They are mostly replicas of iconic models from Ferrari F40s and Ford GT40s to Jags and sports racers.

    • Bright Red 6.2

      Um. the BERL report says that keeping it in NZ will boost the economy by $250 million. What’s the GDP increase for NZ of sending the work overseas? Oh, right, nothing.

      You’ve got to look at the eocnomy-wide impact of government spending not just the single SOE’s balance sheet. Yup, it will be worth paying a little more to get the economic and fiscal benefits that are returned many times over. That’s just called being smart with your money.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      The capitalist fantasy falls down every time due to it’s need to grow and it always runs out of market. Once it runs out of market then the capitalist goes off looking for places that can make the same stuff cheaper (this is actually impossible BTW) and then sells it back to the original market. The original market, though, no longer produces anything. This is exactly what has happened in NZ (and other rich countries) since the neo-liberal revolution of the 1980s.

      At a country level sustainable self-sufficiency is the only viable economic option.

    • Galeandra 6.4

      Hamish, Buggers like you make me wonder how we ever built anything worthwhile in NZ ever. Thank God for Vogel et al-ever-after who had the vision, balls and borrowed the money… right down to the car assemblers and the coachbuilders…..
      I guess it is social ‘engineering’ to want to employ bros and sisses and to do do some yards for your own community.
      Take your abacus and sliderule and join your mates F&W in Zurich or wherever.

  7. Clarke 7

    >>>This is the same blithering idiot who is all set to build Transmission Gully at a net loss to taxpayers of $400 million plus cost over-runs, I presume?

    Do tell me, what is the cost of *not* having a road into Wellington which is not falling into the sea ?

    I think that statement perfectly illustrates the ideological blindness and financial illiteracy of the Right. For starters, the cost-benefit ratio for Transmission Gully already includes the putative value of another road out of the capital, and it still loses $400 million plus. Although the actual value is a bit in doubt, as the road is built over top of the fault line that’s most likely to rupture.

    All you’re doing is recycling the “roads good, rail bad” mantra, completely uniformed by any actual assessment of whole-of-life costs and benefits.

    • jagilby 7.1

      “financial illiteracy of the Right”

      Where exactly did you get your training in economic theory from? You seem to be an absolute doyen in the discipline.

      Keen to get delve into your obvious extreme depth of knowledge – issuing sovereign debt to pay for these things eh? Well, what a great idea… I heard of this thing lately called inflation though, your thoughts???

      Your thoughts seem to run contrary to all peer reviewed economic theory we have – or is that not coherent thinking in your book? Anyone for Economies of scale? Comparative advantage?

  8. Hamish 8

    >>>All you’re doing is recycling the “roads good, rail bad’ mantra, completely uniformed by any actual assessment of whole-of-life costs and benefits.

    haha, I was waiting for that little comment to pop up…

  9. ianmac 9

    When the suggestion to raise excise tax for alcohol was suggested, Key/Power said “No!” So much for serious discussion.
    Today a suggestion for NZ Rail to be NZ made. Joyce said “NO!” So much for serious discussion.
    The arrogance of them!
    I wonder if discussion could have arisen around investment by the Super Scheme since they are forced to invest in NZ?
    By the way I think there were rail workshops in Woolston Christchurch, and in Whanganui. Long gone but…..

    • Jim Nald 9.1

      With that kind of tone of response this morning, if they had been asked to help NZ pull off turning a Tolkien trilogy into a blockbuster, they would have said no.
      Frankly, I don’t think they know how to govern or even really make things happen. Hopeless.

  10. prism 10

    This trend of going overseas for everything because they do it better cheaper etc etc has helped to run down the 20th century expertise that this country had and we are now in the 21st century but relying on dairying and tourism – 19th century industries.

    Also we can never do anything like building our new rail stock if we don’t start doing it. Yes Minister the TV show had some good laughs. One was when Prime Minister Jim said to Advisor Sir Humphrey – ‘So what you’re saying is, we can do anything but never for the first time’.

    Our manufacturing has been run down under the economic theory from Ricardo’s idea of comparative advantage – the fundamental principle of specialisation. This is about concentrating the country’s effort into an industry in which it has a natural advantage but is a type of monoculture. It leaves us so vulnerable if the opportunity cost is not also considered.

    When we get the next outbreak of foot and mouth or someone in the area does and we all get tarred with the same brush, and our customers say take a hike for a while then… What have we got going for us? Nothing. The country has had a prolonged vision drought and now its too dry for ideas to grow, will be the response.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      You can’t, with a straight face, say that tourism is anything earlier than a late 20th century industry. Especially to a place like NZ that is realistically only accessible by commercial aircraft that weren’t in routine operation until the 50′s…

      • lprent 10.1.1

        Ummm Perhaps you should visit the bathhouse museum in Rotorua and read some of the documentation there from the 19th to early 20th century.

        I’d agree if you said “mass tourism”

  11. coolas 11

    ‘We do dairying others do heavy industry,’ Joyce says.

    Such simplistic adherence to the Globalisation and Free Trade mantra’s of the C20th from this buffoon can be expected. His business career was in private radio was it not?

    The man has the imagination of a mosquito, and like that annoying little insect, he should be swatted before he bites anymore.

    • Jim Nald 11.1

      As I’ve said in different words – I thought, on radio this morning, he expressed a “can’t do” attitude. And even a “don’t wanna do” attitude.
      Easier and a quicker short-term fix to hop on the plane and seek an overseas answer.

  12. Bored 12

    These jerks (NACT) represent predominantly business interests and their stance reflects these peoples commitment to NZ and its citizens welfare. It also gives us a really good insight into their vision and ambitions for NZ.

    One thing occurs, under the raft of agreements signed for GATT etc I suspect we are no longer allowed to give government contracts out without offering them to all and sundry from offshore. can anybody comment on this?

  13. Nick C 13

    But why stop there? Maybe we should ban all imports of cars, so anyone who wants to buy a car has to buy from a manafacturer in New Zealand. Think of the jobs!

    Seriously though, if the ‘Fuck efficiency, go nationalism’ approach worked then the New Zealand economy would have taken off under Muldoon. It didnt.

    • Bored 13.1


      If you care to check the record all of the big industrial economies around the world have grown up under protectionist policies. Concurrently they demand open markets from those they wish to exploit. It may not have worked for Muldoon (basically we dont have the economy of scale) but it works a treat for the Good Old US of A.

    • Bright Red 13.2

      What’s your measure of efficiency here?

      According to the BERL report it is more efficient for New Zealand to do the production of these trains in NZ, since NZ ends up better off at the end – gets the things is wants to buy for less net cost. Isn’t that the definition of greater efficency?

      What is inefficient is for part of the government (Kiwirail) to make a decision without considering the impact on the rest of the government (tax take, benefit payments).

    • Bright Red 13.3

      Nick C. Without going off into silly day dreams about Think Big, do you have an actual economic argument about this actual proposal?

    • pollywog 13.4

      All i’m saying is, if we can design, build and market supercars and electric bicycles then surely we can design, build and market an electric car with all the peripherals and support systems to make it, and us, self sufficient ?

      ..and the way ‘peak oil’ is taking shape, now is the time for us to get in on the ground floor and start doing it. Imagine if John Britten had thought nah, too hard, i think i’ll just stay in bed and dream about it instead ?

  14. Kleefer 14

    Draco you are talking absolute rubbish. “Once it runs out of market then the capitalist goes off looking for places that can make the same stuff cheaper (this is actually impossible BTW) and then sells it back to the original market. The original market, though, no longer produces anything.”

    So if these “capitalists” are idiotic enough to sell us stuff for nothing in return, why are we complaining exactly? “Man stop giving me so much free stuff!” This situation is largely a result of currency pegs used by developing nations that effectively subsidise Western consumers while keeping their own citizens poorer. Again, why are we complaining?

    The fact is that New Zealand actually does produce “stuff”, albeit not the “stuff” that all the “rose-tinted view of New Zealand history” brigade want us to make. What you’re actually calling for is corporate welfare. Industries and companies that can’t stand on their own two feet lobby the government to help them out with taxes levied from the industries that are actually profitable. In other words we might as well take capital and pour it down a big hole.

    Sure, some would argue, corporate welfare is bad, but what about the government helping an industry to start up here in New Zealand? The problem here is that the government is trying to act as an entrepreneur, a role for which no government is suited. If there is an opportunity to build an industry due to inherent natural advantages or an existing stock of capital that lends itself to that particular use, market entrepreneurs will spot that chance way before a bunch of politicians and bureaucratic stooges do.

    • prism 14.1

      kleefer Industry generally has to quickly turn a profit. They report now on quarterly measurements of activity. Providing infrastructure tends not to be a sexy business to be in and there is a place for government and private or using private business models, to act to set in place such a long-term piece of useful infrastructure. A large amount of the business activity in NZ is in land development, tourism, financing the car or housing industries, supplying the building industry, basics like providing energy, carrying on privately after buying out government-run businesses.
      There aren’t that many captains of industry in NZ.

      • jagilby 14.1.1

        “Industry generally has to quickly turn a profit. They report now on quarterly measurements of activity. Providing infrastructure tends not to be a sexy business”

        Were you asleep when private businesses willingly applied to invest in the government fibre-broadband initiative?
        20+ (+++) year payback periods?

        Aren’t you the same lot that decry the willingness of private enterprise to go to the government seeking 25 year + contracts to build, operate and maintain infrastructure assets like Prisons, Hospitals and Schools.

        Heh, “infrastructure not sexy”, heard of Macquarie? Infratil? Really informed aren’t ya.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Good one jag.

          “Were you asleep when private businesses willingly applied to invest in the government fibre-broadband initiative?”

          Why is the governement doing it?

          Prisons, hospitals and schools aren’t infrastructure, and it’s a slightly different argument. It’s related in that private sector wants to extract a near risk free profit from the tax payer.

          Heh, “infrastructure not sexy’, heard of Macquarie? Infratil?

          Yeah, They mostly contract to build shit for other people. Very often, governments. How much of the stuff that infratil runs, was initially built by the government?

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      So if these “capitalists’ are idiotic enough to sell us stuff for nothing in return, why are we complaining exactly?

      You’re putting words in my mouth there. I certainly didn’t say “sell us stuff for nothing in return”. I’m pretty sure that they’ll quite be happy with debt slavery.

      In other words we might as well take capital and pour it down a big hole.

      We’re doing that already – it’s called foreign ownership.

      Sure, some would argue, corporate welfare is bad, but what about the government helping an industry to start up here in New Zealand? The problem here is that the government is trying to act as an entrepreneur, a role for which no government is suited. If there is an opportunity to build an industry due to inherent natural advantages or an existing stock of capital that lends itself to that particular use, market entrepreneurs will spot that chance way before a bunch of politicians and bureaucratic stooges do.

      The normal, completely fallacious dichotomy of “government = bad, private = good”. We’re in a recession ATM due to private enterprise being it’s normal self – greedy and self-centred to the point that it’s destructive.

      Society has numerous entrepreneurs. Most of them don’t have access to the resources to do anything about it because the capitalists (who are almost invariably not entrepreneurs) have scooped them all up and hold them close to their chest. Society can make the resources available, once we get them back off the capitalists, so that, when they spot the chance, they can do something about it. The government doesn’t act as entrepreneur – it acts as an enabler.

      Some things though, such as rail, is no longer a case for entrepreneurs. It’s a case of needed infrastructure and at that point the society puts forward the needed resources to build and maintain that infrastructure. Due to simple distance, it’s cheaper (in real terms) to do that here.

  15. Robb 15

    The new trains currently being built in Korea for the Wellington rail network, why were they not built in NZ, Labour & the Greens had the chance. Now they are crying from the hill tops ‘Build Them here’.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      The new trains currently being built in Korea for the Wellington rail network, why were they not built in NZ, Labour & the Greens had the chance.

      True, although when that contract was let several years ago, NZ was pretty much at the peak of it’s labour utilisation, and the big recession had yet to hit.

      I agree with your underlying sentiment Robb, yet realistically at the time Labour was facing an uphill election battle against a Nat opposition that would have slagged such a move as ‘creeping communism’ or some such C/T inspired smear.

      The fact is that those of us on the real left have despaired of the reigning, globally dominant neo-liberal dogma for 30 years now, even the Labour party we often voted for has been more than wobbly in the face of it over the years. Yet it still was Dr Cullen who returned the rail system to public ownership; unfortunately after the Matangi contract decisions were made.

      If Labour had remained in power might well have considered investing in the workshop capacity to build the EMU’s for Auckland, but the horse had pretty much bolted for the Wgtn ones. A shame the opportunity was missed.

      And of course under the current govt hell would more likely freeze first.

      • George.com 15.1.1

        I would day that if Labour was still in office the trains would be built in NZ, or a reasonable portion of them anyway. As the Labour govt rolled on they got more and more serious about rail.

    • Swampy 15.2

      Because no EMUs have ever been built in NZ. Wellington wanted them as quickly as possible, realistically to get things happening in NZ workshops would increase the lead time.

  16. Jim in Tokyo 16

    D.c.c are in the process of zoning Farrah engineering out of existance, the argument being that in the short term the portside land could be more efficiently developed as apartments or whatever. The counter argument goes that in the medium term, it’s more productive to maintain some infrastructure to support the fledgling offshore oil exploration industry.

  17. Jenny 17

    These traitors need to be slung out of office.

    How many jobs created by the stupid cycleway?

    Just a heartless joke.

    Real jobs

    Real training

    Real skills

    or Mass unemployment and misery

    Which one will these will this treacherous bunch choose.

    It’s our money, we want it spent here.

    All power to the RMTU campaign. I think that they deserve the backing of the whole union movement.

    If it takes 50 thousand in the street to rattle this government, then the union movement should triple that.

  18. big bruv 18

    Oh dear…once again you are wrong….

    ” They just want the cheapest price for the rail cars, and that means going overseas”

    First of all, “they” don’t have any money of their own, all the money “they” have belongs to the tax payer.
    As one of those tax payers I want the cheapest rail cars possible, if the local market can match the price the by all means lets build them here, if not, then tough luck.

    Mind you, I would have thought that the Labour party have already shown that they know nothing about rail, after all, they were the idiots who paid at least five times more than they should have for a train set.

    • Armchair Critic 18.1

      As one of those tax payers I want the cheapest rail cars possible
      And in doing so you demonstrate one of the main short comings of the government and their economic [cough] capability.
      As a tax payer I want the best value rail cars that can be bought with the available funding.
      Your word, “cheap”, goes with another word, “nasty”. You want cheap and nasty for NZ?

      • big bruv 18.1.1

        When it comes to rail I would have thought you lot might keep your heads down.

        Remember, your party are the idiots that paid way over the odds for Kiwirail, given that, I think anything you have to say on matters rail should be quickly dismissed.

        If we must have the bloody things then they should be the cheapest available.

        • Ari

          And your lot are the ones who sold the rail off in the first place necessitating the buyback, so you don’t have a leg to stand on either.

          As a taxpayer, if I had a choice between spending more and getting more back, providing much-needed jobs and building up our national infrastructure and saving a few cents in the short run, I’d want the government to bloody well spend more, because we get more back.

          The point of spending is not to minimise the dollar figure, but to maximise your outcomes per dollar spent. Buyng the cars elsewhere is not the most beneficial option per dollar.

        • Armchair Critic

          We clearly have different ideas as to what way over the odds means. That, or you have the long term vision of a myopic goldfish.
          We are also paying way over the odds for Nationals building reforms of the 1990s, we probably could have had quite a few train sets for the same price, and most of Steven Joyce’s holiday highways to boot. That’s what you get when you chose cheap and nasty.

    • Pascal's bookie 18.2

      all the money “they’ have belongs to the tax payer.

      No it doesn’t. It was paid by tax payers. That’s why we are called ‘payers’. Idiot.

      You could argue that it’s owned by citizens I suppose, which would be an ok metaphor, but you’d still be strictly wrong. It’s owned by the crown.

      taxpayers. pfffft.

  19. Jenny 19

    I am outraged.

    How many jobs created by the stupid cycleway?

    Just a heartless joke.

    A chance for -

    Real jobs

    Real training

    Real skills

    or unemployment and misery

    Which one will these do this government prefer.

    It’s our money, we want it spent here.

    All power to the RMTU campaign. I think that they deserve the backing of the whole union movement.

    If it takes 50 thousand in the street to rattle this government, then the union movement should triple that.

  20. “Joyce reveals his contempt for this country and his inability to see beyond simple commercial decision-making to a larger economic vision when he says “New Zealand isn’t very good at heavy industry’. He may as well have said ‘Kiwis can’t do this’”

    What he should have said is that New Zealand doesn’t have a comparative advantage at doing this. And he would have been right. This report just looks like another example of BERL coming up with big numbers because thats what those who funded it what to see.

    “The same goes for the Government’s attacks on Kiwirail in general as an unprofitable ‘worthless’ asset.”

    It’s only seen as unprofitable and worthless because it is.

    “They don’t understand how to manage an economy and promote New Zealand industry.”

    The best thing the government can do is not to try to manage the economy and to stay away from promoting New Zealand industry. It has no business in picking winners.

    • IrishBill 20.1

      Of course it does. Not in every instance but there are a lot of important things the market will not settle on, or if it does it will settle on a monopoly. Neither of these situations are acceptable to people with enough sense to realise the market is there to serve society.

      • Marty G 20.1.1

        Irish, mate. Don’t you understand that it’s the market that picks winners, via magic?

        Actually, in the market it’s the investment banks that choose winners. The investment banks profit when they make good choices and the people via the government that bail them out when they fuck up

        • Paul Walker

          “The investment banks profit when they make good choices and the people via the government that bail them out when they fuck up”

          The very important point here is that banks should NOT be bailed out when they fuck up. This is just an example of what happens when the government gets itself involved in trying to manage an economy. And why it shouldn’t.

          • Marty G

            I agree. the entire capitalist system is based on privatising gains to owners of capital and socialising costs and losses. it would collapse under the weight of its own greed and shortsightedness without government protection. but the government protection comes because the capitalists are the ruling elite.

    • Marty G 20.2

      Paul. How come someone can get by just on fact-free arguments?

      The government (of which Kiwirail is just a subdivision) should, rationally, make the purchasing decisions that deliver it the greatest value, which will not necessarily be the same as the best value for a sub-division like Kiwirail. It is economic vandalism for the government to take an option that will result it in being worse off than if it took another option. And it’s quite clear that when you take tax and benefits into account the government will be better off with the trains built here.

      Paul. You should be able to understand the difference between profit and value. The rail system, like the road system or any network delivers value to the economy far in excess of the revenue generated by the network owner. Indeed, it’s best for the economy if the price of accessing the network is kept low, even unprofitable – we don’t expect our roads to turn a profit, why should we expect any different from rail?

      “It has no business in picking winners.” This isn’t about picking winners, if’s about the government making an optimal decision.

      • IrishBill 20.2.1

        Good point. When I think about it the idea that a democratically elected government shouldn’t intervene in the economy because a little elite of money men should be the only ones to have that right is really approaching an argument for corporate fascism.

        • Paul Walker

          You only get corporate fascism when the government does intervene in the economy.

          • Ari

            The government intervenes all the time. Even removing existing rules is intervening, because you’re favouring the people most hampered by those rules.

            There is no neutrality. The aim of the government in the economy should be to create the fairest, simplest rules possible, so that everyone has a stake in the economy doing well. We haven’t had anything like that for decades.

          • IrishBill

            Bullshit. Next you’ll be telling me the great recession is the result of too much regulation.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Economics of fascism

            An inherent aspect of fascist economies was economic dirigisme[12], meaning an economy where the government exerts strong directive influence, and effectively controls production and allocation of resources. In general, apart from the nationalizations of some industries, fascist economies were based on private property and private initiative, but these were contingent upon service to the state.[13]

            Dirigisme is exactly what most people on this site whether right or left promote.

            • IrishBill

              The economics of fascism is different to corporate fascism.

              • Quoth the Raven

                By corporate fascism most people would mean corporatism. Corporatism was a major part of fascist economies.

      • felix 20.2.2

        It’s funny how Paul and his ilk like to pretend that Kiwirail is disconnected from everything else the state owns. I think they forget that saying “all things being equal” doesn’t actually make it so.

        The really funny thing though, bearing in mind this mentality, is that they accuse us of wanting to play with a train set. Go figure.

        • Paul Walker

          Kiwirail should be disconnected from the government insofar as the government has no business owning it.

          • Ari

            Your argument is so good you don’t even need to tell it to us, huh Paul?

            • IrishBill

              If paul says the government shouldn’t own something then the government shouldn’t own it. End. Of. Story.

          • Marty G

            But Paul, stay with me. The. Government. Does. Own. Kiwirail.

            Doesn’t matter how much you don’t like it, that doesn’t effect the rationale of this decision.

            Now, given that fact, shouldn’t the government insist that Kiwirail make decisions that are optimal for the government as a whole – just as I insist that my hand acts in a way that is optimal for me as a whole, even if that isn’t optimal for my hand?

      • Paul Walker 20.2.3

        Explain EXACTLY what value is over and above profit and explain EXACTLY how to measure value so that it can be taken into account when making optimal purchasing decisions.

        And there is no reason why the roads couldn’t make a profit. Some do. Just put a toll on them.

        • Maynard J

          Paul, are you just looking at kiwiral’s profit in this equation? Aand are you honestly demanding people to tell you what more to it there could be than kiwirail’s profit?

        • Ari

          value: decreased necessity to spend on social welfare, increased wealth, health, education, and quality of life. Increased entitlements, standards, and safeties. Fuller employment, lower work hours for the same result.

          It’s a pretty simple concept, the problem is that it’s really not adequately expressed in dollars. But, even considering long-term dollar outcomes alone, building cars ourselves is still better value than buying them elsewhere, because increased employment decreases welfare spending and increases the tax take.

        • Marty G

          Paul. You want to toll my cul de sac? You really live in a weird little dream world eh?

          Value obviously exists separate from profit. For one, a seller obviously doesn’t internalise all the value of a transaction or there would be no reason for the purchaser to take part. When you work out the value to the economy of the electricity network you don’t just add up the profits of the electricity companies do you?

          When NZTA works out the benefits and costs of a project and includes the WEBs (wider economic benefits) it is measuring the net value of a project to the economy, not the profits it will make (one can argue about the way NZTA measures those costs and benefits but not that the entire concept is a nullity).

          And don’t give me all caps, muppet, you’re a guest here.

          • Paul Walker

            None of which answers my question, so back to the actual question: “Explain EXACTLY what value is over and above profit and explain EXACTLY how to measure value so that it can be taken into account when making optimal purchasing decisions.”

        • Armchair Critic

          Just when I thought you were out of stupid ideas….
          Try tolling those little roads out the back of nowhere, Paul. Those ones that are little more than sealed tanker tracks to get raw milk to the factories. Those ones that are goat tracks on the side of hills, but essential for getting livestock to the works. After all, Steven Joyce thinks we are just a big farm and no good at anything else. Care to tell us how economic they are without subsidies? Or maybe hazard a guess at what the cockies would say if you tried tolling their roads? I can tell you right now that any government of any stripe would never see office again if they tried tolling country roads.
          Does anyone know (or have a link) how much of the cost of tolling the motorway extension to Puhoi goes in administration costs? In the current Nat-speak that’s called a back-office function or low quality spending or bureaucracy or some such stuff. You are advocating for increased costs for the same service, Paul?

    • RedLogix 20.3

      What he should have said is that New Zealand doesn’t have a comparative advantage at doing this.

      So what, I’m an old and slow tramper but I still get a great deal out it. Most of us don’t have a comparative advantage at most things…but we still do them nonetheless.

      It’s only seen as unprofitable and worthless because it is.

      Last we talked you were telling us how economists can’t even make basic predictions in your field…if that isn’t the definition of an unprofitable and worthless, then I don’t know what is.

      At least the trainset you despise so much actually moves some folk and freight on a daily basis; when did you last achieve even something that worthwhile?

    • NickS 20.4

      I’d expect a lecturer to at least bother to provide a more substantial critique of a report they disagree with, or at least links to prior critiques of conclusions reached BERL in previous studies. Besides, with google and other tools it’s not that difficult to rack your brain and bash out a quick search of resources you know of for relevant information.

      So, please provide us unwashed masses with the relevant information, or better yet, a critique of BERL’s report, otherwise I’m sure you can find “better” things to do than attempting to sway people already sceptical of your claims with evidence-free counter-claims.

      • IrishBill 20.4.1

        Oh my god. This guy is a lecturer? Where? Clown university? Hamburger university?

    • Armchair Critic 20.5

      Let me correct that for you.
      It’s only seen as unprofitable and worthless because it is denied access to the same level of subsidy as road transportation.

  21. ianmac 21

    On Close Up tonight they did do a good item on building trains.
    Joyce did not redeem himself! Arrogance! :(

    • Jim Nald 21.1

      The Honourable Minister’s mind is closed.
      He can’t even think beyond the tip of his nose.
      Voters and the country are ill-served by this lot in Govt.

    • Jenny 21.2

      That thuggish dead faced mug-shot look, that Joyce put on as he accused the rail workers and their reps of being disingenuous, i.e. liars.

      They should sue him for defamation.

      I just wondered why they didn’t show the traditional side view as well.

      A criminal representative of a criminal and treasonous government.

    • felix 21.3

      Most telling was the look on Joyce’s face when Sainsbury says “But the bottom line is we want to see more jobs in this country…”

      I see the same look on my dog’s face when I talk to her about the influence of Miles Davis’ electric period on contemporary forms.

  22. Hamish Gray 22

    I suppose the premise is sensible if you have absolutely no idea about train design, manufacture and after-sales support. Not only is it prohibitively expensive, but if you were to apply a local content requirement, you would have to, by international treaty (ANZCERT) include Australia in that definition – Australia where they do have local design and manufacturing capability, care of subsidiaries of Bombardier and Alstom. And they would likely win because a. they’re better at it, b. they’re cheaper and c. they can do it sooner.

    Why should taxpayers pour tons of cash into a marginal proposition when core public services go wanting (according to just about every thread poster on this site)? Especially after Michael Cullen paid an obscenely overpriced amount to buy back the railway network. Train manufacture would take decades to be of net economic benefit, and even then it’s unlikely, owing to New Zealand’s tiny domestic market,and nil demand from offshore due to myriad of reasons.

    I suppose this fascination by the Left with trains stems from an old-world view of building big metallic machines making economic sense. When anyone with any business acumen at all sees the real value in itsy-bitsy products made of advanced materials and contributing to a plethora of activities.

    • IrishBill 22.1

      You were going great guns until that last bit hamish. You said “real value in itsy-bitsy products when what you should have said is “real value in smart products like credit default swaps on complex sub-prime financial instruments.”

      You need to spend some more time learning right-wing at Paul’s clown collage.

    • Marty G 22.2

      I’m not talking about a local content requirement. I’m talking about the government making the optimal decision viewed from the stand point of the government as a whole, rathe than a subsection of it.

      I want my hand to do things that are optimal for my body as a whole, not what suits it best. Why would the government let a subdivision (Kiwirail) behave any differently?

      The engineers on Close Up seemed certain they could do the work, and they’ll be doing the after sale support any way.

      “Why should taxpayers pour tons of cash into a marginal proposition” According to the BERL report, the cost is only marginally more when done here than abroad, and the government more than recoups that in income tax.

      The rail system delivers enormous value to the economy. Labour faced either having to constantly bribe Toll to not let it collapse or buy it back. It bought it back. Who cares that it doesn’t make a profit, neither do the roads, or the sewers. The only networks in New Zealand that do turn profits (electricity, and telecommunications) are basket cases because of it.

      • NickS 22.2.1

        There’s also the forecast jump in oil prices in the next couple of decades, which if you assume that’s going to cause an increase in public transport demand, we just be looking at the retro-fitting of the cities presently without rail transport, with it + the expansion of rail links Auckland and Wellington. Which might actually make it more worthwhile to invest in those rail workshops…

        Mind you, I’m as tired as hell right now, and I get the notion there’s major issues with the above, but I’ll leave that to someone else to elucidate.

      • Hamish Gray 22.2.2

        You appear to have a fundamental misunderstanding of government procurement and the role of international trade treaties. The New Zealand Government is also a signatory to the Government Purchasing Agreement between NZ and Oz – this automatically opens the doors for Australian bids – were the government to block this, they would likely kick off an enormous diplomatic and, possibly, trade row with Australia.

        Australian train manufacturers would be automatically allowed to bid and given their superior and proven capabilities, would win under standard procurement procedures. So the government’s hands are effectively tied, regardless of all other arguments.

        • Bright Red

          Hamish. Can you read? It’s not about automatically accepting NZ bids over foreign ones. It’s about weighing the costs and benefits on a wider basis than simply the individual government body.

          Can you understand that?

  23. Jum 23

    75% of New Zealanders were happy that KiwiRail was bought back by the Labour Government. We could see the future benefits of public transport being brought into the 21st century and in line with overseas thinking and planning.

    This government is deliberately and vindictively reversing that process and spitting in the face of 75% of New Zealanders’ views.

    It also interests me that a poster says we shouldn’t try to do what Australia can do better but would no doubt be more than happy for us to turn our country into a giant cash cow for mining interests that would be better done in Australia where they have the already dead land and the facilities.

    All these people seem to forget this government promised to build up infrastructure and create new jobs. NAct are turning down both in this case. They are also via Steven Joyce telling New Zealand rail people that they are too stupid to build the sophisticated rail stock. I can imagine why; when you want cheap desperate labour why would you want to build up Kiwi spirit and ingenuity, having dismantled all the good working rights from the last decade in one year (2009).

    Since we are seen as a low wage economy in New Zealand this government will never countenance New Zealand workers having the strength to demand more pay; the investor great whites circling New Zealand now have been promised a safe country, a placid lowpaid workforce that will work harder than all but one other country and are too nice to complain when their rights are daily eroded. Soon, under Key and Co, New Zealanders will own nothing and they will have no power in their own country. Then they will know what Key was placed here for.

    The battle to have a country we own and we care about must continue.

  24. Jenny 24

    The stupidity of these losers. You buy any product in New Zealand the money stays in New Zealand and is spent again.

    You spend it overseas it is gone forever, and not only that but it adds to our foreign accounts deficit.

    Every job exported, means more money has to be spent on unemployment benefits. I suppose this creates greater opportunities for that old tory blood sport of beneficiary bashing.

    The question for the public is, Is this government wilful or just ignorant?

  25. Jared 25

    Hold up. Remember Project Protector? The contract to build the Navy ships awarded under Labour to Tenix, an Australian company? Surely we had the infrastructure here to build them! Were you criticising them then? No, infact, you complained not so long ago about NIWA sending their vessel the Tangaroa to Singapore for a refit, but I don’t recall the left questioning such a decision. We had the infrastructure, and the expertise, Labour said it was about price.

    • Marty G 25.1

      The Standard didn’t exist when Project Protector was tendered. dork.

      • Jared 25.1.1

        I didn’t say that dick, I meant the left in general, including Unions “I don’t recall the left questioning such a decision”. Also, nice attempt to avoid my question.

        • Marty G

          you said ‘you’, I’m the one who wrote the article. I’m the one you appeared to be accusing of hypocrisy.

    • Armchair Critic 25.2

      About 30% of Project Protector was done in NZ. That included four of the seven ships.
      The Australian-built ships were plagued with problems.

      • Jared 25.2.1

        The inshore patrol vessels. Thats it. We could have built the OPV’s as well, maybe even the Canterbury.

        • Armchair Critic

          So building trains shouldn’t be too difficult, either. Especially if the price is right.

    • lprent 25.3

      Have a look at the website for Project Protector for a timeline…

      Project Protector fleet requirements were outlined in the 2002 Maritime Forces Review, conducted by Defence in close cooperation with MFAT, the Ministry of Fisheries, Customs, Treasury, the Maritime Safety Authority, and Police among others. In mid-2004 a study was undertaken in conjunction with the Civilian Agencies to decide the number of vessels and fleet mix necessary.

      The Project Protector vessels’ capabilities include sealift, coastal and offshore patrol, and at-sea training for the RNZN. New Zealand’s approach to the Protector ships, that they are designed, built and maintained to commercial standards, is consistent with other contemporary navies.

      In April 2004, the Australian firm Tenix Defence Pty Ltd was chosen as the prime contractor for the Project Protector patrol vessels and multi-role vessel for the RNZN. On Thursday 29 July 2004 the Minister of Defence signed the contract with Tenix and they began the final detailed design phase for the new ships before the first steel was cut early in 2005.

      This site started at the end of August 2007 well after most of the major ships were delivered.

      I’m sure that if we’d have been running when the proposals and tenders were being done, then some of the authors would have something to say – probably from several sides.

      If you’re going to snipe, then please use your brains and snipe on something effective.

      Update: I see that Marty did the shorter version of my comment :) I highlighted the dates for you in case you missed them

      • Jared 25.3.1

        For the third time, I said the “left”, the unions have been far more vocal in the past, it seems just when it comes to National making decisions they make themselves heard.

        • lprent

          You also said

          Were you criticising them then?

          The ‘left’ was almost an aside. Besides, the ‘left’ have almost as many opinions as there are people you’d classify as being in it. For instance, I’m quite supportive of having a strong military.

          I also think that you’re trying to compare apples with oranges. Rail equipment of the type we’re using here is old and well-known tech – definitely not cutting edge. Military equipment is generally as close to the cutting edge as countries can afford because otherwise it tends to be quite useless.

          You obviously can’t express yourself clearly, perhaps you should concentrate on learning how to do that more effectively.

  26. hah…just clocked this re: electric cars, as if we needed more proof…

    Visiting Nissan Technology marketing boss Shinsuke Suzuki held talks last month with the Wellington and Christchurch mayors.

    New Zealand was a “tier one” customer for pilot programmes because 67 per cent of this country’s electricity was generated using renewable resources, he said.

    “New Zealand has fantastic vision. That is why your market is regarded by us as a prime market for electric cars.”


  27. felix 27

    Is anyone going to ask this government exactly when they intend to engage their economic recovery package and create the first fucking job?

    • pollywog 27.1

      talking about fucking jobs and railways…

      I’ve always wanted to fully pimp out some rail cars and operate a top class brothel/casino for high rollers running up and down the main trunk line.

      • Marty G 27.1.1

        Keep dreaming those big dreams, mate, you’re a visionary.

      • felix 27.1.2

        There’s that “ambition” again p.

        Look, there are plenty of other countries specialising in hookers and gambling. Let’s just stick to milking the cows eh?

        • pollywog

          nah…seriously, think of the jobs and tourist dollars. It currently beats attracting freedom campers and cyclists for the famed national cycleway ?

          It wouldn’t take much to add a few more railcars to the wishlist and get one of our renowned luxury yacht builders to pimp them out. Hell, could probably sell a few overseas as well.

          Make good PR too, for Key to invite them oil shieks and his ol mate berlusconi over, treat em to some grand scenery, a fine ho or two and a bit of a flutter.

  28. Adrian 28

    ” We don’t do heavy engineering” What do you call several of the world’s biggest dairy factories. They are a bloody lot bigger than a train.

  29. Rob M 29

    Get a real job Paul Walker.
    The government is in a position where it’s current business expenses can be a source of future revenue and not only that reduce it’s future expenditure. By awarding the contract to a NZ company jobs and businesses are created that pay tax, dole numbers are reduced, families are bumped into higher income brackets where income subsidies like WFF are also reduced. It’s that simple. A 10 year old could understand it but we have a whole lot of ideological whallahs like economists and treasury wonks warping on about comparative advantage and keeping government out of business. They’ve carried the box for their big business sponsors for nigh on 30 years, lending the rape and pillage of our economy some intellectual/academic respectability. The scary thing is they actually believe the shit their spouting while it brings them no more comparative advantage than a steady job on a bureaucrats wage. Their corporate masters, who will trumpet which ever fashionable ideology brings them greatest reward and take a state handout when it suits them, benefit enormously.

    • Pascal's bookie 29.1

      There is very little evidence that we have any comparative advantage in economists.

      Economists suggest the government should therefore stop funding and paying attention to economists.

      It’s like a star trek episode with the evil robot, and Kirk’s cunning question. And the puff of fatal smoke.

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    Greens | 13-08
  • Emergency staff at breaking point
    The Southern DHB is so cash-strapped it is failing to fill nursing rosters, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson David Clark says.  “Every day emergency department nurses arrive at work knowing they are likely to be carrying more than their recommended workload. ...
    Labour | 12-08
  • ACC minister fails in mission to change culture
    The latest damning report by the Auditor General shows that the ACC Minister has failed to fulfil her mission to fix the sick culture at ACC and real change will not come till a new Government is elected, the Green...
    Greens | 12-08
  • Labour’s regional development fund to support Palmerston North
    Labour will consider a proposal to develop an inland port at Palmerston North, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “The Palmerston North community has developed plans for an inland port which will bring jobs and economic growth to a region which...
    Labour | 12-08
  • Green Party announces priorities for Christchurch
    The Green Party has today announced its plan for a fairer, smarter and more democratic Canterbury rebuild, with a focus on smart transport solutions, restoring local democracy, and keeping Christchurch's assets.The plan sits across all of the Green Party's priorities...
    Greens | 11-08
  • Rock-star economy unplugged by China log jam
    The collapse of log prices due to oversupply in China threatens to wash the gloss off what remains of National's so-called rock-star economy, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Already this year the price of milk solids has plunged by more...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Young job seekers dealt a poor hand
    National's "keep 'em poor" card for young people on a benefit is a sorry substitute for job training, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says.  The Government today announced it would extend its payment card scheme to all teen parents...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Labour – achieving change for Kiwi women
    Working towards being a world leader in eliminating violence against women and children will be a priority for a Labour Government. Releasing Labour’s Women’s Affairs policy today spokesperson Carol Beaumont said while Labour had a proud track record of achieving...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Accessible healthcare also affordable
      It is obvious from Tony Ryall’s hasty attack of Labour’s plans to extend free GP visits to older people that he hasn’t bothered to actually read the policy, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. "Mr Ryall’s response to Labour’s...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Full details of oil execs’ junket revealed
    Full details of a $237,000 taxpayer-funded oil executives' junket in 2011 have emerged.National paid the nearly quarter of a million dollars to wine and dine 11 oil executives in New Zealand during the World Cup.The trip included yachting, wine tasting,...
    Greens | 10-08
  • Steering By The Real: Chris Trotter responds to Paul Buchanan
    WHEN ACADEMICS take to blogging the rest of us best be careful. And when they offer comment on the subject of dirty politics we should all pay attention. I will always remember my history lecturer, Dr Michael Cullen’s, confident dismissal...
    The Daily Blog | 22-08
  • Interview Between Selwyn Manning & Sean Plunket Over SIS Release of OIA...
    During a RadioLive interview between host Sean Plunket and managing director of Multimedia Investments Ltd, journalist Selwyn Manning, a fiery exchange developed after Plunket attempted to “wet flannel” the issue of whether the Prime Minister has been truthful over what...
    The Daily Blog | 22-08
  • “Even though my hours are being cut, my rent doesn’t get cut to compens...
    Fast Food = Slow Pay   Lola is a manager at a major fast food chain. Last year her employer arbitrarily cut her hours from 32 hours to anywhere between 18 and 26 hours each week. “I said I can’t...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Hate Politics has no place in NZ Politics
    I wasn’t going to write about Nicky Hagar’s ‘Dirty Politics’.  There are plenty of policy issues to discuss. Then I read the book, and what it reveals strikes at the very heart of our democracy. My overwhelming feeling is one...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Pak’nSave pull adverts from Whaleoil
    Pak n Save have replied to complaints that their adverts were appearing on hate speech site Whaleoil by deciding to block their adverts from appearing on the site. Their reply… Congratulations for Pak’NSave on making this type of ethical stand. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Herald Poll – Why the Greens will hit 15%
    The biggest problem for John Key is that there are swathes of National Party voters who are educated and decent people whom will be forced to read Dirty Politics out of intellectual curiosity and will be horrified by what National...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Dirty Politics and Dirty Media
    The Nicky Hager book is mind blowing on so many levels. The revelations of government ministers and their staff colluding with vile and hateful schemers to attack other people, is truly ugly. When the dust settles on the illegalities, immoralities...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • “You just have to keep on fighting” – an interview with Metiria Turei
    We’re meeting in her office. It’s austere, though she does have a nice teapot. The view is startling. One can map the Bowen Triangle, though the teapot is still more interesting. A group of pink faced men are running across...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Taxation and Real Estate – turning housing debate on its head
    The debate about property prices in New Zealand is disingenuous. It is clear that there is a global process in which speculators are using massive amounts of unspent and borrowed money to blow bubbles in the world’s major asset markets....
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood – Faith and politics
    In a week which has seen our collective focus shift to those who see politics as a great game to be manipulated for their own ends, it is timely to reflect on the fact that many people are in fact...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Government’s Own Guidelines Show John Key Would Have Been Informed Of SIS...
    Analysis by Selwyn Manning. INFORMATION THAT I HAVE ACQUIRED, sourced from the State Services Commission, states in black and white the tight guideline requirements that must be followed whenever the SIS informs a Prime Minister of any pending release of...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Simply Not Credible: Dr Tucker’s “clarifications” are only making thi...
    THAT DR WARREN TUCKER, Director of the Security Intelligence Service in 2011, agreed to the release of politically sensitive material – thereby intervening in an on-going contretemps between the leaders of the National and Labour parties – without receiving the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • The Donghua Liu Affair: Evidence of Collusion between the NZ Herald and Imm...
    . 1. Prologue . The Donghua Liu Affair hit  the headlines on 18 June, with allegations that David Cunliffe wrote a letter in 2003,  on  behalf of  business migrant, Donghua Liu. Four days later, on Sunday 22 June, the Herald...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Dear Canon NZ – Malevolence should induce revulsion, it shouldn’t be ce...
    Giovanni Tiso’s analysis on Slater is possibly the best in NZ… It’s been a good week for some of us. A week of feeling vindicated, offeeling galvanised. Where it goes from here will depend on several factors, some of which are largely...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • 5AA Australia: After Dirty Politics Can National Provide Stable Government?
    AS WE ALL KNOW New Zealanders and Australians do not like political parties that are unstable, or can no longer assure us that they are able to provide stable government. And the big question for Kiwis as we prepare to...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • SIS letter means it’s over for Key
    It’s over. I may not agree with all of Phil Goff’s positions, but you can’t question his integrity the way Slater did in Dirty Politics and not be deeply concerned that our Secret Intelligence Agency is being used for political...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • who to vote for in Epsom
    who to vote for in Epsom...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • The Rise and Fall of John Key – who will be the next leader of National P...
    . . It was all set to go: Teamkey would be the cult of personality that would do Stalin, Mao, Reagan, Thatcher, or any of the Nth Korean Kim Dynasty, proud.  National and it’s “Teamkey” propaganda strategy   would cash-in Big Time...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Who said Kiwis couldn’t get a fire in their bellies over an arcane intern...
    An amazing team of activists has taken the campaign on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to local governments throughout the country. Their latest triumph came last Monday when the Dunedin City Council endorsed a resolution expressing concern about the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • National’s Dangerous Education Agenda Exposed
    Putting aside the dirty politics coming out of the Beehive and the right-wing blogisphere, there are some very strong signals that another term of a National Government would do even more serious damage to the public education system. The Education...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • We can have clean politics and get our democracy back.
    Something is rotten in our politics and it stinks. Dirty politics has sadly become one of the defining features of this election campaign. In the light of recent revelations about the extent of nasty and disingenuous political strategies, it would...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Book burning copies of Hager’s book? The next generation of National Part...
    It seems we are getting the next generation of National Party Dirty Politics now. There are claims the Young Nats in Hamilton are buying up copies of Dirty Politics and burning them. One witness was contacted by the Waikato Times...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • National Party Poetry Day Haiku
    Key’s inbox and Cam’s poison most foul, there he blows hoist by own harpoon...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Why Cunliffe will be the next PM
    David Cunliffe will be the next Prime Minister of NZ. Labour’s inclusive and positive TV adverts… …are in stark contrast to National’s team of white people powering away from the rabble of the ‘others’… …the messaging is vital and crucial...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • From smiling assassin to grumpy butcher – on giving Judith Collins a last...
    After #dirtypolitics Key isn’t the smiling assassin, he is the grumpy butcher. When he said Judith had  a ‘last chance’ he meant 1 second after voting closes on 20th September. Key would love nothing more than to cut Collins loose and end...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • If the National Party rowing advert was real….
    If the National Party rowing advert was real there would be more blood in the water. If the National Party rowing advert was real it would be Cameron Slater calling the strokes. If the national Party rowing advert was real,...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Cameron Slater: Zionist and political pundit
    It is hard to know where to start with right-wing blogger Cameron Slater (Whale Oil), especially after the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. This confirmed everything many of us thought Slater to be: a snivelling pundit who serves...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Bryce Edwards stood down from Herald for election season??? Are the editors...
    I only found this out via twitter last night and I am still in shock. Bryce Edwards, easily the best critical thinker and news analyst the NZ Herald has has been stood down by the NZ Herald ‘for the election...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • So who’s a “conspiracy theorist” now?!
    . . As the media storm over Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Politics“,  and allegations over smear campaigns continue to swirl,  National’s spin doctors have given Key, Collins, and other National Party ministers a string of  phrases to use in all...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Momentum shift
    When you are deeply immersed in a local campaign sometimes it can be difficult to see the helicopter view.   I don’t know how accurate the political polls are and have always known that things can change quickly in politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Dear Toby Manhire. Bad call on backing Farrar
    Oh dear. I say this as someone who regards Toby Manhire as one of the smartest journalists/commentators/columnists this country has, and I think Toby has made a terribly dumb call here. Let’s see if Toby is still singing Farrar’s praises...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Radio NZ apologise to me for getting it wrong
    Radio NZ have contacted me, reviewed the claim by their host that I had an advance copy of Nicky Hager’s book and they have concluded they got it wrong, they have called me and apologised and will make a statement...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Reclaim UoA – Students’ Message to Steven Joyce
    Tertiary Education – we’ve been sold a lemon  A group of 30 students attended an event on Tuesday evening about ‘the future of tertiary education’ at which the Minister of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce was slated to speak. As Joyce...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Can someone in the media please ask the PM of NZ to categorically deny any ...
    Now we see the MO of Slater & Co, the setting up, the digging for dirt, the use of staff to dig that dirt, can the Prime Minister of NZ categorically deny any National Party staff worked with Cam Slater...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Panic setting in for National as they realise what’s about to happen
    And the terror starts to set in. I’ve never seen blind panic like this before  and it’s spreading as the enormity of what’s about to happen starts to sink in. Hager’s book is a mere entree, Nicky’s personal ethics wouldn’t...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Hager’s Dirty Politics: what the book ultimately reveals is abuse of powe...
    Guide to the many faces of John Key Nicky’s book is now doing what I suspected it would do, create a shockwave of revulsion. Andrew Geddis over at Pundit Blog sums up this attitude best, and it’s reverberations build with every...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Fancy taking children seriously
    Let’s see why all political parties should pay close attention to the Green Party’s policy for children. First, it is a comprehensive attempt to put children, not ideology, at the heart of family policy. Wow, children at the heart of...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Amnesty International: Dear Azerbaijan, Stop Torture, Love Kiwi Kids
    This is a world where many adults often underestimate Generation Y. Being only a few years out of being a teenager myself, I feel I can make this statement with certainty. However, I have been the Youth Intern at Amnesty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • GCSB meetings today in Christchurch 1pm at Uni 7pm at Cathedral
    The 2014 GCSB meetings to discuss the mass surveillance state legislation passed by this Government will be debated in Christchurch today at two different meetings. 1pm at Canterbury University bottom floor James Height Building: Chair: Bomber Bradbury Ruth Dyson – Labour Party...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Things that 7 Sharp should probably be talking about
    Things that 7 Sharp should probably be talking about...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Guide to when Key is lying
    Guide to when Key is lying...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The State of the Student Nation …or is just Al...
    Students politics are dead and our student media is in terminal decline. The most disappointing thing about university is the politics, or should I say lack of? I was raised with the idea that students held the power.They were the...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Love Lifts Us Up: Thoughts from the Green Party’s campaign launch.
    Author Eleanor Catton wants people to give their party vote to the Greens.Photo by Peter Meecham NO ONE WAS QUITE SURE how he did it. Somehow Bob Harvey had persuaded the owners of the rights to Joe Cocker’s Up Where...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Test Stream
    width="600" height="400"> archive="http://theora.org/cortado.jar [3]" width="600" height="401">...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • LIVE STREAM: You, Me and the GCSB ChCh Public Meetings
    LIVE STREAM EVENT here at 1pm & 7pm: The 2014 GCSB meetings to discuss the mass surveillance state legislation passed by this Government will be debated in Christchurch today at two different meetings. PLEASE NOTE: TDB recommends Chrome and Firefox...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today,
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking on Radio Hauraki...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • How @whaledump might destroy the popular vote for National
    Dirty Politics is now creating a meltdown and National are in danger of a total vote collapse. The real threat to for National was if Nicky had all the emails released via the anonymous hacker who took them. That danger is now a...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Open letter to Radio NZ – you need to make a retraction now
    I have just sent this off to Radio NZ right now Dear Radio NZ Firstly, what a great interview by Guyon Espiner this morning with the Prime Minister. Great to see such hard hitting journalism. Unfortunately I am not contacting...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Radio NZ are lying about me
    I am getting this all second hand at the moment as I don’t bother listening to Radio NZ (except for that wonderful Wallace Chapman in the weekends) but there is a claim that Suzie Ferguson just insinuated on Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Farrar’s fake claim of being invaded + Slater’s claims of death threats...
    The counter spin to avoid focus on the series allegations made in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics continues. David Farrar’s ridiculous hysterics that he was invaded and his privacy has been blah blah blah has all been reduced from computer hacking to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Te Kuiti man imprisoned for images of young children
    A Te Kuiti man caught with pictures of children being sexually abused has been sentenced to ten months imprisonment. Sickness beneficiary Daniel James Parry, 35, appeared for sentence in the Tauranga District Court today (Friday) after pleading guilty...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Japan Maritime Training Squadron visit – Open Day, Band
    • The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Training Squadron will make port in Auckland from Wednesday 3 September to Saturday 6 September...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • MP Perk Transparency Needed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the increase in taxpayer-funded entitlements for MPs and their families published on the legislation website this afternoon . Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Debating the future of Auckland’s housing
    With only weeks until the General Election, Auckland’s mounting housing crisis will be put under the spotlight in an Election Debate hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland. The debate’s topic “Market forces...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Let’s sort this out – Human Rights Commission
    A Whangarei woman allegedly censured for greeting customers with Kia ora can get in touch with the Human Rights Commission says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy. “We really need to resolve these kinds of issues. I had thought that...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Aged Care Association welcomes Labour’s wages policy
    The New Zealand Aged Care Association welcomes the Labour Party’s announcement that if elected, it will raise the minimum wage for aged care workers within its first 100 days in Government....
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Honorary doctorate for Secretary-General of the UN
    An Honorary Doctor of Laws degree is to be bestowed on His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, by the University of Auckland on Wednesday 3 September, both in recognition of his role as an international statesman...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Surveillance of Mr Upul Jayasuriya
    The New Zealand Bar Association joins the International Bar Association (IBA) and other Law Societies and Bar Associations worldwide over the reported surveillance of Mr Upul Jayasuriya, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka....
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Bob Parker, China State Media and Tibet Forum
    Former Christchurch mayor was signed up to position statement without his knowledge; observed “happiness” in Tibet as Tibetan protesters elsewhere shot by security forces...
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • “Walk the talk to reduce the wage gap”
    There’s just a few weeks left to convince the candidates of all political parties that reducing the wage gaps makes good sense....
    Scoop politics | 22-08
  • Digital Currency on the Drawing Board
    Government policies and digital currency ideas and issues will come together at three public workshops next week....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • NZ Cycle Trail welcomes $8 million fund
    Government funding of $8 million to maintain and enhance the Great Rides of New Zealand will help ensure the trails are delivering the best possible visitor experience, says Evan Freshwater, Manager Nga Haerenga The New Zealand Cycle Trail Inc. (NZCT)....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Judges Comments Bonkers – McVicar
    Napier Conservative Party Candidate Garth McVicar is accusing a Judge of forgetting that he is the gate-keeper for the community and not a benevolent caregiver for law breakers. "The comments by this Judge are not just alarming, they're completely...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Oxfam: World must suspend arms sales to protect civilians
    As the New Zealand Government prepares to ratify the global Arms Trade Treaty, and after ceasefire talks collapsed and violence erupted yet again in Gaza yesterday, Oxfam is calling on all states to immediately suspend transfers of arms or ammunition...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Degrees in Picking up Rubbish
    Responding to the Fairfax media report of a University of Otago survey of Wellington’s street-connected walkways, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Another Union row
    “ The teachers union the NZEA is getting ready for another industrial dispute. These disputes now only occur in the government sector. National has no one to blame but themselves” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Whyte: Speech to Grey Power
    National’s failure to increase the age for super and reform health is a threat to every New Zealander’s security....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Local Govt should not go into business
    “No one should take any comfort from the fact that “Infracon”, a roading company in Tararua and Central Hawke's Bay, is to go into liquidation. This puts the future of more than 200 jobs in doubt. ACT sympathises with those...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Join the hikoi to end child poverty in New Zealand
    CPAG is calling on people across society to join a march from Britomart to Aotea Square in Auckland to demand action on child poverty in Aotearoa....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Ngapuhi Chair Says Enough of the Political Sideshow
    Time for side-shows to end so we can focus on future of our nation – Raniera (Sonny) Tau, Chairman, Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Commissioner of Police v Kim Dotcom And Ors
    An order is made extending the duration of the registration of the restraining orders issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on 10 and 25 January 2012 and registered in New Zealand on 18...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Labour Announcement on Future of Hillside Workshops Welcome
    Labour leader David Cunliffe’s announcement in Dunedin today that a government led by his party would re-open Hillside Railway workshops was welcomed by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU). ‘Since the workshops were shut down in late...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Primary teachers and principals vote to put kids first
    Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Prime Time with Sean Plunkett: Educating for Success
    In all the turmoil stirred up by the "Dirty Politics" revelations, the real issues that the campaign should be about have been put to one side....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Dirty Politics – Number One Bestseller and Back in Stores
    An exposé of the hidden side of New Zealand politics, Nicky Hager's book, Dirty Politics , has been in hot demand since its release last Wednesday....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Epsom: profiling NZ’s most controversial electorate
    Welcome to the wealthy inner Auckland electorate of Epsom: home of coat-tailing, the Tea Tapes, a convicted outgoing MP... and heavy newspaper and magazine readership....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Families Free From Violence campaign and website
    We are pleased to announce the launch of our Families Free From Violence campaign and our new Families Free From Violence website. This website has been created to encourage people to take responsibility for ending family violence by seeking help...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • PSA And DHBs Reach Settlement on Five Collective Agreements
    The 20 District Health Boards are pleased to reach settlement via mediation on five Multi Employer Collective Agreements (MECAs) with the Public Service Association for 12,000 mental and public health nurses, allied, public health and technical staff,...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Refusal to complete census results in 46 convictions
    Failing to fill out a census form has resulted in the convictions of 46 people, Statistics New Zealand said today....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Council Amalgamations Still Bad Deal
    Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Wellington ratepayers should not be seduced into accepting the amalgamation of their Councils by a recent amendment to legislation allowing for local boards not community boards, Chris Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • DHB industrial action withdrawn
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has withdrawn notices of industrial action covering 12,000 health workers at District Health Boards (DHBs) across New Zealand, after progress was made in mediation....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Aged Care Pledge Needs Better Target, Says Care Agency
    Labour’s pledge to set up an aged care working group to address industry concerns is good to see, but appears to skirt the obvious issue of a looming lack of beds and carers for our rapidly growing elderly population, says...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Social inequality still rife in New Zealand
    Social inequality has worsened over the past decade in New Zealand, a new study from Victoria University of Wellington shows....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Working towards a living wage and more Māori in paid work
    The Māori Party will build on the gains it has already achieved in Government and accelerate job opportunities particularly for young Māori....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Deepwater Group Supports Changes to Catch Limits
    The Deepwater Group says the increase in the Total Allowable Commercial Catch for hoki shows the benefits of a long term commitment to build biomass in this major New Zealand fishery....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • ACT announces Ohariu candidate Sean Fitzpatrick
    “Our Ohariu candidate will be Sean Fitzpatrick. Sean has strong ties to the region and I’m glad to hear he will be doing his best to grow ACT’s party vote in the area,” says Dr Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • ACT announces Tauranga candidate Stuart Pederson
    “Our Tauranga candidate will be Stuart Pedersen. Stuart has strong ties to Tauranga and I’m glad he has agreed to do his best to grow ACT’s party vote in the electorate,” says Dr Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Green Party scores massive own goal
    Green Party scores massive own goal as their own policy auditor criticises their fiscal plan...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Green Party’s own Auditor of their Budget finds it dodgy
    “The Alternative Budget released by the Green's does not even stack up in the eyes of their chosen auditor – Infometrics” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • New shark finning laws fall short for threatened species
    Environmental groups are welcoming some aspects of a raft of law changes announced today in relation to shark finning, but say that overall the chance for New Zealand to catch up with international efforts in shark conservation is being missed....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Promoting Labour’s Positive Policies
    General Secretary of the New Zealand Labour Party, Tim Barnett, today launched Labour’s television advertisements for the 2014 election. The advertisements help tell Labour’s positive story for a better New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Drug Court: Rare Insight into New Alternative Justice Model
    Māori Television’s latest New Zealand documentary presents a fascinating look inside a new alternative justice model – through the stories of convicted criminals....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Political parties pledge to increase overseas aid
    A survey of political parties looking at how much New Zealand should spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA) shows the overwhelming majority of parties are committed to raising the bar according to the Council for International Development (CID)....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Top Kiwis backing Tip the Scales campaign
    Sir Graham Henry, former All Black Kees Meeuws, singer-song writer Jamie McDell and fishing guru Matt Watson have pledged their support to Tip the Scales, a pre-election campaign generating public support for rebuilding New Zealand’s depleted inshore...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Maritime Union continues to press over dirty politics
    Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says Ports of Auckland management is trying to get off the hook from its involvement with extreme right wing bloggers during the Ports of Auckland dispute....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • No end in sight to overwhelming human cost of conflict
    Two ceasefires have brought some respite to civilians in Gaza and southern Israel, amid hope that a durable cessation of hostilities might occur. In Gaza, these breaks in the fighting have barely given people enough time to seek medical care,...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Young Kiwi speakers to represent NZ at Gallipoli 2015
    The RSA is delighted at the announcement made by Veterans' Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse today, that all eight regional finalists of the 2015 ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition will be included in a group of 25 Youth Ambassadors...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • “Bromance” Marriage Stunt Insulting Says LegaliseLove
    A promotional competition asking two best mates to get married in order to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup is insulting, marriage equality campaign LegaliseLove Aotearoa claims....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Cannabis Party first to register for 2014 General Election
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party became the first party to register for the 2014 General Election today, when it meet with the Electoral Commission in Wellington at Midday....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • PGA: Addresses NZ’s ratification of Arms Trade Treaty
    President of Parliamentarians for Global Action and New Zealand MP Ross Robertson today addressed a celebration to mark New Zealand’s imminent ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is expected within the next few weeks....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
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