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Standard scoop: Another senior Nat failed to disclose conflicts

Written By: - Date published: 10:39 am, October 28th, 2008 - 31 comments
Categories: corruption, economy, election 2008, john key, national - Tags:

Last month, Key lied when he was asked whether he had more Tranzrail shares, over which he had failed to declare his conflict of interest. On Sunday, it was revealed on The Standard that Key had also held shares in Fletcher Challenge Forests, which was campaigning for the Government to buy the rails off Tranzrail, at the same time as he was using his powers as an MP to gain information on the prospects for that sale. He didn’t reveal that conflict of interest, either. But Key wasn’t the only Nat breaking the rules.

In between 2002 and 2005, Gerry Brownlee asked numerous written and oral questions, and gave numerous speeches about Contact Energy, and about government policy that relates to Contact Energy’s share price. He often criticised policies that would reduce Contact’s profitability – environmental standards, Kyoto, the establishment of the Electricity Commission – and asked questions on specific Contact projects.

Here is an example from 2002 of just one of the instances in which Brownlee used his powers as an MP to obtain information on Contact Energy:

Gerry Brownlee: In the light of that answer, why has Contact Energy put on hold its combined-cycle gas plant planned for Otahuhu [Hansard,8 Oct, 2002]

Here is another from 2003

Gerry Brownlee: Can the Minister confirm that the Government is considering establishing a systems operator who will buy and sell all generated electricity, doing away with the market and destroying all incentives for investment in new generation that we desperately need?

and one more from 2003

Gerry Brownlee: Is the Minister aware that similar comments from the Prime Minister last week wiped millions of dollars off the capital value of Contact Energy; can he tell us whether he has discussed those threats with the Minister for State Owned Enterprises; and can he also tell us how bringing generators to their knees helps the current crisis?

He seems a little upset about the drop in Contact’s share price, doesn’t he? Well he might, because Gerry Brownlee was a Contact shareholder; he had a financial interest in Contact’s performance and share price. In none of the instances I’ve seen where Brownlee refers to Contact or its interests does he reveal he is a shareholder. He first made it public when the Pecuniary Interests Register came into force in 2006. Prior to that, he did not declare his conflict of interest as he was required to do, even as he used his privileges as an MP to obtain information that gave him special information on the value of those shares.

I discovered Brownlee’s shareholding while examining the share registers of eight New Zealand companies. My primary purpose was to ascertain whether John Key had any holdings in those companies (more on those holdings later); I only checked whether Brownlee has a holding in Contact on a whim. So what are the odds that there are not more, undiscovered, conflicts of interest that the Nats have kept secret?

As with the secret agenda tapes, what we are seeing here is almost certainly just a small snapshot of the full picture. Even more concerning than the secret conflicts of interest that have been discovered is the knowledge that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

[Update: Brownlee’s shares disappear in 2006, when he creates a family trust. Presumably, the shares went into the trust. Parliamentary procedure expert Idiot/Savant argues that, while listing an interest in the pecuniary interests register (as Brownlee has done with his trust) removes the need to reveal conflicts of interest under SO166, a conflict arising from assets within a trust that are not named in the register still needs to be revealed. To put it bluntly, if Brownlee stills owns the shares in his family trust, he still needs to reveal the conflict of interest notwithstanding that he has registered his trust.]

31 comments on “Standard scoop: Another senior Nat failed to disclose conflicts”

  1. yl 1

    Great work Steve,

    Keep the crime busting going. It might not be front page stuff but it is more straw on the camels back. (the camel being National, and the straw being more lies and corruption).

  2. NeillR 2

    even as he used his privileges as an MP to obtain information that gave him special information on the value of those shares
    Howso? I haven’t seen a single piece yet which shows anything other than questions being asked in parliament – a public forum, which is televised. So at the same time Brownlee asked the questions they became a matter of public record and as such, the market was fully aware. Do you really have any understanding of markets and disclosure?

  3. Quoth the Raven 3

    If Gerry Brownlee bashing a pensioner didn’t sully National party supporters opinion of him I doubt this will.

  4. Ianmac 4

    Good Stuff Steve.
    NeillR: Should Bill Ralston declare his interest in John Key as his media trainer, when asking questions on public TV?
    Should David Farrar declare his interest in being a National Party blogger, when appearing as an “independent” commentator on TV or Radio?
    Should Gerry or John declare a pecuniary interest when asking questions in Parliament (which is a privileged position which others outside do not have)? This even before any money is made or shares traded which would lift it to greater more serious levels.
    I ask as a non legal non economist person.

  5. NeillR.The standing orders are clear – it doesn’t matter that these statements and questions go on the public record, it is that someone with a financial interest in the company is asking questions without revealing that interest which is the violation of the rules.

  6. vidiot 6

    NeillR – No he (SP) doesn’t.

    If he (Brownlee) was asking questions behind closed doors, he would have a conflict of interest and could be in breech of insider trading rules. However, as you (NeillR) has pointed out, all matters in the chambers are public record, so no wrong doing can be found.

    Now the questions I would like to ask SP is why do you have such a beef with our politicians who are willing to back NZ companies ? Do you not think it’s a good idea to back NZ made ?

    Next you will be assumpting that because Brownlee has shares in Contact, that he can’t argue against the compulsory introduction of CFB’s as the impact of switching over to these will see Contact’s profit’s lowered. Or promoting the electrification of Auckland Rail, as Contact might be the ones powering that.

    [this has nothing to do with insider trading rules. It is about the rules of Parliament. MPs are given privileges, powers of inquiry that ordinary people don’t have, they have to abide by rules on the use of those powers. MPs are allowed to speak on any issue but they must reveal any conflict of interest when they do so. Brownlee and Key have failed to do so. SP]

  7. coge 7

    Good on NZ politicians for investing in local companies. Sure, some of these investments turned out to be complete dogs, but good on the politicians for backing them. I’m reasonably confident that some Labour pollies have adopted the same approach.

  8. NeillR 8

    NeillR: Should Bill Ralston declare his interest in John Key as his media trainer, when asking questions on public TV?
    I suppose he should if Paul Holmes declares his interest in sleeping over at Helen and Peter’s.

  9. Janet 9

    Declaring a conflict of interest when discussing anything you could potentially benefit financially from, is generally an ethical issue, and, increasingly, a legal one. Best advice is always to declare in the interests of transparency and others can judge whether it is relevant or not.

    Notable examples when people don’t declare conflicts of interest when ethically they should, in my opinion, include some writers on a particular well-known weekly magazine, several contributors to the op ed pages of the newspapers, the sacked Hawkes Bay DHB, as well as the MPs already mentioned.

  10. T-rex 10

    Does the moron Brownlee still own those shares Steve? Because if so, I’d say his behaviour earlier this year during the “Power Crisis OMG WTF That Wasn’t”, namely endlessly talking up the degree of peril the country faced, was fairly self serving. No doubt he wanted to make Labour look bad – that’s self servingness that I can accept from the opposition. But did you see how much money Contact made during the high spot prices? Clyde and Roxborough are basically run of river dams – you can’t just shut them down. If power is cheap, contacts profits are lower.

    I’m mostly bitter because someone who is so clearly an ill-informed idiot leveraged his moronic opinions into more airtime than anyone not accused of blowing up a childcare centre should ever receive.

    Good ol’ Gerry. Tirelessly championing the dire times in the electricity industry… well, you know, at least right up until the point that it rained. Durn rain.

    In fact, when it comes right down to it, how the f*ck can a political parties energy spokesperson EVER have shares in a power company without a conflict of interest, especially in a semi-regulated market. What a joke. I now dislike him even more, and I already disliked him quite a lot.

  11. rave 11

    Have these questions been put to Key and Brownlee by Francesca Mold yet?
    I would like to see Key derailed and Brownlee getting a charge up his whatsit.

  12. T-Rex. Impossible to know. He owned the shares in his own name in the 2006 register but in 2007 he had set up a trust and the shares had disappeared (presumably, but not provably, into the trust). for the purposes of the standing order, that’s ok, so it’s not a breach of the rules, but there should be questions about a shareholder in a power company using his power as Opposition Energy spokesperson trying to scare up a power crisis every year.

    captcha: ‘locked recounts’ are vision of New Zealand, post-election?

  13. rave.. Kevin Taylor responded to the Key story, said it was like saying an MP has a conflict of interest if they talk about petrol prices because they own a car. Not true of course. A conflict of interest arises from a special interest that person has, not something everyone has, and Key owned shares in a company campaigning for the Government to undertake a certain action (buy the rails) at the same time as he was asking questions about that action.

  14. NeillR 14

    SP, it’s not a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest would arise if he were a shareholder in a company – let’s say it made wind generated turbines for power consumption and then the government happened to buy those turbines.
    Or if a DHB decided to contract out part of it’s operation and the company that got the contract was run by that MP’s spouse. Or a conflict of interest might arise if someone was looking to gain residency and the MP in question invited the person along and got them to drop a wad of cash into the collection box and later they got given residency. Those are examples of conflicts of interest.

    [no, you just don’t understand the rules. Here is Standing Order 166(1)
    166 Declaration of financial interest
    (1) A member must, before participating in the consideration of any item of business [business means activity of Parliament], declare any financial interest that the member has in that business.
    If Key had a conflict of interest over his Tranzrail shares, and he conceded he did, then Brownlee had one over his Contact shares. SP]

  15. Daveski 15

    I know this is not a Labour site because LP says so and as much as I disagree with LP’s comments (he’s is openly Labour and says so) I respect his comments.

    But this line of attack contrasts vividly with SP’s line on Winston. Moreover, for this to be relevant, it would need to be accompanied by a similar analysis of the left MP’s to prove that this is of consequence.

    To be more constructive, I think the Standard is having a bit of an identity crisis. I understand the intended purpose but posts such as these illustrate it is less a left wing labour forum of like minded people and more of a surrogate pro-Labour site.

    Yes I have read the About pages 🙂

    But SP’s line of attack mean this site is becoming more Labour and less labour.

  16. Tane 16

    Daveski. SP, like the rest of us, opposes a National-led government. While in Auckland he had a look at the share register and found Nat MPs had been engaging in dodgy behaviour. He is now making that behaviour public.

    There’s no identity crisis here, just a bunch of National supporters who don’t like seeing their heroes exposed and, in your case, are desperate for a line.

  17. Danny 17

    “Is the Minister aware that similar comments from the Prime Minister last week wiped millions of dollars off the capital value of Contact Energy; can he tell us whether he has discussed those threats with the Minister for State Owned Enterprises; and can he also tell us how bringing generators to their knees helps the current crisis?”

    If Brownlee said that while he was an undisclosed shareholder, he is an idiot, and he is in trouble. Plain and simple.

    NeillR/Vidiot; this is not about “markets and disclosure”. It is not an accustion concerning securities law at all. It is about “conflicts” and “pecuriary interests” (the latter often needing a consideration of the ‘market price’ when the interest is non-direct, which is not the case here).

    Therefore, it is patently obvious that you are either 1. confused; or 2. politically motivated.

  18. Daveski. I’m a Green voter, always have been. Been a member since 2003. Inactive though.

    and I’m not sure how a post revealing the results of research I have conducted for the Standard on National MP’s conflicts of interest has anything to do with whether this site is broad Left or Labour

  19. Quoth the Raven 19

    There’s no identity crisis here, just a bunch of National supporters who don’t like seeing their heroes exposed and, in your case, are desperate for a line.

    Don’t worry DPF will soon provide them with their scripts.

  20. Daveski 20

    Tane/Sp

    Acknowledged your points although you are assuming I am a National supporter.

    I certainly don’t hero worship the Nats – I’ve been quite open about their public failings.

    Clearly, conflict of interest is a valid line of attack. However, this is far from an open case of corruption and as I’ve noted fails the test of whether this is something that is characteristic of just some MP’s or whether similar straw men could be created about Labour or other left MP’s.

    SP – you have acknowledged your Green status before. My comments are based on perception.

    To me, this looks like the left being desperate for a line given the polls.

    I’m not trolling, not trying to deflect, but it’s the equivalent of the Kiwis saying at least we won the haka against the Kangaroos.

  21. Danny 21

    Vidiot?NeillR,

    … and Brownlee can ask/state whatever he damn pleases about Contact as a shareholder and as a member of Parliament, provided he first discloses that interest.

    Securities law does not come into it unless he 1. becomes an information insider, and 2. acts on that information (disclosure of his interest is irrelevant to that point, and besides, it is not even close to what was suggested). You have both mistakenly (deliberately?) confused the two to create a higher threshold for wrongdoing.

    The test is simple.
    1. a member of Parliament; 2. an interest; 3. that interest not being disclosed; and 4. participation in business related to that interest.

  22. Akldnut 22

    NeillR – Daveski You can put up all the different scenarios and whine as much as you like but that dosn’t change the fact that they’ve both been snapped not conforming to parliamentary rules.

    Daveski you need to look at your third scenario again because
    1. The MP in question did not “get” anyone to drop off a wad of cash, it was a donation.
    2. He acknowledged having a form of dealing “as such” with this guy by passing it on to the next person as the rules state that he should. ( Look he ‘s following the rules and he’s not going to make any money out of it – unlike some dodgey pricks)
    3. The dude was hedging his bets by dropping of a wad of cash to national as well. (or was it a donation?…. mmmmm convenietly ommited again)

  23. Steve:
    He owned the shares in his own name in the 2006 register but in 2007 he had set up a trust and the shares had disappeared (presumably, but not provably, into the trust). for the purposes of the standing order, that’s ok, so it’s not a breach of the rules

    Really? SO 165 includes benefits to trusts in which the MP has an interest in the definition of a financial interest. And while SO 166 allows MPs to avoid declaring an interest already contained in the register, if the register simply lists the trust rather than the shares, then there is arguably still a duty to declare. Which likely makes some of his questions and debating points (particularly over climate change) over the last few years in breach of standing orders as well.

    You should do some more digging into this. The results would be fascinating, and help protect our democracy.

  24. Dancer 24

    Good work here Steve. And for those who are unclear on standing orders – they are the rules that MPs live by – and so are important (it was a breach of the SOs that got Winston sent to the priviliges select committee). This is what Mr Key said about SOs over the earler Tranzrail event on Sunrise (23 September)

    JK: at the time in 2002, when I came into Parliament, there wasn’t a pecuniary interest list to register it on so it didn’t work like that. The correct process for me to have followed was if there was a point at which I asked um, information about a company that I had a shareholding under a standing order, I should’ve declared that and ah, I failed to do that. I was, that was a genuine error on my part.

    Now Mr Brownlee is an experienced politician so he should have known better (so should Mr Key but that’s a different story!)

  25. the sprout 25

    Great stuff. If only we had like, journalists, who could do this stuff too.

  26. Danny 26

    Yes quite.

    Of all people, Mr Brownlee is in absolutely no position to downplay the importance of standing orders or the significance of this apparently egregious breach.

  27. Ianmac 27

    Idiot Savant: Having great respect for your perceptions , I think your input is a great help. How do you think the story should be unfolded.

  28. randal 28

    handed out in free broadsheets every morning at wellington and auckland railway stations

  29. Sarah 29

    I think Steve doesn’t like people having shares in the first place. Oh those filthy capitalists.

    [I own shares. Would a perfect world not have this system of wealth ownership? Sure but that doesn’t make it immoral to own shares in the existing system. SP]

  30. Steve,

    Your checking back some and I’d like know whether other related-to-stock issues have been taken up by the mp.. looking for options.. and if available data or details whether option/s and/or option contract rights issued with any such financial asset/s..? The former could be regular to shareholders, the latter privileged and – in the circumstances you describe – most definitely in need of disclosure..

  31. Ianmac 31

    Jerry Brownlee has answered the Standard’s contention in the Press today.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/0a28824.html?source=nav
    Says that there was never any requirement to declare.

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    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Paula Bennett’s housing deja vu
    After a week of bad media coverage about homelessness in Auckland, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett was today forced to act, announcing that she would pay homeless Aucklanders $5,000 to move to the regions (where they'd conveniently be out of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    frogblogBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Fluoridation: One small step sideways?
    Fluoridation. Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room – the need to separate scientific review from community consultation. Most health officials and science-minded people welcomed the recent announcement of the government’s plan to transfer decisions on water fluoridation from local… ...
    1 day ago
  • Finding a sense of porpoise
    Being a porpoise looks rubbish.Dolphins look like they have fun. They even look like they seek out fun. Okay, the fixed grins make them seem perpetually happy but let’s be honest - when was the last time you saw a… ...
    1 day ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and one with some real business. First, there's the second reading of Sue Moroney's Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill, which will hopefully either pass, force… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    frogblogBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Forcing transparency on Ministerial transport
    One of the perks of being a government Minister is the Ministerial limo - a chauffeur-driven car you can take anywhere. These vehicles are publicly funded and used for public business, so we should be able to see who uses… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Wicklow 2 win unconditional bail
    From éirígí: Great result today as éirígí’s Sean Doyle and Citizens Against Privatisation stalwart Eamonn McGrath were released from Cloverhill prison on unconditional bail. The unexpected outcome came virtue of a “technicality” in committal warrants as papers that were due… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • We shouldn’t just forgive, but pay back odious debt
    Over 9,000 people have signed Action Station's petition calling on the government to forgive odious emergency housing debt. The government's response? Nope:Wiping the debt of people who have been staying in motels for emergency accommodation would not be fair to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Opening up NLTF to all modes
    The Green Party released a new freight policy yesterday. They’re looking at ways to invest to increase safety and reduce carbon emissions: The Safer, Cleaner Freight policy sets a target for moving half of freight on rail… ...
    2 days ago
  • The American Black Movement in the Sixties: Victories and Lost Opportunities
    The Black Power slogan of the 1960s was replaced with empowerment for the black American middle class and burgeoning capitalist layers The reign of the first black president in the United States is coming to an end.  Obama, or O’Bomber… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Three Dreams
    I have three dreams. One is characteristic, one is recurring and one is singular.The characteristic one is simple in concept: it's me and my friends going places and doing things. In the last one I can recall, there was a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Did you know this about tigers?
    Next in our series, we turn to the king (and queen) of the jungle - the tiger. Here are 10 incredible tiger facts from forests campaigner Richard George:10. Tigers have better short-term memories than humansTigers’ have one of the best… ...
    2 days ago
  • How well do you know the Polar Bear?
    Since the very beginning of Greenpeace, our movement has been fighting to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable animals. And over the years, we’ve learnt some truly incredible things about the magnificent creatures we share this planet with. So… ...
    2 days ago
  • How well do you know the orangutan?
    Next in the series, forests campaigner Richard George shares his 10 favourite facts about one of of our closest living relatives - the orangutan:10. Orangutans are ticklishThere are two kinds of ticklish. There’s the gentle kind that feels itchy and… ...
    2 days ago
  • Income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time
    “Income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time.”  This is one of the opening statements made by “John Doe” in his “manifesto” on the Mossack Fonseca trust arrangements. The article continues: “The debate over its sudden acceleration… ...
    Closing the GapBy Ben Smith
    2 days ago
  • Dying For Latvia?
    Preparing For War: Nato forces in the former Soviet republic of Latvia as part of the 2014 "Silver Arrow" military exercises in the Baltic states. Such naked demonstrations of Nato's extended reach - right up to the borders of the… ...
    2 days ago
  • How much do you really know about turtles?
    I’m Willie and I’m an oceans campaigner here at Greenpeace.Over the years I’ve had the privilege of watching turtles from the bow of Greenpeace ships, and many of my colleagues have encountered these peaceful ocean wanderers far out at sea… ...
    2 days ago
  • How much do you know about whales?
    I’m Willie and I’m an oceans campaigner here at Greenpeace.Over the years I’ve had the privilege of seeing lots of whales, both from the deck of Greenpeace ships, and also on whale-watching trips. I’ve been lucky enough to see massive… ...
    2 days ago
  • Are noisy oceans to blame for beached whales?
    Noise is the most invisible of all the man-made threats to the ocean, but to whales who ‘see’ by hearing, they simply cannot escape it.Water is an excellent medium for relaying sound, enabling some species of whale to communicate across… ...
    2 days ago
  • Sylvia Park growth plans
    Sylvia Park is already Auckland’s largest shopping centre, but it’s likely to get even bigger in the next few years. Kiwi Property, who own the centre, have plans to expand the retail offering, as well as adding office buildings. In… ...
    Transport BlogBy John Polkinghorne
    2 days ago
  • PrintNZ Forum Speakers Enlighten Delegates
    Press Release – PrintNZ New Zealand captains of industry Mike Hutcheson, Mike Pero and Kim Campbell shared significant business insight and interesting personal life experience during the PrintNZ Forum at SkyCity on May 13.PRINTNZ FORUM SPEAKERS ENLIGHTEN DELEGATES New Zealand… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Nick Smith: There is NO crisis
    MyThinks has been fielding many questions about Nick Smith. “What’s happening with housing?” “Does Nick Smith know anything about any of his policy areas?” “Why does he look so shifty when he’s telling us what we should think?” These are… ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    2 days ago
  • Tracking the 2°C Limit – April 2016
    April is starting to come down off the shockingly high anomalies of the first couple of months of this year. GISS is clocking in a still strong warm anomaly of 1.11°C. This is by far the hottest April in the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    2 days ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Punakaiki Fund invests in Populate
    Crosspost from Punakaiki Fund. New Investment: Populate One of our core motivations at Punakaiki Fund is being able to help and watch companies create a large number of sustainable new jobs. And one of the best people around at hiring… ...
    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    2 days ago

  • How the budget fails new New Zealanders
    Greens co-leader James Shaw was absolutely correct to say the 2016 budget is just papering over the cracks. There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    7 hours ago
  • Parents will pay more as school budgets frozen
    Parents will pay more for their kids’ education as a result of this year’s Budget after the Government froze operational funding for schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This means schools are effectively going backwards. They will need to… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Sticking Plaster Budget fails the test
    Bill English’s penultimate Budget fails to tackle the structural challenges facing the economy – a housing crisis, rising unemployment, underfunded health and creaking infrastructure, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This Budget applies a sticking plaster to a compound fracture.… ...
    10 hours ago
  • John Key fails middle New Zealand with no fix for housing crisis, more underfunding of health
    Middle New Zealand has again missed out in this year’s Budget with not a single fix for the housing crisis, and health and education woefully underfunded again, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This Budget is just a patchwork… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Labour Bill would back Kiwi jobs
    The Government’s $40 billion of buying power would go towards backing Kiwi businesses and jobs under a Labour Member’s Bill which will be debated by Parliament, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “My Bill – which was pulled from… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Julie Anne Genter: My Budget 2016 wish is fairness
    When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    13 hours ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    14 hours ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    14 hours ago
  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    1 day ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    1 day ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    2 days ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    4 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    4 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    7 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    1 week ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    1 week ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago

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