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Tale Three – the Death of Sean Mortensen. Killed 20 January 2010

Written By: - Date published: 5:01 pm, July 17th, 2013 - 14 comments
Categories: health and safety, workers' rights - Tags:

I have collected up the available documentation on the men killed in the forest since 2008. I am going to try, using the documents I have, to tell their story – one at a time. I haven’t been able to contact all the families of these men and hope if any of them read them, they are not surprised or upset to see the details set out like this.  The first two stories are here and here.

Sean Mortensen was killed at Robin Hood Bay, Port Underwood in Marlborough.  He was 34  years old.  He worked for Pelorus Contracting Ltd and was in a forest managed by Merrill and Ring Ltd.  Merrill and Ring is a NZ subsidiary of an American forest company.   Interestingly last time I looked it  had taken action against the Canadian Government using the NAFTA!

M&R  contracted Robinson Forest Management to provide health, safety and quality services to is operations.

On 20 Jan 2010 Sean started work at 6.30am.   He   was carrying out machine assisted tree felling .  At 10am it was smoko time but they were up to the last tree and they decided to fell it before stopping for smoko.

The process being used  involved connecting a tree to the mainline of a cable hauler prior to felling it.  The line was not to assist with determining the directions of the fall, but to stop the tree sliding away downhill and being difficult to retrieve once it was felled.  The effect of the tree being connected should not have been realized until the tree was down, but this can only occur if there is sufficient slack in the mainline from the outset.  The attached  main-rope was in the way of where Sean wanted  to work to cut the tree.  He  radioed  the machine driver to put some tension in the rope to lift it out of the way- too much tension was in the rope and when the tree fell it was pushed  backwards into Sean instead of  falling forward to the ground as intended.    The Coroner noted that the hill they were working on was so steep that Sean could not see how much tension was in the line nor could he see the hauler from where he was.

The tree rested on top of him.  Despite desperate attempts by his crew to get the log off him and revive him, he died including from multiple internal injuries and asphyxiation.  He tested positive for  marijuana use but the amount in his system was inconclusive to establish drug related impairment as a contributing cause to this accident.

The DOL investigation raised concerns with three elements relating to this accident –

  • the method of falling the tree;
  •  the competency of staff ;and
  •  the adequacy of the employer and Merrill and Rings health and safety programme to minimize the risk from the work.

In regards the felling method – it said was not an “accepted/recognized” method for felling and there were other standard techniques that could have been used.  Workers on Sean’s crew said the method they were using was widely used by gangs in the area.  The DOL said the method had a number of hazards including the tension in the ropes issue.  They also found Sean’s tree cutting method did not meet industry standards and he was primarily employed in breaking out.  They found his cutting method had  increased the risk.  It found the method of felling being used had been developed locally without any hazard assessment.

Sean had worked for Pelorus for 9 years and held standards in tree felling and breaking out.  He was unqualified in machine assisted felling.  The only real experience he had in this process was from watching others do it from time to time. He was regarded by his workmates as very safety conscious.  The 19 year old workmate assisting him at the time was also unqualified and only had 2 weeks tree felling experience.

The investigation noted that Pelorus was in the process of applying to ACC to join a discount programme (WSMP) so had a detailed health and safety system but it was mostly incomplete and hazards were not identified as to whether they were significant and it did not cover machine assisted tree felling.  The DOL thought the system showed the company had a lack of knowledge around the management, recording and monitoring of significant hazards – quite a failure for a logging company!!

Merrill and Ring had worked with Pelorus for 13 years.  They used Robinson Forest Management to carry out forestry crew supervision and health and safety auditing.  Both these companies were aware that  the process being used by Sean was used by its contractors.  Neither had any technical knowledge of the process.  Robinsons had not observed the process being used and there were no records of it.  They required Pelorus to have a comprehensive system.  These requirements are  listed in the investigation report – the list does not include a requirement for trained health and safety representatives nor appear to cover issues such as fatigue management, weather policies etc.

The DOL found a number of practicable steps that the company should have taken were not taken in regards to Sean’s death.  It found there was insufficient evidence to determine if Merrill and Ring  had met  its duties.  It found insufficient evidence to suggest Sean was in breach of his duties as an employee under the Act.

The report did not make any recommendation regarding prosecution and  none was taken.

The Coroner conducted an inquiry.  She found shortcomings in the employers health and safety system.  She asked why Sean had chosen to use the method he did to fall the tree and one explanation given was that without it the tree may have been unrecoverable and “felling waste”  was not in his nature.  As another worker stated, that by using the method “you don’t have to try and run down the hill and muck around  hooking it up in the scrub.  As soon as you drop it, you can just pull it straight away”.  It appears the method was dangerous but productive.

The DOL told the Coroner that it believed Pelorus has failed in its duties under the Act but that “legal advice” taken was that there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction so  no prosecution was taken.

The Coroner formed the impression from the Company at the hearing,  that the ”safety ethos at the site in relation to tree felling did not extend appreciably beyond acknowledging that tree felling is inherently dangerous, that every tree poses its own set of risks, and thus that everyone needed to be careful at all times”.

She found no documentary evidence of objective assessments of risk relating to the process being used nor strategies to manage it.  She said the approach relied on workers raising concerns and discussing solutions but the weakness was there was no system.  She made a point similar to the Coroner that considered the death of Michael Stevens that people don’t know what they don’t know and when they have insufficient training this is dangerous.

She found the attitude of the witnesses from Pelorus  “disconcerting” as they repeatedly stressed forest work was dangerous without any perception that formal polices are needed.  She found that Seans failure to recognize the line needed slack in it  may have been due to tiredness, impatience or distraction with smoko due and that she could not determine the impact of prior cannabis use  but she also considered his actions need to be seen in the context of the culture he worked in.  The DOL inquiry provides no evidence of these things being considered, no hours of work, weather conditions, employment conditions are included.

Media reports recorded the DOL saying tp the Coroners  hearing that the company had  refused to allow the Department of Labour to formally question management and staff about the accident following initial interviews immediately after it occurred,  and in other reports the Company owner Andrew Stewart says he doesn’t agree his company had shortcomings and that his business has always encouraged staff training in the area of health and safety.

During the hearing the DOL reported it had revisited the site one year later and had identified  that Pelorus Contracting  had again failed to achieve basic compliance requirements, including

  • Unwarranted and unregistered crew vehicles on the work site.
  • Uncertified protective structures on skidders, excavators and a bulldozer.
  • Inadequate operator protection on an excavator.
  • Inadequate traffic management, with inadequate road signs and warnings of the work taking place.
  • An excavator grapple ram pin being held in place by wire.
  • A worker felling trees without adequate eye protection.

It noted that after almost all the failings had since been fixed, and an unannounced follow-up visit three weeks before the hearing  had shown that Pelorus Contracting crews had “stepped up their game”

On 22 April this year I sent in an Official Request of the Pelorus file to MBIE to see what follow up work had taken place with this company.  The Company was visited on 16.2.11.  for a workplace assessment.  This appears to have been the first visit after the death and was one year later.  This is where those failings listed to the Coroner above  were identified.  By June that year these deficiencies were noted as resolved except the  D7H dozer remained un-certificated.  It is unclear if this machine was used during this period in this condition.

The inspector noted the company was non- compliant in most areas checked.  He noted that overall compliance was very poor and M&R and Pelorus had very limited knowledge about their legislative responsibilities.  He recommended multiple enforcement notices be issued. It appears 8 Improvement Notices were issued as a result.  Prohibition notices were available to these inspectors to stop this work but these were not used.

The next assessment was in October that year.  It notes no compliance issues on this visit.  The DOL then held a safety breakfast with the crew in January 2012.  In August 2012 the Breaking Out process was assessed by the DOL.  While doing so, hazardous tree felling practice was observed with two tree fellers too close to each other and not looking at each other (working within one tree length of each other).  A written warning was issued.   There does not seem to have been any other visits since.

14 comments on “Tale Three – the Death of Sean Mortensen. Killed 20 January 2010”

  1. IrishBill 1

    That’s grueling reading, but it throws some of the glib political discussion of health and safety into sharp relief.

  2. DavidC 2

    I would be interested to see how this write up would differ had Mortensen killed his 19yr old workmate rather than killing himself thru his poor judgement call.

  3. Helen Kelly 3

    you know David, with these facts – inadequate training, no scheme, a culture of multiple breaches by the company, etc etc and then after this death, continuing breaches, this story would have been told in the same way. Either of these workers could have been killed in this environment and the fact is it should have been a safer workplace. Dont you think so?

    • DavidC 3.1

      No Helen I dont see anything in your narrative that would have stopped this guy from killing himself or someone else.

      Vastly experienced forester, asked for (via walkietalkie I assume) assistance and was given it. Spar kicked back uphill and killed him.

      All the training in the world and all the safety systems written and neatly filed away wont stop human error.

      The post death saftey lapses are something else again but you are happy to conflate the two obviously. Anything to try and push your adgenda.

      • Helen Kelly 3.1.1

        What’s my agenda David?

      • Arfamo 3.1.2

        All the training in the world and all the safety systems written and neatly filed away wont stop human error.

        We’ll never know, David. After carefully reading all that article, the company never had them and training was inadequate. Employers utilizing other human beings for profit have a responsibility to keep them safe. What bothers me more is the DOL finding and doing something about shortcomings too late. Like Pike River. Contracting in this field obviously costs lives in employer-preventable situations.

  4. Chris 4

    8 improvement notices & a written warning after the fact that a worker had died, simply is disgusting. Simon Bridges what the hell is going on? Who is pissing in who’s pocket? You say we don’t need an inquiry, why not? This is one case of 67 since 2000….when is the rest of the country going to wake up? if this was your son or brother, father or uncle how would you feel? Department of Labour is failing this industry, the workers, the families, the children. Miserably.

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    Dear Helen,

    I hope (and trust) you are planning to drop some bombs on some people in Wellington. What those bombs are (TV documentary, major publication, demonstrations, etc.) I leave up to your organizing expertise.

    But know you are laying excellent groundwork. Some of us (me) will vigorously support you and these “worker units.” (Since they are disposable, management need not regard them as human beings.)

    I and close family have worked in some of these “killer” industries. Profits instead of people is NOT on.

  6. ropata 6

    no fines?
    no compensation to the bereaved?
    no suspension of operations pending a full review of procedures?
    no management accountability?

    OSH legislation & enforcement clearly has no balls

    (ex steel worker here, with scars to prove it, and I can tell you of 3 deaths in that plant)

  7. Rod 7

    Breaking out and tree falling are quite separate skill sets, yet the message here seems to be that staff with limited formal training are used interchangeably in both these risky jobs? It would be good to know if this is common practice?

    Also, if attaching a cable to a standing tree is not in any rule book, why is it permitted?

  8. jcuknz 8

    If they had no cannon fodder the firms would not be able to operate so would have to up their game …. so don’t let your son or daughter join these killer industries.

  9. Another industry that is probably even more dangerous than forestry for the human workers is slaughterhouse worker. I remember a documentary on drugs in slaughterhouses in which it was pretty much concluded that everyone was stoned most of the time. And the industry freely admitted this but did not want the drug problem investigated because if they were forced to be drug free it would be the end of the industry.

    It makes you wonder. If this is the way the humans are treated, if they have to be stoned to cope with the horror of their jobs, then just what are the animals going through? Apart from having a fatality rate of 100%, there must be so much suffering through botched jobs by workers and uncaring attitudes from management.

  10. Phil Darkins 10

    There is no accountability on these companies. They treat people as expendable commodities. I assume they even account for their losses of ‘resources’ ahead of time based on past fatalities and debilitating injuries. They do this because successive governments have encouraged them by virtue of inaction. Therefore the time has passed for punitive legislation to introduce rigorous safety processes monitored and prosecuted by genuinely empowered government agencies. Will this happen anytime soon? Not on any of these men’s lives, nor the lives of those to come. Primary industry is still the backbone of this nation’s exports. The political will does not exist. It will take unionisation of the whole of this workforce to bring about the improvements required. This harks back to the dawn of modern unionism: the Industrial Revolution. How many more have to die before these workers realise that it is up to them to cry, “ENOUGH! We hereby refuse to risk our lives for you!” Forestry workers, organise yourselves now!

  11. Chris 11

    Hear hear Phil! What an awesome post, so true! Until the guys get together with the unions & the regulators/royalty collectors are regulated from an independent source, that can override this poison in the industry. Clearly the stats show their system or lack of, has failed the workers & 67 dead since 2000, it is time for over ruling regulation. Which is people together with first union. So all you forestry workers out there reading this, sign up at http://first-forestry-together.org.nz/join/

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    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable quota market, said Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. “Our reputation as a Lamb producer...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Ae Marika! 22 July 2014
    The big storm has gone, but the damage that it did and the saturation levels that it reached meant that smaller storms quickly overwhelmed roading, and water-flow systems again in the north. And although certain individuals are talking up the...
    Mana | 21-07
  • 2014 Roger Award nominations now open
    The Roger Award is for The Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2014 Nominations are now open please visit the website to nominate the worst TNC in Aotearoa. You will need to include reasons why you think your...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a fund to create breakthrough opportunities for jobs and sustainable growth, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 21-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Read our full regional development policy Download Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept Kare Kare beach with Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey. We talked...
    Labour | 21-07
  • Stop Israeli State Terror – Rally and March this Saturday 26th July, Aote...
     The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting much worse and the world is marching in unprecedented numbers. New Zealanders spoke out strongly last Saturday with a march of 5,000 people in Auckland (see picture below) – the biggest march ever...
    Mana | 21-07
  • NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza
    The New Zealand Government should support the United Nation's efforts to raise money to assist humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, the Green Party said today.The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has made a...
    Greens | 21-07
  • INTERNET MANA ROAD TRIP- LEG 2
      WAIKATO / TARANAKI / MANAWATU-WANGANUI  Tuesday July 29th, 6pm | RotoruaDistinction Hotel, Fenton Ballroom, 390 Fenton Street, Rotorua  Wednesday July 30th 6pm | HamiltonWaikato University, Price Waterhouse Coopers Lecture Theatre, Gate 7, Hillcrest Rd Hamilton  Thursday July 31st, 6pm |...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Road fix needed now, not later
    Northland’s roading system is in chaos and needs fixing fast, Labour List MP Kelvin Davis says.  “According to NZTA’s 10 year funding data every area of Northland has had a decrease in NZTA funding since 2008...
    Labour | 20-07
  • KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth
    The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s...
    Labour | 20-07
  • Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds
    The Green Party today announced that its key social platform for this election will be to tackle child poverty and inequality by ensuring every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive.The Green Party will make a series of policy...
    Greens | 20-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were served with trespass orders from their  local swimming pool in new market. With no warning or explanation from the pool staff Police ordered...
    Mana | 20-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    Address notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John Minto to Economic policy launch in Kelston – 2pm, Sunday 20 July 2014. Reducing inequality and giving everyone a fair go MANA Movement’s policy prescription for a rich man’s...
    Mana | 20-07
  • One-sided reporting on the Middle East Conflict
    The following was sent to New Zealand Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV3, Radio Live and ZB Network. We are writing to all of you because there are well established patterns of reporting which seem to have been adopted by New Zealand...
    Mana | 20-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    Lisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially passed the mantle of MANA President in a special ceremony at Potahi Marae in Te Kao this week, following her unanimous election into the...
    Mana | 20-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity
    A Labour Government will ensure more of our children have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori by encouraging the learning and use of it in schools, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says....
    Labour | 19-07
  • Work numbers not all they’re cracked up to be
    The Government's figures on the numbers of beneficiaries don't add up, Labour's Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says."Paula Bennett keeps saying 1500 people are going off the benefit into work every week, yet today she announced just 16,000 fewer people...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Flood relief for National voters first
    “The flooding in Tai Tokerau has hammered the north and impacted hundreds of families right across the region,” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “It’s bitterly disappointing to see that the first response from this National government...
    Mana | 18-07
  • Don’t contract out your loyal cleaners SkyCity3
    SkyCity should put aside its proposal to contract out its cleaning staff and not be lured by the prospect of washing their hands of these essential jobs and leaving them to the world of third party contracting, Labour’s Associate Labour...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Green Party statement on tragedy of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
    The Green Party conveys its condolences to the families of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.The Ukrainian Government has accused pro-Russia rebels in the east of the Ukraine of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines jet with a ground-to-air missile,...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Gaza ground offensive can only result in more deaths
    Israel’s decision to continue with a ground offensive into Gaza can only result in more civilian deaths and push a ceasefire further beyond reach, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “There is no such thing as a surgical strike...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Tackling childhood obesity is not rocket science Minister, but it is scienc...
    The Government's latest snub of scientific evidence - this time about its failure to address childhood obesity - is another example of National's reliance on 'tobacco science' to justify its denial agenda, the Green Party said today. An Auckland University...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Paying patients to go away not a solution
    A voucher system being used by emergency departments in Southern DHB - which pays patients to see a GP – is designed to skew figures to meet Government targets, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson and Dunedin North MP David Clark says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Common sense a better response
    The actions of two police officers who walked into a marae's wharenui in the early hours of the morning to search and photograph a group of children in their pyjamas are deeply concerning, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Taxpayer cash to plug Chorus copper hole
    The Chief Executive and Board of Chorus must be held accountable for striking a deal that uses taxpayer money that was intended to build a new fibre network to instead plug the company’s revenue gaps, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Labour won’t abandon regional New Zealand
    Labour will ensure no regions in New Zealand are ‘red-zoned’ by tailoring Regional Growth Plans for each province as part of our Economic Upgrade, Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Deputy Leader David Parker says. “The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Our...
    Labour | 17-07
  • Minister must come clean on amalgamation
    The Minister of Local Government is telling porkies to its supporters on local government amalgamation, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Su’a William Sio.   National’s arrogance on amalgamation was all too clear when the Minister shut down Napier’s deputy mayor...
    Labour | 17-07
  • Labour sends condolences to families of MH17
    ...
    Labour | 17-07
  • IPCA report proves need for full review of spy agencies
    A report into the Police decision not to prosecute the Government Communications Security Bureau over its unlawful spying of 88 New Zealanders proves the need for a full review into our security agencies, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant...
    Labour | 16-07
  • New Zealanders will never get justice over spying saga
    New Zealanders who were illegally spied on by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) will probably never get their justice, said the Green Party today.The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) today released its findings on whether the Police were negligent...
    Greens | 16-07
  • National issues mineral mining permits in Maui’s sanctuary
    The Government has issued mineral mining permits in one third of the endangered Maui's dolphin sanctuary, the Green Party has revealed today.This follows revelations that permits have also been issued for oil exploration in the sanctuary.There have been 254 Maui's...
    Greens | 16-07
  • No cosmetics tested on animals under Labour
    A Labour Government will help protect animals from harm by prohibiting the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.  Labour’s Animal Welfare spokesperson Trevor Mallard today launched the initiative at an event organised by Labour’s Ōhariu candidate Ginny...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Bridges cannot argue with the CPI –electricity prices are up
    Today’s CPI gives the lie to Simon Bridge’s claim that power prices only rose by 2.3 % in the last year. Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Its official; the CPI index says power prices increased by 4.2% in the...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Parata ploughs ahead with anti-democracy plan
      Hekia Parata is ignoring overwhelming opposition by ploughing ahead with plans to gut the political independence of the teaching profession and stifle democracy on tertiary institution councils, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is no surprise a massive...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Greens announce $1 billion additional investment in R&D, including busi...
    The Green Party has announced today that its economic priority for the election is building a smarter greener economy that benefits every New Zealander.In the Party's headline economic announcement, the Greens have launched their plan to build a smarter, more...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Families under more pressure as power, food prices rise
    Higher power prices, housing costs and food prices are behind today's inflation rise, putting already stressed families under renewed pressure, the Green Party said today."Families are facing rising costs from food, power, and mortgages, or rents; and most are getting...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Goverment drops recreational river reporting
    The Government pulled the plug on cleaning up our dirty rivers so they are safe for swimming, and now it has given up on annual reports about the problem, the Green Party said today. Two weeks ago the Government released...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Ae Marika! 15 July 2014
    It ain’t over by a long shot, but I can’t help feel good about Northlanders response to the week from hell. This last week has seen the worst weather over a larger region of the north, for a longer period...
    Mana | 15-07
  • From Here To There: How did Labour become so hopelessly lost?
    WRITING ABOUT the Labour Party these days puts me in mind of the joke about the American tourist and the Irish farmer. Seems there was this American tourist driving down a narrow lane in the heart of Ireland. He needed...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Oh NOW everyone thinks the ABCs are up to no good?
    Goodness last months June seems like years away doesn’t it? In June I pointed out a move by the ABCs to destabilise Cunliffe was under way. For pointing this out, Labour Party bloggers Rob Salmond and Lynn Prentice rushed to put...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – I have little interest in appearing on your show so th...
    After savagely critiquing Seven Sharp for trying to whitewash the repulsive history of a far right hate speech merchant like Cameron Slater yesterday, Seven Sharp have contacted me and offered to do a profile on me. Here is their email…...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 | Press Release “Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have undermined the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • CPAG Newsletter July 2014
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: CPAG Newsletter July 2014 22 July 2014 New child poverty data nothing to celebrate New data released by the Ministry of Social Development  indicates people living below the poverty line are worse...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages An Auckland hotel has been ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay nearly $80,000 in outstanding wages to two employees. Filipino couple Abraham...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Globa...
    MIL OSI – Source: CTU – Headline: Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Global Financial Crisis levels The Council of Trade Unions is calling on the Reserve Bank not to raise interest rates on Thursday. “Another...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime a...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties fo...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties for war crimes Amnesty International called on delegates to the Central African Republic (CAR) National Reconciliation talks due to take place...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign agents’ The Russian Ministry of Justice today registered four more Russian human rights organizations and one environmental group as “foreign...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community The decision by a World Bank Inspection Panel to refuse to investigate a complaint about forced evictions linked to a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: National out of touch with the regions John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Labour will revive the regions with new fund The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Speech to Local Government New Zealand Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Chris Perley – Confessions of an ex-Public Servant watching t...
    Back in the 16th century, good Queen Bess said to her Privy Council of advisors something along the lines of: “I want your free, frank advice, without consideration of fear or favour.”  In other words, tell me what you think,...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • The rise of the Internet/Mana phenomenon
    Commentators seem surprised at the popularity of the Mana/Internet phenomenon. The ultimate ‘odd coupling’ is doing reasonably well in the polls at over 2% support, and Right Wing pundits are guessing that the Party might even reach 5% by the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Which Party Would (not) Walk Away from a Crap TPPA?
    Trick question.  Any TPPA would be crap. But a future government will try to sell it to us anyway. It is clear that there won’t be any deal until well after the election and the new government is installed. So...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Te wiki – Maori Language Week
    Maori Language Week has become an entrenched feature of New Zealand.  New Zealanders have come to accept that for one week a year the normal institutions of the white settler society will make some attempt to engage their stakeholders using the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • A brief word on Cunliffe saying sorry for a 3 day holiday
    I’m not sure who the bloody hell is advising Cunliffe to apologise about a 3 day holiday, but it’s stupid. If you want to know what angry white reactionary NZ thinks about anything, go to a stuff.co.nz poll. Here’s their...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Seven Sharp – The day public broadcasting died
    I rarely watch Seven Sharp because it’s bullshit and sums up all that is wrong with current affairs in NZ, but even I can’t believe that Seven Sharp have stooped to being an apologist for Cameron Slater on this evenings show. This...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • ….except Israel
    ….except Israel...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • NZIFF Review: The Dark Horse – 6 stars
    This year’s opening New Zealand International Film Festival offering was a couple of nights ago, and I still feel this incredible NZ movie reverberating inside me. The Dark Horse is heartbreaking, heartwarming and terribly raw. Director James Napier Robertson has...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • TDB New Zealand International Film Festival 2014 picks
    NZIFF is here, our picks this season are… The Dark Horse Boyhood Leviathan Is the man who is tall happy?  Hot Air Maps to the Stars Snowpiercer Toons for Tots InRealLife Print The Legend E-Team The Internet’s Own Boy: The...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • A tale of two men: Cunliffe’s apology for rape culture vs Key’s dismiss...
    The manner in which Cunliffe has sought to address rape culture vs Key’s dismissal of it yesterday is a remarkable contrast as stark as the bias over Cunliffe’s holiday vs Key’s holiday. Key takes weeks off to pose for selfies...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in James Papali’i’Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in John Minto, Press ReleasesAddress notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: New President for MANA Movement  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in Lisa McNab, NewsLisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Flood relief for National voters first
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Flood relief for National voters first Posted on July 18, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“The flooding in Tai Tokerau has hammered the north and impacted hundreds of families right...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity A Labour Government will ensure more of our children have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori by encouraging the learning and use of it...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – National Party thugs destroying Internet MANA b...
    Last Saturday morning the volunteer brigade of Internet Mana  went out in the freezing cold to deploy Internet Mana billboards. They braved the cold weather of that icy cold morning only to have National party thugs destroy the billboards and...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Amnesty International: War crimes against innocent civilians – Why is his...
    27 December 2008, 11:30. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) commence military airstrikes on a list of 603 targets believed to house suspected Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip. In just three weeks, the devastating Operation ‘Cast Lead’ claimed approximately nine Israeli...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Rape Culture is not blah blah blah
    To some of our politicians and commentators, ‘rape culture’ has already become blah blah blah. A meaningless and overstated slogan to roll their eyes at and derisively joke about and deny. It’s something the ‘left’ takes seriously, and something the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Hot Air: Alister Barry presents the cold, hard facts about New Zealand’s ...
    IF YOU SEE only one film in the 2014 NZ International Film Festival see Alister Barry’s feature-length documentary, Hot Air. This chilling exposé of the strategy and tactics adopted by New Zealand’s largest industries to ensure that no effective action to combat...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • CTU resolution on Palestine
    Further to Unite’s position on Palestine, this is the Council of Trade Union position on Palestine… Preamble: Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organizations including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issued a call in July 2005...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Stop Israeli State Terror – Rally and March this Saturday 26th July, Aote...
    The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting much worse and the world is marching in unprecedented numbers. New Zealanders spoke out strongly last Saturday with a march of 5,000 people in Auckland (see picture below) – the biggest march ever...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Cafe chef awarded $50,000 for unfair dismissal
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Cafe chef awarded $50,000 for unfair dismissal A former chef at an Auckland cafe has been awarded more than $50,000 in unpaid wages and compensation for unjustified dismissal. The Employment Relations Authority...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza Monday, 21 Jul 2014 | Press Release The New Zealand Government should support the United Nation’s efforts to raise money to assist humanitarian...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Road fix needed now, not later
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Road fix needed now, not later Northland’s roading system is in chaos and needs fixing fast, Labour List MP Kelvin Davis says.  “According to NZTA’s 10 year funding data every area of...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal,...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Internet MANA Auckland road show at Kelston – what the media are missing
    The Town Hall in Kelston yesterday was packed well before the start time of 2pm. What many welded to Wellington in the Press Gallery don’t understand about Internet MANA is that its energy and flaxroot mobilisation is far larger than...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds Monday, 21 Jul 2014 | Press Release This is an investment in families and our kids’ education and in reducing poverty. The...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today,
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking on Radio Hauraki...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Apocalypse Now
    For a brief moment, the nations of the world seemed united in a peaceful pursuit. The  World Cup finale in Brazil captured the imagination of a global TV audience. Within days, catastrophe exploded into the headlines, sending shards of outrage,...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Palestinians suffer from media’s use of derogatory labels
    Why, in our news media, is an Israeli with a gun a “soldier”, but a Palestinian with a gun a “militant”, or even a “terrorist”? The terminology is clearly prejudicial to the Palestinian cause, because New Zealanders are more likely...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Another example of media bias – Key’s holiday vs Cunliffe’s holiday a...
    Another, sad, tired example of media bias in terms of holidays this time. I pointed out in the weekend the extreme bias being exhibited by the media… The current level of negative bias being exhibited by the conservative corporate media...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • MANA answers the call to have Apartheid Israeli Embassy kicked out of NZ
    Last week I asked “which NZ political Party will have the courage to call for the Apartheid Israel embassy to close?“, MANA have answered that challenge and have stepped forward as being the political party with that courage… The Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald to speak at September 15t...
      So Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald will speak at Kim Dotcom’s Auckland Townhall event . Dear oh dear, how will the mainstream media journalists handle this news? All week they’ve been screaming how unfair it is that they will have...
    The Daily Blog | 20-07
  • New Zealanders will never get justice over spying saga
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: New Zealanders will never get justice over spying saga Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 | Press Release “How can someone go to Court on the issue when a person doesn’t even know if...
    The Daily Blog | 19-07
  • Ngati Ruanui supports plans for Te Reo Maori
    Te Tumu Whakaae (Chair) of Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust said today his iwi supports Te Matawai, the Maori Affairs Minister’s new Maori language strategy....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Mana Party Using Taxpayer Funds for Election Hoardings
    Reacting to the photograph posted on the WhaleOil website of a Te Tai Tokerau electorate hoarding featuring Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, which carries the House of Representatives crest and appears to have been funded by taxpayers, Jordan Williams, Executive...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • EPA Questions For Chatham Rise Phospate Mining Raise Alarm
    Alarm bells should be ringing in light of the hard questions asked by Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) of Chatham Rock Phosphate’s miningapplication....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Ngati Ruanui joins ironsand mining appeal
    Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust has applied to the High Court to join Trans Tasman Resources appeal against the decision to reject its application to mine iron sands off the south Taranaki coast....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • More victims fall foul of aggressive phone scam
    A victim of an aggressive phone scam which is targeting Inland Revenue customers for money or threatening them with deportation or prison if they don’t pay has been duped out of $6,500....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Three Strikes: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
    Crime is on the decline, not just in New Zealand but across the Western World....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Public Money? Public Entitled to Know
    Responding to the Fairfax article that taxpayers are unable to find out the extent of disgraced MP Claudette Hauiti’s spending, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Parenting in an Age of Terror
    What impact does news of war and terrorism have on children? Does seeing the wreckage of downed airliners, missiles flying and gunfire in the streets affect them? What do we tell them? It is unlikely children are actually going to...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • NZ Jews, Christians, and Muslims United in Call for Peace
    Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in Wellington issued a joint statement today regarding the current conflict in Gaza and Israel:...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    " Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • iPredict 2014 Election Update #27: Nats back in ascendency
    Inflation and interest rate expectations fall ahead of OCR announcement tomorrow · Forecast fiscal surplus again falls sharply, and growth marginally down · Greens fall and Internet-Mana strengthens, as Sykes gets closer in Waiariki · No feasible...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • TOUGHLOVE urges more funding for Parent Support
    TOUGHLOVE has issued a challenge to all of New Zealand's political parties to state where they stand on helping parents of youth at risk. The challenge comes just ahead of the organisation's thirtieth anniversary celebrations in Auckland on Friday 25th...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Reports: Aotearoa stands in solidarity with Palestine
    Fightback supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a tactic to show solidarity with Palestinian resistance. The following reports are from demonstrations over the weekend from Fightback activists and supporters....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Mental Health & Addiction Services Funding Crisis
    The funding crisis threatening the effective provision of NGO mental health and addiction services will be the main topic for debate by health spokespeople from all the main political parties at a public meeting in Penrose....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Job losses show the dangers of relying on dairy exports
    Today’s announcement from Fonterra that up to 110 jobs will be cut at its Canpac facility in the Waikato shows the dangers of relying on dairy exports to China to sustain our economy, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Cambodian Workshop successful, says Labour MP/PGA President
    Labour’s Associate Disarmament Spokesperson and Parliamentians for Global Action (PGA) President Ross Robertson is pleased with the successful outcome of the Asia Pacific Regional Parliamentary Workshop held last week in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Mangere College students take stance on family violence
    The students of south Auckland high school, Mangere College, became the first in the country today to implement the ‘It’s not OK’ campaign throughout the school in an effort to help prevent family violence occurring in its local community....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Fairer Deal For Parents on Benefits – Christine Rankin
    Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig is backing a campaign seeking to reform the way Work And Income treats shared care parents. Mr Craig confirmed his party's stance in an email to Fifty Fifty campaigner Duncan Eddy last night, stating: "I...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Kmart stamps out bullies with partnership
    23 July 2014 – Kmart has helped stamp out bullying quite literally, with active team members from stores across the country pounding the pavement on a ‘Big Walk’ for charity organisation Foundation for Youth Development (FYD), as part of Kmart...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • More momentum needed to achieve Smokefree 2025 goal
    New research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal by ASPIRE 2025 researchers suggests the Government’s goal to achieve a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025 may be failing to gather the political momentum needed to ensure it is achieved. Analysis...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Fight for 26 weeks paid parental leave to go on
    The coalition to support 26 weeks paid parental leave says that public demand for six months leave with a new baby is not going away, and the group will continue to push for government to do more to support better...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Don’t Apologise for Putting Family First, Mr Cunliffe
    Family First NZ says Labour leader David Cunliffe should not be apologising for putting his family first and having some holiday time with them. “All parents need some rest and recharging time, they need family time, and most importantly they...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Referral to the Police – Wayne Walford
    On 21 July 2014, the Electoral Commission referred Wayne Walford, National Party candidate for Napier, to Police for displaying election advertising on a signwritten vehicle promoting his candidacy and the National Party....
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • RSA condemns downing of flight MH17
    The Royal New Zealand RSA has today denounced the downing of flight MH17, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, as an act of terror....
    Scoop politics | 22-07