web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

The case for raising super age

Written By: - Date published: 8:22 am, July 9th, 2011 - 69 comments
Categories: child welfare, superannuation - Tags: ,

A very interesting report appeared in yesterday’s NZ Medical Journal, as reported by The Herald here:

Raise super age, doctors say

Doctors are calling for higher family welfare benefits and taking GST off healthy food – with the extra costs funded by raising the retirement pension age.

An editorial by three leading doctors in today’s NZ Medical Journal says the country has got its priorities wrong, paying a generous pension to everyone from age 65 while 22 per cent of children are living in poverty, mainly because their parents are on inadequate benefits.

The Medical Association has published a position statement on health equity that proposes taking GST off healthy food, banning cigarettes by 2020, “fair employment” and a “minimum income for healthy living” for everyone – a list taken largely from a British taskforce on health inequities chaired by researcher Sir Michael Marmot. …

Governments worldwide are responding to evidence that poorer people suffer more illness and die sooner than richer people.

The gap between rich and poor is wider in New Zealand than in all but seven of the 30 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). …

… by far and away the largest expenditure on welfare benefits in New Zealand is that on superannuation,” they say. “Yet the age of entitlement to government superannuation, 65 years, is the same as that in 1899 when life expectancy was 25 years less. …

POVERTY BY AGE
Per cent living in households with under half of median income after housing costs (2009)
* Couple aged 65-plus: 5%
* Single aged 65-plus: 15%
* Two parents with children: 13%
* Sole parent with children: 50%
* All children: 22%

We are going to have to have this debate some time. Maybe it will be possible now that Labour has shown how to stare down supposed “electoral suicide”.

69 comments on “The case for raising super age”

  1. I agree that this is a debate we need to have, it’s something that needs to be addressed and a plan put in place in with plenty of warning so people can plan around it.

    It’s a fundamental part of our future, so it deserves cross party co-operation.

    It’s far more important than being used as an election football.

    • Well go on then SS.  State a position.  Be brave.  None of this namby pamby “it is important that we have a real debate” stuff.  Put a line in the sand and justify it.

      • It’s not for me to make the decision, it should be debated and decided on collectively, I’m not a policy maker in the Labour party.

        I agree on something like a commonly suggested sort of plan – starting in maybe ten years the pension age should be eased out a few years over maybe ten years.

        That seems reasonable warning and phasing in, but it still leaves us with a super sizing super bill.

        Have you got an opinion? Or will you just leave it to the Labour back room?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Have you got an opinion? Or will you just leave it to the Labour back room?

          That’s a brave thing to ask since it appears you refuse to give an opinion yourself even when asked.

          Here’s my position: 45 years in the workforce is enough for anyone. Especially for those doing hard physical back breaking labour. At 65 people should have the option of participating in more community and volunteer work, the unpaid and non profit sector.

          The docs are quite right in pointing out that poverty levels in this country are over the top and need to be alleviated and that one way of funding that is to cut super. Its not the only way however, and the implementation of things like an assets tax and guaranteed minimum wage could greatly improve poverty and wealth inequality in this society.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1

            Especially for those doing hard physical back breaking labour.

            20 years for that sort of stuff. Much more than that and you’re really start to wear your body out. IMO, nobody over 30ish should be doing hard physical labour.

      • Jim Nald 1.1.2

        That’s a tall order for someone who is better at putting a line in the water.

  2. Policy Parrot 2

    How much money would be saved if the pension started at 66 rather than 65? If it was an overwhelming money saver, the move to 66 could even be softened with a hike in super once you got there.

    Pension should also be means-tested for high incomes (drawback say from full pension at $100k through to $150k to 0), its a poor look for Roger Douglas and Jim Anderton to receiving state pensions on top of their MPs superannuation and parliamentary salaries. If senior citizens are working, they really shouldn’t be entitled to the pension, however I understand that financial pressure (and finance company failures) force some to continue to work. But again, this is a minority, how many elderly construction workers or hospital cleaners do you see?

    Note: There are some elderly who work part-time to keep occupied in light industry/labour/customer service and to earn a bit of extra cash. This is not who should be targeted, but the senior business executives, politicians, and management positions who continue with their careers as before the were 65, and do not need state pensions to live.

    These are two relatively small compromises that could help open up funding to put into young families and their children. Its not about targeting senior citizens, its about rebalancing so they are not so overwhelmingly favoured.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      But again, this is a minority, how many elderly construction workers or hospital cleaners do you see?

      Or road workers, forestry workers, courier drivers, professional rugby players etc

      There are physical age related reasons for that.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      A Universal Income actually addresses that. Everyone gets it, even the super rich, but it’s clawed back in the fairly high flat rate income taxes pretty quickly. It ensures that nobody is in poverty while also ensuring that going to work is worthwhile.

      Retirement then becomes a personal choice.

    • If we expropriated the capitalists who live off the surplus-value of the working class then there would be enough to pay a ‘healthy’ wage (courtesy of Medical Council bless them) and (ever heard of ‘prevention’ Medical Council, save yourself some work) no need to put up the retirement age. In fact it could be reduced and the pension phased in according to the individual as long as pension plus wage was taxed at marginal tax rate. This would apply equally to the expropriated property speculators, bankers and assorted wankers.

    • Reality Bytes 2.4

      I think a couple of things.

      You need to be very careful with penalizing those who are past retirement age and choose to continue to work, PARTICULARLY in activities that provide a net overall benefit, and are not merely taking away a job from someone younger that deserves their chance. It’s very hard to fairly manage this, it is a real quandary.

      And secondly. I read some article not so long ago about when the retirement age was first introduced, most people died about 5 or so years later. Since then the retirement age hasn’t changed, but now people live 20ish years past it. This is an important issue to consider. I’m not saying raising the age necessarily is the answer to it, but we do need to be realistic that this is another spanner in the works.

      • Vicky32 2.4.1

        Since then the retirement age hasn’t changed, but now people live 20ish years past it.

        Not all of them! My two parents and my brother didn’t (in fact two of the three of them didn’t make it anywhere near retirement age.) I hope I do, as it’s my only chance of ever getting off UB, (8 years to go), but those who do physical work are not the only ones who need to be taken into account).

        • Reality Bytes 2.4.1.1

          Sorry to hear that, I was meaning merely on average, since the average kiwi lifespan is what, well into the 80s these days?

          The thing is though, if we are getting better as a society and things are improving, we should be aiming to lower the retirement age, this would be an indication of our success imo. Surely the end goal of work should be improved outcomes for society and better quality of life.

          • Vicky32 2.4.1.1.1

            we should be aiming to lower the retirement age, this would be an indication of our success imo. Surely the end goal of work should be improved outcomes for society and better quality of life.

            Oh yes, agreed!

    • Vicky32 2.5

      But again, this is a minority, how many elderly construction workers or hospital cleaners do you see?

      I have in fact seen some elderly cleaners! (In offices though, not hospitals).

  3. mikesh 3

    National Super was means tested at one time (the so called “surcharge”). Superannuitants raised merry hell, though I believe only about 15% of them were affected. It was perhaps short sighted of them.

  4. RedLogix 4

    I don’t think you could ever draw a line in the sand here. The problem is that after 40 or more years of life and work, peoples circumstances are so varied, from healthy and wealthy, to impoverished and ill… that once size truly does not fit all.

    For instance, while it might seem fine and dandy for me to work until I’m 70 or more (after all I’m a programmer/engineer whose main work hazard is a shiny arse) I truly could not see myself doing hard building work at that age.

    Whatever policy you come up with, it needs to give people some power of choice.

  5. RobM 5

    Leave the age and means test it. Why am I means tested at 35 for Working for Families and the accommodation supplement, but not at 65 for Super?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Yeah there’s a whole network of family trusts out there built up in anticipation of means/asset testing.

      • RobM 5.1.1

        Bit defeatist CV. The Working for Families rules have changed so attributable trustee income (whether of not it is taxable) is used to determine WFF eligibility and payments.

        Same goes for gifts over 5k. So I can give 10k to my 65 year old father to help him pay the mortgage but not my my 34 year old brother to help him pay the rent.

        Of course the NACTs abolishing gift duty doesn’t help matters but are you saying there is no possibility for reform of trust/tax law?

        • Lanthanide 5.1.1.1

          “The Working for Families rules have changed so attributable trustee income (whether of not it is taxable) is used to determine WFF eligibility and payments.”

          Yes, but they *only* changed WFF. They could have gone and changed any number of other benefits at the same time, including student allowance, but simply chose not to.

  6. I’m always very wary of these ‘trade-off’ arguments – the idea that we have to decide between impoverished children, healthy minimum wages, fair employment (all on the one hand) and superannuation at 65 (on the other).

    Trade-off situations – in policy – usually hide hidden assumptions and questions that have been begged.

    What we can or can’t ‘afford’ depends upon the cost of something, the ‘income’ and borrowing potential of the country, and willingness to pay. Of those elements only the last has seen a negative shift. I admit, that is, that the ideological shift in the population has been away from a ‘willingness to pay’. I do not admit that we don’t have the economic capacity to attain all of those goals that the doctors/researchers see as competing priorities.

    To be honest, I get a bit tired of middle-class experts – who often enjoy relatively benign forms of employment – dominating debate that will have its greatest negative effect on people in markedly worse employment circumstances. After having been in the workforce for up to fifty years superannuation is the least that society can offer its members – given what it imposes on people through the economic institution we call ‘employment’.  

    Fifty years of arduous or repetitive work that drains the body, mind and emotions is enough for anyone to have to put up with. That, on average, we live longer now than we did in 1899 is irrelevant to that judgment. As ever, the middle classes are looking at what it will cost them – not at what it gains in terms of extra years without the grinding slow death that, for many, is their workplace experience.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      What we can or can’t ‘afford’ depends upon the cost of something, the ‘income’ and borrowing potential of the country, and willingness to pay.

      No it doesn’t, well, not in reality anyway – it does in the delusional socio-economic system we use. In reality it depends upon what physical resources we have available and we enough of those to do whatever we want (as long as we cap population).

      • Puddleglum 6.1.1

        Yes. All consumption comes down to available ‘resources’ (a term I dislike). I was focused on distribution of the benefits of (any level of) resource use rather than total resource use.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          Total resource use is more important as “money” doesn’t tell us anything which is how we’ve ended up with anthropogenic climate change and massive over-population. We need to determine what resources we have, determine what sort of living standard we want and then minimise consumption within those limits. The only possible way to be sustainable is by having a population cap and living within the environments limits.

    • just saying 6.2

      Those who have used their bodies up in physical toil, or through working with toxic materials are often worn-out by their mid-fifties. These people are rarely on high incomes with transferrable skills for “lighter” work. They, along with invalids beneficiaries, who have often struggled to survive below the poverty-line for years, certainly deserve the dignity and relative security of a full-pension at 55, in my opinion.

      Whether the age for those who enjoy good health, and the ability to continue earning their income, is raised or not, I think it should certainly be means-tested above a reasonable and comfortable threshold.

      My old man gets his super direct-credited to the TAB. He has a generous work pension, and is well-off. I don’t think taxpayers owe him a pension in addition to this.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    Children don’t have the vote.

    Not that voting makes any difference. If it did make any difference the powers that be would ban it.

    We’re all on the Titanic together: the present GDP-based system is geared to converting nature into waste at an ever faster rate, so nobody stands much a chance beyond 2015 anyway, especially when we consider that the world is suffering from population overshoot of around 500%. And then there are the decline in oil extraction and climate chaos to consider.

    In fact there are plenty of unpalatable truths that are constantly swept under the carpet so that people can keep pretending present economic an social arrangements have a future.

  8. Rog Chapman 8

    If Kiwisaver was made compulsory then at age 65 people might choose to draw down this and reduce work hours, while awaiting the state pension, say three years later. It would encourage people to save, and give them an incentive with a pension a little later.

  9. prism 9

    It can be horrible going to the Soc Welf department when you need help. It is distressing dealing with the Department because of the loss of identity and command of your life at the whim of some sour, jaded or prejudiced worker, the abolition of case managers so that everything has to be explained each time, the wait to be seen if appointments aren’t the norm, the documentation to back up your case. Many people just put up with difficulties and bad conditions than apply for the assistance which is supposed to be available. Which suits the Department and the government and they preen themselves with being clever at limiting welfare payouts and numbers.

    Then if the age for superannuation (age benefit) is raised from 65 what will happen to those affected? The difference in attitude by the Soc Welf between those on unemployment benefit or others, and Superannuation is strikingly different. There is a pleasant, helpful attitude to you just because you are over 65 now. Under, you are just another bludger but the same person in the same circumstances as when you turn the magic age.

    Having Gold Cards giving free travel to Waiheke Island is one example of poor spending, a travesty of what is needed by the elderly, though they should receive necessary generous travel concessions. But the retired can have so much spare time when they are healthy and mobile between 65 and 75, there is no reason for them to not participate in assisting wider society or perhaps in childcare for their family. Part time paid or volunteer work with time to travel and see family would provide them and their support group, the earning population, with a benefit.
    If they did not want to participate then they need not receive superannuation though they would still be entitled to concessions for necessary travel or doctor’s visits. Simple.

    It is my belief that everyone receiving any benefit should be putting something back into society. But it shouldn’t have to be paid work, they could train for suitable volunteer work, go into labouring groups, contracting for work. People with mobility problems who have the right attitude, might give individual reading help after training, child care, care of their own age group. Councils could have green groups helping contain weeds, litter etc.

    If beneficiaries are in low paid work or have limited hours, then there should be top-ups available to ensure they can manage and meet the necessary costs. This should be done without having to go into the Department and be grilled. Each person should receive a regular accounting of the financial help being received, say every quarter. At present there is very little information as to the payment of a benefit or grant or how it is calculated.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      You know, it just struck me about the “we don’t take appointments any more because too many people wouldn’t turn up”.

      Have an option where you pay a $10-20 deposit for a meeting time. If you fail to turn up, you lose your money. This would be entirely optional – if you don’t want to (or can’t) afford the deposit, then you’re free to use the “turn up and wait your turn” system.

      That way there’d be more incentive to meet your appointments and people who were more motivated wouldn’t have to be dicked around by the system.

      • weka 9.1.1

        Except that WINZ are generally incompetent at administering even basic benerfits, so adding another thing they have to keep track of is insane.
         
        Besides, there’s nothing wrong with the appointments system they had. If (and I really mean if) some offices had a problem with broken appointments they might want to ask themselves why. And if there was a problem they could still run an appointments system *and* a queueing system – if someone doesn’t turn up then the person waiting gets seen. 
         
        I’ve not heard that the reason they changed is because too many people didn’t turn up. Where did you hear that Lanthanide? And would you want penalties for any other citizen who didn’t turn up to an appointment with a government department?
         
        The reason we don’t have ‘case management’ (such as it was, it was never really case management) is because under right wing govts it’s deemed better to control beneficiaries and easier to not pay them money if no-one n the system knows the person and their situation. It’s actually against WINZ policy – most benefict entitlements are supposed to be assessed in the context of the beneficiary’s overall situation. You can’t do that if you don’t know the person, and you can’t find out in a half hour appointment.

      • Vicky32 9.1.2

        You know, it just struck me about the “we don’t take appointments any more because too many people wouldn’t turn up”.

        Oh, is that the rationalisation? You truly are a middle-class kiddie, Lanth. That same rationalisation was being used at National Womens ante-natal clinic in 1986, although against pregnant women of most socio-economic groups (I presume the truly upper class ladies went private..) But it’s complete shite to say that either pregnant women or beneficiaries are too irresponsible to be counted on to turn up for appointments. The men hadn’t caught on to the fact that in the 1980s, most preggies were also working in actual jobs. From your suggested ‘solution’ it would seem that the men don’t seem to have caught on that beneficiaries are no longer brain-dead substance-abusing teenagers who sleep til noon every day, if they ever were! Instead, we’re people who really can’t afford to pay $10.00-20.00 to make an appointment. and when we say “I can’t afford it” we’re not just saying that to piss you off!

  10. Jenny 10

    .
    Kia ora Anthony,

    A similar post by Marty G earlier this year championed the same issue.

    But do you really think that the Labour Party intend to deliver us up to the tender mercies of the National and ACT Parties at the next election, which adopting this policy would mean?

    Raising the retirement age, if ever adopted by the Labour opposition, would be rightly be seen by vast majority of young and old New Zealanders as a threatened attack on them.

    Particularly as the Nacts have disavowed themselves of such an extremist right wing position.

    With youth unemployment at dangerously high levels. Plans to force retirees to stay in the workforce longer will be seen as a direct attack on young New Zealander job seekers.

    As well as being an attack on young New Zealander’s job prospects –

    Older people vote at much higher levels than any other section of the population. The accepted wisdom of decades is that to alienate this section of the voting public is willful electoral folly.

    Why would the Labour Party deliberately court almost universal voter disdain?

    Anthony, are Labour supporters like yourself trying to open up a gap in the electorate for New Zealand First to make a comeback?

    Do you think NZF could be returned to parliament on this issue?

    If they did, this would certainly be an upset for the predicted National Party majority.

    • r0b 10.1

      Hi Jenny.  I think a change  needs to be made gradually, and signalled well (a decade or more) in advance.  I hope it wouldn’t be seen to be “attacking” anyone.

      And I agree that whichever party moves first on this is likely to get hammered.  It’s a very tough sell.  That’s why I’d like to see cross party consensus on this (and on all matters to do with super).  The question of super is too big, and too difficult, to be a political football.

  11. Gareth 11

    Surely there are a finite number of jobs available in our country, if we make people at one end of the work force work longer it will mean that there will be less opportunity for those starting out.
    To my mind I would prefer to pay super than unemployment benefit….

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      “Surely there are a finite number of jobs available in our country”

      No.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lump_of_labour_fallacy

      • Jenny 11.1.1


        In fact Lanthanide, there are less jobs available at the moment, than there are people who want them.

        In light of this fact I would like to ask you, or even Anthony at what level of unemployment do you think it would be acceptable to introduce your plan to raise the retirement age?

        5 percent?

        2.5 percent?

        0.5 percent?

        less than 0.5 percent?

  12. KJT 12

    I can only repeat my earlier comments on this issue.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/support-for-raising-retirement-age/#comment-335490

    “This is a mantra. “We cannot afford superannuation” which has been repeated so long and so often that even those who should know better repeat it”.

    It is only a problem because our society, especially the wealthiest, are becoming so mean spirited and greedy.

    I would prefer to see a universal GMI (On the same universal basis as our current super) for everyone at any age.

    “In fact super has been so effective in removing poverty amongst the elderly it should be extended to everyone in the form of a guaranteed minimum income. There is no excuse for having people with inadequate food and housing in a country which is capable of supplying an excess of both internally”.

    In fact our super cost is low compared with many OECD countries.

    Do you want to return to having the elderly living in poverty.

    It is not either/or. That mantra comes from those who will do anything to avoid paying their fair share of the costs of living in a community.

    Lastly. Extending the age of entitlement impacts unfairly on manual workers, Maori and Males. :-(

    • Jim Nald 12.1

      Don Brash who has a ‘manual job’ at his telephone and desk, is not Maori, and is male would love to extend the age of his entitlement. He knows a lot about work from the sweat of his brow (in a climate-controlled room), screams hysterically that those maarees have have too many rights … and he doesn’t have periods.

    • Vicky32 12.2

      Extending the age of entitlement impacts unfairly on manual workers, Maori and Males

      Oh I am so off-piste with that statement! Do you seriously not believe that there are any women, white, Indian, Chinese, Arab or African  people and/or non-manual workers who would have or do have serious problems working until they’re over 65? Give me a break! :( :( :(

  13. This call for the raising of the retirement age doesn’t consider groups of people who have shorter/lower longevity than others. What about them? It doesn’t seem fair that they should wait longer. Sure let’s have the debate – a long and thoughtful debate – not tainted by the baubles of power up for grabs via the election.

  14. lefty 14

    When have we ever had a debate where the voices of the poor and the powerless are heard?

    These are the people that will get screwed if the retirement age gets raised.

    Simon Collins writes about how the poor die young in this mornings NZ Herald (sorry I can’t find a link), and he appears a lot more grounded than a bunch of Remuera doctors.

    A universal basic income should be considered, and may provide an improvement in how we deal with retirement, but we should be looking at it because it would be more efficient and provide more options – not because it would be cheaper.

    Despite the ranting of the usual right wing suspects there is no reason to believe we cannot afford super into the future if we run our economy better. A good start would be to stop the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few (probably the same few who are screaming for the pension age to be raised).

    It is far more important to be getting young people into work than it is to be keeping old people struggling away long past their use by date.

    Nor should we be fooled that all the old codgers still working are doing a great job. Some people are able to function very well at an advanced age but others do not yet stubbornly refuse to retire or find work they are better able to cope with.

    I am a baby boomer and am embarrased at how a section of my contemporaries have taken all the priviliges previous generations struggled for, hogged advantages for ourselves, then pulled the ladder away for the next generation.

    Make no mistake about it – calls to raise the pension age are just another example of this.

    • deservingpoor 14.1

      “I am a baby boomer and am embarrased at how a section of my contemporaries have taken all the priviliges previous generations struggled for, hogged advantages for ourselves, then pulled the ladder away for the next generation”.

      The pension is pretty much the last rung of that ladder that is left and $20 says that sooner or later the pension age will either rise significantly (70+ perhaps) or new pensions will be abolished. That won’t happen until all the boomers are tucked up safely on their super, leaving my generation to get screwed. Again.

  15. weka 15

    I’m surprised to see this argument being made by the left. There are fairly obvious inequities by class and ethnicity. There is also the community and whanau undermining effect – we need older people to help raise kids and keep our communities running well. They can’t do that if they have to keep working in a paid job as well.
     
    I applaud the NZMJ for being staunch on child poverty, but they’ve obviously not thought through taking from the old to give to the young.

  16. Adrian 16

    A few years ago a comprehensive study ( sorry don’t know where to find it ) found that in general, Maori drew less benefit money on a whole of life basis than any other group simply because of lower life expectancy. Extending the 65 figure before we are able to get Maori life expectancy to an equal level would be unfair and discriminatory. What I would like to see is research on whether fitter healtheir working over 65s in the future really draw down that much from the benefit system given the amount of tax they would be paying. Even Just Sayings old man and his direct credit to the TAB is immediately returning 30% to the gummint.

  17. Daz 17

    When medical professional start trying to dictate national financial policy, it’s strange that their suggestions never include paying health professionals less.

    Now doing that would REALLY bring down the cost of health care, and free up a lot of the earnings of the poor… .

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Our doctors and nurses should be paid very well.

      Its the cost of new prescription medsa and medical tech which is well over the top. Pharmac needs to be strengthened, not traded away.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      When business people start trying to dictate national financial policy, it’s strange that their suggestions never include them paying more tax to cover the costs of their suggestions.

      Oh, wait…

      The business people have been dictating our national financial policy for the last 30 years. It always included them paying less tax with the resultant shortfall being met by the poor and by government borrowing.

  18. red blooded 18

    Anthony’s right that this is an important public policy discussion to be having; that doesn’t mean that he’s got all the answers (and to be fair to him, I don’t think that he ever made that claim). I seem to remember a Retirement Savings Commission set by the last Labour government (the genesis of Kiwsaver) and I’m pretty sure these issues were canvassed then. At the time there was a lot of posturing by self-interested groups such as Grey Power, but there was also some reasonable debate about the issues of class, race and gender that mix together to see life expectancies and the experience of old age differ so markedly between the different groups of people who would be affected by any change. Having said that, the real unfairness isn’t that working class folk, Maori or men get to spend less time on superannuation, it’s that they live shorter lives, and trying to address the reasons for this requires a re-evaluation of how we spend our social capital and how we can give all people better access to lifestyles and healthcare that could help carry them experiences old age as healthy and independent individuals for as long as possible.

    Personally, I favour the kind of guaranteed income system that lefty is promoting, so long as there’s enough flexibility to recognise changing circumstances (kids, income from part time work etc) and a level of case management for the long term unemployed. We do no one any favours by locking them (and their families) into long term dependency. It’s easy to lose a sense of motivation and connection with the rest of society.

    Having said that it’s an important policy debate, I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of seeing it canvassed this election. Frankly, anything that gave Winston Peters an edge would be too high a cost, especially at this point in time. If we want to retain MMP, the last thing we need is Peters posturing and primping on our screens. He’s a boil on the NZ body politic. (And needs to be lanced.)

    • r0b 18.1

      Hi red blooded.  All the answers?  No – certainly not me!  But when a statement like this comes out from three senior medical professionals, I think we certainly need to look at the questions.

  19. Jenny 19

    Kia ora Anthony

    Carl Gibson co-founder of US uncut, asks us to question the need for these sorts of cuts. If this demand was being made by violent terrorist thugs would we be debating how to give it to them?

    As the hostage negotiators know, capitulating to bullies just encourages them.

    And before you know it, they will be back demanding cuts in other sectors. (as they are)

    What if there was a group of terrorists holding your family hostage with a gun pointed at themselves, demanding the account number to your pension fund?…….

    ………Through modest taxation of speculative Wall Street trading, we could bring in another $150 billion per year. With higher income tax brackets for households earning over $1 million annually, as Rep. Jan Schakowsky has proposed, we would gain another $100 billion. And progressively taxing estates worth $5 million or more would mean an extra $45 billion in tax revenue.

    A truly principled leader would refuse to negotiate with terrorists, and allow them to turn the gun on themselves. Our President needs to stand firmly behind these common-sense proposals, and remove from the table any cuts to the programs we’ve spent our lives funding from our own paychecks. No exceptions.

    Carl Gibson

    Tax the rich. Problem Solved

    • KJT 19.1

      Greek young people are opposing cuts to pensions. They know it is just a wedge driven by those who want to cut everything except their own entitlements.

    • r0b 19.2

      Hi Jenny.  I find it an odd analogy – “If this demand was being made by violent terrorist thugs”.  It isn’t a demand made by people, it’s a simple function of population demographics.  Even if we tax the rich to smithereens, there’s still going to be a lot more super-annuitants, and a lot fewer working age people per super-annuitant, in NZ’s future.  It’s a real problem.

      I don’t think you could call me a right winger of any description, and I certainly don’t want to see the elderly suffer (recalling that my own retirement is not so far away as it used to be!).  But I certainly think that it’s valid to ask how we face our future population structure.

      • Jenny 19.2.1

        “It isn’t a demand made by people……..”

        You’re right Anthony, I should’ve written:

        If this demand was being made by violent terrorist thugs,
        [instead of financiers, banksters, unimaginative neo-liberal bean counters and narrow minded policy wonks and sectarian flunkies],
        would we be debating how to give it to them?

        It is “…….a simple function of population demographics”

        Yes it is true that the population is greyer and comparatively the workforce is smaller.

        But what this one eyed view willfully ignores, is actually how productive the modern workforce is.

        New Zealand has never been richer or more productive.

        In the Factories – ‘Automation’ and ‘Just In Time’ methods; In the offices, banks and planning departments – ‘Computerisation’; In construction, Hydraulic Heavy Machinery and ‘Electric and electronic Power Tools; In freight and cargo – ‘Containerisation’, and Modern communications and Information Technology has revolutionised the work place. What used to be done by ten or twenty workers is now done by one. Far more wealth is produced per head. In theory this should be able to support a much bigger infrastructure.

        In the 1960s hundreds were employed on the Auckland waterfront, now less than 30 stevedores move much more freight over the wharves in a fraction of the time.

        This revolution in productivity began in the 1960s alongside the developments in medical science, birth control and increased longevity which has altered the demographics of the population that Anthony gave us as the reason for raising the pension age.

        In fact on the basis of this huge increase in productivity you could easily make a very good case for lowering the retirement age.

        In the 1940s, long before this revolution in productivity, we were easily able to support a huge war effort a free health service and a comprehensive universal pension, alongside war invalids and war widow pensions. Alongside a hugely unproductive war industry.

        In I945 the productivity was many factors less than it is today while most of the productive workforce were overseas.

        As well as all the this there was the huge cost of the war itself.

        Yet despite this we could afford a fully funded health care and universal pensions.

        Yet working people paid no income tax.

        So how was it done?

        Well for the one thing at the height of the international crisis in the 40s the top tax rates in this country went up to 90%.

        It could be easily argued that the current global climate and economic crises are just as dangerous and severe, requiring the same staunch policy responses.

        As in the ’30s and ’40s we must decide whether to support a minority rentier class of billionaires or cut back in spending on social Goods, like pensions or health or the environment.

        Yet since 1945 there has been a massive dialing back in the amount of tax the wealthy have been required to pay. This has been partly (but not completely) offset by putting more and more of the tax burden onto working people.

        In 1958 income tax was levied on workers wages for the first time.

        In 1986 a regressive flat tax of GST which impacts on those on lower incomes, was tied with big tax cuts for the wealthy.

        This trend has increased, till the present situation where there is no longer the tax income necessary to support the welfare state, or to deal with the crises of global warming.

        The irony of all this, is that most of this dismantling and restructuring of the tax system was done by the organisation that originally championed the welfare state and took the measures necessary to prosecute the war on fascism. Is it a coincidence that this surrender to what came to be called neo-liberalism, paralleled the Labour Party’s drop in popularity with working people?

        Instead of competing with the Nats for cuts to the Welfare State, maybe Labour should be looking at cutting GST and income tax for working people replaced with the levies on the wealthy at a level that were the norm in past decades.

        • r0b 19.2.1.1

          Yes it is true that the population is greyer and comparatively the workforce is smaller.

          You’re very well informed Jenny, I’m sure you know that it’s going to get much worse:

          A total dependency on future taxpayers is unrealistic because the ratio of taxpayers, those between 25 and 64, to retirees is dropping dramatically. In other words there will be fewer and fewer workers per retiree to pay these huge bills.

          The last column in the accompanying table shows there were 5.3 taxpayers for every retiree in 1950 and 4.3 to one in 2005. This ratio is predicted to drop to 2.4 workers for every retiree in 2030 and 2.1 to one in 2040.

          1.8 to 1 in 2050. The costs of super are going double over the next 50 years, from the current 4 percent of GDP to around 9 percent. This is a huge demographic change. I really don’t think that we should be taxing the not yet born to fund our retirement, we should (those of us who can) be taking care of ourselves.

          New Zealand has never been richer or more productive.

          Never been more productive, and the rich have never been richer. But (despite some improvement under Labour) the poor haven’t done so well since the 90′s. And I don’t think we can count on economic growth to save us. We’re going to get stuffed by both peak oil and climate change in that timeframe. Things are likely to get worse for all of us.

          So yeah, I’m happy to see taxes for top earners raised, and CGT etc, to pay for social programmes. That’s why I’m with Labour. Bring it on. I just don’t think that that approach can cope with the coming challenges when it comes to superannuation.

          Cheers and goodnight…

          • just saying 19.2.1.1.1

            Never been more productive, and the rich have never been richer. But (despite some improvement under Labour) the poor haven’t done so well since the 90′s.

            How much more “I’m alright Jack” could you be Rob. I find this understatement downright offensive.

            “And I don’t think we can count on economic growth to save us. We’re going to get stuffed by both peak oil and climate change in that timeframe. Things are likely to get worse for all of us.”

            No, not all of us Rob, not economically anyway, and this is what you have failed to address from Jenny’s argument. Instead of representing our interests, neoliberal governments, including the one you support, have been progressively weakening the rights of ordinary citizens, concentrating power and wealth in the hands of the elites,and legislating for a police state to protect the interests of the plutocrats against what will be an increasingly angry majority.

            It’s not a lack of resources that is the problem, it’s a lack of morality.

          • Draco T Bastard 19.2.1.1.2

            I just don’t think that that approach can cope with the coming challenges when it comes to superannuation.

            Our economy can though – as long as we realise that the dream run we’ve been on for the last few decades is at an end and we start planning how to survive the coming crunch. We have enough resources, even without oil, to maintain a good living standard for everyone. We just have to drop the delusional monetary hypothesis that our economy is based upon and start to think in terms of the resources we have and they how should be distributed.

        • just saying 19.2.1.2

          Go Jenny!

  20. vto 20

    I think the debate should be equally about means / asset testing to get super, as it is raising the age.

    The fact that the super-rich get super paid to them by hardworking people who earn far less than them galls.

    edit: the argument that they have paid taxes all their lives so they should get some return carries no weight. These generations have voted in governments like Muldoon to can super schemes and piss the money against the wall.

  21. Bill 21

    Seems too many have forgotten the source of the job culture.

    It was developed as an answer to slavery…or more precisely its abolition… with one touted ‘advantage’ being that you could ‘buy’ your freedom after giving up your best years to enrich others.

    But if slavery is morally repugnant, then the job culture which, let’s face it, merely perpetuates slavery at one step removed (ie, the master rather than being visible and obvious, is remote and their relationship with their slaves is moderated through the abstraction of market relations) is also morally repugnant.

    There are no grounds on which to base arguments for extending the period of enslavement for workers.

      • Colonial Viper 21.1.1

        Blacks are a huge proportion of the US prison population.

        With these changes they now get housed, fed and clothed, and in exchange they get to do laborious work with no pay, with no freedom with regards to their own movements, accommodation or decision making.

        Well done USA you’ve just brought back slavery.

    • Colonial Viper 21.2

      In that case, bring the age for super down to 64 and make it possible to earn a living income on a 4 day working week :)

      • Bill 21.2.1

        Rather than have ‘retirement’ at the end of life, why not at the beginning?

        Why not base a number of years of non-job eligibility based on the average life expectancy of a population and have those years allocated at the beginning of adulthood?

        Among other things, this would mean more fairness in the number of non-job years enjoyed by people. And would mean that young people would have time to explore life and have a chance of becoming more well rounded individuals, rather than being railroaded into ‘earning a crust’ and becoming limited by the parameters of job cultures.

        And it would mean that anyone who fancied them-self as ‘a master’ would have a far greater challenge in convincing prospective slaves to not develop autonomous and democratic means of production and distribution instead.

        So it won’t happen. But I’d love to hear any rational argument from those that would rather defend the status quo :-)

  22. marsman 22

    Why did these doctors pick on an increase in the age of superannuation entitlement why not on the introduction of a financial transactions tax?

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Heartland logic: More people have heard of Fidel Castro than Michael Mann, ...
    This is a guest post from Narahani.   Or is happening and is good for you, or has stopped happening, or is caused by CO2 but only a little, or is about to reverse due to lots of yet-to-be-discovered negative...
    Skeptical Science | 16-04
  • Submission
    Below is my draft submission on the Environmental Reporting Bill. I'm primarily interested in the freedom of information issues; I expect other groups to be focused on the reporting itself. I support the aims of the Environmental Reporting Bill of...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co
    As expected, the New Zealand government’s response to the IPCC’s Working Group 3 report on mitigating climate change pays lip service to the science, while maintaining that NZ is doing all that can be expected. Climate change minister Tim Groser’s...
    Hot Topic | 16-04
  • Progress of FCV “slave ships” Bill is good news – but much work remai...
    The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the progress of the “slave ships” Bill in the New Zealand Parliament is good news – but much work remains to be done....
    MUNZ | 16-04
  • Judith Collins’ reputation dependent on Slater’s scandals
    Judith Collins' reputation as the possible next leader of the National party is in shreds. Her reputation as a minister of the crown in the Key owned National party caucus is in tatters. A resignation is the only honorable thing...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon | 16-04
  • Photo of the Day: Red III
    Learning Your Stripes, 2013, Regan Gentry, Papatoetoe. Commissioned by Auckland Council aer  ...
    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • The cost of tax cheats
    How much do corporate tax cheats cost? In the US, over US$180 billion a year:US taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Cats cavorting through capital – Morgan
    The capital’s cats are cavorting through Wellington properties at a rate of 49 million trespasses a year, according to a new study by anti-cat campaigner Gareth Morgan. Island Bay and the rest of the Southern Ward turned out to be...
    Gareth’s World | 16-04
  • “Stick to your knitting”…Gratuitous insult from Minister Groser to NZ...
    Climate Minister Groser continues to insult the New Zealand people – this time through our leading scientists. On Monday the IPCC released Working Group III’s section of its 5th Assessment Report.  Building on Group I (science) and II (impact), this...
    frogblog | 16-04
  • Needlessly shitty
    Parliament has been rejecting select committee submissions for not being written in English or Maori:The Health Select Committee is rejecting 60 submissions against plain packaging legislation because they were made in neither English nor Maori. [...] Committee chairman, National MP...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Fiji: Hoist by his own petard?
    Last year Fijian dictator Voreqe Bainimarama tried to ban political parties in an effort to limit opposition in the lead-up to promised elections. A key part of the crackdown was a ban on political campaigning by anyone who wasn't a...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • The first victim!
    It is well established that the first victim in war is truth. Mind you the dispatch of truth usually comes well before the shooting starts. I have a personal interest in Ukraine and the dispatch of truth occurred for me...
    Open Parachute | 16-04
  • Key makes it up on “fat tax”
    Today John Key rejected suggestions that a tax on sugary drinks could save dozens of lives a year. Why? Read on: The New Zealand Medical Journal reported in February that a 20 per cent tax on sugary soft drinks would...
    Polity | 16-04
  • Workers support plain packaging of tobacco
    The CTU have today presented to the health select committee in support of plain packaging of tobacco. Photo:  ...
    CTU | 16-04
  • Labour focuses on minor transport issues
    Labour released a small part of their transport policy yesterday and frankly it’s absolute rubbish with it seemingly designed just to target a handful of complainers. You can get a good feel for what they’re aiming at when the policy...
    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • Lincoln cleaners outsourced
    Lincoln University will outsource its staff to an as yet undecided cleaning company, but TEU organiser Cindy Doull says it’s not worth it, and what money the university might save is negligible. “We’re disappointed... The post Lincoln cleaners outsourced appeared...
    TEU | 15-04
  • Gordon Campbell on the life and ACC work of Sir Owen Woodhouse
    With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. In its original incarnation in the early 1970s, ACC had been a...
    Gordon Campbell | 15-04
  • Cat cameras reveal surprising results
    Remember Gareth Morgan calling your cat a natural born killer or Zealandia a pet food factory? Well, he’s not backing down on his campaign to rid or restrain cats.  He wanted to prove that your property is visited by lots...
    Gareth’s World | 15-04
  • Access: Disability, identity and the internet
    The internet has enabled communication on a level that could never have been imagined before the "digital era". Individuals with even the most complex identities and niche interests can find like-minded people with whom to virtually congregate. People with disabilities...
    Public Address | 15-04
  • 2014 SkS News Bulletin #3: IPCC Report (WG III)
    Averting catastrophe is eminently affordable Climate experts sound the alarm Climate protection a 'task that can be solved' Climate report finds UN emissions target not out of reach IPCC report summary censored by governments around the world 'Modest hope' to...
    Skeptical Science | 15-04
  • Collins: The charade is getting silly
    via your New Zealand Herald this morning: Justice Minister Judith Collins' Beijing dinner with Oravida boss Stone Shi and a senior Chinese border control official came after the company made a formal request to New Zealand ministers to intervene with...
    Polity | 15-04
  • ‘Dr N’ Case Raises Question about NZ’s Abortion Laws
    By Sabrina Muck Dr N, a doctor working in a rural area with 30 years’ experience, was suspended for six months for illegally prescribing the medication misoprostol (Cytotec) to four patients in a manner contrary to legal pregnancy termination procedures...
    ALRANZ | 15-04
  • Safer driving will lead to cheaper insurance
    Warning, this post may sound a bit like an advertisement. Last week I got invited to find out a new product from Tower insurance that’s launching today that they hope will not only lower car insurance costs but also help...
    Transport Blog | 15-04
  • A statement from David Cunliffe
    Labour's leader talks about the issues that matter....
    Imperator Fish | 15-04
  • Feed: Grandpa’s Kitchen
    A huge dog-leg of a section,  2 Saulbrey Grove, off White's Line West in Woburn, is the largest remaining piece of the old Saulbrey family farm and the site of the magnificent red-brick house built by my grandfaher, Jack Saulbrey. When I used...
    Public Address | 15-04
  • Miss out on tickets to the EMU launch?
    Did you miss out on tickets to be one of the first to ride electric trains next weekend and do you want some? If so then you may be in luck. Auckland Transport have given me three double passes to...
    Transport Blog | 15-04
  • Photo of the Day: Red II
    Eyelight Lane by Swedish artist David Svensson, commissioned by Auckland Council. Photographs by Patrick Reynolds....
    Transport Blog | 15-04
  • Touting for the donors
    Judith Collins has been coming under renewed pressure in Parliament over her endorsement of (and secret meetings with Chinese customs officials on behalf of) her husband's company Oravida. Meanwhile, John Key says he's perfectly comfortable with it. No wonder -...
    No Right Turn | 15-04
  • Divert excessive weapon spending to achieve clean energy future
    According to new figures released on Monday, last year a whopping US$1747 billion was spent on armies across the world. Modest decreases in spending in austerity hit Western Europe and reduced spending in the US, which is still the biggest spender...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 15-04
  • Whaleoil dishonestly accuses Helen Clark of dishonesty
      I suppose dishonestly reporting that someone else has behaved dishonestly could be regarded as a wonderful example of irony. But if the dishonesty of the reporter is transparent then it’s also a wonderful example of crass stupidity. Either way,...
    Brian Edwards | 15-04
  • EDUCANZ, Professionalism and Politics
    When I first started teaching I spent a number of happy years in rural communities. In the early eighties all teachers were expected to teach in a 'country' school to enable them to get promotion. Country service was seen as...
    Local Bodies | 15-04
  • Hard News: Feed: Grandpa’s Kitchen
    A huge dog-leg of a section,  2 Saulbrey Grove, off White's Line West in Woburn, is the largest remaining piece of the old Saulbrey family farm and the site of the magnificent red-brick house built by my grandfaher, Jack Saulbrey. When I...
    Public Address | 15-04
  • The Templin Manifesto
    Gratefully republished from the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (the German Education and Research Workers’ Union or GEW) www.gew.de A dream career in academic life For a reform of personnel structure and career paths in higher education... The post The Templin Manifesto appeared...
    TEU | 15-04
  • Wimp.
    Yesterday John Key challenged David Cunliffe to a televised debate on housing. Today, he wimped out. This is really odd. Key is one of the best politician-debaters New Zealand has ever seen. He convincingly beat both Helen Clark and Phil...
    Polity | 15-04
  • Why Labour will lose the election
    [Image stolen from David Cunliffe] Seriously? With the country facing unemployment, inequality, a housing crisis and climate change, and Labour is relentlessly talking about regulatory subsidies for the caravan-rental industry. So much for "talking about the real issues"....
    No Right Turn | 15-04
  • NZTA Predict No Growth For Matakana
    This is the third in a series of posts based on the Campaign for Better Transport’s submission to the Puhoi to Warkworth Board of Inquiry. The full presentation is over at bettertransport.org.nz Previously I pointed out that the NZTA produced...
    Transport Blog | 15-04
  • The PCE on the Environmental Reporting Bill
    Submissions on the Environmental Reporting Bill are due on Thursday, but the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has released theirs, calling for major changes to the bill. The full submission is here, and the key areas of concern are the...
    No Right Turn | 15-04
  • On what really annoyed me about ‘The Goldfinch’
    Donna Tartt’s new book won the Pulitzer Prize today. Lots of people loved this book – and if you’re into beautiful prose there is a lot to love. But the story-telling really bugged me, and the event of it winning a...
    DimPost | 15-04
  • On what really annoyed me about ‘The Goldfinch’
    Donna Tartt’s new book won the Pulitzer Prize today. Lots of people loved this book – and if you’re into beautiful prose there is a lot to love. But the story-telling really bugged me, and the event of it winning a...
    DimPost | 15-04
  • New Fisk
    Has Recep Tayyip Erdogan gone from model Middle East 'strongman' to tin-pot dictator?...
    No Right Turn | 14-04
  • Maritimes magazine Autumn 2014 now online
    This edition of the Maritimes magazine covers the new Regional Maritime Federation, the offshore oil and gas industry, the 2014 Interport sports competition and much more....
    MUNZ | 14-04
  • Climate change: Action is affordable
    Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the second part of its Fifth Assessment report, showing the dire future we faced if we did not act to reduce emissions. Over the weekend, the IPCC released the third part...
    No Right Turn | 14-04
  • 85 more jobs killed by the NZ dollar – Christchurch textile firm in r...
    Date of Release: Saturday, April 12, 2014Body:  News that the high New Zealand dollar has claimed another textile firm has come as a huge shock to those affected, FIRST Union said on Saturday.Staff at Christchurch Yarns were told yesterday that their...
    First Union Media | 14-04
  • Gordon Campbell on royalty and its tourism spin-offs
    Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal...
    Gordon Campbell | 14-04
  • World News Brief, Tuesday April 15
    Top of the AgendaWorst Climate Change Scenarios Can Be Averted, Panel Says...
    Pundit | 14-04
  • Images of women and mother blaming
    There have been a few stories in the media about New Zealand women and obesity and body image, some referenced in this editorial from the Herald on Sunday. This article blames mothers for teaching girls to put on lip gloss....
    frogblog | 14-04
  • A Matter of Time: Reflections Of A Waning Republican
    Time Lords: The historical transition of the Monarchy: from that which rules, to those who reign, was a remarkable constitutional innovation. Neither a true monarchy, nor yet a full republic, Britain’s constitutional monarchy offered its subjects something unique. "[A] constitution...
    Bowalley Road | 14-04
  • IPCC 5th Assessment Report – exposing NZ on climate policy
    The IPCC’s 3rd Working Group has just released the final section of its 5th Assessment Report.  Following WGI report on the science and WGII on impact, this one focuses on a response strategy. The Report recalls that annual global emissions...
    frogblog | 14-04
  • Maori Party / Key fundraiser
    The Political Anorak News is full of the $5,000-a-plate fundraiser for the Maori Party hosted by John Key at the Northern Club in Auckland. A few thoughts: Nothing illegal about this at all, or really anything immoral either. Key wants...
    Polity | 14-04
  • The cost of small transport projects
    Every year the 21 local boards each get a share of $10 million to spend on transport projects in their area. The money is split up based on the population (except for Waiheke and Gt Barrier). The amount that each...
    Transport Blog | 14-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis,...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
    Mortgage rate rises are making life harder for homeowners, and many of them will be surprised the latest CPI figures show inflation would be zero were it not for tobacco tax hikes, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “New Zealanders...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Tribute for Maungaharuru- Tangitu settlement
    Labour Member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Meka Whaitiri paid tribute to Maungaharuru-Tangitu today as their Treaty of Waitangi settlement became law. “The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Maungaharuru-Tangitu virtually landless. Today we were reminded of the history, mamae, loss...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Neglected rural and regional roads will cost more lives
    The government must take urgent action to prevent more accidents to truck drivers and other road users of increased logging trucks on neglected roads, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Transport spokesperson. “The dangers to drivers and other road users in the...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Judith Collins’ refusal to answer a disgrace
    If John Key is holding his Ministers to any standards at all, he must make Judith Collins answer questions about the senior Chinese official she met during her taxpayer-funded visit to China last October, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Judith...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Ryall needs to heed hospital workforce issues
    The public health workforce, the same one Tony Ryall argues is making a lot of progress is facing increased pressure and staff burnout through his continued shuffling of the deckchairs, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Mr Ryall uses all...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Key ducks but can’t avoid High Court slap
    The High Court’s slap in the face to John Key and his Government over Chorus has left it with no option but to accept the Commerce Commission’s lawful process in deciding the price of copper, says Labour’s associate ICT spokesperson...
    Labour | 09-04
  • First home buyers shut out as LVRs bite
    The bad news continues for young Kiwis as the latest Core Logic report shows the proportion of first home buyers has declined since LVR lending restrictions came into force, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Twenty two centres across the...
    Labour | 09-04
  • MANA – and, or, or not – DOTCOM
    Both MANA and the Internet Party share goals in common with other parties, like getting rid of National and reining in the GCSB. There are also differences, as there are with other parties as well. MANA accepted a request to...
    Mana | 09-04
  • Wise heads want wise response
    Labour accepts the challenge laid down by the Wise Response group to protect and future-proof New Zealand’s environment and economy. A petition calling for urgent action was presented to Labour’s Environment and Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey at Parliament this...
    Labour | 09-04
  • Greens support high profile Kiwis’ call for climate action
    The Green Party fully supports a group of high profile Kiwi business people, lawyers, academics and commentators delivering a petition to parliament today calling for the Government to take the threat of climate change more seriously.Wiseresponse, a group of over...
    Greens | 09-04
  • Mayor’s jobs initiative shows up inactive Govt
    Auckland Mayor Len Brown and the Auckland Council are to be congratulated for providing opportunities for young people to get into work, but it stands in stark contrast to the National Government overseeing spiralling youth unemployment, Labour’s Employment, Skills and...
    Labour | 08-04
  • National discovers public servants needed after all
    New figures released today show National has done an embarrassing U-turn after discovering it actually does need the public service, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says. “Wellington now has the most public servants it has had since 2000. Figures...
    Labour | 08-04
  • School closures about saving Hekia, not kids
    The National Government's decision to merge Phillipstown and Woolston schools is another disaster for Christchurch and proves this Government is more interested in saving face than in what is best for children, the Green Party said today."Hekia Parata's stubborn refusal...
    Greens | 08-04
  • Cosgrove writes to invite Countdown to Committee
    Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove has today written to the Chief Executive of Progressive Enterprises Dave Chambers, asking him if he would accept an invitation to appear before the Commerce Select Committee. “Yesterday National MPs blocked my motion to invite...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Phillipstown will get reprieve under Labour
    A Labour government will allow Phillipstown School to stay open, with a review after two years, Labour’s Associate Education spokesperson Megan Woods says. “Hekia Parata has failed the Phillipstown community with today’s decision to close the school. “It is disgraceful...
    Labour | 08-04
  • State Housing waiting lists go through the roof
    The waiting list for State Houses has risen by over a thousand in the past three months, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Low income people are feeling the sharp end of National’s housing crisis. A shortage of affordable houses...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Hekia Parata fails to answer basic questions
    Education Minister Hekia Parata’s inability to answer even the most basic questions about her proposed new Executive Principal roles will have alarm bells ringing in school communities all around the country, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools are already concerned...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Guy gets it wrong by any measure
    The Ministry for Primary Industries being forced to reprint rulers designed to help recreational fishers measure their snapper catch is right up there on the incompetence scale, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI is having to spend another $8000...
    Labour | 08-04
  • So the US has assassinated a NZ citizen – what did Key know?
    A non judicial assassination by the US on a NZ citizen raises questions. Key made the idea that NZers were training with terrorists part of his farcical defence for the GCSB mass surveillance legislation. I say farcical because even if...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Something Better Than Something Worse: Why John Key could become our longes...
    IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • A case study of racism by Police at Auckland Airport
    A couple of days ago I returned from Samoa after attending a family matter and some contract work. Spending a few days in the warmth of our homeland was welcome relief from the cold weather starting to make its presence...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • An acute shortage of emergency youth housing
    The housing crisis is effecting everyone in Christchurch but some are more vulnerable than others. Recently I attended a workshop on emergency youth housing hosted by the 298 Youth Health Centre, who I worked for from 2001-2003. Over fifty people...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The Oceans Issue
    The ‘Earth’ is 71% water but our oceans are the last frontier. The oceans are huge, relatively unexplored, full of weird and wonderful diversity. In New Zealand we’re never far from the sea, and our identity, our landscapes, our communities,...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fear of South Auckland
    Fear of South Auckland...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • TV News Geography
    TV News Geography...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The best bit about gay sex
    The best bit about gay sex...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 1
    On not voting 1...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 2
    On not voting 2...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Labour on trucks
    Labour on trucks...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Claire Trevett shows how biased msm works
    Read this nonsense by Claire Trevett… David Cunliffe denies claims he is ‘running scared’ Labour leader David Cunliffe has dismissed claims he is running scared from Prime Minister John Key and playing hard to get over a Campbell Live series...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Why won’t Judith Collins identify who the Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ is?
    Rumour as to the real reason Judith Collins won’t reveal who the mysterious Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ is who dined with her at a private dinner is because the Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ wasn’t some lowly border official and they are actually a junior ranking member...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fighting PNG corruption and social media gags with … outspoken blogs
    Graphic: shutterstock.com Dr David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific THE BLOGGING war is hotting up in Papua New Guinea – just when things are getting riskier with draconian proposals over cybercrime law on the horizon. The state target for...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • UNbelieved – the true racism of NZ
    Racist Cartoon by Al Nisbet sums up the casual racism NZers enjoy The New Zealand government must consider United Nations rebukes on their indigenous rights record as ordinary and unremarkable by their casual reaction to the latest indictment - delivered through the clear and clinical...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: What has ACC Minister been doing? Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 | Press Release Judith Collins has made such little progress on ACC’s unacceptable privacy practices and needs to be held to account for...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder