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The cost of a US Harvard education: global land exploitation

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, May 7th, 2013 - 51 comments
Categories: farming, national/act government, nz first, overseas investment, sustainability, trade, winston peters, workers' rights - Tags:

US publicly funded universities struggle to get the funds they need to maintain their educational programmes (CNN 05/05/13).  Many resort to endowment investments to raise some necessary funds.  The “Ivy League” Harvard University stands out for it’s aggressive endowment enterprises, some of which exploit the people, communities, inadequate regulations and environment in relatively poor countries.

Harvard University has also bought a significant amount of productive land in NZ, in order to support the education of its students.

The endowment activities are managed by the university’s non-profit entity, the Harvard Management Company (HMC). It engages in investment-focused, profit-making fund-raising enterprises in regions like Latin America and Africa.  There, some of the HMC’s damaging practices contradict other Harvard initiatives aimed at fostering environmental sustainability, and training African farmers to be self-sufficient.  HMC activities undermine its aim to provide support for students lacking sufficient funding.  HMC also aims to support the university’s educational and research objectives, especially in the sciences.

The Guardian reported in 2011, on the African “land grab” by US university endowment funds, with Harvard being one of the leading culprits, causing many people to be pushed off the land. According to a study by the Californian, Oakland Institute, some US universities were raising funds through the use of British hedge funds and European financial speculators.

Researchers say foreign investors are profiting from “land grabs” that often fail to deliver the promised benefits of jobs and economic development, and can lead to environmental and social problems in the poorest countries in the world. …

Much of the money is said to be channelled through London-based Emergent asset management, which runs one of Africa’s largest land acquisition funds, run by former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs currency dealers.

Harvard african land grab Farmers-work-in-thhe-Saha-007

Image accompanying the Guardian article

Operating through “complex layers of companies and subsidiaries“, the universities were investing large endowment funds.  They were criticised for taking advantage of weak regulations in poor regions of the world and over-stating the benefits to the local communities.

The HMC to be secretive, often masking the extent and impact of the its global activities.  About a week ago, Krishna Dasartha and Sandra Y.L. Korn, published a post on the Harvard Crimson (newspaper for the university) highly critical of the recently revealed activities of the HMC logging company Agrícola Brinzal in Chile.  They conclude that Harvard University should not be involved in such damaging enterprises, and that they should, at the very least, operate within local laws.

Chilean investigative journalists Paulette Desormeaux and Josefina Court have recently revealed that, since 2004 Harvard University has created eleven companies that exploit the Chilean forestry industry.

One of these is Agrícola Brinzal, which faces two lawsuits in Ancud. The National Forest Corporation (CONAF) pressed charges against the company for the illegal clearfelling of 189 acres of native forest, and also for breaching the forest management plan – they reforested 181 acres of land with eucalyptus instead of native plant species.

The eucalyptus trees are considered more profitable for the wood market because they grow faster than native species.

Harvard accused of illegal logging in Chile

Image accompanying the Chilean article

It has only recently become known that Agrícola Brinzal is managed by the Harvard’s HMC. This company had received significant subsidies from the Chilean government.

Strongly implicated in Brinzal’s activities in Latin America, is New Zealander Andrew G. Wiltshire. Earlier in his career, Wiltshire was in charge of forest planning and management at the New Zealand Forest Service.  He has worked for HMC since 2001, and is now its “managing director and head of alternative assets“.

A Sunday Star Times article of July 2012 by Charles Anderson, reports that Wiltshire played a key role in HMC’s land purchases and related enterprises in NZ.  The article begins,

Forget movie mogul James Cameron or China’s Shanghai Pinxin, America’s Harvard University is among the largest foreign-owned landholders in New Zealand.

The big question is why the Harvard Management Company has bought almost 200,000 hectares at an estimated cost of almost $1 billion?

Wiltshire won’t talk about such buy-ups, in keeping with the HMC managers’ “veil of secrecy”.  However, the HMC chief executive has stated that they rely on expert staff, such as those with forestry backgrounds (like Wiltshire), when analysing their investments. Harvard benefited from Wiltshire’s insider knowledge, and went on to make some significant (though somewhat erratic) profits from its Kaingaroa enterprise, as well as from the Maniototo Big Sky Farm that it bought a couple of years ago.  According to Anderson,

In 2003 the company bought 162,000ha of Kaingaroa forestry estate from the Central North Island Forestry Partnership after it went into receivership.

Before his move to Boston, Wiltshire worked with Kaingaroa developers the New Zealand Forest Service, then became a partner in GMO Renewable Resources, now an investment adviser for Harvard.

An article on Wealth Daily at the end of last year, claims that “Andy Wiltshire”, is the highest paid employee at Harvard.  This is apparently the result of HMC, “playing the insider game” by rubbing “elbows” with people in the know about the kind of private investment opportunities they pursue.  Certainly, the Harvard Management Company includes people with experience and connections in speculative and investment banking in its Executive Team and its directors.

Given its record of damage and exploitation, it is worrying that the HMC is one of the largest foreign landholders in NZ, and is expanding its operations.  The Otago Daily Times reported on May 1st, that the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) consented to Harvard’s Dairy Farms Partnership buying another farm in the Maniototo:

In its decision, the OIO said Harvard planned to upgrade the property to operate as a dairy and dairy support farm, which would create jobs in the area.

However, HMC’s dubious track record of failed promises in Africa and Latin America should make us cautious.  Their activities result in profits being siphoned off to pay for US education, while universities in the host countries (as in NZ) operate with relatively meagre funds.

We need to ensure that there are regulations to prevent NZ’s land and resources being exploited and damaged by ruthless profit-seeking entities.

 

51 comments on “The cost of a US Harvard education: global land exploitation”

  1. vto 1

    .
    There is no benefit to having foreign landlords.

    • tinfoilhat 1.1

      There is no benefit in having landlords.

      • vto 1.1.1

        correct.

        A community that is owned by the people that live and work in that community is the strongest community.

        This should guide policy on foreign ownership of our land. This is where we should be aiming. Let the Harvard money spend it all in the US. That is where it is printed so they should keep it there – we don’t want their dunny paper.

      • Bill 1.1.2

        Hallelujah – consistency! Both foreign landlords and domestic landlords are private landlords content to have us remain as landless ‘others’ with no effective sovereignty.

        • karol 1.1.2.1

          Note, the final line of my post didn’t specify that the “ruthless profit seeking entities” were foreign. I stated it that way on purpose. ie:

          We need to ensure that there are regulations to prevent NZ’s land and resources being exploited and damaged by ruthless profit-seeking entities.

          There are several angles to the issues raised by Harvard’s global activities.

          But there is also an element of Harvard siphoning off profits to help pay for the education of, largely middle and upper-class Americans.

  2. Peter 2

    Most these assumptions are incorrect Karol. I deal with Harvard employees and managers most weeks in my day job, and from my experience, their environmental and people management is definitely a cut above what they replaced. That’s the view from most of the community too.

    • karol 2.1

      If that’s so, Peter, is that the result of the government’s regulations, or the Harvard managers? Can we trust the Harvard managers in the long term and in all their NZ enterprises? Note, not all their activities in relatively poor countries have been damaging, but some have.

      There are a couple of other angles to my post as well:

      the fact that the profits are being siphoned off overseas to help pay for the higher education of Americans;

      the actual numbers of productive jobs and opportunities available to Kiwis under the Harvard management.

      • Peter 2.1.1

        Mostly the responsibility of the Harvard managers, who have direct KPIs based on environmental performance of their properties.

        One or two of the good things are regulations imposed by the OIC, which actually exceed anything put in place by local councils.

      • Peter 2.1.2

        Employment has also increased on their farms, from what I know of, as has pay, and conditions.

      • Populuxe1 2.1.3

        “the fact that the profits are being siphoned off overseas to help pay for the higher education of Americans;”

        Which would be you selectively ignoring that there is nothing to prevent, for example, New Zealanders (and people from many other countries) studying at Harvard provided they meet the academic standards. Here, for example, is a Harvard scholarship for Commonwealth students. http://www.frankknox.harvard.edu/newzealand.html
        There are other more general scholarships for US study as well, like the Fulbright.

        Indeed the Ivy League universities have expressed surprise that so many New Zealand postgrads choose Oxbridge over American equivalents, mainly for reasons of snobbery rather than excelence of tuition and resources.

        “the actual numbers of productive jobs and opportunities available to Kiwis under the Harvard management.”

        I believe Harvard’s New Zealand farms are administered by a New Zealand manager and staff – I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at?

        • karol 2.1.3.1

          Yes I know about the scholarships. It’s only a minority of NZ individuals that benefit from them. I know people who applied for Fullbrights. Many want them – few get them.

          It’s all part of the international competitive “free market” that has taken over the unis. The US unis benefit at the expense of the unis in smaller countries like NZ.

          Basically those scholarships are one of the means by which top US and European unis try to attract the most capable high flyers from overseas. Its part of the way they aim to maintain their internationally competitive edge. And the US government supports it to enable them to maintain their economic edge.

          Note that the Harvard endowment investments (the HMC) aims, not just to give grants/scholarships to students, but also to fund research and especially science research – that’s what the US wants to have as an edge for science and technology innovations. Unis international kudos comes largely from their research profile. And in the sciences, that feeds into business.

          So, Harvard uses it’s significant wealth and funds to make even more money out of NZ through its agricultural investments here – this so that it can continue to maintain its global competitive edge.

          Meanwhile, the most capable Kiwis scholars get drawn into the US/European unis – part of the brain and skills drain from NZ.

          And NZ unis then have to struggle to maintain a competitive international profile, on less funds (bigger classes etc). NZ uni researchers need to publish in major international journals to keep their competitive edge. But, I know some Uni academics who have complained about how they have to conduct research on topics of interest to the leading Uni countries – research on specific NZ issues can get marginalised.

          etc, etc…. I could continue on with more points in this direction, but I’m tired.

          it’s all part of the global neoliberalisation of Universities, and US neocolonialism.

          • Populuxe1 2.1.3.1.1

            Oh FFS, why shouldn’t New Zealanders study overseas? Suprisingly enough, not all gifted scholars born in this country give a flying fuck about New Zealand subjects. Really hard to do nuclear physics or study obscure Renaissance artists here. The parochialism is making my head hurt. I know people who applied for Fullbrights and got them – so the fuck what? Does it possibly occur to you that there might have been better candidates? Quelle horreur! As it is there are almost too many universities in New Zealand – I doubt we would need more than two, and academic entry standards are too low anyway… etc, etc….. but I’m bored. My academic successes must be blinding me to the whole injustice of only a small portion of the population being academically outstanding.

            • karol 2.1.3.1.1.1

              Mate. I’m happy for you for your success and others. I have nothing against them/you getting a good education.

              It’s not about you and them.

              It’s about NZ and what’s best for the country.

              But, I guess you just don’t give a fuck about NZ and having NZ universities delivering a quality education for as many Kiwis as possible, and then being able to keep as many of the most productive and capable people as possible.

              • Populuxe1

                Your assumptions that every New Zealander wants, needs, or is capabable of the academic rigor of a university education is astounding. It was that reasoning that brought about the collapse of academic standards in the first place, a rot that eventually spread to high schools and the introduction of NCEA. What we need is higher university standards, not the devolution of universities into glorified trade schools with diplomas in eating lunch.

  3. KAROL says.

    “We need to ensure that there are regulations to prevent NZ’s land and resources being exploited and damaged by ruthless profit-seeking entities.”

    This will never happen while John Key is Prime Minister.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      But is there a potential PM in Parliament from any party which would be different in this regard.

      • Peter 3.1.1

        No one I can see. Shearer wouldn’t be any better.

        • Peter 3.1.1.1

          There is also this weird assumption that somehow Kiwi owners will run the land better. That isn’t backed up by past experience. What we want is an environmental ethic amongst farmers, and for people to realise that pissing nutrients off land into rivers isn’t good for either the bank balance nor the environment. That applies regardless of who owns or manages the land.

          • DH 3.1.1.1.1

            Well personally I want an end to the internationalising of NZ land so Kiwi residents who have to earn $NZ incomes can afford to buy it.

            The only way a foreigner can buy NZ assets is by paying more than a Kiwi buyer. The Kiwi buyer who loses out to the foreigner looks at the next cheapest land and pushes the price of that up. The Kiwi who loses on that deal goes to the next cheapest, pushes that price up… and so on.

            The more foreign buyers there are the higher the prices go. It’s schoolboy economics; when demand for a finite resource increases the price must go up. Land is a finite resource and foreign buyers add to the existing domestic demand. Add up 1+1.

            By world standards NZ is a medium-income nation and we’re facing high-income prices for land because of foreign buyers. Just who is the Goverment working for?

            Harvard can fuck off along with the rest of the foreign parasites who contribute nothing to this country.

  4. FFS Karol, get the chip of your shoulder, you couldnt give a sh*t about what you copied and paste, you just hate Harvard because its American.

    • karol 4.1

      Ah, Brett – the old “anti-American” aggressive defense.

      And yet, even some Harvard staff and students are concerned about, and disapproving of, the secretive activities, and sometimes damaging impacts of the university’s Harvard Management Company.

      Do you have anything of substance to contribute?

      And please don’t try to tell my what I give a shit about.

      • Brett Dale 4.1.1

        How come you never write about about negative items about universities or organizations outside the USA. No, its always big bad America with you, isnt it?

        Your bigorty is quite clear.

        • Peter 4.1.1.1

          I wouldn’t attack her personally, just focus on the facts. On the whole, the Harvard properties I know are better managed than when they were kiwi-owned, largely due to the fact that Harvard have invested in them in order to improve their enviromental performance, instead of the capital starved kiwi owners.

        • karol 4.1.1.2

          Sigh: if you care to check, most of my posts are against the “neoliberal” revolution, corporate power, social inequalities, the war on the poor – mainly focused on NZ.

          The US wealthy and powerful do tend to play a major role in pushing corporate power eg Obama through the TPPA, etc.

          But I also have also been critical of Ian Fletcher’s role in the false info provided by his UK boss, MP Andrew Turnbull in falsifying the reasons for the UK going to war in Iraq.

          Margaret Thatcher

          Aussie Banks

          Kiwis and Aussies involved in the global money maze.

          I was also critical of Chinese companies buying land in NZ.

          Now do you have anything of substance to offer on the topic, other than your hypersensitivity to any criticism of powerful US entities?

  5. Leopold the Viper 5

    ‘I was also critical of Chinese companies buying land in NZ.’

    He’ll accuse you of being racist now….

  6. Sosoo 6

    Harvard is basically a hedge fund with a small university attached to it (not original claim).

    • Populuxe1 6.1

      Nor an accurate one.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        It’s like Apple is a hedge fund with a medium sized technology company attached to it.

        • Populuxe1 6.1.1.1

          Yup

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            Well, I was being serious.

            • Populuxe1 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Christ, I hope not.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yep. Apple has more hard cash and convertible assets on hand than the reserve banks of most countries.

                • Populuxe1

                  I would still say the company has had a greater impact on the world through its products, however.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    However that’s the past IMO; now that Jobs is gone I think the Apple revolution is going to give way to incremental product revisions and playing it safe. Conservative hedge fund behaviour.

                    Also check out their latest financial engineering – borrowing billions of dollars to distribute to shareholders. See what I mean.

  7. Binders full of viper- women 7

    I was thinking about the Harvard set up as I drove past the Kaingaroa Forest recently.. Said to my pal ‘I reckon they’ll be good owners… I imagine they’re like Maori tribes .. in to it for the long hall .. and pretty conservative’. And I don’t like isolationist ideas. I must be happily neo-liberal (whatever that means).

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    Basically, Harvard are smarter and more enterprising than most NZers are, who seem to just want to sit back and bank consistent annual returns every year doing fuck all.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Another example of New Zealand losing more of it’s economic sovereignty.

    We are constantly told that “we don’t pay our way in the world”; yet in term of goods and services alone our current account deficit is modestly positive over the long-term. It’s only when you include “investment income”, ie overseas owners extracting their profits back overseas… that our deficit tumbles to something in the range of 7-9% of GDP pa.

    That is one of the things that is hurting this country as much as anything else; we’re at the wrong end of a giant global wealth pump, constantly sucking off the cream of our productivity every year. And so far no government has dared mention it, much less attempt to fix it.

    • Populuxe1 9.1

      Ok, and how did the Cullen Fund work again?

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        How is that relevant?

        • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1

          So it wasn’t investing in foreign assets, then?

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.1

            Yes it was. So…?

            • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1.1.1

              So you don’t see a slight hypocrisy in praising one and condemning the other?

              • Colonial Viper

                Uh, no, I think it’s an entirely consistent position…

                To be clearer, I’m only interested in the direction of the wealth pumps located in NZ.

                • Populuxe1

                  How quaintly parochial.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    yes, I’m very parochial about being a New Zealander. Major wealth pumps need to point into the nation, not out of it.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Just so long as it isn’t other people’s countries thinking the same thing, eh? Why that’s entirely fair and logical… Yeah, right.

              • RedLogix

                Pop. It is the gross imbalance that is the problem. The Cullen fund returns are a small fraction of the net investment flows in/out of this country.

                As long as that imbalance persists we need more Cullen funds and fewer Harvards. Nothing hypocritical at all.

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  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Punakaiki Fund invests in Populate
    Crosspost from Punakaiki Fund. New Investment: Populate One of our core motivations at Punakaiki Fund is being able to help and watch companies create a large number of sustainable new jobs. And one of the best people around at hiring… ...
    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    2 days ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
      Here’s some free media advice for Hilary Clinton now just trailing Donald Trump in the polls: Stop smiling and waving to “people you recognise” in the crowd. It’s insulting to everyone else, looks (and may well be) dishonest… ...
    2 days ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
      Here’s some free media advice for Hilary Clinton now just trailing Donald Trump in the polls: Stop smiling and waving to “people you recognise” in the crowd. It’s insulting to everyone else, looks (and may well be) dishonest… ...
    2 days ago
  • The Nuit Debout revolt in France: let the gems sparkle. . .
    by Denis Godard The movement of occupation of squares in France is [over] two weeks old. [1] Its evolution is difficult to predict, because it is open to many unforeseen events, even though its roots are deep. At this point… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Free the Wicklow 2
    Protests around the imprisonment of these two activists are taking place around Ireland and also in Britain.  Anyone fancy organising something at the Irish embassy in Wellington  There is also an Irish consulate in Auckland. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • DIY Touring The World: New Zealand
    New Zealand has a small population, few places to play and not much money for touring bands - but you can’t beat the beautiful landscapes, hidden gem venues and fantastic audiences. Music impresario Ian Jorgensen has been touring bands… ...
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protected: Tributes to Dame Margaret Sparrow
    This post is password protected. You must visit the website and enter the password to continue reading.Filed under: Uncategorized ...
    ALRANZBy ALRANZ
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.In places… ...
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
    Your right to swipe for threesomes is under threat.    Some clean-cut millennials enjoying the 3nder afterglow. 1232RF Those for whom three is the magic sex-number should know that one's right to swipe one's way into a six-limb circus is… ...
    2 days ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    2 days ago
  • Some big news, for me
    Two pieces of news that are kind of a big deal, for me. Firstly, I’m ditching my landline! I’m not a student and I’m not in a low income band, so make of that what you will. Secondly, after 10… ...
    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago

  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    16 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    17 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    17 hours ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    18 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    20 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    6 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    7 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    7 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago

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