web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

The Pernicious Food Card

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 pm, August 16th, 2011 - 72 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, cost of living, welfare - Tags: , , ,

Food Cards already exist and are charged up when applications are made for food grants. As it stands at present, the money charged on them can be spent at supermarkets; must be spent within 3 or 4 days and cannot be used to purchase cigarettes or alcohol.

If, as seems likely, loading a proportion of benefit directly on to a food card is rolled out and applied to all beneficiaries, the consequences are going to be significant additional hardships for many people.

Here’s why.

Food grants  can be applied for if an unforseen expense such as the cost of taking an injured pet to the vet for treatment – or paying out money due to some other emergency has occured.

In other words, the food grant is a mechanism whereby hunger can be avoided in instances where money for food has had to be used on other things.(Receipts, proof of money in bank, proof of where money was spent  etc are required by WINZ.)

Simply put, where the cost of food is ring fenced, there is no financial  lee-way to react to life’s unforseen circumstances.

So the pet suffers or dies and the other emergency (whatever it might be) rolls right on over the top of the person on a benefit because they have no room to manouvere; no way to deal to to it or stop it in it’s tracks.

Labour quietly condoning the changes by not confronting them is particularily sickening. Changes to welfare are not about jobs. Changes to welfare are about the very real and immediate effects on the lives of those on a benefit. (Oh, and on 2009 figures, WINZ saving about $81 million on the Special Needs Grants proportion of the over 1 million hardship payments made in that year)

72 comments on “The Pernicious Food Card”

  1. An essential immediate need which is unforeseen is the SNG criteria.

    I have been told by WINZ that home contents insurance was not essential, in other words had I not paid this I would have had $25.32 for food. A pet is probably considered as being non essential.

    • Bill 1.1

      The point (as things currently stand) isn’t whether the pet is essential. The food is.

      And so if you have spent your money on (say) a vet’s bill, you have created an essential need which could not be foreseen insofar as you didn’t know your cat or dog was going to need to be rushed to the vet.

      But if your food money is locked into a card, then you can’t apply for food grants…they won’t exist… and so you can’t take care of your pet or whatever because you’ll have no budget to juggle.

      • freedom 1.1.1

        food grants are written as seperate entitlements in the act and would have to be specifically removed as an entitlement. This process normally brings the issue under a few people’s noses who would be concerned if this is being planned. It used to be $150-$200 a year of specified SNG for entitlements to food. Dentistry is $300 and clothing is $200. The figures may have changed a bit but the speficity of the entitlement has not .. .. .. yet.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          I think your missing the point Freedom. If it is impossible to designate the food component of your benefit to other expenses because it’s locked into a card, then you can’t very well go to WINZ and say you have an immediate need for food.

          So you can’t deal with unforseen financial necessities.

          Dentistry and clothing are very different kettles of fish. They aren’t weekly outgoings. And so don’t lend themselves to any ‘budgetary flexibility’ in the way that a need for food does.

          • freedom 1.1.1.1.1

            i agree 100% it is such an unworkable fantasy

            I was not disputing the gamut of problems this tragic policy exposes, i was wanting to show that there are factors i suspect National is being selectively attentive to.

            This policy from National says life is a regimented consistent pattern
            and that is seventeen types of horseshit

            the food concern is the same for all rent and all bills. Many landlords allow a bit of swing time now and then, and i am sure many of us enjoyed that particular luxury once or twice in our younger years. The same with the power companies, phone etc.

            The plan may look great on paper but outside of state controlled work camps the ‘budgets’ of any person’s week are usually redundant before implementation.

            As there will be the food component on the card, there is also an open entitlement for food under SNG that cannot be denied you. It is an entitlement. Power, phone car repairs for example are not and are always on a case by case assesment. The Food , dentistry, clothing components of the entitlement are for health requirements as i understand it.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.1

              You completely lose me when you claim that it is possible to claim an SNG for food when there is a specific non-transferrable dollar amount loaded onto a food card every week.

              How can I claim I have “an immediate need to purchase food” that “was caused by an essential expense that had to be met and which left insufficient money to buy food.” [11.2.1 (a)] & [11.2.1 (c)] respectively of the legislation which can be viewed at http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/manuals-and-procedures/legislation/welfare_programmes/SpecialNeedsGrantsProgramme.pdf if an amount of money deemed necessary to purchase food has been ringfenced and put on a card?

              They don’t have to repeal the food component of SNG legislation. Nobody on a pre loaded food card can possibly satisfy the requirements set down in the legislation.

              • freedom

                honestly Bill, i do get what you mean, i do! I am not saying the person will be able to access extra food money, i agree with you they most likely are fubar on that front. I am saying, in my understanding from my own experiences, there is a legal entitlement in the act for food that is seperate to emergency SNG’s. The fact that the policy apparently fails to adhere to the act or at best makes it unworkable is tough to pass final judgement on, as we have deliberately been given flimsy info and no-one in power deems it important that we have too many details.

                Why not? Because they are still making them up, as usual.

                Modern government is a pathetic and cowardly cabal of policy whores who work any corner that feeds their habit for power and time in the limelight. Once they hear a bit of feedback they will tweak the hem, zip it all up, spit polish the stilettoes and then it’s off to hit Election Avenue. They will work hard too, blowing any John with a prejudice and making sure the pimps get phat paid in bail outs and bonuses.

                • Bill

                  A food SNG doesn’t sit seperate from the other emergency SNGs.

                  • freedom

                    Bill it has obviously been changed along the way the last couple of years, and as your link shows in the recent manual Food grants are under SNG as a non-recoverable grant, but it still exists as a quantifiable event with its own criteria. So at least the right to claim for it still exists. As we both touch on though, with the little cloth star, i mean little green card, the question for those wanting to lodge a claim, is HOW?

          • Deadly_NZ 1.1.1.1.2

            But first you have to get an appointment with winz and with the way that staff have been slashed, it’s about a 10 day wait. So it means that they will be able to say there are NO emergency payments, because how can you make an appointment for an emergency 10 days hence.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.2.1

              If you are seeking a food SNG, WINZ have to see you on the day you turn up. They don’t like the fact that you don’t need an appointment for a food SNG and will usually try to get you to make one. Which, as you say, is ridiculous.

              So in short, if you need a food SNG, you turn up at the desk, ‘report in’ and then sit down to wait to be seen. And they must see you that day. Given their workload, that can be a long wait, but hey.

      • Treetop 1.1.2

        I did understand that there is no flexibility for an emergency with food loaded on a card.

        I had to ask the case worker to repeat that home contents insurance was not considered as being essential.

        I would like to see the SNG Programme of what is considered as being an essential item. Same with the list for an advance. Everything is capped as well. As well the minister can issue a directive.

        Litigation is going to increase and legal aid is harder to get. It will be interesting to see what decisions come out of the Appeal Authority.

        • Ed 1.1.2.1

          I wonder how many of those uninsured in Christchurch when the earthquakes hit had been advised not to pay an insurance premium by WINZ. If this really happened wouldn’t we have heard of it?

          • Treetop 1.1.2.1.1

            ED this happened to me three months ago. Basically you ask for an amount for food out of the set amount everyone is allocated and they are now knocking down the amount you ask for. I asked for $70 and they knocked it down to $40 when I had a food grant balance of $150 being available at DISCRETION.

            My word against the case worker.

            Deadly NZ if I ever hear something so bloody minded as home contents not being necessary I will ask for this to be put into writing.

        • Deadly_NZ 1.1.2.2

          If they said I did not need Home contents insurance, I would want that in writing, and then I would take it to the insurance company, your local MP, and the papers.

      • weka 1.1.3

        Where there will be leeway is that people don’t spend necessarily the same amount of money on food every week. This week happens to be the week I have to catch up on staples, so I need extra money.
         
        I agree the card looks like it’s going to cause problems for the food SNGs though.
         
        (how does the govt know what each 17 yr old needs for food each week anyway? Won’t it vary from person to person?).

        • bbfloyd 1.1.3.1

          you forget that these aren’t “real” people.. they have been reclassified as “acceptable collateral damage”..

          honestly guys… what do we need well adjusted, healthy youth for if they are just going to be road gang and prison fodder of the future?

          the only ones worth caring about are the ones coming out of “naice” schools.. who’s parents are the “job growers” for the ingrates getting trained for tomorrows service and maintenance sectors.

        • Bill 1.1.3.2

          I believe there was a study done at Otago Uni in the very early 90′s that calculated the necessary minimum food spend for a person. The then National government took that figure and reduced it by a given % (20…30…can’t remember) to work out the dollar amount for food that should be built into benefits.

          Funnily enough, Labour never reversed that ‘starvation diet’ policy.

  2. What happens if your flat mates eats your food or you get robbed?

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      All part of the massive daily insecurity of living on the edge.

      Plenty of people out there couldn’t care less if they got a $100 speeding fine. They make that money back before it hits morning tea. For some other people that sets their whole month back, game over.

      Constant state of insecurity and fear. Fucks people up that does.

      • jackal 2.1.1

        Why don’t beneficiaries get jobs… Oh! That’s right, there aren’t any.

      • Deadly_NZ 2.1.2

        Yeah I have a 200 buck one for no rego and I don’t have 200 and I don’t have the 77 for 3 months rego well 19 for the rego and about 50 bucks to that rip off ACC BUT it does have a WOF. And I have to use my car to get my 3 month old son to hospital in Palmy, and I am in levin so it’s the car, or a draughty van with no child safety seats

        • millsy 2.1.2.1

          You have National to thank for that.

          Bill Birch could only pay for those tax cuts back in 1996 by closing down hundreds of provincial hospitals.

          I think there is a form you can fill out to extend your rego date, so you can get around the full 3 months – I think the colour is yellow…

    • You starve.

      After all somehow it must be your fault, or at least a tory wants to have the ability to think it is your fault so they can feel justified in paying less tax. 

      • Bill 2.2.1

        Nah mickeysavage. See, I detest what the Nats are doing with welfare. And tax. And all the rest of it. But I’m sick and tired of Labour and or Labour apologists side stepping this specific issue (via Tory bashing or harping on about job creation) and refusing to state a position.

        As far as I can see Labour agree with National on this. Both parties are saying that the unemployed can starve. Only difference is, Labour say there will be slightly fewer starving under them, but starving just the same.

        • mickysavage 2.2.1.1

          Bill

          I thought I just stated a position.

          Labour did not increase benefit levels but it did increase education spend, health spend, Social Welfare spend, other spends that help poor people.  

          There is a major difference in approach.  It is really noticeable

          • Deadly_NZ 2.2.1.1.1

            True you used to be able to get an appointment within a day, with someone who was much more helpful, and way less under`worked, than the ones that are left after the razor gang went through. Now it’s more like them and us.

          • Bill 2.2.1.1.2

            mickey. Labour reduced benefit levels.

            Benson Pope replaced Supplementary Benefit with Temporary Additional Support, which was the biggest single cut to benefits since Ruth Richardson.

            And when they introduced Working For Families, they specifically excluded beneficiaries from the scheme.

            It’s true that they didn’t introduce discriminatory caveats alongside their increased spending in health and education though.

            Labour could have attacked this new policy head on very easily (just read some of the comments below) and flanked the Nats position by pointing out their cuts to training and night classes as well as their dismal performance on the job creation front etc.

            But as far as I’m aware they have said nothing on the matter of ringfencing food money and the impacts that will have now and are likely to have in the future if and when the scheme is rolled out to all beneficiaries.

            Is there any reasonable conclusion to be reached, based on Labour’s announcements around this policy, that they are anything other than broadly supportive of it? Since they have said nothing directly to the policy, they must agree with it, no?

  3. freedom 3

    The very busy community loan shops are going to hate this plan
    that is assuming they are not authorised to receive payments
    which is logical seeing as corner dairies, market gardeners and greengrocers won’t be authorised

    Which is funny when the whole idea is to teach responsible use of finances
    yet National are forcing the poorst to buy high price supermarket fruit and veges
    or are cheap fruit & veg a nice to have

    and do not for a second believe this will not be rolled out to be worn on the lapel of every beneficiary
    first day’s work I bet, if National steal a second term

    • Bill 3.1

      Loan shops will get their pound of flesh and then some….as usual. Debt repayments will be ‘paid from source’ if I understand the current plan for 17 and 18 year olds correctly.

      And when they roll out this shit to encompass all beneficiaries, the food card component (as I said) will leave no room to ‘work finances’. And the financial hole that is currently merely beckoning will simply open up beneath peoples’ feet. Many will wind up having their benefit ‘managed’ by a private provider.

      And if those people took out a loan for a situation where previously a food grant and/or ‘a bit less food this week and not so much next week’ would have covered things, or at least taken the edge off ; that private provider/manager will see that the loan is repayed as a priority.

    • just saying 3.2

      Nope.

      Not for superannuitants (who get about $100 per week more than all other benes plus all the top-ups and no means testing) students with interest-free loans, or middle-class receiving working for families (a much bigger slice of the welfare budget than all other benefits outside of super). Can’t imagine Peter Jackson will be affected next time he puts his hand out for a couple of hundie thou either

      This is a straight-out hate campaign against the poorest, weakest, most disadvantaged.
      The benefits are not designed to help people survive with any kind of basic health or dignity. In the long, or even medium term, “managing” on a benefit with no other means of support can’t be done.
      It’s slow death.

      Kicking beneficiaries is NZ’s real national sport. If there were a world cup it would be a sell-out.

      • mickysavage 3.2.1

        Agreed.

        In financial terms it is small cheese but it is part of this incremental approach the Key Government has.  It allows them to stand up and blow the dog whistle really hard and sound like they are bene bashing.  Not many benes will be bashed by this particular policy but this does not matter.

        Any bene blood will allow the sanctimonious rich feel like something is happening to reinforce their belief that they are superior and the poor are things that you have to despise and put up with. 

  4. neoleftie 4

    on second consideration..the underclass have gone from little choice or opportunities to a potential scheme that locks unemployed youth into no choice and no gain in opportunities i.e job growth. From an underclass now simple to a defined no-class as they have limited freedom of choice.The The question to be asked is what objective in the long term does the tories seek, what societal change?
    Seen through an ideological pair of deep red glasses this is nothing more than another policy based on purely business objectives i.e lock in regular payments on rent power etc and punish those of the underclass.
    How about increased funding to special needs programs at the ECE stage of education and then a raft of social programs to actively change or increase the chances of gaining positive choice or opportunities.
    After all the elites never have to worry to much as the are basically conditioned from an early age how to maxmaise opportunities.

  5. A lot of the proposed policy is to keep people at school until age 18 or at home with sometimes neglectful parents. Supplying breakfast in schools just may be a big insentive to stay in school.

    The first three years and the last three years of childhood appears to require the most resources.

    See that SCF may go over 1.2 billion for the bail out as a lower return is now expected for the assests. How many breakfasts and training schemes in schools to keep some youth at school longer would the bail out money have funded?

  6. William Joyce 6

    I don’t know if it’s true but I heard that if you want clothing you’re locked into buying from the “Warewhare” (Warehouse!).
    Soon you will be able to spot the underclass by the clothes they wear.
     
    Which is good, because it makes it easier to spot them when they enter your gated community and for the police to round them up, (assuming the private security and the dogs don’t get to them first).

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Surely you can get KFC

      I think corporates should be allowed to bid to access monies on the card. Maybe even the odd Destiny Church donation :twisted:

      • William Joyce 6.1.1

        There’s a point, hows “the bish” going to get on when he can’t fleece the congregation?
        Maybe that’s why he had all those brown-nosing pollies at his church and why Hannah and her sisters are taking over the Maori Women’s Welfare League.

        You’re right, the potential for corporate profits from “Preferred Vendor” status is huge – and an opportunity for a few backhanders
         

    • just saying 6.2

      Soon????

      You already can – those choosing clothing from the $1 box at the sallies, who can’t afford a haircut, or dental care, or adequate nutrition……

      It’s pretty screamingly obvious already. No need for special armbands so we know who to hate.

    • Bill 6.3

      They certainly ‘suggest very strongly’ that you purchase from the Warehouse. But you don’t have to. An argument of ‘buy cheap, pay dear’ usually resonates. Mind you $200 per year doesn’t go far outside of Warehouse type stores.

      I can’t remember if some Op Shops give quotes for WINZ. But it’s a bloody run-a-round providing WINZ with (I think) three seperate quotes for each item for them to generally only fund the cheapest.

  7. jackal 7

    Na! Let’s just cut to the chase and let them bid on the slaves, ahem I mean people. The amount of beneficiaries who work for food stamps the elite can amass will be a new status symbol. What’s the point in all that money if you can’t lord it over and control the poor?

  8. ak 8

    I fear you’re onto it Bill. A ratshit-cunning Nasty Party plan to eliminate the messy food grant programme altogether. Herr Joyce scrawled all over it.

    Roll it out for the scary feral youth on the back of the London riots, give it a month or two, then when the polls are narrowing, praise its “success” in your very own media, slam it on all beneficiaries and ride their pitiful howls to electoral glory.

    Lord help those poor DWI security people if you’re right. Yes, my dear Joky: push this inch and bugger-all might starve, but believe me there’ll be blood. Lots of blood. And it will never, ever, leave your pink, putrid hands.

    Life without grinding, gnashing despair is not a “nice to have”. Listen to the breeze, the tangi in the trees, wee Johnny boy: Enough. Is. Enough.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

    • Bored 8.1

      Herr Joyce, ………Lord Hawhaw so appropriate!

      http://www.heretical.com/British/joyce.html for those not in the know.

      • William Joyce 8.1.1

        A twenty first century liberal Joyce – just as his name sake was in the final days of the Reich.
        In the Twilight of the Gods, despairing that there was anyone out there left who still believed in his ideals, the world he loved collapsing around him, drunk in font of a microphone (or a Toshiba Satellite laptop) tapping out his last message before the forces of evil break in.
         
        Or, just the name my grand-mother gave me – you choose.

  9. HC 9

    As it is correctly mentioned in header story above, these “Payment Cards” have already been gradually introduced, supposedly on a “voluntary” basis since last year. In reality they have already been more or less “imposed” on applicants asking for special needs grants for food.

    What they are obviously trialling now on the 16 and 17 year old beneficiaries is clearly already intended to become the standard for all – or at least most beneficiaries! Payment Cards are designed in a way that they can become the standard form of benefit payments for food in future!

    That way Work and Income will be able to strictly control expenditure, so that there is no more “discretionary” spending on what WINZ will deem to be “luxury”, unnecessary or unacceptable (e.g. alcohol and cigarettes).

    As already mentioned there will be major problems arising, because this creates a significant degree of inflexibility, which makes it hard to provide for emergency expenses that may occur. Suddenly there is no cash available where it would be needed straight away, and this must lead to major incoveniences and problems.

    Knowing the way case managers work at W + I they will probably try to fob off people for such exceptional circumstances and blame it on poor budgeting. Maybe they expect the beneficiaries to save up a part of that intended “pocket money” allowed for “discretionary spending” for such emergencies?

    The payment of rent directly from WINZ or the follow up agency to landlords can also lead to a wider approach of this being used for ALL benefit recipients in future. That way the responsible agency may try and influence where people live. It will not be far away that they will tell people on welfare, that they will no longer have a free choice about what is acceptable, appropriate or suitable accommodation. The intention will be to save on accommodation supplements.

    I wonder how landlords will like to deal with this. I suppose many will not mind getting payments directly from WINZ, but then this creates extra problems for the beneficiary and landlord when tenancy agreements are started and terminated. There will then be 3 parties involved to arrange it all, which adds bureaucracy and opens up a pandora’s box for additional complications.

    Some beneficiaries may be able to get accommodation by not revealing that they live off a benefit. That will in future no longer be possible, because the landlord will need to deal with WINZ to arrange the direct payments. At least a tenant will have to ask the landlord to sign forms to hand in to WINZ. Some landlords will not bother, because they may not like making agreements with beneficiaries, even though such discrimination is not allowed. They would be able to get away with it though by using other excuses.

    The system will be an administrative nightmare, and the case manager already overworked with dealing with extra reviews for unemployed, handling more medical certificates for sickness-beneficiaries, plus performing numerous other tasks now necessary as a consequency of the intro duction of Future Focus policies, will be even more stress. As we know WINZ does not get extra staff, as all departments have to operate within strict budgets.

    This new regime has more or less already been drawn up, and we are being drip fed.

    One day the unemployed, sick and disabled “job seekers” will all be work-tested, eventually housed in cheap, boarding house style accommodation (modern “poor houses”), forced to take up any “suitable” training, work or study. Any non complience will lead to benefit cuts and cancellations. Those that think this is harmless, do not understand the approach being used. It is the beginning of something bigger coming up.

    So if National will get voted back in again, this is what will be in store for all that will face losing their jobs for longer periods, that will be sick, disabled, a sole parent and depend on the state for support. We are possibly returning to the times of “poor houses”, “work houses” or “work shops” for the poor and incapacitated. Do not forget, Housing NZ will also throw thousands off waiting lists soon, who are deemed as not being in urgent need for such assistance!

    There is one hope though. The introduction of the payment cards may be illegal, because treating certain groups of people (based on age, illness or disability, or some other criteria written in law) in a discriminating way raises serious questions of law.

    Hence legal experts may soon raise this and deliver critical views re the plans by Key and consorts. The whole plan may be against the Human Rights Act and the NZ Bill of Rights Act anyway. This should be researched further, and opinions should hopefully flow in.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Labour should lambast the NAT plan and present workable, fairer, dignified alternatives.

      • just saying 9.1.1

        Never going to happen. This hate campaign has been unchallenged for three long years now. Labour doesn’t care about beneficiaries. You know that CV.

        • HC 9.1.1.1

          A fair few of these “ideas” that National presents are not at all new, they had already been discussed amongst experts in the top echelons of MSD under the previous government, and some of course were suggested to MSD by experts from outside, who may have been commissioned to work on various projects.

          I may mention that the whole “advisory” regime under Principal Health Advisor and Principal Disability Advisor, who mentor, supervise and instruct Regional Health Advisors, Regional Disability Advisors and Health and Disability Coordinators (based in the Regional Offices of MSD) was established under Labour in 2007.

          They are involved in the now massive re-assessment of sickness and invalid’s beneficiaries, who under Future Focus are now en masse being down scaled according to new criteria, and eventually work tested.

          It is fair to say that they have provided a lot of advice to the top re how to reform the system re work testing for sickness beneficiaries and so forth.

          The MSD has a lot of staff that work on “improvements” internally, and ideas like the Payment Card may actually already have existed long ago under the previous government, but not yet been implemented. The MSD is a massive organisation and have their own “experts”, so National would to a fair degree rely also on knowledge, ideas and suggestions that were already in the making.

          It was under Labour that the idea of putting more emphasis on the ability of sickness and invalid’s beneficiaries to return to and to do some forms of work did already exist. Labour actually started reforms in this direction! The difference between Labour and National is though, that Labour did rather take the carrot approach, than the stick approach. National does now of course primarily focus on the stick approach.

      • insider 9.1.2

        Yeah I can really see them going into an election saying: ‘hey taxpayers, we think it’s a good idea that beneficiaries should be able to buy alcohol and tobacco with the money you provide.’

        That should attract what? Dozens of votes?

    • weka 9.2

      The privacy act too.
       

      Some beneficiaries may be able to get accommodation by not revealing that they live off a benefit. That will in future no longer be possible, because the landlord will need to deal with WINZ to arrange the direct payments. At least a tenant will have to ask the landlord to sign forms to hand in to WINZ. Some landlords will not bother, because they may not like making agreements with beneficiaries, even though such discrimination is not allowed. They would be able to get away with it though by using other excuses.
       

      I think there will be ways around this. They won’t be able to write into legislation that youth beneficiaries must have their rent paid direct to a landlord, because that would remove rights of privacy and in some cases deny youth access to benefits. So it will be at the policy level, and that’s always challengeable. As it stand currently, beneficiaries can refuse to give landlord details to WINZ eg where they can make a case that the landlord will discriminate against them if they find out they are on a benefit.

      • Deadly_NZ 9.2.1

        Yeah but if you get a handful of teens in a flat with nothing to do No money, tons of food, crappy tv, and a big sound system. They will just text a come, one come all, bring alcohol to all their mates have a huge open party. Alcohol to be supplied in return for for big feeds 500 turn up bringing enough alcohol to pickle the ark. House gets demolished in the ensuing mayhem. Police, Fire, and Ambulance are called 500 teens have caused millions of dollars in damage, and WINZ would be blamed, and would get the bill because they just decided to forget about the support, saved another 25 mil.

        Sounds far fetched??

        Tui Ad Time

    • Deadly_NZ 9.3

      I have a food card and it is way easier, than having to wait half a day or more to see someone (on an emergency appt), it’s way easier to use the call center ( until you have had 3 then you have to start through the budget advisor hoops, (and they can load the card immediately)) so you can use it at any pretty much most supermarkets and you can split your shopping over the three we have here in Levin. Also the old way was a signed piece of paper locking you into one supermarket, at least with the card you can chase the bargains. But to use it as a club to lock people into no cigs and no alcohol (as it should) but how long before the food police are let lose on the list, to come up with a ‘correct food list’ (Basically nothing allowed that Pudding Bennet would eat)

      • HC 9.3.1

        OK the payment card is acceptable in its present form – being used for shopping under the Special Needs Grant for food provision. I know that it is better than the credit letters they used before. But this card should not be allowed to replace the present system where beneficiaries get their total weekly benefit paid into bank accounts.

        Taking out the amount calculated for groceries and personal care items and only paying it out through these payment cards is unacceptable. It creates total inflexibilities, because the shopping is not the same each week, because certain items last longer and others less than a week.

        What can be acceptable to enforce that the payment card is issued to beneficiaries who have a record ob proven abuse of spending their money on non essentials, like for persons who have gambling, alcohol or drug issues and cannot manage properly without certain controls being put into place.

        That must be proved though, and the client should have a right to raise her or his points of view re the suggested steps by WINZ. That is natural justice.

        To simply make it a mandatory system of payment for certain age groups, or for all unemployed, sick or invalids on benefits, that is unacceptable, because it is unjustified and smells like discrimination (see Human Rights Act and NZ BORA).

        I should be challenged under the law if it ever is seriously implemented, and that is what I do expect.

        The same should apply with mandatory direct payments of rents or electricity or water charges. Such standard costs should be covered by the benefits paid into bank accounts and payed by clients themselves. Only if clients have a proven record of not being able to manage their expenses properly, then there may be a point to enforce such direct payments.

        • just saying 9.3.1.1

          Only if clients have a proven record of not being able to manage their expenses properly, then there may be a point to enforce such direct payments

          So, only those who have no other income, or loved ones who pay at least some of their bills then. Because if a person is living solely on the benefit there is no way they can manage their finances properly. There is simply not enough money.

          But that’s good because it means luckier and more well-connected benes would escape with a teeny bit of dignity.

          Maybe rioting and other violence are the only way that those at the bottom will ever be able to get listened to. And that would be really sad.

      • Treetop 9.3.2

        Deadly_NZ I do not think that the three is just food. I think think that it is any non recoverable SNG e.g. emergency tooth extraction.

        Hard to explain how they deduct what your discretionary food grant amount is as it is not a full entitlement amount each year, it is worked out as the balance in a 12 month period and the date shifts. A bit like what you have left to pay on a lay by is what you can apply for.

        • Treetop 9.3.2.1

          Just looked at the food grant in the SNG Programme and see that it is changed to not exceeding the amount you quailfy for in a 26 week period.

  10. William Joyce 10

    I wonder if the advisers to National suggested that benes in NZ should be treated like the aborigines of the NT?
     
    The approach is 

    Quarantining of a proportion of welfare benefits to all recipients in the designated communities and of all benefits of those who neglect their children

     
    Sound awfully familiar?

  11. Cin77 11

    I hate this idea. Whats it supposed to be teaching people? How to budget? Yes, I’m sure that will work. Taking the actual control of money away from someone is definitely going to show them how to budget. Or is it to scare people into employment that isn’t even there?

    And no one in power seems to be sticking up for the little guys! How loud do we have to yell to be heard?

    • Bill 11.1

      And no one in power seems to be sticking up for the little guys! How loud do we have to yell to be heard?

      And Labour have the gall to complain about the msm not listening to them! Kettle. Pot.

  12. aerobubble 12

    Does WINZ train its staff to deal with the agression and anger that has recently be seen
    in UK, or even in Hamilton where some girls strip and tortured a man, seems every
    day now government is attack youth rights. From driving, to we don’t trust youth to grow
    up fantasy cards. Did you know Hamilton has one of the highest populations of young people
    in NZ. Does National serious thin it can take West Hamilton in Nov?

    • HC 12.1

      Well, I don’t know about Hamilton, but here in Auckland just about every WINZ office I know of has a security guard at hand for any kind of “incident” at any time. I once saw a poor old Maori guy get treaspassed from an office, because he appeared a bit drunk and may have raised some issues. They called the cops who took him away. These security doods are not there for fun and for nothing. That tells you something about what goes on, because they are really afraid, because some beneficiaries, who got a tough deal, they really hate these guys working at WINZ.

      I have met some who had some real crazy ideas, and who knows, one day incidents like in London may happen here also.

  13. mik e 13

    Paula bennitto and lord haw haw have shot themselves in the foot over a letter

    • HC 13.1

      Yes, that is GOOD NEWS! And with a little bit more “fire” shot at her, I have some hope, that this silly enforced payment-card idea may indeed be put to rest after all. It was a very, very embarassing day for Don Key and Paula Pudding Belly Bennett today in Parliament! Have a look at question time on the Parliament website, or on Parliament TV at 10 pm tonight, if you have time and the chance to do so. It was quite delightful to see John Key and Phil Goff throw contradicting figures about youth unemployment at each other, and it was a total delight to see fat Bennett get hammered by Annette King later in the question time hour. No wonder it was the first item on TV3 news tonight. We need more days like this, and then – who knows, John Key may get his chance to retire at his holday home on Hawaii after 26 November.

  14. Campbell Larsen 14

    From Australia – where nonsense is already playing out, a glimpse of our future under a National govt:

    ‘WELFARE recipients could be segregated into different queues at shops under an ”apartheid system” that will force them to spend at least half of their money on essential items at government-approved retailers.

    Business groups have condemned a federal government plan to control the spending of up to 20,000 people across the country by effectively making them shop at a handful of the biggest retail chains. And the Law Council of Australia has warned that the change could be discriminatory.’

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/welfare-card-pays-out-on-poor-20110806-1igid.html

    • mik e 14.1

      It sounds like an Italian opera with Joyce insisting things must be done his way the holiday highway must be done just like bennitto mussolini built a dead straight motorway so he could drive to the beach.Now the Bennitto swipe card [food stamps] we could call it the Macabre.A couple of oxymorons in there for good measure.

  15. Descendant Of Smith 15

    I’m a little late pasting here but had to go back through a few things and do some checking.

    In the 80′s after interest rates went up to like 22.5% in my case and rents followed there were two quite strong attacks on beneficiaries – along similar lines to now.

    One was landlords wanting their rent taken out of beneficiaries payments and the other was the notion of control over what was being spent by individuals.

    As advocates back then a bit of a battle was fought with the local office over these things.

    Fortunately the OIA had come in and we used that to get copies of all the staff training manuals and policies. Today you have access to the same thing here:

    http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/manuals-and-procedures.html

    I can’t remember which advocate groups lobbied for this to be online but it’s great that it is. These are the policies and procedures for staff.

    Part of what we identified at the time was that it was illegal for someone to require someones benefit to be paid to them. In fact you can be fined for doing this.

    Section 82

    (3) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, every instalment of a benefit shall be paid to or on account of the beneficiary personally:

    provided that for good cause the chief executive may, in the chief executive’s discretion, direct that payment of the whole or any part of an instalment, or any number of instalments, be paid-

    (a) to or on account of some other person authorised by the beneficiary or, in the case of a beneficiary who lacks sufficient capacity in law, to any person appointed by the chief executive for the purpose of receiving it; or

    (b) with or without the consent of the beneficiary-
    (i) to any person in payment of the beneficiary’s lawful debts or other liabilities:
    (ii)to, or for the benefit of, the spouse or partner of the beneficiary or any dependent child or children of the beneficiary.

    So step one is by law benefits must be paid to you personally.
    Step two money can be paid to someone else only if good cause exists.

    This protects people on benefit from not only predatory landlords, debt collectors etc but also form overzealous or morally judgmental staff and politicians. The law itself clearly finds that people are capable of looking after and organising themselves.

    Section 84 offers further protection:
    Benefits to be inalienable

    (1)Subject to the provisions of the Family Benefits (Home Ownership) Act 1964, or the Child Support Act 1991 or the Student Loan Scheme Act 1992 and of section 82, no benefit shall be capable of being assigned or charged or of passing to any other person by operation of law.

    (2) Every person commits an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100, who demands or accepts from any beneficiary any benefit order or any acknowledgement or undertaking where that demand, acceptance, acknowledgement, or undertaking would constitute a legal or an equitable assignment of or a charge upon any benefit if the benefit were capable of being legally assigned or charged.

    The government should never be the landlords or power companies or any other private businesses lackeys. There is no reason private enterprise should have any more call over a beneficiary income than they do over a waged or salary income.

    I wonder how many of these people supporting this are pissed off landlords who are chasing rent – including those political tossers suggesting this.

    Not surprisingly many of them own rental properties. Why the poor should be subject to more draconian rules than someone who actually has the money to pay things but doesn’t is beyond me.

    As for the comments about Labour not caring about the poor – I’ve made the point many a time that their political choice to increase NZS by $20-00 when they came into power but not benefits was shameful and remains so.

    The fact that they still won’t correct that says a lot about where they are at – simply National co-horts. There record is good in many areas but helping the poorest isn’t one of them.

    • HC 15.1

      Thanks for this!

      Yes, that link is useful, and it can be seen on the WINZ website, which rules and guidelines staff have to follow when handling various case management matters.

      It is also good to know the Social Security Act 1964 and relevant regulations.

      Due to the present plans of the government there is to be expected:

      a) a major rewrite of the Social Security Act 1964, or (more likely)
      b) a totally new Social Security Act, which will incorporate major recommendations by the WWG!

      So the law is likely to change – provided National wins the election and can form the next government. Most beneficiaries do not know details of the law, so they are easy targets for case managers and other staff working for MSD.

      The Manuals and Procedures online do not cover every instructions, guidelines and internal processes, because there is also the hierarchy of various advisors involved in decisionmaking now over health and disability issues, which was established under the previous government.

      1 Principal Health Advisor and 1 Principal Disability Advisor supervise, mentor and instruct a number of Regional Health Advisors, Regional Disability Advisors and Health and Disability Coordinators, who now have a lot of input in decisions regarding second opinions on medical conditions, regarding the way WINZ and MSD work with medical professionals and various treatment providers.

      The Act does not even mention those professionals working for WINZ and MSD, and it is very hard to get information about how they work, and what input they exactly have. Only very general information is available on the website.

      • Descendant Of Smith 15.1.1

        It sounds like you must be involved in some sort of advocacy work.

        Ultimately the decisions are reviewable and any evidence or opinion the department uses to make their decision should be supplied as part of that review, or individuals can request a copy of the relevant information used to make decisions under the Privacy Act.

        Using either of those options is quite a powerful in illuminating decisions.

        • HC 15.1.1.1

          Well I am not presently involved in advocacy work, but this may change. I am though involved in a legal matter that addresses some of the aspects mentioned. Also have I first hand experience with WINZ, having been a beneficiary, how they treat you, and what law is involved and can be helpful. I know it is quite a hard basket to deal with, but some of us are able to read it, understand it and maybe use it. Some lawyers I have spoken to, and some literature I have digested myself on law, have opened my eyes a bit. It is quite revealing and helpful to do all this. WINZ and MSD do like most government agencies and representatives play on the general ignorance of the people they deal with. Once you know what goes on, and once you take a strong position (backed up with relevant info and legal arguments), then they suddenly treat you very, very differently.

          Protests and other actions are good, and more of those are definitely needed. But sadly in the system we have, that alone may not be enough.

    • Bill 15.2

      Useful link DoS.

      Wish you hadn’t submitted it so late at night though. Almost missed it.

      One comment on the manuals and procedures though. I think I’m correct in saying that is only the departments own interpretation of the legislation. So it’s not where you want to be looking if you are challenging them. What you want is the legislation itself (which, unfortunately, is a pigs ear…a dogs breakfast…or whatever other what-dya-ma-call-it you’d apply to such a badly drafted and torturous to dissemble hodge podge.)

      The legisaltion does need to be over hauled. I believe Labour ran from it and put it in the ‘too hard’ basket. And so now it looks like we’ll get those nice Nats nuking it and leaving a legislative wasteland of despair behind.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Not all photo ops are welcomed events…
    . From Facebook… .   . Nasty. [Hat-tip: Kris] . . = fs =Filed under: Odd, Conspiracies, & Other Weird Stuff, The Body Politic Tagged: Cameron Slater, Dear Leader John Key...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-04
  • Not all photo ops are welcomed events…
    . From Facebook… .   . Nasty. [Hat-tip: Kris] . . = fs =Filed under: Odd, Conspiracies, & Other Weird Stuff, The Body Politic Tagged: Cameron Slater, Dear Leader John Key...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-04
  • Letter to the Editor: The power of the vote
    . . FROM: "f.macskasy" SUBJECT: Letters to the editor DATE: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:38:19 +1200 TO: "Sunday Star Times" <letters@star-times.co.nz> . The Editor SUNDAY STAR TIMES . This year, if every Labour, Green, Mana, and Internet Party supporter finds...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-04
  • Letter to the Editor: The power of the vote
    . . FROM: "f.macskasy" SUBJECT: Letters to the editor DATE: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:38:19 +1200 TO: "Sunday Star Times" <letters@star-times.co.nz> . The Editor SUNDAY STAR TIMES . This year, if every Labour, Green, Mana, and Internet Party supporter finds...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-04
  • High St Crossing Fixed
    You might remember a post from a while ago where Kent outlined a slightly silly situation at the top of High St. He noted pedestrians wanting to walk along Victoria St were forced to wait out a full cycle of...
    Transport Blog | 20-04
  • My name is Brian and I’m a TV addict (not in recovery).
    My name is Brian and I’m a TV addict (not in recovery). I thought it was time to let you in on some of the better  flat screen drugs currently available on the market. You’ll note that there are NO...
    Brian Edwards | 20-04
  • Drones in Yemen; policy in Wellington – ‘conflation’ or global think...
    The news on Wednesday that one of the people killed in a US drone strike over Yemen last year was a New Zealander came as sobering news. The question of how to deal with international conflict in the 21st century,...
    frogblog | 20-04
  • What to do with the Civic building
    News this week that the future of the council’s civic building is uncertain once the council move out of it later this year and move to the old ASB tower on the corner of Albert and Wellesley St. The future...
    Transport Blog | 19-04
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #16
    6 things you need to know about reducing emissions Climate change and desertification a threat to social stability Climate concerns in a time of growing ‘climate fatigue’? Costs of climate change may prove high for future Drunken trees: dramatic signs...
    Skeptical Science | 19-04
  • Time for a local drone strike policy
    A message from Arthur McGee, founder of and spokesperson for the Commonsense Corrections Society...
    Imperator Fish | 19-04
  • AT Bouquets and Brickbats from the severe weather
    There’s a lot that Auckland Transport do that we criticise them for and I so always like being able to give them praise when they deserve it. As such this is just a quick post to say that I thought...
    Transport Blog | 19-04
  • Greens: Everywhere they look, Peters is there
    It's not bad strategy, it's not bad planning. It's not their fault at all. But unless the polls move dramatically in the next few months, the Greens are backed into an uncomfortable political corner. New Zealand First has them by the,...
    Pundit | 19-04
  • Varying explanations
    I had reason recently, in the context of discussion about a disingenuous lobby group peddling some of its “non-partisan” wares, to remember the quote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not...
    The Paepae | 18-04
  • Mighty River Rail: A Fresh Future?
    Looking at a number of separate but current issues got me thinking about the possibility of the return of passenger services on the existing rail lines through the Waikato. These include: The potential appeal of well connected and well designed...
    Transport Blog | 18-04
  • Global warming can’t be blamed on CFCs – another one bites the ...
    A paper published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B by the University of Waterloo's Qing-Bin Lu last year claimed that solar activity and human chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions, not carbon emissions, could explain the observed global warming over the...
    Skeptical Science | 18-04
  • The Road Marking Dance
    A neat video showing two clearly experienced guys painting doing road marking. Note to AT, see how easy it is to mark a street, perhaps you could get some people doing the same thing but instead of saying BUS STOP...
    Transport Blog | 18-04
  • Boundary changes
    The new electorate boundaries which will govern the election came out yesterday, and I have now had a little time to digest the final changes. Here are my three reactions. 1. Meh One of the nice things about MMP is...
    Polity | 18-04
  • There are no human rights on a dead planet
    Yesterday I spoke at the International Association of Democratic Lawyers congress in Brussels. In the audience there were over 500 hundred progressive lawyers from over 50 countries. Many of these lawyers focus on human rights issues. I called on the...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 18-04
  • Families before commerce at Easter
    Date of Release: Friday, April 18, 2014Body:  The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions."Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each...
    First Union Media | 17-04
  • Could this man be Prime Minister of New Zealand?
    If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ll know that I have in the past written some pretty scathing posts on Labour’s Shane Jones. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve dismissed him not only as...
    Brian Edwards | 17-04
  • Movies, feminism and postfeminism
    So, a confession: I've never really liked biographical movies about women I otherwise admire. I'm not entirely sure why - there's something about the cliches they indulge in, the Hollywood-isation. (She lapses into total vagueness revealing, yet again, that she...
    The Hand Mirror | 17-04
  • Barabbas – An Easter Story
    "All I know is that he died and I live. Maybe it’s what lies at the heart of that day."  “YOU’RE A HARD MAN TO FIND!”, exclaimed the sharp-featured young fellow, setting a jug of wine upon the table. “I’ve...
    Bowalley Road | 17-04
  • Low Traffic Forecast For Costly Warkworth Toll Road
    This is the fourth 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 | 17-04
  • Mitigation of Climate Change – Part 3 of the new IPCC report
          Guest post by Brigitte Knopf             Global emissions continue to rise further and this is in the first place due to economic growth and to a lesser extent to population growth. To...
    Real Climate | 17-04
  • A message from Greenpeace about Simon Bridges
    I received this email today, from Greenpeace; . Hi Frank, We’ve called for Simon Bridges to be sacked over his incompetent mishandling of the Energy and Resources portfolio. The final straw was him opening the Victoria Forest Park up for...
    Frankly Speaking | 17-04
  • A message from Greenpeace about Simon Bridges
    I received this email today, from Greenpeace; . Hi Frank, We’ve called for Simon Bridges to be sacked over his incompetent mishandling of the Energy and Resources portfolio. The final straw was him opening the Victoria Forest Park up for...
    Frankly Speaking | 17-04
  • Letter to the Editor: John Key and State-sanctioned murder
    . . FROM: "f.macskasy" SUBJECT: Letters to the editor DATE: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:56:14 +1200 TO: "Dominion Post" <letters@dompost.co.nz>  . The Editor DOMINION POST . A New Zealand citizen is killed - murdered, to be more precise - by...
    Frankly Speaking | 17-04
  • Letter to the Editor: John Key and State-sanctioned murder
    . . FROM: "f.macskasy" SUBJECT: Letters to the editor DATE: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:56:14 +1200 TO: "Dominion Post" <letters@dompost.co.nz>  . The Editor DOMINION POST . A New Zealand citizen is killed - murdered, to be more precise - by...
    Frankly Speaking | 17-04
  • Judith Collins explains
    Judith Collins explains what really happened at that dinner, and why it's no big deal....
    Imperator Fish | 17-04
  • Citibanker: the age of renewables is here
    Kathryn Ryan’s interview earlier this week with Michael Eckhart, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental Finance and Sustainability at the giant investment bank Citigroup was arresting. He was in New Zealand as a keynote speaker at the Wind Energy...
    Hot Topic | 17-04
  • Media Links: Kiwi killed in drone strike.
    I did interviews on TV 3 and Radio NZ about the drone strike that killed a Kiwi dual citizen in Yemen last year. There are many questions raised by the incident, but time constraints precluded addressing all of them. The...
    Kiwipolitico | 17-04
  • Photo of the Day: Lorne St
    A quick shot of Lorne St in front of the library. It appears Brobdingnagian gardeners have dropped by with some seriously big pot plants. I love them! About the only criticism I every heard about the shared space in Lorne...
    Transport Blog | 17-04
  • National: American lickspittles
    Yesterday we learned that America had murdered a New Zealand citizen in a drone strike in Yemen. Today, the government was closely quizzed about its views on this in Parliament. Steven Joyce (standing in for the PM) was very clear:...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • A $130 million gift to the rich
    When the government announced that it was selling off Genesis Energy, it deliberately underpriced it, with a discounted price, generous bonus scheme, and huge dividend. And today that has had the expected result, with Genesis shares leaping almost 20% on...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Defamation via Facebook and ‘a private website’
    This defamation case should be a shot across the bows of various internet wide-boys who think ‘defence of truth’ or ‘opinion honestly held’ is some kind of magic elixir or Get Out of Jail Free card. It’s worth noting the...
    The Paepae | 17-04
  • Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink
    It is three years and one day since Danyl wrote this blog post about South Canterbury Finance. I was re-reading it today, and something stuck out like a sore thumb: December 2008: SCF undertakes a high risk loan strategy, losing...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 17-04
  • Access: I Can’t See You, But You Should See Me
    Being lost for words when you’re a talkback host could hardly be considered ideal. But back in September of 1992, I was hosting an evening talkback show on a fledgling radio station in what was then a newly deregulated, highly...
    Public Address | 17-04
  • Judith Collins: guess who’s coming to dinner?
    Judith Collins, Justice Minister, is playing dumb in parliament at question time and avoiding media. Her patronising responses, or non-responses, to allegations of corrupt influence is not becoming of a Cabinet Minister.  Her abuse of the House by criticising questions...
    Tumeke | 17-04
  • Can fracking save the climate?
    Blogging is a great way MPs can communicate and engage with citizens about the issues facing us. I have joined The Daily Blog blogging team and have so far posted on Anadarko’s failure to find oil and a piece outlining...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • New Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Labour’s manufacturing plan
    David Cunliffe has launched Labour's policy to get more manufacturing jobs back in New Zealand: Labour leader David Cunliffe launched the policy to an Auckland business audience this morning, adding the depreciation and procurement policies to the known suite of...
    Polity | 17-04
  • Easter PT shutdown
    It’s Easter weekend and that invariably means the rail network is shut down for works. Auckland Transport advises the rail network will be closed for Easter and there are changes to timetables for buses and ferries during the holiday break....
    Transport Blog | 17-04
  • Another perspective on the postgraduate allowance cuts
    I have already shared two stories from psychology students about how the postgraduate allowance cuts have affected them. These stories demonstrate the widespread impact the changes are having. Here is yet another story I have received, this one giving the...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • Against secret "justice" in NZ
    Last year, in response to a series of court cases challenging its control orders or claiming compensation for human rights abuses by its intelligence services, the UK passed the Justice and Security Act 2013. The Act introduces a "Closed Material...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Massey chancellor sets up company in opposition to university
    Massey Chancellor Chris Kelly will chair the board of a company that intends to be New Zealand’s largest private training provider (PTE)...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Gibbs, Hayek, Canterbury and the free market for degrees
    The New Zealand Herald notes that philanthropist Alan Gibbs is about to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury today. One of the many institutions Alan Gibbs has donated his money to...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Record Store Day
    As readers will know, I have long embraced the internet music revolution. The ability to discover and download new things pretty much as they're being made has reinvented and refreshed my lifelong relationship with popular music. But I still really...
    Public Address | 16-04
  • Great Sorkin Parody
    Aaron Sorkin (SportsNight, The West Wing, The Newsroom) makes a very particular style of TV. Some good parts to that, some really silly parts. Amy Schumer' Comedy Central parody of Sorkin is pitch-prefect and hilarious. Enjoy: Inside Amy SchumerGet More:...
    Polity | 16-04
  • Photographic proof
    Deborah asked for a picture of my bicycle, after I wrote about it, and there is now one in existence which even includes me riding it along Mt Albert Rd, thanks to a dear friend who drove past me and...
    The Hand Mirror | 16-04
  • Our future lies in science
    This is not a column on global warming, climate change or whether humans are or aren’t having an impact....
    Pundit | 16-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • 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
  • Why Easter holidays should always be mandatory and retail free
    The moaning from retailers that they can’t open the cash registers and worship the consumer culture of consumption over Easter bores me immensely because I’ve always believed that public holidays should be mandatory. It’s not that I really care about...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Why punish the parents of the disabled?
    Parents who have adult children with disabilities saw a glimmer of hope when the promise for payment for caring for their children was given. But like most things, the complicated and relentless bureaucracy of the whole process shows a completely...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Our government: still no idea
    Happy Easter everyone, bad weather aside. A previous post of mine was called “The Government with no ideas”.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of the piece was of a current government thoroughly absent of any creative ideas or solutions to assist more...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • 12 things Forbes has to say about NZs about to burst economic bubble
    Forbes is not known for their socialist or left wing activism, so when they predict a grim economic failure, we should should collectively poo ourselves a little. National often get given this perception that somehow they are better economic mangers....
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • That Sinking Feeling: Labour’s urgent need for persuasive words and coura...
    THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has Labour on 28.5 percent (down 3.5 percent) and the Greens on 11.5 percent (down 1.5 percent). At 40 percent, the combined vote of the two main centre-left parties has fallen 5 percentage points since...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Why the Labour movement should support a Universal Basic Income
    The Mana movement’s support of the idea of a universal basic income is a welcome development. It could become one of the litmus issues that define the party and prove extremely popular. If Mana are in a position to do...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Legal high and cannabis regulation
    I marched through Henderson last month with my fellow Westies to express our concern about the impact of so called “legal highs” on our community. Some people chanted loudly calling for banning, some expressing anger at the parliamentarians who voted...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • GUEST BLOG: Daniel Bruce – Internet Party: What Seems Ridiculous To The O...
    Imagine you’re a 18-21 year old, from a working class family. You’ve never had a landline phone at home, because your parents can’t afford the fixed monthly bills, so everyone in your familiy has a pre-pay mobile phone. Because of the same tight...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members’ ballot. “It’s...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | Press Release Christchurch cannot afford to lose this agency The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Resignation rates among cops soar The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Work visa problems need monitoring The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today. The report...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • The issues behind the possible MANA-Internet Party Alliance
      Last weekend Kim Dotcom spoke at MANAs AGM to discuss the possibility of the Internet Party and MANA Party working together to defeat John Key this election. As someone who knows both Hone and Kim, I have a unique...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Manufacturing Upgrade   Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.   – The claims and opinions...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Get work on 29th and the ANZAC spirit deserts the TPPA
      Groser and co would have been spitting tacks last week as the ANZAC spirit deserted the TPPA negotiations. Australia has done a deal directly with Japan which undercuts the demand for Japan to opening all agriculture in the TPPA....
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • No fracking solution to climate change
    Some British tabloids and oil lobbyists have jumped on comments made by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author that fracking could play a role in addressing climate change as an argument for it here in Aotearoa, so is fracking...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: At Last: A Manufacturing Policy Date of Release:  Thursday, April 17, 2014 Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister
    Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference. Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Secret Policeman’s Ball
      Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball is back in New Zealand for one night of some of the best stand-up comedy from both national and international comics The freedom to provoke and in some cases offend is essential to the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • 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
  • Tariana Turia: Labour doesn’t deserve our vote
    Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote. ‘I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more....
    Scoop politics | 20-04
  • Family Court Consumers Group appalled at legal rort
    Family Court Consumers Group appalled at Lawyer for Child's "1 meeting in 10 years" taxpayer funded legal rort...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Manufacturing Matters to New Zealand – 17 April
    The Labour Party announcement today recognises the simple truth that the manufacturing sector really matters to New Zealand’s economy as a whole, based on the part manufacturing plays in the growth of the added value element in the tradable sector,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum
    Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director, Aaron Hape, has been selected to represent New Zealand at 33Fifty, the Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei
    Greens propose new ministerial disclosure regime based on British rules, requiring quarterly declarations of ministers' meetings, travel and hospitality....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Politicians Should Maintain Workers’ Easter Break
    Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve a break to spend time with their families. “This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews experts on Antacrtica
    Lisa Owen interviews Chuck Kennicutt and Gary Wilson on Antarctica Headlines: Top Antarctic scientists warns New Zealand "not ready" for worst as ice shelves and sea ice in Antarctica retreat and the climate changes Gary Wilson: "Can...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Beyond the State – NZ State Houses from Modest to Modern
    As part of the our 'Active Hand of Government' series for 2014, we present Bill McKay, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, speaking to his new publication....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Global unions applaud NZ ‘slave ships’ progress
    Global unions the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) today applauded the steps forward made in preventing often shocking abuse of crews on fishing vessels in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Families before commerce at Easter
    Families before commerce at Easter The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions. "Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Easter trading laws archaic, in need of overhaul
    Press release: ACT New Zealand Easter trading laws are outdated and in need of a major overhaul, said ACT leader Jamie Whyte today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
    A 67-year-old former company director, convicted of stealing pokie machine profits, was today sentenced to six months community detention, 160 hours of community work and ordered to make reparation of $6,000....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • “Legitimate purpose” provides no protection under 167 form
    On Radio New Zealand today, the Privacy Commissioner indicated that ACC could only request information that was "relevant" for a "legitimate purpose". His view was therefore that the ACC167 form is not a "blank cheque" or...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • State: still keeping you safe on the road this Easter
    The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Govt plan for community input into residential red zone
    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a community participation process for the public to have a say on the future use of the residential red zone....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Governor-General to visit Turkey
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Turkey next week to lead New Zealand’s representation at the annual Gallipoli commemorations....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Actions of Police prior to death in custody were justified
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority on the death of Adam Palmer while in Police custody found the actions of Police were justified during the arrest. The report also found that Police took all possible steps to try...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • New Electorate Boundaries Finalised
    New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. The 2014 Representation Commission has completed its statutory role of reviewing and redrawing electorate...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Save The Children Welcomes Strengthening Children’s Rights
    Save the Children New Zealand welcomes a new treaty which allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour takes manufacturing seriously
    Labour takes manufacturing seriously Manufacturing workers and employers will all benefit from economic policies announced today by the Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the announcement...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Manufacturing policy welcomed
    “Today’s announcement of Labour’s manufacturing policy is very welcome,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. “Just as many other developed countries are realising, having a strong manufacturing sector pays off in good jobs, retaining...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence
    New Zealand Police are hoping to reduce the number of victims from alcohol related crime by asking the public to say ‘Yeah, Nah’ more often this holiday weekend....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Dunne Speaks
    Dunne Speaks 17 April 2014 There have been a number of harrowing cases presented this week about the impact of psychoactive substances on vulnerable young people. At one level, the tales are deeply disturbing. It is awful to see anyone...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Research announcement welcomed
    A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    At Last: A Manufacturing Policy FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company,...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Republic campaigners still positive after royal visit
    "Campaigners for a New Zealand Head of State are still feeling positive after ten days of royal events" says NZ Republic Chair, Savage. "Our polling before the visit showed increased support for a kiwi head of state. We have a...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Selling homes to foreigners benefits New Zealanders
    Winston Peters has apparently convinced David Cunliffe that when foreigners buy New Zealand property they make New Zealanders worse off. Mr Cunliffe has announced his intention to adopt Winston Peters’ policy of banning foreigners from buying...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations
    Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?
    Paying seafarers at least a minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 has applied to the New Zealand fishing industry for more than 30 years. It was, and is, a basic protection which had two universals – it was...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014
    Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014 Kiwis across the country are getting together over a cuppa to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty in the developing world. They’re getting involved in Oxfam’s Morning Tea, a fun and...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • 1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know How
    1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know Where to Go...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award
    Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third - The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation with 25% or more foreign ownership) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories: economic dominance...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere