web analytics
The Standard

Time to end perception of degrees for sale

Written By: - Date published: 6:14 pm, December 4th, 2013 - 49 comments
Categories: education, tertiary education - Tags:

The All Blacks do not give out honorary test caps to the chief financial officer of insurance sponsor AIG. Politicians no longer give seats in a House of Lords to their almsgivers and patrons. Perhaps it is time to question why our most prestigious universities give away honorary doctorates to significant benefactors.

A couple of weeks ago Victoria University of Wellington announced it would confer an honorary degree on long-time donor and business leader Paul Baines. The university lists Mr Baines in its annual report as a member of its Benefactors’ Circle, which comprises its “most significant donors and sponsors”. To qualify as a member of the Benefactors’ Circle, Mr Baines has to have donated at least $10,000 to the university.

Now, I have nothing against Mr Baines. I do not know who he is. The university’s media release on his award lists his many significant contributions to the university and to New Zealand’s business community, not all of them financial. He may be as worthy as any other honorary degree recipient.

However, most of the people who cross the Michael Fowler Centre stage and graduate with a doctorate next month will have studied at the highest level for many years to earn their qualification. Their degrees recognise hard work and academic excellence. When universities give them away to people who have not studied it undermines the honour they bestow upon their true students. All too often, universities give away honorary degrees in circumstances that appear be either about rewarding the university rather than the recipient, or rewarding the recipient for nothing more than making a financial donation – in other words, buying a doctorate.

Two common forms of this practice are universities awarding degrees to celebrities to bring prestige and publicity to that university, and universities awarding degrees to major financial donors in circumstances that outsiders may view either as rewards for the donations or an encouragement for keep the money flowing. Neither of these practices exhibits the academic integrity and respect for their students that one might expect of highly regarded institutions of learning.

Last year the New Zealand Herald revealed New Zealand universities spent more than $250,000 awarding honorary degrees to celebrities and visiting dignitaries. It listed celebrity recipients such as the Topp Twins, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Richie McCaw, Peter Jackson, Neil and Tim Finn, and former prime ministers Jim Bolger and Helen Clark.

Owen Glenn got an honorary degree from the University of Auckland after donating $7.5 million to its business school. Singaporean businessman Lee Seng Tee, funded a lecture series in Antarctic studies at Victoria University, and then received a doctorate. And Sir Eion Edgar funded the University of Otago Edgar Centre for Diabetes and Obesity Research in 2003, the same year he received an honorary doctorate there.

Among academics, there is no worse allegation than that one did not earn their degree, but instead bought it with either cash or favours. Perhaps it is time that New Zealand universities removed the perception of corruption that will continue to persist when they hand out degrees to major financial donors.

Some of the world’s most prestigious universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell, UCLA and Stanford, do not confer honorary degrees. Each has alternative awards they confer upon worthy members of the public instead.

New Zealand universities should follow these examples. We should let the world know there is only one way to receive a doctorate in New Zealand and that is by studying and working hard to earn the qualification. Certainly, we must honour members of the public for their achievements and their contributions but do not honour them with a degree they have not earned.

Alternatively, our universities may inadvertently end up in the company of institutions such as this.

Stephen Day
steven_dayTEU

49 comments on “Time to end perception of degrees for sale”

  1. red blooded 1

    I absolutely agree. It’s part of the creeping commercialisation of our education system: institutions (including schools) set up as competing enterprises, selling access to their facilities and expertise to overseas students in order to fund their services to the NZ kids (and thus creating a higher student-teacher ratio and a whole set of new demands on teachers), downgrading of teacher education to an apprenticeship-style model, charter schools staffed by people with no teacher training or experience, universities setting up “PPP”s to help fund research (with the inevitable effect that research that is not immediately commercially viable is unlikely to be funded)… It may seem like I’m getting off the point but these are all effects of taking a commercial model of thinking and applying it to education. Put that together with long term, chronic underfunding and what do you get? Donor doctorates.

    • millsy 1.1

      To be honest, I am sure that our universites would rather, if they could, just kick all the New Zealanders out of their campuses and just purely educate international students.

  2. Demi 2

    My husband took 7 yrs to do his doctorate in Science, we called it the mistress as it took him away from our family a lot. It was a hell of a lot of work and these honorary doctorates do diminish the work that was done. I like the idea of a separate system for people who donate money or are ex students etc.

  3. QoT 3

    At one of my graduations the valedictorian was a celebrity who’d been given an honorary degree. It annoyed me at the time because he wasn’t part of the student corps, he hadn’t done the work all of us were there to celebrate, and it felt very much like the university council expected us all to be impressed that Such An Important Person was deigning to share his thoughts with us, instead of one of our own peers.

    • rhinocrates 3.1

      I agree. These people are embarrassing, and show what cynical, mercenary contempt the university has for its real students and academics. They only declare that they’re diploma mills that have particularly high fees compared to the South American stereotypes when in fact their faculty that does real work is insulted by such money-grubbing.

      It’s shameful and any university that cares about its reputation – oh, sorry, I think “brand” is the word we use now – should cease this practise.

      Peter Jackson has an honorary degree. Whoop-de-fucking-do. OK, he’s made films that might be good or bad but in any case involved years of hard work and skill and made lots of money (from taxpayers). That’s fine, so let him take his money, his jet, his Oscar – but the shameful spectacle of a university trying to gain “prestige” by grabbing at his ankles so that it can be dragged along across the Hollywood red carpet is humiliating to those who submitted to the discipline of study.

      And if anyone wants to call me elitist, I say, “Fine, get a PhD through work and then tell me how easy it is.”

      • Murray Olsen 3.1.1

        Getting a PhD wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It required a lot of work, but I think cleaning toilets for 8 years would have been harder for me.

        I don’t really care much about honorary degrees. They’re something that exists on the administrative, management and financial level of the universities. These parts are only accidentally connected to the places where the actual academic work is done. What I do object to is the dumbing down of Bachelors and Masters degrees so that fee paying students will keep enrolling. As always, I blame all ACT governments since 1984 for this development. They’ve turned education into a commodity where, as long as the student pays, they get their diploma.

        • karol 3.1.1.1

          Agreed, MO.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1.1.2

          +1 MO

        • KJT 3.1.1.3

          Agree with Murray.

          Well. As I pretty much continued with a full time job/business while doing post graduate study I don’t think it is tha–at hard.

          With “Honorary degrees, so long as it is clear they are “honorary” degrees I don’t see a problem. It is a way of acknowledging someone who has contributed to the University or public life.

          If someone meets the requirements in another way, such as life achievements in the field then I consider they may well have earned a degree. (Not just an honorary one).

          The real issue, as Murray points out, is, the “bums on seats” degradation of standards.
          In one of my qualifications, for example, all the foreign fee paying students pass. Working with the graduates, I would say less than 40% meet the standard.
          The standard of NZ students has also dropped markedly with the reduction in on the job experience, and expansion of classroom time, so the tertiary institutions can get more fee paying “bums on seats”.

          The commercial model does not work for education.

          Neither does top down authoritarian management.
          (Does not work well for business either, except to justify grossly inflated salaries for managers).

          • Murray Olsen 3.1.1.3.1

            A PhD requires commitment and perseverance over a more or less extended period of time. It also allows the candidate to utilise their creativity, make a contribution to the discipline, follow their curiosity, and learn a hell of a lot about a specialised area. I saw it as far more of a rewarding opportunity than as hard work. Most of the work was enjoyable, challenging, and rewarding. The hardest part has been paying back the student loan.

            • KJT 3.1.1.3.1.1

              Yes. Having the time and resources, while at Uni to study interesting ideas and facts in depth was a privilege and a delight.

    • alwyn 3.2

      At the time when one of my nephews was graduating, after a lot of very hard study, one of the PhDs awarded by the University was a retired politician who was given an honorary degree. It annoyed my nephew because she wasn’t part of the student corp and hadn’t done the work.
      That was of course Helen Clark. I presume she will read this post, feel abjectly ashamed, and hand back her honorary degree on the grounds she hadn’t earned it.

      The best views on the subject were those of Richard Feynman, Physicist.
      “I remember the work I did to get a real degree at Princeton and the guys on the same platform receiving honorary degrees without work – and felt an “honorary degree” was a debasement of the idea of a “degree which confirms certain work has been accomplished”. It is like giving an “honorary electricians license” “.
      Feynman wrote this when rejecting an offer to confer on him an honorary degree. He never accepted such an award.

      Come on Helen. Give yours back.

  4. Philj 4

    Xox
    +1
    Monetisation of life itself. It’s the commodification and corruption
    of demockary.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    An honorary degree should have to apply to what a person has done in their life that would equate to doing an actual degree. It shouldn’t be awarded just because someone has donated to the university.

    • swordfish 5.1

      My thoughts entirely, Draco.

      In general, I think of honorary degrees as bordering on worthless. However, if, for example, someone went straight into journalism after leaving high school (ie no Uni), acquired a good deal of expertise on a particular subject over the years, and subsequently wrote a sophisticated, perhaps ground-breaking, book on the subject – then I think there is a place for universities to recognise that. Especially if it equates to – or goes beyond – the work required for a PhD.

  6. rhinocrates 6

    I agree totally. It’s like calling someone an “Honorary Dentist” – it’s just a joke at best, but at worst, honorary degrees are simony; they embarrass those who’ve worked hard to gain their degrees and undermine the integrity and intellectual value of universities, making them look like whores (and apologies to honest sex workers).

    A professor of mine said of higher study when he came to a crossroads in his career, “it was either a Porsche or a PhD”. He took the PhD and inspired generations through hard work. If you want a Porsche, pay for it, be happy with it and masturbate over it as much as you like.

    • rhinocrates 6.1

      edit fubar… to amend “as much as you like and don’t expect applause as well, Mr Jackson.”

  7. Thanks for the comments all. I should clarify that I’m not saying this guy bought a degree – just that the practice of honorary degrees creates an unhealthy perception that degrees can be and sometimes are bought. Some people will pay big money for status, and honorary degrees, although academically worthless, do carry significant status.

    Red Blooded – I don’t think you are off topic. The increasing commercialisation of tertiary education incentivises universities, wananga and polytechnics to act in increasing bizarre ways. Using honorary degrees to reward financial support is just one example of watering down academic credibility so as to meet commercial funders half way.

  8. rhinocrates 8

    Dunno how that happened, only posted once.

    FYI lprent, there seems to be a technical problem – first my comment didn’t appear at all, and shutting down Safari and restarting it and then clicking on The Standard showed that my reply had been duplicated. Please delete one of them.

    Hope that’s useful?

    • lprent 8.1

      All comments are getting holdups. Lot of spam getting checked.

      • rhinocrates 8.1.1

        Yeah, I don’t envy you for the site maintenance job. Just hoping that feedback gives you some help in finding out what the problems are.

      • Ake ake ake 8.1.2

        I think some of us should get together and get you a very generous voucher for you to dine out at a restaurant as the festive season approaches. You deserve a knighthood or honorary doctorate for what you do here.

        • lprent 8.1.2.1

          I never have time to go out anyway. Besides, my sister and parents volunteered us to host xmas dinner. Then it is off to for another family post Xmas. I am starting to starve now in anticipation…

          • greywarbler 8.1.2.1.1

            lprent
            Good man with the starving. I am doing the same – getting in training for matchfitness for the Big Day. Even thinking of a vegetarian diet or vegan so much discussed lately here, but after Christmas. Family, fullness and fun is the order of the day, and some days after as well.

  9. rhinocrates 9

    Dunno how that happened, only posted once.

    FYI lprent, there seems to be a technical problem – first my comment didn’t appear at all, and shutting down Safari and restarting it and then clicking on The Standard showed that my reply had been duplicated. Please delete one of them.

    Hope that’s useful?

  10. greywarbler 10

    Would Patron be a better title? Money assisting the university is rather handy, so how it can it be acknowledged and the person donating it be incorporated into the hierarchy?

  11. Rodel 11

    A good post.
    How about Dr Banks? Dr Key , Dr dot com? or even ha ha ha Dr Craig eventually?
    Just give them Bachelor or Masters toy degrees but not PhDs.

  12. Richard Christie 12

    Honorary degrees, as with knighthoods, it says more about the calibre person who accepts the offer of the honour than they could ever possibly realise.

  13. RedBaronCV 13

    Started as a sharebroker in Jarden and Co if I have the right one. Then CS First Boston then Telecom director and other public coys. Been around Wellington for quite a while.

  14. The Wolf 14

    Tall poppy syndrome much?

  15. infused 15

    That moment when you realize that most degrees are total bullshit anyway…

    • Tat Loo (CV) 15.1

      Especially degrees in commerce and economics. Our society needs people who can think about meaning, values, and to build them into human systems for local communities.

      • KJT 15.1.1

        Hang on. I found studying economics and management useful.

        That is when I realised “mainstream” economics bore no relationship to the real world outside, whatsoever, and started reading Steven Kean, Ha Joon Chang, Krugman et al.

        The funniest part about management studies was not being believed by the Tutor when I talked about real life occurrences.

    • Rodel 15.2

      infused
      obviously hasn’t qualified for one …sorry..i know a few grumpy people with that attitude.

      • Murray Olsen 15.2.1

        Funny, you mirrored my thoughts. I’ve known a few absolute geniuses in my time who have totally failed to fulfil the requirements, then decided retrospectively that degrees were a load of shit. As far as I know, they’re still waiting for their brilliance to be recognised.

        • ropata 15.2.1.1

          maybe they failed because of a giant atheist conspiracy to suppress the TRUTH about dinosaurs, moon landings, chemtrails, biblical floods, and the Earth was created “on Sunday the 21st of October, 4004 B.C., at exactly 9:00 A.M., because God liked to get work done early in the morning while he was feeling fresh.” (according to Pratchett & Gaiman) 😛

  16. Tracey 16

    Right up there with most of the highest honors

  17. One Anonymous Knucklehead 17

    I can’t see anything wrong with honorary degrees. Does anyone seriously pretend they’re the real thing, or not suffer ridicule if caught doing so? The sting of academic disdain might seem baffling to someone honoured in this way, and certainly provides (yet) another example of the pettiness of academia.

    It’s not like they’re a recent invention cooked up by Stephen Joyce.

    As for the sale of honorary degrees, allegations of this sort are commonplace, but there are plenty of places the wealthy can spend their money; it seems to me that donation to an institute of higher learning is a relatively enlightened way to do so, honours bestowed as a result are one way to say thanks.

    Pat the rich man on the head, professor. He ain’t after your job.

    • KJT 17.1

      I find academics rather pretentious at times. Not all. There were some amazing people there, also.

      Just one example being the fake outrage about plagiarism, as they deliver a totally boring lecture, straight from the textbook!

    • Rogue Trooper 17.2

      Agree OAKIE

  18. grumpy 18

    I worked bloody hard for my degree in engineering but I know of others who have developed huge skill and knowlege in a technical field who probably would have been fitting recipients of an honorary degree. John Britten and Bruce MacLaren spring to mind.

  19. Rogue Trooper 19

    Could not care less if I had earned a PhD in caring less 😀
    “The fool doth think he is wise but the wise man knows himself to be a fool”- As We Like It
    (Be yourself, everybody else is already taken- Oscar Wilde).

    • greywarbler 19.1

      RT
      +1 Oscar was unique.
      By the way you put Mr C under one of my comments. I don’t understand your morse code mind. What can it mean?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    3 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 hours ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 day ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    1 day ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 day ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere