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Trading Futures

Written By: - Date published: 3:46 pm, December 2nd, 2011 - 74 comments
Categories: community democracy, democratic participation, Economy, employment, equality, housing, political alternatives, Social issues - Tags: , ,

This post is intended to do more than merely generate discussion. It’s a proposition seeking action. Its intent is to lay out or sign post (at least some of) the basic or necessary legal and social structures of a Community Collective comprised of both workers and housing collectives that would enable people to assume meaningful control over aspects of their futures.

What follows is based on the successful Community Collective (incorporating both housing and workers collectives) I lived in, in the UK through the late 80’s – early 90’s. Although I think it’s implicit to what follows, it’s probably worth mentioning the following.

Whereas many intentional communities were, or are built around some philosophical or religious focus (and therefore doomed to eventual irrelevance in my opinion), this proposition envisages an eclectic mix of people whose bonds are primarily social rather than ideological. In other words, it doesn’t matter if people are vegan or Christian or devotees of ‘standing on one leg and hopping naked around a big fire under the full moon’. Each to their own. But seeking to push or impose a personal belief, ideology or creed on others is another matter.

Okay. With that, hopefully understood and out of the way.

The Community Collective I lived in was set within the legal framework of the ‘Industrial and Provident Societies Act’. As far as I’m aware, no other collective, intentional community or whatever has used that particular piece of legislation. Which is a shame, because it offers immense advantages and benefits when compared to legislation covering Trusts or Incorporated Societies.

And so that’s the first thing. Use of the ‘Industrial and Provident Societies Act’ is absolutely central to this proposal.

Under that Act, it is possible to set up worke and housing collectives so that people are one step removed from market relations. That means that collective activities or undertakings can be developed in a ‘neutral’ environment – in an environment free from a countervailing current that would encourage or promote selfish traits as a means to gaining a competitive advantage over others in a scamble for market rewards .

Every member of the Collective is a shareholder of any business run, or property owned, by the Collective. This is done by allowing a person to purchase a single ‘nominal’ share upon acceptance as a member. (A ‘nominal’ share might cost $1, does not attract any dividend or bonus; is not saleable, tradable or transferrable and its ownership reverts back to the collective if and when membership ceases.)

Importantly, membership is predicated upon residing within the properties owned or managed by the Collective. Usually, if a person ceases to live in the Collective’s properties for whatever reason, they are no longer members of the Collective, have no say in the running of the Collective and ownership of their share reverts back to the Collective.

When a person applies for membership of the Collective, they are first of all granted ‘provisional membership’. A ‘provisional membership’ allows the prospective member time to decide whether membership is really what they want. It also gives existing members 2 or 3 months to get to know them. Membership is then by consensus of all pre-existing members. Usually acceptance would be based on a degree of social compatibility. That said, there are a number of other factors that will sometimes take precedence over social considerations. Besides the need for an awareness of the financial, emotional and other carrying capacities of the Collective, there might be a need to attract people with particular skills. And it’s also wise to avoid such things as large gender or age imbalances.

If a person becoming a member has savings, then those savings remain theirs. But they are ‘frozen’ and can only be accessed with agreement from other members. Interest from any savings accrues to the Collective. The Collective can request a loan of any member’s ‘frozen’ savings (or any proportion of) at an agreed interest rate and repayment schedule.

The Community Collective is a limited liability entity and every member contributes labour to the business or businesses set up by it. Income generated by the businesses is used to cover expenditures. Expenditures include (apart from the obvious mortgage repayments, business overheads/reinvestments etc) all those expenditures people deem necessary for their material well being. (eg, food, sanitary products, toiletries, nappies, light bulbs, fuel, electricity, doctors visits etc.) There is no payment of wages. Any personal expenditure not covered by collective purchases is taken from any monies ‘left over’ after all agreed upon Community expenditures have been met. Typically, that money might be accessed to buy clothes, for incidental purchases and travel, or a ‘night out’.

Because wages aren’t paid and everyone is expected to make a contribution to the income generating capabilities of the Community, a situation is created whereby it is to everyone’s advantage to share skills and knowledge rather then to jealously guard them as would be the case in a competitive market environment.

In short, skill sharing and income sharing go ‘hand in hand’.

As for the physical layout, some groups have built structures from scratch on purchased land, but old schools, hospitals, country manors/mansions, abandoned terraced houses and more have been used and can be configured to offer ample private or personal space. Communal spaces are also created. It makes no sense to wastefully and expensively replicate material functions or infrastructures that are better collectivised or communalised

Communal areas can include laundries, shower rooms, bath rooms, toilets, dining rooms, libraries, work shops, sitting rooms, kitchens, snooker rooms, saunas, [mostly vacant] TV rooms, music rooms, children’s playrooms etc. You name it, if a space would normally serve a social purpose, or serve a material function that would be redundant for a good proportion of the time in an ‘orthodox’ situation, it makes sense to communalise it. In doing so, people have the potential benefit of equipping their surroundings to a far higher standard than would be the norm.

Obviously given the communalisation of many material needs, the total income required by the Community is substantially lower than if the people comprising the Community’s Collectives worked and lived under ‘normal’ atomised conditions.

Leaning on the past to offer illustrative examples of possibilities… each person was only required to engage in the Community’s remunerative activities (the printing business) for an average of about 8 -10 hours per week, if even that much. So a wealth of spare time was available to spend on other activities such as building or maintenance work, childcare, growing food… the list goes on. Or time was utilised to develop creative talents or abilities, or to acquire new knowledge or skills, or share existing knowledge or skills with others.

Putting aside the ‘spare’ time and the requirement to engage in some income generating work, there was other work that needed to be done. For instance, people needed to eat. So every adult was required to ‘sign themselves up’ to one day on the cooking roister. Cooking days involved cooking lunch and dinner for everyone in the Community. Other more onerous or necessary tasks were listed on a separate roister that ran in tandem with the cooking roister. Everyone was expected to assign themselves at least one of those tasks too. Examples I remember were such things as caring for the chickens/ducks (feeding, cleaning out coops and collecting eggs), maintaining the sewerage system, doing the ‘communal wash’ (ie the tea towels and bedding that was supplied to visitors and such like), cleaning toilets/bathrooms, ensuring the communal supplies intended for our personal consumption were maintained…and so on.

A successful Community Collective is no ‘easy’ option. It’s a lot of hard work and requires a lot of energy. But the rewards can be immense.

And this post is far too long for my liking. I’ve barely scratched the surface, but I’ll end it here. Hopefully I’ll be able to flesh out or expand on some of the details mentioned in response to comments and maybe give mention to other matters I’ve not covered in comments too.

Finally, I’ve contacted ex-members of the Community Collective I used to be a part of and some have indicated a willingness to share their experiences and memories of the internal processes…those that worked and those that didn’t…during their times as members of the Community (things such as different decision making processes, conflict resolution processes etc).  In short, there is no need to expend energy endlessly ‘re-inventing the wheel’ when there is the potential to tap into a wealth of accumulated institutional knowledge that covers some 40 years and a plethora of different circumstances.

Depending on the response this generates, I’d be keen to arrange ‘real world’ meetings among interested people early in the New Year. (Sooner, if people are keen. I’m in the Dunedin area.) And I want to add. Although it’s me who is putting this idea out there, it is the idea that matters. I’ll lend support and be actively involved where I can, but realistically, I’m aware I have certain preferences that may not accord with the preferences of others. So, if it eventuates that a group of people comes together and decides to act on this proposal and for whatever reason I’m not a part of it, then that’s okay. (And a-hem, who knows? Perhaps there will be enough interest to establish more than just one Collective ;-))

In the meantime, if you comment on this and are okay with me possibly contacting you via email, can you indicate as such with a simple ‘yes’ at the top of your comment? And if you are persuaded that this idea is worth promulgating, then definitely feel free to post it, reproduce it in whatever format, or link to it on whatever social networking site you may use.

And Lynn. If you have read this far and you are still of a mind to create a page for posts of this ilk…

74 comments on “Trading Futures”

  1. vto 1

    Interesting. One big thing missing though seems to be the purpose of such a venture. Why do it and what is to be achieved?

    • Bill 1.1

      The ‘purpose’ or motivation varies from person to person. Looking through the comments, reasons such as ‘enforced’ isolation, financial limitations of individuals etc are all signposted.

      The short answer as to ‘why’ might be recognition on some level that individualised interaction with the market system is a hard row to hoe that won’t produce much reward (or rewards of questionable worth) in the end and that it comes with a lot of social deficits.

      There is a big difference between working 40, 50 or 60 hours a week just to earn money and working those hours across a variety of things, most of which are not not focussed on accumulation of money, but that contribute directly to social or personal well being/development.

      By working cooperatively, a far more robust financial and social environment can be created by and for those people involved.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Sounds like a gated community to me.

    • Bill 2.1

      A gated community (as I undertstand them) is people with a certain level of income isolating themselves somewhat and living exactly as most people do right now…spending most of their time earning money and having little time for anything else.

      A Community Collective is not anything like that. People in a Community Collective don’t have to spend most of their time earning money and so have time to spend on other things. And Community Collectives are not isolated or cut off from their wider environments.

  3. Georgecom 3

    I had a look round a collective/co-operative urban garden in Havana, Cuba a few weeks ago. It was owned and managed by the workforce and looks to have some things going for it.

    http://octobersunincuba.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/the-organiponico-in-alamar/

  4. vto 4

    I hear that some people in Christchurch are looking at a form of cooperative to develop land more cheaply for red zoners in the east.

  5. Graeme 5

    “The Cult of Bill” LOL.

    What a load of drivel.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Please explain your position.

      • Graeme 5.1.1

        They just simply don’t work.

        People are inherently lazy and people inherently get annoyed when other people aren’t working as hard (and then don’t work as hard themselves).

        And you always end up with a hierarchy. We even saw this within a few weeks within Occupy Wall St: http://ow.ly/7M61D

        Nice in theory, but it simply doesn’t work in practice.

        • IrishBill 5.1.1.1

          Just because you’re inherently lazy doesn’t mean others are, graeme.

        • RedLogix 5.1.1.2

          Human beings have evolved over 3-6 million years in communal groups not dissimilar to the kind of thing Bill has described. Our existence as a species is proof that it works.

          The biggest threats to our ongoing survival as a species are mainly rooted in the fact that we moved away from this manner of living about 10,000 years ago.

          But otherwise what IB said.

          • aerobubble 5.1.1.2.1

            Yes, communal systems work and we need them but… …they require strong communties.
            Our western sprawl is designed to keep us at arms length from one another, more like an open prison once the jobs dry up. The reason, I believe, that we have such a poor ethical and moral culture is because of cheap oil removing the need to compromise and give-take on a daily basis.

        • Georgecom 5.1.1.3

          Graeme, I am not sure exactly what aspects of the post your comments relate to so I will limit myself to talking about the workers collective I observed. This was the organiponico in Alamar, Havana. The operation has been going for 20 years, a fairly substantial time. It has forms of direct democracy, collective decision making and election of management functionaries. The average monthly wage for the staff is 2-3 times the (albeit artifically low) average monthly wage for a Cuban.

          Now I am not purporting that this workers collective is perfect. I simply do not know those details. It does however have collective decision making, the workforce have a say in the operation of the organisation and the wages are high by local standards. All things being equal, and I am summizing here rather than stating an established fact, it must have some impact on the motivation and commitment amongst the workforce.

        • Carol 5.1.1.4

          Most people are not inherently lazy. Just look at how busy childern are. It’s repressive systems that stifle people’s natural tendencies to engage in activities that interest them – systems that require people do things they have no real interest in and for goals that mean little to them or that are rendered unachievable by the system. Captalism is like that for many people -boring jobs to earn a pittance that, for large numbers of people, will never lead to the carrots of higher aspirational goals the capitalist elite celebrate.

        • prism 5.1.1.5

          @Graeme

          People are inherently lazy

          Speak for yourself. It’s lazy to come out with such negative generalisations. Better stay away from any co-operative ventures – you would be a drag and a hindrance with your approach.

          They need people who are keen for better conditions, aware as you are of the problems arising when groups of people try to work together, and that agree on a set mission statement and practical policies as to method of working and monitoring results, and how to run decision-making and that for changing decisions. What is not needed is the septic sceptic white-anting away with negative comments in a grandiose manner and taking pleasure out of failure because it confirms what he wanted all along.

          I think all the above is important but I have got onto an earlier discussion. I hope though that any people who get into a collective keep the above in mind as my experience is that there needs to be a buy-in to something definite not each with an individual idea that may differ widely but the variety is only realised when a crunch comes.

    • prism 5.2

      Graeme – What experience have you had with community ventures that has so soured you that you reject the idea outright? Drivel as an adjective really demands more explanation to be understood by thinking people.

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    Bill.

    The principle is excellent and is entirely in keeping with humanity’s roots, i.e. small groups of people working together, as was the case before empires emerged 8,000 or so years ago.

    However, having put forward this kind of idea repeatedly since around 2000, and having generated next to no interest -we do live in a consumeristic, individualistic, apathetic society at the moment- I gave up.

    I believe there is now virtually no time left to establish such collectives: the ‘Titanic has been holed and is sinking fast’.

    However, once current arrangements have disintegrated (I’m still sticking with before 2015 for want of evidence to the contrary: there are plenty of naysayers who offer no evidence to support their opinions), either such collectives will emerge naturally or the remnants of western society will thrash themselves into oblvion via some kind of ‘Mad-Max-without-fuel’ scenario.

    Now would be a good time to keep a careful eye on finances in Europe, out-of control debt and fascism in the US, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Despite my assertion there will be no attack on Iran because it it too well defended, western nations seem determined to bring thngs to a head. Explosions, attacks, closing of embassies, Russian warships ships off the coast of Syria, China building a blue-water navy as fast as it can …..

    If those who are determined to bring about armed conflict between the great religions of the world (in order to secure oil and gas supplies) suceed, they will probably succeed in starting WWIII.

    Most people will return to the kind of collective living our ancestors knew, either by choice or by force of circumstances.

    • Michael 6.1

      What happens in 2015?

      • mik e 6.1.1

        Afew different dates Afew different doomsday scenarios so far nothing has happened by our resident soothsayer it reminds me of montepythons life of brian taking the piss out of doomsayers

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          In terms of being a doomsayer – and I can agree that AKFTT can sometimes be a tad on the dramatic side – we’re not talking about the literal ‘end of the world’ here. Just the ‘end of current arrangements’.

          BTW AKFTT used the word ‘disintegrated’. Disintegration takes time. It’s a process, sometimes quite fast, sometimes slow. In Europe you can see this process happening to sovereign countries and Eurozone arrangements, driven by the banksters.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.2

        What happens in 2015?

        AFKTT said before 2015.

  7. nadis 7

    Not being silly, but what is the point of living in this way? You say the “rewards can be immense” – can you expand on that as I’d be interested. To me it sounds like a version of hell.

    I couldnt live that way domestically but I could potentially see small businesses run that way.

  8. Jimmie 9

    A few questions:

    1 How do you deal with criminal behaviour and prevent paedophiles from causing problems?

    2 How do you deal with people behaving selfishly eg attempting to be more equal than everyone else or attempting to do less work than others? Do you have a disciplinary code?

    3 How do you ensure that member’s finances are not dishonestly used?

    4 How do you gain a consensus on what business ventures etc. that the commune invests in?

    5 If all decisions require a consensus what if you have 1 or 2 obstinate fools who decide to hold a contrary opinion?

    To deal with the above issues and others don’t you end up having to elect officials to leadership roles and to work out systems for them to be accountable? Thus you create a beraucracy that generates a whole lot more people issues.

    I think for a commune to work it has to be made up of people with shared religious or philosophical beliefs which tends to provide a measure of informal control over the members.

    I guess also you could look at the history of the kibbutz system in Israel to see how they operate.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      To deal with the above issues and others don’t you end up having to elect officials to leadership roles and to work out systems for them to be accountable?

      Leaders aren’t necessary. Everything is discussed openly amongst everyone until a decision is made. Takes a little more time but you don’t get the corruption that’s endemic to a hierarchical society.

    • joe90 9.2

      Same old, Kibbutz debt levels were fine during high inflation periods but when the squeeze went on during the eighties many Kibbutzim folded. All the good bits were flogged off, the banks had their arses covered by the Israeli taxpayer and a way of life disappeared.

      http://www.forward.com/articles/127122/

      The celebrations are tinged with melancholy, though. The institution of the kibbutz has survived its first century, but the hope of pioneering a new and better model of human society has not. Over the past quarter-century, most of Israel’s 270 kibbutzim have abandoned the founders’ socialist credo, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” and replaced it with the new “privatized” kibbutz. Today’s kibbutz boasts differential salaries, shuttered dining halls, individual home ownership, private bank accounts and investment portfolios and, of course, richer and poorer kibbutzniks. Only about 80 kibbutzim, fewer than one-third, still preserve the old egalitarianism

      [....]

      But the truth is just the opposite. The kibbutzim that maintained classic kibbutz socialism are the ones that thrived economically over the past generation. Their members have kept innovating regardless of kibbutz structure, developing and marketing high-tech irrigation systems, operating state-of-the-art printing, plastics manufacturing and even financial services. It turns out that when money comes in, nobody minds sharing. It’s when the kibbutz treasury runs dry and living standards are slashed that bickering erupts. That’s when members start leaving to pursue those dreams they didn’t know they had until the kibbutz cut their consumer allowance

    • Bill 9.3

      1. A Community Collective isn’t beyond the law Jimmie.

      2. The market economy encourages selfishness. It rewards it. By using legislation to create a certain distance or buffer between people and the market, it becomes possible to encourage other, more desirable behavioural traits. Expressions of social disapproval towards undesirable bahaviours can have a powerful moderating influence.

      3. How do you envisage a person using their finances in a way that would be ‘invisible’ to the people they are living and working in close proximity to? And why do you think anyone would want to be dishonest in an environment that encourages and rewards co-operation/mutual trust?

      4. I can’t say for sure that consensus would be necessary for every given business venture. Then again, it might be.

      5. Why would consensus be required for all decisions? You are right that there is a danger of minority rule developing in such a situation. So why go down that track?

      There is absolutely no need to elect any governing body. That would be counter productive as well as unnecessary. Income sharing invalidates the vertical division of labour we are used to and promotes a horizontal environment where people govern themselves collectively without any appeal to any authority beyond their own.

      I think the social criteria are enough in and of themselves to generate norms and expectations over time. I don’t believe over-riding philosophical or religious belief systems are necessary or even desirable.

  9. Nick K 10

    Why would you look at this when all we have to do is increase the size of government and let government take care of our responsibilities?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Only the RWNJs think that letting government take care of our responsibilities is viable. Example: National Standards and the RWNJs response (It’s the law, WAAAAGH) to schools not implementing then.

    • joe90 10.2

      Nah, vouchers, if only we had vouchers.

  10. Jimmy 11

    Rhetoric aside, if such a social structure was viable long term then the initial efforts at said societies would still exist and be functional and thriving. The reality is that this social structure is not compatible with human nature. People who have a desire to achieve more and be “better” than their fellows need the opportunity to at least appear to be doing just that. If not resentment/corruption/sabotage etc. become the outlet.

    We are all equal but some more than others.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      The reality is that this social structure is not compatible with human nature.

      Wrong. If community was against human nature we wouldn’t have it. What’s against human nature is the capitalist system which is promulgated by the few, usually by force, for their own aggrandisement.

    • Puddleglum 11.2

      The reality is that this social structure is not compatible with human nature

      Surely you don’t mean that?

      For several hundreds of thousands of years (when most people think that our psychological ‘nature’ was evolving) that is pretty much the kind of social structure all humans experienced. 

      Something that really needs to be emphasised is that highly eollectivist hunter-gatherer cultures tend to have greater individuality (I know, sounds paradoxical but it’s true).

      It was because individuals were free within a non-hierarchical society that they tended to embrace the advantages of staying together and, hence, collectivism was possible and became not just the norm but the only viable means of survival.

      • Jimmy 11.2.1

        I really do mean that. I am happy to live in a society that tries to offer all it’s members all the necessaries of life; but without the opportunity to better yourself individually there is little incentive to succeeded.

        Chairman Mao tried to improve efficiency by removing private cooking and centralising to canteens. With a guaranteed food supply the field workers became lazy and crops failed resulting in famine.

        It is evolutionary to reward individuals who do better. In hunter gather societies the strongest individuals had higher status than others. Not all were equal.

        We all have worth, but we will never be equal.

        • RedLogix 11.2.1.1

          but without the opportunity to better yourself individually there is little incentive to succeeded.

          Nothing in Bill’s proposal closes down that opportunity. I’d suggest you are seeing demons of your own making.

          Chairman Mao tried to improve efficiency by removing private cooking and centralising to canteens. With a guaranteed food supply the field workers became lazy and crops failed resulting in famine.

          You completely confuse totalitarianism with socialism. The field workers were not stupid, they knew perfectly well that if they didn’t raise a successful crop that there would be a famine. It was the extreme, ideological interventions of the CCP that disrupted the agricultural cycle .

          It is evolutionary to reward individuals who do better. In hunter gather societies the strongest individuals had higher status than others. Not all were equal.

          Essentially the exact opposite is true for humans. While almost all other species compete for resources; humans, along with several other of the greater apes, evolved another completely different survival strategy based on strict egalitarianism, sharing and intense group co-operation.

          It was our ability to exploit the varied talents and abilities of the whole group, to benefit everyone which has been the basis of our extraordinary success as a species.

          And of course we are not all the same; it would an utter repudiation of everything it is to be human if we were. That too is a demon of your own making.

        • wtl 11.2.1.2

          It is evolutionary to reward individuals who do better. In hunter gather societies the strongest individuals had higher status than others. Not all were equal.

          I suggest you read some of David Sloan Wilson’s work, such as ‘Unto others’ and ‘Darwin’s Cathedral’. He makes a very compelling case that human evolution (both genetic and cultural) includes a very strong group-level component. That is, a large driving force in recent human evolution is fitness at the level of the group rather than at the individual level. Societies that do well appear to be ones that suppress individualistic tendencies when they are at odds with what is needed for the group. And hunter gatherer societies did NOT function as you are implying, they were very altruistic (within the group).

          • NickS 11.2.1.2.1

            Group selection is still bunk, however selection for co-operation is pretty easy to pull off with plan old “selfish” evolution, especially as it often increases reproductive fitness. The key problem with it is that normal suite of selective processes can explain pretty much everything group selection is often applied to.

            In terms of cultural evolution it might work, but I’m too zonked from work to think it out fully.

    • jimmy 11.3

      I stand by my initial statement; if such a social structure was viable long term then the initial efforts at said societies would still exist and be functional and thriving.

      Humanity forms into societies because the individuals realise that together they are better off than alone. Packs, herds etc. all function on the same principal. Vampire bats will share blood on the understanding that what comes around goes around. The reality is that the individual is only ever trying to achieve their own goals.

      RedLogix you are confusing communism with socialism.

      • RedLogix 11.3.1

        I stand by my initial statement; if such a social structure was viable long term then the initial efforts at said societies would still exist and be functional and thriving.

        Well it was viable for many millions of years. It was the advent of agriculture, and the inherent notion of property that comes with it, which is the Johnny Come Lately to the scene. Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel explores some of this theme.. as do many others.

        Diamond concludes that civilisation is a thoroughly mixed blessing, and agriculture as possibly the worst mistake we have made; it not yet being clear that we will survive it. And you have to be in a coma not to have noticed the host of very real threats right now hanging over the vast biota of 7billion humans currently living on the planet.

        For while I imagine that the human race will survive in some form or another, there is little doubt that the present mode of ‘business as usual’ is completely unsustainable. In other words, the current social structure you are so convinced as superior, is likely to be dismantled within decades… and prove to be a mere abberant blip in the long, long scrolls of life this planet has seen.

        As for confusing communism with socialism… really you have lost me there.

        • jimmy 11.3.1.1

          the present mode of ‘business as usual’ is completely unsustainable. In other words, the current social structure you are so convinced as superior, is likely to be dismantled within decades… and prove to be a mere abberant blip in the long, long scrolls of life this planet has seen.

          The industrial revolution was a mere blip, the technology revolution will be a mere blip, as will the green revolution. Humanity is dynamic, and as such will be constantly evolving.

          If we really felt the current social structure was so bad we would be doing more than sitting at our computers flinging idle banter.

          I do not make the mistake of thinking the status quo is ideal, but I do not see a viable alternative. Communism is certainly not the answer.

    • Bill 11.4

      It’s not that such social structures aren’t compatable with human nature. It’s that they aren’t compatable with a market economy if individual people are the interface with the market. In short, society thrives on co-operation between people while the market demands competition between people.

      One way around, or to ameliorate the deliterious impact of the market on individual social relations is to remove it from that sphere and interact with it collectively rather than individually.

      I’ve no problem with the reality that we aren’t equal (we have different attributes). But that doesn’t mean we need to have inequitable outcomes flowing from our various forms of work. And it doesn’t mean that we need to have some people empowered at the direct expense of others.

      Is there a compelling reason why a chef who enjoys their work should be rewarded and empowered more than the dish washer doing rote but absolutely necessary work?

      And then, in within that context, is there a compelling reason why a chef or a sous chef shouldn’t or wouldn’t seek to excell in their work or improve on their knowledge and skill?

      And within that context, is there a compelling reason why the sous chef or chef wouldn’t share their skill and knowledge with the dish washer?

      • Colonial Viper 11.4.1

        And washing dishes is in itself a skill…one can get faster and more efficient…and you play a key role in maintaining hygiene and preventing food poisoning. In addition to creating an employed position, it reduces the use of throwaway plastic cups and plates.

        Basically like many underrated roles in a (capitalist) economy it is one which is very useful for the good functioning of society.

        • Bill 11.4.1.1

          Goes beyond that CV. You could say the chef can’t do anything without the dish pig. And that neither can do anything unless their children are being cared for. And then there’s the produce someone grew to be used in the kitchen and so on.

          Either, the market is allowed to allocate wages to people for these various undertakings, meaning people will abandon the lower paid stuff altogether or set off in pursuit of money to pay someone else to do them for as little pay as possible and a whole competitive, selfish mess will ensue…jealously guarding skill sets and knowledges that pay well, and so on…in short, the individual usurping and impoverishing the very social context they rely on.

          I’m not suggesting that everything has an equal worth. But the way worth is measured and rewarded can have undesirable or just plain stupid consequences. What if (internally) financial measures of reward are kept out of the picture? As long as there is a general perception that people are making a worthwhile contribution (and that’s not always easily defined, it’s a perception), then the drive to compete loses out to the more sensible option of cooperation. And where social contexts assume primacy, individual needs are far better catered to and so individuals (in spite of contrary claims by market ideologues) are better off.

  11. The Gormless fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrel 12

    My God. This sounds absolutely dreadful.

    • Vicky32 12.1

      This sounds absolutely dreadful.

      I disagree, I think it sounds heavenly! But I think that such communities really need to have a shared religious/philosophical/political base… My fictional one did – based on the ideals of the Christian Pacifist group I was in at the time…

      • NickS 12.1.1

        And if you look at the history of communal systems in the 19th and 20 century, the key failure points are money and ideological fuck-wittery.

        In short people invariably, even under a seemingly uniting ideology (religious or political), form fractions and come to different ideas about what’s “right” in terms of the central ideology and how it’s followed, leading to all sorts of fun and formation and entrenchment of toxic authoritarian power structures and charismatic splits. Thus secularism can be a real life saver and avoid ideological fuck-wittery.

        The really short version: fundamentalism poisons everything.

        As for money, robust community financial tools, structures and auditing are the key to stopping that.

    • NickS 12.2

      And yet, collectivism can work very well :P

  12. Nick C 13

    This sounds great! You can all go and choose to live in your socialist paradise without imposing it on me by forcing me to fund it and live under it. Off you go, best of luck I say!

    • Thomas 13.1

      My thoughts exactly. I hope you socialists try this and leave the rest of us to enjoy capitalism. I might even be convinced to donate something to help your experiment get started.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        lol

        Socialism is going to be hard work, but everyone will do OK in the end.

        The comparison is today’s trans-national state of crony cartel capitalism. Which is going to be apocalyptic for 95% of people.

        • Thomas 13.1.1.1

          I am totally happy for you to build a socialist community, as long as I am not compelled to participate.

          I don’t think it will work, but I’m happy for you to try to prove me wrong, as long as I’m allowed to stick with my preferred option.

          Good luck!

  13. just saying 14

    I have many many questions Bill.

    First up – it seems like this kind of undertaking requires some kind of “business” – or as you call it “remunerative activities” as well as land and/or living facilities. Assuming you aren’t talking about a gradual progression of like minded people, but rather a single, massive leap, where would these essentials come from? It seems like the upfront capital could only be borrowed from those with means. The interest is pretty irrelevant because, as you say, all interest goes to the collective.

    This is a huge leap of faith, and all the more so, because the members of the collective, as yet, don’t even know each other. This leap would be easier to make for those who don’t bring capital to the table, those who do, risk losing everything, and starting again in the most uncertain of times, and possibly the most grim we have ever faced, with no safety net. And yet having at least some members with capital seems essential. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your proposal. For me, what you have outlined raises a lot more questions than it answers.

    A few friends and I have been talking about setting up a collective, and we’ve been taking a few small steps at a time towards making it happen. We have the advantage of knowing and trusting each other. I assume the collective of which you were a part in Britain started with a group of like-minded friends. I also assume they came together when they were young, and they worked it all out over a long time, in response to emerging circumstances. I find the idea of a new collective stepping so completely into the shoes of a now defunct one, on the other side of the world, in very different times, a little unusual. These people are another unknown. I’d certainly be very interested in hearing their stories, and particularly, what they learned. And I’d like to know why they are no longer living this way.

    These are just my very preliminary thoughts. I’m not intending to be negative, but I’m cautious and sceptical by nature. I’m certainly very interested to learn more.

    • Bill 14.1

      If there are outstanding loans on land or structures etc, then a business is crucial. And I don’t believe that self sufficiency is a goal worth pursuing or even realistic. So, some way of making money within the context of an overarchng market economy is necessary.

      I don’t see a problem with a gradual process. How fast or slow that progress is will depend on such factors as finances and skill/knowledge sets etc. And there are multiple possible starting points or ‘spring-boards’, again informed by realities on the ground.

      As for people bringing financial capital ‘to the table’, they don’t need to lose anything. They don’t have to bring their assets to the table if they don’t want to. Of course, it would be nice to think that a hardheaded plan or unfolding scenario would be robust, reliable and pragmatic enough to generate confidence in people who might be in a situation to agree to loans.

      And there are lending institutions, such as Prometheus, that might be utilised…again depending on realities on the ground.

      The Community Collective in the UK isn’t defunct. But it runs under different auspices these days. A New Zealand example of income sharing and common ownership of property and land is ‘Riverside Community’. It was formed around 1940. It’s legislative framework is a bit different (a religious trust). It still exists.

      The legislative framework aside, I only intended to use my previous experience and observations as illustrative examples or to signpost some possibilities in a general sense. As they say, there are a 1001 ways to skin a cat.

      • just saying 14.1.1

        Glad I caught this. I no longer have hundreds of blog comments making my email unmanageable, since I learned how to switch it off.

        We’re getting to the point (and who knows how soon it will be upon us) where being part of ‘hapu’ type groups will be the difference between surviving or not, for a lot of us. Collectives will no longer be a lifestyle choice, and we’ll have to learn the hard way how to live closely and interdependently again, not to mention how to provide for ourselves with less and different resources. The interweb will, no-doubt, become ever more vital in bringing like-minded people together, for sharing resources, and cooperating with skills and knowledge, and developing appropriate technologies for our new lives. But even so, we must fall back primarily on our local communities, and work with what and who we have, our imperfect selves together. Mucking in.

        • Bill 14.1.1.1

          …and work with what and who we have, our imperfect selves together. Mucking in.

          Yes and no. It’s fairly common for people to trade, gift and barter informally. But then, that’s always been fairly common. Meanwhile, if our habits remain shaped or guided by market principles, or if most of our time is consumed in market related activity, or if market principles continue to inform our production and distribution systems, then we simply aren’t going to progress beyond this point we’re at.

          I think we can, and must, do better than ‘mucking in’. We know market relations screw things up in all manner of ways beyond mere economics, eg, reinforcing, underpinning or excusing various expressions of sexism and racism etc And we know that command economies screw things up too (albeit in different ways).

          We have the capability to do things differently. There are perfectly legal avenues that can be utilised to develop robust environments that insulate our broader personal environment from the effects of the market economy, and that usurp it while remaining connected to it and to wider society.

          Put simply, a local community can be intentionally created rather than being the product of historical and geographical accidents or circumstances people had (have) little or no control over.

  14. ak 15

    Yes.

    Too decrepit to be much more than a moral “yes”, but heartily appreciative of any optimism, particularly since last saturday.

    Good things take time, and repeated attempts; and though this petered out last time, you might just be onto it Bill. Last time was a larkish dream in a time of plenty, but these times are ominously unprecedented. Only a few might know the truth right now, but more and more are learning. And the dont-cares will be made to care.

    Having been through the last lark but, reckon an anchor of some sort is needed. Besides marijuana, the Mother Earth testament or the bible. Preferably the mother of invention. But something: anarchic communality within an individualistic wider society is as doomed and bizarre as benevolent toryism.

    Whanaungatanga combined with mana motuhake’s the obvious and could lead the way, but it might take AFKTT’s apocalypse ’15 to really bring us all together. Random thought – the churches are dying, but grounded, and loaded: community gardens/chooks/rabbits/beneficiary socials and concerts easily gain intial funding and could lead on to something given impetus and drive. Land donations even.

    Anyhoo, good work Bill and all power to your elbow.

  15. weka 16

    Great to see this written up Bill. There have been lots of good questions asked too. I look forward to the discussion.

    I agree with Just Saying that one of the biggest challenges will be to get people to take the leap, but I don’t see that as having to be sudden.

    Whatever happens, the process needs to be documented as a template for others to use. Might be good to set up something online where people can discuss what you are proposing.

    • ropata 16.1

      The premier examples are the Mondragon Co-operatives in Spain.

      I think Bill goes too far with the commune idea, but the emergent social / industrial network is a very real and hopeful alternative.

      (as opposed to the virulent fscking feudal oligarchy / corporate vampire squid model that is wrecking the planet today)

      • seeker 16.1.1

        Thanks ropata – had never really looked into Mondragon, but, thanks to Bill’s post, a great thread has transpired and I am now learning about a successful skill sharing cooperative, definitely ‘outside the matrix’ .

        It’s success as an alternative is truly “aspirational ” (in the hopeful sense) as well as inspirational, as so many people are now unemployed in Spain. and elsewhere. Furthermore, while Spain is in trouble because of our present global financial architecture, Mondragon, as an alternative model, still seems to be ongoing.

        Oct.24,2011
        “‘In the face of the global financial crisis that has Spain’s unemployment level standing currently at some 22 per cent, the Mondragon co-operatives offer an astonishingly successful alternative to the way we organise business and economies…….

        Revisiting recently for the fifth time, since the early nineteen-eighties, the great complex of worker-owned manufacturing, retail, agricultural, civil engineering and service cooperatives centred on Mondragon in the Basque region of Spain, it was impossible not to be impressed by the resilience that has enabled them to take their share of economic hits and emerge largely unscathed.

        As Mondragon’s Human Resources Director, Mikel Zabala, points out, “We are private companies that work in the same market as everybody else. We are exposed to the same conditions as our competitors.”

  16. Vicky32 17

    In the 1980s, I created just such a community for a novel I was writing about life in a post-collapse society in New Zealand, following an unspecified war (I kept changing my mind about the nature/duration of said war as time passed.) At the time I was newly divorced with a small son, and I especially liked the idea of not duplicating effort and resources – one woman, one child, one flat, but everyone living communally, sharing housework, kitchens, bathrooms etc…

    • LynW 17.1

      I had similar thoughts as a young Mum in the early eighties too, driven by the loneliness and the absurdity of being at home isolated with a baby. A group of us ended up getting together for fruit and vegetable bottling, washing windows, meal sharing at times etc. It served many purposes; from skill sharing and task doing to improving emotional wellbeing with the social contact. Isolated and struggling is not a healthy place to be. I guess this is how it is for many today, at both ends of the spectrum. How lonely many of our elderly must also be and what an amazing wealth of life experience and skills they have to share. The struggling isolated Mums and families remain also.
      Good to hear these views.

      The Mondragon example sounds great. Very inspirational.

  17. anarcho 18

    Cool. Be great to get such a discussion going. I have a lot of involvement as well in both worker and housing collectives – such ideas are the norm within anarchist circles. Not much success, but a lot of learning and growing :)

    For the doubters, it’s often useful to depoliticise these ideas: think of the rugby club, the kindy committee, the flat, the community market etc. All everyday instances where people work collectively for the common good.

    • mik e 18.1

      The business round table
      Arnold Nordmyer started a community doctors practice in the Waitaki valley
      where every body contributed 1 shilling a week it was enough to hire a doctor on wages so every body had access when needed to see a doctor schemes like this could be resurrected ie for a Dentist.
      The beer Barron add on TV gives Node a bad name as his tariff on imported beer wasn’t repealed by the incoming National govt .It lead to more New Zealanders being employed like in Barley and Hop growing malting and beer manurfacture. Some thing the company who profited and expanded would never have done otherwise.

      • LynW 18.1.1

        Isn’t Fonterra a farmers co-op?

        • Colonial Viper 18.1.1.1

          Yes. But its not a workers co-op it is a suppliers co-op.

          Ideally dairy factory workers and the corporate staff would also have an ownership share in Fonterra.

  18. Afewknowthetruth 19

    milk e

    ‘Afew different doomsday scenarios so far nothing has happened’

    1.The collapse of the Icelandic Ponzi scheme and collapse of the government.

    2. US federal budget ‘out of control’, unprecedented levles of home foreclosure, 39% of mortgagees underwater, nearly 50 million Americans dependent on food stamps, states and municipalities broke, cutting services, turning off street lighting, laying off staff and closing parks etc.

    3. Governments in Belgium, Greece and Italy gone under and replaced by technocrats.

    4. Panic in high places concerning the Eurozone and a general admission from people like Merkel, Cameron and Sarkozy etc. the system isn’t working and will never work.

    All of that has occured since the ‘boom times’ of 2006, when the property bubble peaked (in inflation adjusted terms) and the share market bubble peaked.

    That’s right; ‘nothing has happened’.

    Just in case you are interested in reality, the following are to come between now and 2014.

    1. A significant drop in global conventional oil extraction and failure of unconventional oil to maintain overall supply. Depending on how parlous the world economy is. that will result in significantly higher oil prices or oil at moderately high prices that fewer and fewer people will be able to afford.

    2. Negative economic growth thoughout much of the world.

    3. Breakup of the Eurozone.

    4. Mandatory cuts to federal spending in the US.

    5. Bursting of the Chinese and Indian bubble economies.

    6. Revelation of the horrendous health implications of the meltdown of Fukishima and implosion of the Japanese economy

    7. Increasing desperation amongst the poor and disposessed, which will lead to an ever greater portion of the diminishing resources being channeled towards repression of ‘the proles’ throughout most of the world.

    8. A showdown between the major military powers for the control of the last large reserves oil and gas.

    Add to that lethal mix increased disruption to practically everything from environmental factors such as tornadoes, drought and inundation, and partial failure of the industrialised food system

    I don’t believe there will be a ‘doomsday’ as such, just a multitude of factors makiing it increasingly difficult for ‘the powers that be’ to maintian present arrangements.

    As I said before, people will have to learn to work togetther or perish.

    Please present some evidence I am wrong on any of the points I have made or shut up.

  19. mike 20

    AFKTT What have you got on Fukishima? All I can find is a bunch of contradictory stuff.

    Also, I’m wondering if you think that (some of) those at the top with real power see what’s coming and believe they will emerge holding all the cards? Or is it pure deluded incompetence?

    • Afewknowthetruth 20.1

      mike.

      Hard to be sure of the details but there has been a meltdown which has released huge amounts of radiation and radioactive isotopes are still being released, much of northen Japan is contnimated, it will take years for the mess at the explosion site to be sorted out, Japan is increasingly dependent on imported diesel for electtricity generation and few people trust the government.

      Regarding your second point, megalomania, delusion and incompetence are a commonly seen amongst leaders but some of those at the top are well aware of most of what is coming and have their bolt holes prepared.

      What the elites do not seem have come to terms with is the very high chance of abrupt climate change, i.e. a rise in average temperature of several degrees Celsius in a few decades rendering most of the Earth uninhabitable for ‘higher’ life forms. .

  20. Jum 21

    Can the same central idea apply to a newspaper/radio/television collective which replies to and presents alternative thinking to the government’s one-sided media hype?

    Essentially, it would be left-leaning because all other media channels are swallowed up and manipulated by the right.

    • seeker 21.1

      ‘Jum

      “a newspaper/radio/television collective” which “replies to and presents alternative thinking to the government’s one-sided media hype”

      What good idea!

      Not just a ‘newspaper but an all ‘types of of media’ collective which would put the the fair back into ‘fairfax’.

      This would certainly help to redress the balance of our skewed MSM, and with the combining of the many different skill and ideas from just a few interested, and perhaps inspired, creative participants on this site, maybe it could become a real possibility.

  21. vto 22

    Hey Bill, any response to the questions posed in various aboveness?

  22. Tiger Mountain 23

    I like the idea of living arrangements as per a motel around a swimming pool, everyone with private space but shared stuff like laundry and even transport by arrangement, but damn you make it sound boring Bill.

    There have been all sorts of independent communities in Aotearoa over the years, and people can still do that. And they usually do that for combined religious or personal beliefs. Urban settings are highly likely to be connected to the grid-water, power, sewerage, telco etc. which kind of negates the point.

    • Bill 23.1

      I’m not sure how being connected to sewerage and power systems etc ‘negates the point’. Im not saying that centralised ‘grids’ are that desirable. But it’s a big ask to throw services and their convenience away ‘in a heartbeat’. It might be possible to do in some contexts, but I’m guessing it would involve ‘doing it hard’. And that’s not necessary.

      Even in an urban environment, it’s possible to use such utilities with an eye to weaning off of them.

      What I find frustrating is those Communities that give a good surface impression of doing something new or different, but who have brought the market – lock, stock and barrel – into their scenario and so recreate all the same dynamics – the inequities, power differentials and competitive drives – that exist in our ‘consumer’ society. Quite a number are no more than ‘satellite dormitories’…little suburbs in a ‘nice’ setting where people exude ‘niceness’ while engaging in all the same old ugly crap.

      Anyway, I don’t really care too much if the toilet hooks up to the municipal sewerage. My preference would be that it didn’t. But there be bigger fish to fry.

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    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • Contact’s big solar buy-back drop bad news for Kiwis with solar
    The Green Party are calling for a law change to establish an independent umpire to set fair and reasonable buy-back rates after Contact Energy announced, from today, new small scale solar and wind generators will receive 50 percent less for...
    Greens | 01-11
  • John Key’s asset sales outed by his own Minister
    National needs to come clean about the motivations behind selling state houses after Paula Bennett's asset sale admission, said the Green Party today.On Saturday, Paula Bennett, the Minister for Social Housing admitted, in a televised interview, that the sale of...
    Greens | 01-11
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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