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We’re all beneficiaries now

Written By: - Date published: 7:38 pm, March 6th, 2013 - 167 comments
Categories: benefits, Economy, farming, water, welfare - Tags: , , ,

The recognition of the need to provide income support to farmers during this drought period is illustrative.  It illustrates the importance of having a comprehensive social protection system that steps in when things go wrong including the weather as in this case.   It illustrates the benefit of Farm Owners of having a union that the Government supports and is prepared to fund to provide much needed services such as co-ordination, animal welfare advice and counselling.

If we didn’t support those farmers in need at this time they wouldn’t be able to pay their power bills or buy food for their families during this drought period.  Interestingly they are actually working while getting these benefits, including presumably adding value to their assets.  Some will be laying off staff who could face a stand down if they need to go onto the unemployment benefit.

I don’t imagine these Farmers or their partners are expected to attend a WINZ office every second day to show they are seeking new employment – we support them in the circumstances they find themselves in – needing to continue to look after their farms and families, but in need of financial and other types of support to get through a financial difficulty.  We don’t expect them or their partners to go out and find other work during this time.  This is community at its best.  The support includes access to the equivalent of the unemployment benefit, access to counselling and business advice and the ability to defer tax payments.  For a time, these farmers will be “beneficiaries”  but that’s ok – that’s what we do as a community, in times of need.

Solo mums are a bit like these farmers.  They are working but not earning and need community support to do that.  For them, they now have to attend job preparation courses and look for work.  They can be drug tested, boot camped and have their benefits cut if they don’t answer the phone when WINZ rings them about something.  Working when you have small kids is extremely difficult particularly if you have kids at school and pre-school age.  Their hours never line up and school holidays and the endless colds and coughs little ones get means often having to choosing between two important obligations – your kids or your work.  Sure lots of women do it, but for someone solo and particularly if you don’t have a sympathetic employer or if your kids need you to be home, it should not be compulsory and your life and the life of your kids is likely to be extremely unpleasant.

The unemployed are looking for work and most of them were happily working until the business they were working for hit hard times.  For youth, a large number have never had the chance.  Many are in and out of work – labour hire here, labour hire there, spending more time looking for work than working.  There is a jobs drought, but no equivalent sympathy for them.  We are told to be suspicious of them – that they probably aren’t trying hard enough, that they are too picky, that they are drug taking, phone answering avoiders.  Really they are just like the farmers.  Relying on Social Protection when things go wrong.

The drought shows how important social protection systems are.  When the unexpected happens – your farm dries up, you get sick, you lose your job, you find yourself alone raising your kids – the community steps in by way of tax funded Social Protection.  For most people the need is not forever and most will be part of both the funding community and the receiving community at some point in our life.  I support the farmers getting benefits and I hope for their sake it rains very soon.

 

 

 

167 comments on “We’re all beneficiaries now”

  1. vto 1

    I am looking forward to the Prime Minister announcing drug testing for these farming beneficiaries.

  2. vto 2

    Your post there is very well written Helen, showing compassion and the important wide picture of how a decent nation looks after e v e r y o n e and all our neighbours, no matter their unintended circumstances. Well done, keep at it.

    • Tom Gould 2.1

      Remember ‘Massey’s cossacks’? Farmers trucked into town to smack poor people with clubs from the safety of horseback? Sure, that was some time ago, and today’s farmers are businessmen first, but just saying. It has always been difficult for Labour with its natural inclination to treat everyone fairly to run against Tories who make unfairness and scapegoating an operating principle.

  3. Jenny 3

    I hope that the CTU can get behind the campaign against climate change that is fueling this drought. And all the other once in a hundred years weather events that now occur much more frequently. That will impoverish us all.

    aucklandcoalaction.org/2013/03/04

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Climate change won’t impoverish us, Business as usual will. And that would be true even anthropogenic climate change.

    • infused 3.2

      Please show me how climate change is fueling this drought.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        Go read the scientific literature. You’ll find references to how the climate is shifting even now and how it’s causing more rain in some places and more drought in others.

      • Dv 3.2.2

        Infused
        Please show how climate change is NOT fueling this drought.

        • TheContrarian 3.2.2.1

          That’s pretty facile Dv. You can’t prove a negative.

          • Dv 3.2.2.1.1

            Well picked contrian,

            I also thought that infused point was pretty facile too.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.2.1.2

            prove that you didn’t have breakfast at 9am this morning.

            easy.

            • TheContrarian 3.2.2.1.2.1

              I can’t prove I didn’t have breakfast at 9am. I can assert it but I can’t prove it because what would the prove look like?

              • Colonial Viper

                You could show a 7am Big Breakfast receipt from McDonalds. Or proof that you were doing something else at 9am, on a run with a friend (witness) etc.

                • TheContrarian

                  No that would consist of positive proof I had breakfast at 7am or that I went for a run at 9am which invalidates all other things I could have been doing.

                  You can’t prove a negative, you can only disprove a positive.

                • TheContrarian

                  “You can’t prove a negative, you can only disprove a positive.”

                  This may sound like the same thing but, in logical terms, it isn’t

                  • Colonial Viper

                    So you can’t do it in formal logic, but yes for all intents and purposes in the real life you can prove it eg by demonstrating that a mutually exclusive event occurred.

                    • ropata

                      you can prove a negative assertion provided the premises and terms of the assertion are limited in scope.

                      but it’s difficult to *prove* that climate change caused this particular drought.

                      i suppose it would be easier to claim that “global warming correlates with more droughts”

                      (FYI H2O is also a greenhouse gas so warmer weather water vapour *fewer* droughts?!)

  4. bad12 4

    Heaping ‘work expectations’ upon people when we all ‘know’ that the economy does not,cannot, and, will not deliver employment for all those who seek and are able to work is schizophrenic to say the least,

    Until such time as Governments are tasked by their own legislation to provide a minimum amount of work for all those able and seeking work we will always have this schizophrenic victim blaming,

    As i cannot see the above occurring within the foreseeable future we are stuck with the very rich telling the comfortable to scape-goat the poorest of the poor for a situation created by Government inaction…

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      As i cannot see the above occurring within the foreseeable future we are stuck with the very rich telling the comfortable to scape-goat the poorest of the poor for a situation created by Government inaction…

      It’s not government inaction. The government has been fully engaged in putting in place the conditions that means that we high unemployment – especially over the last 30 years.

  5. There is a certain irony that farmers, who have a reputation for denying that climate change is occurring and opposing provision of social welfare for members of our community who need it should now be seeking a benefit because of a drought that is undeniably a symptom of global warming.

    • The Al1en 5.1

      Bet they have sky dishes, nice cars and a boat on a trailer parked in the driveway.

      Least while they’re waiting for it to rain, they can count their blessings ’til the next big milk payout comes around.

      • infused 5.1.1

        Envious much?

        • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1.1.1

          Not envious, they are asset rich and cash poor, deliberately so!

          Any farmer will buy a big new tractor rather than have cash in the bank, as that means they have a taxable income.

          A big no no in rural areas, where paying tax is akin to belonging to the labour party

          • infused 5.1.1.1.1

            Sorry, but your retarded. That’s not how it works at all. I was bought up on a farm, in Taihape of all places.

            You don’t buy that shit unless you have the money for it. It’s really that simple. Most farmers don’t own the farms either. They will lease it.

            It took my uncle 12 years to buy the farm he was leasing. He was never rich – and worked all hours of the day.

            • quartz 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Firstly it’s “you’re” not “your”. Secondly, he paid off a whole farm in just 12 years and you don’t think that’s rich??? Fuck me mate, most of us need at least twice that time to pay of a house!

              • felixviper

                Why am I not surprised that infused’s parents never manged to explain to him how the family business works…

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Of course they are ‘never rich’. Asset buying is the strategy!

                Cash in the bank is no use to them, but a good idea when a drought strikes.

                But why bother with the occasional drought when the government will come to the rescue.

                As well they will change environmental rules to enable more intensive dairying in drought prone areas .

                Goodbye Ecan , hello Government commissars.

                And if there is no rivers or groundwater to exploit, they will create a state financed irrigation scheme. $500 mill to ‘get the ball rolling’

              • infused

                Where did I say he paid it off?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Just here:

                  It took my uncle 12 years to buy the farm he was leasing.

                  If it’s not what you meant then you probably should have worded it better.

              • Phil B

                The difference between an asset that delivers a return and one that produces nothing at all is fairly obvious I would think. I think everyone should broaden there educational horizons, then maybe most of the people who comment on here will gain a shred of perspective.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1.2

              I was bought up on a farm

              It’s a typical wrong word but, IMO, thoroughly appropriate.

            • felixviper 5.1.1.1.1.3

              gww: “Any farmer will buy a big new tractor rather than have cash in the bank, as that means they have a taxable income.

              infused: “That’s not how it works at all … You don’t buy that shit unless you have the money for it.

              Err, infused, that’s exactly the same thing.

            • saarbo 5.1.1.1.1.4

              No, ghostwhowalksnz is right. Farmers will do anything to reduce tax, they mainly use trusts to distribute their income all over the place to lower their taxable income(s). But buying tractors on debt and using the interest and depreciation to reduce taxable income is pretty popular. Infused, you were a sheep and beef I suspect…quite different from the Dairy farmers who are mostly affected by the drought because of the intensive feed requirements of in-calf milking cows. Most farmers worth their salt are always ready for a drought, our family farm is badly affected by the drought but production is still up 5% on last year, which was a record year. But things are getting really tough now…

              But in the end of the day, Helen is spot on in this post…National have an incredibly cruel attitude towards beneficiaries. National and their supporters are pack of arseholes, we all know that. But how do they convince so many people that most beneficiaries are a pack of bludgers, because I know many on the dole from being involved in a rugby club in a fairly poor part of the country and I can say not one of those people want to be on the dole. People are desperate to be employed but there are NO jobs. Sadly as Helen has pointed out, the jobs that do exist are contract forestry jobs or something similar, hard and dangerous work…its bloody tough on these people.

              • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                If you buy a tractor, you cannot deduct its entire cost against your assessable income in one year. You have to depreciate it over its useful life.

                If you do not know basic shit like this, maybe you should be reassessing everything you think you know about businesspeople.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Come on Gormless, look at the actual quote and you’ll see that saarbo knows just fine and it’s you who should learn to read.

                  But buying tractors on debt and using the interest and depreciation to reduce taxable income is pretty popular.

                  • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                    I was referring to yours, actually Colonial Viper:

                    “Any farmer will buy a big new tractor rather than have cash in the bank, as that means they have a taxable income.”

            • The Al1en 5.1.1.1.1.5

              “your retarded”

              And they didn’t have schools in Taihape? ;)

        • The Al1en 5.1.1.2

          Retarded much?

      • quite correct the Allen and don’t forget the number of times they have expensive overseas holidays.
        In the Waikato all the retired farmers live in huge houses and still have overseas trips plus the wives have expensive cars to run about in.And have you seen heard them commenting on the
        unemployed and solo mums. Just take note sometime.

        • The Al1en 5.1.2.1

          “And have you seen heard them commenting on the unemployed and solo mums. Just take note sometime.”

          When I’m at work I hear people slagging off our beneficiaries all the time in the next door business. That is when they’re not busy running down the young staff waiting on them hand and foot.
          Each and every one of them gets told they’re shit for having such a poor attitude.

          Good job I’m indispensable, I suppose. :)

    • Mary 5.2

      Difference is that farmers “contribute” whereas the unemployed, whether because of sickness, caring for kids, disability or a bottoming out of the labour market, get money for doing nothing. The theory is that if you don’t contribute in the particular way that others say you must, then you don’t deserve the basic help that your circumstances say you require. The logical extension of this view is that simply being a citizen, or even a human being, isn’t enough to place value on – not enough to be entitled to even the basics like food, a dry house and to be healthy, not even that.

      We’ve come so far down this road of showing so much disdain for each other the only way out is a complete overhaul of what’s important, what we’ve all got in common, of what it means to be human and how we place value on that.

      • vto 5.2.1

        Quite right Mary, but not quite right. In this situation of drought the farmers are not contributing at all, they are a drain.

        How would they see themselves as contributing?

        • Mary 5.2.1.1

          They’d say because they’re still working, still liable for paying wages to farm workers they haven’t laid off, still liable for tax…in other words they’re still ‘participating’ as opposed to “sitting around expecting the government to give them money for doing nothing”. It’s just the old deserving/undeserving poor analysis, really. I wouldn’t be bothered getting dragged into that “well the farmers are getting money for doing nothing now – isn’t that ironic” cul-de-sac. Whoever says it is confusing society with the economy.

          • The Al1en 5.2.1.1.1

            That bloke shearer got messy about doing his roof. He wasn’t sitting around doing anything.

            • The Al1en 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Edit…
              That bloke shearer got messy about doing his roof. He wasn’t sitting around doing nothing.

              • Mary

                Yes, but he was doing it while getting tax payers money because he supposedly wasn’t able to fix his roof (which is quite wrong, of course).

                • The Al1en

                  Who said he wasn’t able to fix his roof? Quite clearly he was able, Dave said so.
                  He could just as easily be a guy with depression doing a bit of home maintenance as a cathartic exercise, but unable to work for more than a couple of hours at a time.

                  Bitter neighbour squeals to Labour’s next leader in opposition, who totally fucks his response.

                  • Mary

                    I totally agree. I think you’ve missed who I’m channeling this through, which is the stereotypical farmer mickysavage talks about at 5 above. I’ve left out the climate change stuff and talked about attitudes towards beneficiaries only. And then vto asked how the farmers would see themselves as contributing. See the comment at 5.2.1.1.

          • Ess 5.2.1.1.2

            One could say that the farmers have plenty at hand that can be used to provide food on the table therefore not needing to spend as much as the supermarket for instance. Coming from the other side of the coin one could also say the beneficiary in the towns is providing employment in their own way just through the need to buy their meat and vege at the supermarket and all the services required prior to the items landing in the store in essence means jobs for many….including the farmers. Just thought would throw that one into the mix. And sorry, but worked for a farmer’s taxation specialist for years and I know what they can and can’t do that the townfolk can’t do with their incomes.

      • RobertM 5.2.2

        I disagree with everything your say. Many right wing regimes from National Socialist Germany to the Australia of Tony Abbott and John Howard pay teenage girls to have white babies and live well. Abbott and Howard said to the conservatives who opposed free sex and good support for solo mothers that they would destroy the liberal party and government if they didn’t support it.
        I don’t support Helen Kelly she’s too serious and no longer pretty , but I hate the Act party fundamentalist the hyprocritical, vicious stupid Banks, Quax, Coddington and Newman trying to force moral control on solo mothers and for people to slave their gutz out in pointless jobs for the minimum wage. The problems with the farmers is their fundamentalist values and greed are destroying freedom and the environment. I doub’t its generous support from English it looks to me more like the Maoist wing of the Vic Uni Nats has decided to starve the farmers out like they did in the Soviet Union and USA in the late 1920’s I’d put English, Smith, Grosser in that category.
        I think we desperately need our vigorous young ladies to be as hot as possible and to be giving as much sexual pleasure to the frustrated and overworked men of this nation as possible. In terms of reproduction I think they should have a couple at 20-21 and be on permanent contraception the rest of their lives starting at 15. There should be 24 hour child care and they may be brought up by the state.
        I am well aware of the rural anger. I suggest every farmer and farm worker should be guaranteed 80,000 in the hand and we close all provincial hospitals and polytechs to pay for it . We may even set up state subsidised brothels for the farmers and the farm workers.
        They won’t like it their conservatives.

    • Kathy 5.3

      The reason farmers are sceptical (the word “denier” is the refuge of those who wish to shut down debate) about climate change is because they are a hell of a lot more in touch with the climate than most.

      • The Al1en 5.3.1

        Shit custodians of the land are farmers, on the whole.

        • felixviper 5.3.1.1

          I wouldn’t go that far.

          You’ve got to remember that the vast majority of today’s farmers haven’t broken in any land, they’ve taken on existing pastural land. And a lot of them will try to leave it in at least as good a shape as they found it.

          The rivers, on the other hand…

          • The Al1en 5.3.1.1.1

            Toxic algae blooms caused by nutrient run off, cows shitting in waterways, deforestation causing erosion etc…

            I stand by my opinion.

            • felixviper 5.3.1.1.1.1

              Fair enough. But around my way there’s been a lot of planting of waterways in the last few years too. That’s a real tangible improvement.

              And yeah on the whole you’re probably right, but “on the whole” takes in the big agri-business farms which are the worst offenders and lumps them in with all the little guys, many of whom do their best to work with the land as they find it.

              • The Al1en

                Planting waterways :lol:

                My environment Waikato rates (or whatever they are after another expensive re-brand), go towards paying bad farmers to do what they should be doing in the first place. Crazy.

                Instead of subsidies and grants, how about fines and/or charges.
                Bet that would help clean the streams and rivers up pretty quickly.

                • felixviper

                  No, because the bad ones don’t take the subsidies and don’t plant at all. And there are are few of those around here too.

                  And yeah it’s a process. And yeah it’s taking a while. But if you expect to snap your fingers and immediately educate the whole country about “what they should be doing in the first place” while ignoring how those individuals came to be in this situation then frankly you might as well fuck off back to your own planet because you’re not going to be any help here.

                  • The Al1en

                    “if you expect to snap your fingers and immediately educate the whole country”

                    I’ve been paying those same rates (at an ever increasing level) for over 13 years.
                    No taxes without representation, right? ;)

                    “what they should be doing in the first place”

                    Pointing out that lots of farms don’t fence off streams and stock foul in our drinking water, doesn’t really warrant

                    “you might as well fuck off back to your own planet because you’re not going to be any help here.”

                    Al1enist. :lol:

            • Colonial Viper 5.3.1.1.1.2

              Sort out farm price and bank debt issues, and most of the problems of overstocking will go away.

              For the rest of it, recidivist farmers who continue extreme behaviour can be prohibited from owning/operating land for a few years.

  6. cricklewood 6

    I beleive that it is such mechanisms that prop up farms during times of drought are the ones that contribute to the ever rising prices. Basically a huge risk element is mitigated allowing bigger and bigger loans to by said farms. Resulting in even greater cost for the govt to cover during times of drought. If the wernt leveraged to the max a good farmer should be able to ride out a drought like we are currently seeing.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      It’ll have some effect but, IMO, the fact that rich foreigners can come in and buy up large tracts of land for far more than what a NZer can pay for it would have a bigger effect.

      • cricklewood 6.1.1

        Same thing applies I guess, You will pay a bomb for it because it is low risk. Everytime a major risk factor (weather) turns sour the govt covers the hole.

        Does the relief package cover only farms who are owned by NZ citizens?

        I really don’t like my tax money propping up overseas interests…

  7. Macro 7

    The stupidity of our current economic policy which bets the whole wealth of our country upon increasing Dairying and prostituting ourselves for a Trade Agreement so we can sell more milk products to the USA is clearly demonstrated by the present drought. The 3rd since 2008 in the Waikato according to the president of Federated Farmers. And this in a predominantly la Nina period where as the projections for El Nino is for a prolonged period of drought.
    Not only are we jeopardising the environmental wealth of our country for a few more dollars possibly in export we are stupidly betting that our climate of the past will continue, and we now have every indication that it will not. The weather patterns of the past with ample rainfall throughout the year are a thing of the past. Welcome to the new normal.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      The stupidity of our current economic policy which bets the whole wealth of our country upon increasing Dairying and prostituting ourselves for a Trade Agreement so we can sell more milk products to the USA is clearly demonstrated by the present drought.

      QFT

      Welcome to the new normal.

      We’re not there yet.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2

      Fat chance of selling dairy products to USA.

      Thats a closed market, free trade rules are out the window.

      Similar for sheep meat. A few Senators from dairying and sheep states will die in a ditch over this

  8. vto 8

    Helen confirms what many commenters on here have been saying for ages… this government hands out welfare all over the goddamn place . Lets see;

    1. Welfare for finance company investors.
    2. Welfare for banks.
    3. Welfare for farmers.
    4. Welfare for unemployed.
    5. Welfare for the NZ stock exchange.
    6. Welfare for Chch earthquakes.
    7. Welfare for solo mums.
    8. Welfare for Joyce’s ex-Mediaworks.
    9. Welfare for private schools.

    Can anybody name a group who doesn’t or hasn’t received some kind of welfare from this government?

  9. RedLogix 9

    A very thoughtful post Helen. Ensuring that farmers survive droughts, floods or disease is simple common sense.

    I just wish that they’d show some political understanding.

    • Colonial Weka 9.1

      “Ensuring that farmers survive droughts, floods or disease is simple common sense.”

      Why? Genuine question.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        The same reason why it makes sense to ensure all people survive the normal setbacks and misadventures of life.

        This can be justified on both ethical and pragmatic grounds. The ethical argument is simply that “there but for the grace of God go I”. Misfortune can strike in any number of ways and we all need at some point in our lives some help. If we would seek that help ourselves, we have no grounds on which to deny to others.

        Pragmatically there is the reasoning that if we always have to plan to survive a worst case scenario (like a once in a 50 year drought or flood) then we will always be excessively risk-averse, holding back reserves or failing to innovate. The assurance of some measure of collective risk sharing however frees up the individual to become more effective and efficient.

        • Colonial Weka 9.1.1.1

          Ok, so because they are people (nothing to do with it being farming)? Does it apply to all self-employed people? Or employees for that matter.

          I agree with the principle of that, and the last paragraph, but this situation isn’t a 1 in 50 year event. It’s forseeable. Does that make a difference?

          • rosy 9.1.1.1.1

            “but this situation isn’t a 1 in 50 year event. It’s forseeable. Does that make a difference?”

            I hear what your saying, I think – there should be some financial planning for drought and flood conditions, or they should have moved off the drought-prone land or changed farm type or methods sooner. But should it make a difference?

            Farmers theoretically pay their taxes and as such are entitled to the social insurance/social security provisions of the welfare state that those taxes fund. Like most beneficiaries this security is funding to see them through the times of temporary hardship, not a lifestyle choice.

            Whether the situation was forseeable is not much different to a person becoming redundant due to economic conditions that would make they industry they worked in nonviable. Should these people have up-sticks sooner and moved into a growth industry rather than relying on the State when the company moved production or went bust?

            Btw, good post Helen.

            • Colonial Weka 9.1.1.1.1.1

              So why farmers and not builders? Or gardeners? or anyone else who doesn’t get this assistance?

              • rosy

                Pretty sure they’re all entitled to an State income if they can’t earn an income through their work, pay the rent or mortgage or feed the kids.

                The confounding factors for farmers is of course that their farms are also their homes. I do believe that farming corporations should be a whole other story though.

                • Colonial Weka

                  Really? I thought other people had to go on the dole.

                  • rosy

                    dole=state income. The hoops that the non-farmers have to go through to get their income support is a whole other issue, and no-one should have to go through that.

                    The differences in how different people get their income support highlights the importance of a unconditional basic income, I reckon. All these problems about who deserves what money to live, at the most basic level, are then made redundant.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.2

          Although I agree with everything you said what if we have too many farms to be sustainable?

  10. Jimmie 10

    With great respect to you Ms Kelly I don’t think you understand the nature of the benefits provided to farmers.

    There are few if any cash hand outs – it is mostly a coordination service to link up drought farmers with feed supplies etc. Also some extensions on tax payment dates with the IRD.

    Also a lot of farmers are fairly self sufficient with vege gardens, home grown meat & milk, and often free accommodation.

    Droughts though painful are a natural part of the farming cycle – just as winter floods are. Most farmers worth their salt, plan and prepare for a drought each year in various ways including saving long spring pasture, buying/making silage and growing summer crops. (And destocking)

    For a farmer not to be able to survive through a 6-8 week summer dry period they are either incompetent, a risk taker, or up to their eyeballs in debt.

    There has been good drought management advice available for 20+ years which most farmers are aware of.

    I don’t have an issue with much of your statement about solo mums and beneficiaries however there is a significant group within both classes who refuse to work and see the benefit as their God given lifestyle. They are often unemployable – being addicted to various substances, and do what ever they can to avoid compulsory job interviews.

    It is for these folk that the compulsion needs to be enforced with as they are bludgers who give genuine beneficiaries a bad name. I agree there needs to be a safety net but you need strict rules to discourage abuse of it.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      For a farmer not to be able to survive through a 6-8 week summer dry period they are either incompetent, a risk taker, or up to their eyeballs in debt.

      Perhaps, but this drought is longer than this. Soil moisture levels are catastrophically low. I’m looking out the window at paddocks which were fence high in grass this time last year that are now bare earth. Literally. The only small mercy at this point is that there is not a lot of wind taking the top-soil away. Yes there is some mitigation you can take to get through a normal dry-spell, but at some point you have to get the core breeding stock through to the next season in order to survive.

      Besides we’re all up to our eyeballs in debt. That’s normal.

      I don’t have an issue with much of your statement about solo mums and beneficiaries however there is a significant group within both classes who refuse to work and see the benefit as their God given lifestyle. They are often unemployable – being addicted to various substances, and do what ever they can to avoid compulsory job interviews.

      I think you might want to reconcile this logic with your own statement’s about farmers who are “incompetent, a risk taker, or up to their eyeballs in debt”. Sure there may be some who’ve miscalculated and could well have made better decisions … but in my book they get the help they need too.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        Besides we’re all up to our eyeballs in debt. That’s normal.

        But it shouldn’t be.

    • georgecom 10.2

      Jimmie, there are benefits available:
      :Mr Guy said rural assistance payments would also be available from Work and Income, through the Ministry of Social Development. “These are equivalent to the unemployment benefit and are available to those in extreme hardship.”
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10869521

      Also, can you provide a number please on the “specific group within both classes who refuse to work and see the benefit as their God given lifestyle”. I am not asking for exact numbers, approximate will do. Thanks

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      …however there is a significant group within both classes who refuse to work and see the benefit as their God given lifestyle.

      [citation needed]

  11. Jimmie 11

    I forgot to add that farmers should not receive the benefit because even though there summer production does take a hit, they still own multi million assets, receive large incomes (which continue through from previous production) and would be considered wealthy compared to those who are genuine beneficiaries.

    So I say advice is good – handouts are bad for farmers unless they are going bankrupt.

  12. logie97 12

    It has been said that there are some of them there country folk who employ a competent accountants, and have probably been milking the system for years.

    First the accountant makes sure that the husband and wife salaries are a minimum.
    That way they are subject to minimum PAYE, and of course when the kids are off to varsity, they qualify for student allowance because Mum and Dad’s combined income is below the threshold.

    Then there’s
    – the occasional odd colour of the diesel in the ute that drives on country roads to pop into the supermarket.
    – the depreciation on the company car.
    – the “entertainment” receipts.
    – the clothing allowance receipts.
    The list goes on, but there are a few for starters.

    And, of course, when a couple of beast are sent to the butcher, well the butcher often comes to the farm and a nice little bartering exchange might go on – nudge, nudge … know what I mean. Accountant’s services here, solicitors’s services there. All nice and cosy for some.

    Now whilst the author’s sympathies are laudable and we wish for an ideal world, some of those there rural folk can be the first to stick the boot into the urban yokels when the chance arises.

    • Murray Olsen 12.1

      They probably pick up advice on how to do all this at the local National branch meetings. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for many of them. Sharemilkers, if they still exist, are another story.

      • And don’t forget the poor farm worker who work very long hours including most weekends plus if they are sacked or found redundant they lose their homes . They retire to a rented house
        and low retirement savings and a worn out body..Its surely time that Fontera included farm workers in the distribution of their profits by issuing unsaleable shares to long time farm employees

    • AsleepWhileWalking 12.2

      Enter the Rural party…

    • infused 12.3

      Any self employed person can do that. What’s your point?

    • Jimmy 12.4

      Will get to the rest of your misinformation later, got work to do in 5mins.
      But this sort of stuff is just plain wrong.
      Lets start with your first point.

      “the occasional odd colour of the diesel in the ute that drives on country roads to pop into the supermarket”

      Diesel in NZ is all the same colour, the Road User Charges sort out the differance between off and on road vehicles, and its something all NZers and farmers cant get around, so no rort their.

      Farmers do pay road tax for all their road going deisel vehicles, they also pay road tax for some of thier petrol vehicles that dont go on the road, and only can get a tax rebate if they fill in loads of paperwork, which many dont bother with because of the hassle.

      • Lanthanide 12.4.1

        “Diesel in NZ is all the same colour, the Road User Charges sort out the differance between off and on road vehicles, and its something all NZers and farmers cant get around, so no rort their.

        Sorry, what? I think you completely missed the point. The diesel in the ute has not had tax paid on it, because it’s officially for off-road use. And yet it is used to go to the supermarket. In rural areas there aren’t a lot of cops to catch this happening and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them looked the other way anyway.

        • Jimmy 12.4.1.1

          Ok so where is the misunderstanding, If the owner of the ute has a current RUC sticker on it all legal. Tax on diesel is paid via Road User Charges.

          • logie97 12.4.1.1.1

            … yeah but I get a GST receipt to claim it back mate … And by the way Pink diesel is the agricultural term for it … you need to sit around a few farmers when they drop their guard and talk about these things over a pint or two.

            • Jimmy 12.4.1.1.1.1

              Anyone can make up stories mate, you look like you can tell a good one logie.
              Dont let the facts get in the way mate……….

  13. Mick 13

    Full employment is a myth ,we need to acknowledge that permanent growth is impossible and there will always be a small percentage of the work force unemployed .
    Feel comfort in the fact that every dollar given to a beneficiary goes straight back into the economy ! Not hidden away in some high return account etc..

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      +1

      In fact, if we properly progressed our economy and infrastructure unemployment could easily reach 75% under the present paradigm. Then what would this government (or even a Labour government which is following the old failed paradigms do)?

      • Mary 13.1.1

        The present Labour government would do exactly what this government would do. Labour’s current welfare policy is pretty much the same as Nact’s. We all go on about how bad the latest attacks on the poor under Bennett/Key are, but Labour’s current track record is no different. Until Labour make a proper stand against this nothing will change.

        • Mary 13.1.1.1

          And I think the unions have a role in helping this to happen. Helen Kelly’s piece today is heartening but the unions really need to tell Labour that its stance on welfare needs to be a clear vision of an adequate non-punitive safety net. Nothing less will do.

  14. Thanks for this post Helen it has really challenged me and made me think about my own beliefs. I agree that everyone deserves help when they need it I feel I have a attitude problem with farmers specifically dairy farmers because i can’t seem to move them away from bankers in my head. I seem to equate the, imo, exploitation of the animals and the pollution of waterways and land in pursuit of personal financial gain as similar to the exploitation of people and the pollution of society with greed in pursuit of personal financial gain. Everyone deserves help but everytime I cross the bridge near home the cows are down by the river and my five year old is unlikely to be able to swim in that river when he gets older because some farmer either takes the water, adds cowshit to it and sprays it all over his/her field which naturally runs off into the river, or the cows just shit directly into it. Sure not every farmer does that but lots do without a care in the world for anyone else or the environment. So I’m going to think more on this interesting issue because I haven’t reconciled it yet, obviously.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Proper regulation and enforcement will stop the farmers destroying the environment but our governments have steered well clear of that. In fact, they’ve gone to quite some lengths to get the farmers to do it and to try and make everyone else accept that destruction.

  15. the pigman 15

    Nice one, Helen. You seem to be on the side of both the economically secure and the dispossessed, which is the right place to be. It is actually heartening to read this from someone in your position.

    Perhaps you have the ear of someone in the Labour caucus who’d be prepared to depart from the beneficiaries-as-bludgers meme that has taken National to such great heights?

  16. This analogy between farmers and workers is wrong. People do not attract rights in capitalist society merely because they are humans. Nor because they are citizens. Not all citizens are equal. Rather their rights reflect their social and economic power.

    Farmers and workers are different economic classes since farmers own (even if indebted) their productive assets, whereas workers have only their labour to sell. Workers are relatively powerless because their only power is to withdraw their labour (and hence the means of subsistence). Beneficiaries know what it is to be powerless when jobless.

    Farmers are in business, they do not have to sell their labour. They are self-employed or in part working for the bank. Fed Farmers is not a labour union, its a bosses union usually run by big capitalist farmers. Farmers unlike workers have power because they own property. Today big farmers are wealthy capitalists.

    (Notwithstanding the fact that WP Reeves (Fabian fop and liblab minster of labour) and FP Walsh (scab union boss) both had big farms – Walsh reputedly the biggest in the land. They were aspirational middle class trying to escape the working class).

    Unlike workers, farmers can make good profits and capital gains in good times when there are no droughts and prices are holding up. Land values reflect profitability.

    If in bad times they need social support (it is bizarre calling it the dole) this should be a loan paid back by income and capital gains taxes in good times. Land tax.

    Factor into this the externalised costs of farming such as pollution and carbon footprints. Carbon tax.

    Add other inputs that are grabbed or stolen like water or originally, Maori land. These are all part of the privatising of social inputs. In the 19th century the social input into land values was called the ‘unearned increment’ and a land tax was proposed to return this increment to society.

    What is returned to society today is the ‘unearned excrement’.

    With CC impacting on farming we have to make sure we don’t bail out capitalist farmers in the way we bailed out the banks, failed finance corps and sacked Ministry Heads.

    Facing the huge social drain that will be sucked into into farmers pockets to cover the disasters of CC the only answer is to nationalise the land and plan production based on the needs of all in society, not not just a few who have privatised nature and labour in the name of private profit.

    The Labour Party once had the ‘socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange’ in its Constitution. If the Labour Party has abandoned this demand permanently then it will give way to a new workers party that makes it the main platform of its program.

    • Colonial Weka 16.1

      +100

      I think farmers should be supported where they grow affordable food for people in NZ, because we are all dependent on that and it will be core to our survival in the future. The ones that grow food sustainably. But where they are simply a profit-driven business, why do they deserve support more than any other business? I don’t get it.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        why do they deserve support more than any other business? I don’t get it.

        If you read RR’s analysis carefully there is no moralistic issue of “deserve support”. Farmers get that support because they command it. It is an exercise of economic and political power. Farmers have that power, most other SMEs do not.

        • Colonial Weka 16.1.1.1

          Yes, and I agree, but I was meaning why do some people in this conversation think that farmers deserve support where other self-employed people do not.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 16.1.1.1.1

            Self employed can get a benefit in similar circumstances when they are without work including both businesses and contractors. After the crash in 87 this made the difference for a few businesses after the owners had exhausted all their resources and the banks who encouraged them into debt when times were good wouldn’t have a bar of them when times were bad. I remember AGC finance in particular doing some really horrible things to people.

            http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/manuals-and-procedures/income_support/main_benefits/unemployment_benefit/unemployment_benefit-79.htm

            I don’t have a problem with anyone who can’t feed their families getting help and I don’t have a problem with a no-fault based on need approach to basic help – it’s the decent thing to do. Whether they are a good farmer, bad farmer, is irrelevant and we all know that the benefit is a pittance anyway.

            • Colonial Weka 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Ssssmith, from your link –

              “Where a client has been self-employed or in a partnership you need to be sure that the client’s involvement in the business has completely stopped. Unemployment Benefit cannot be used to financially support a business, as the client would not generally meet the job search requirements.

              The business does not have to be formally ‘wound up’. It can be temporarily finished or other staff can be continuing to run it.”

              Farmers are exempted from all that, and are allowed to receive the equivalent of UB while they’re still running their business. Pretty sure they’re not expected to look for other work. They’re a special case.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Unemployment Benefit cannot be used to financially support a business, as the client would not generally meet the job search requirements.

                Yep, one of the stupid rules about the UB – you can’t start a business on the UB (not that you would have enough income to do so) because it would stop you looking for a job.

          • RedLogix 16.1.1.1.2

            That’s still a very good question CW. I’m thinking this is a very good example of the kind of ‘horizontal and vertical equity’ problem that Gareth Morgan identifies in his The Big Kahuna. Morgan states some of the principles of a good tax/redistribution system here. In this case we need to consider:

            1. Vertical Equity … where both big and small players, with or without capital, are treated the same.

            2. Horizontal Equity … where like cases are treated similarly.

            Red Rattler makes a very good case for the vertical inequity going on here. Farmers have access to land and capital in a way that ordinary workers do not, yet they are expecting to be treated much the same when they fall on hard times.

            Colonial Weka asks about the horizontal inequity. Are farmers being treated differently to any other self-employed person?

            I think we can all sense at some intuitive level that there is a problem here, and I’m finding it useful to clearly split out the reasons why. Clearly our current tax system is the root cause of this because:

            1. It is failing to adequately tax land and capital.

            2. Do farmers have privileged access to some assistance that other similarly affected business people do not have?

            However there is a risk in treating farmers the same way we do for instance builders. An individual builder might fail with little harm to the economy as a whole. Even a sustained downturn in the housing market will hurt a lot of people, but we seem willing to tolerate this. A drought or flood can however immediately threaten an entire sector of the economy that we are highly dependent upon. In this sense RR is correct; farmers are quite a lot like bankers … too big and important to fail. And of course politicians from across the whole political spectrum instinctively recognise this. There will be no talk from David Shearer, or even Russel Norman, questioning “why are we propping up failed farmers?”

            Despite all of this my first instinct is that all people are entitled by right to some form of social safety net regardless of whether society judges them to be worthy of support or not. Morgan calls this the inalienable right to a dignified life.

            For this fundamental reason I support farmers receiving assistance during a downturn. I cannot deny them this right any less than I can for any other person. The inequity that we are dealing with here is an artefact of our broken, unjust tax system.

            PS. DoSS wtf are we both doing at 5am typing about this?

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 16.1.1.1.2.1

              You woke me up when you went to the toilet!

              Seriously though I still think that taxing at gross solves many of the issues around manipulation of the tax system. This would also mean overseas esales could also be taxed at source so companies like iTunes would now pay tax on sales by NZers and rorts like the non-interest but claim interest as an expense one IRD has just ruled on would become irrelevant and pointless.

              As no-one could not pay tax it would seem to be much fairer and all would contribute.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I have a tendency to agree with the gross taxation. I cannot get tax deductions to work no matter how I try.

        • infused 16.1.1.2

          And because they export $13.2b each year.

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      Spot on RR.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.3

      Beneficiaries know what it is to be powerless when jobless.

      Most of them know what it’s like to be powerless when they have a job as well.

      Farmers unlike workers have power because they own property.

      Which is one of the reasons we have to change the ownership paradigm.

      Factor into this the externalised costs of farming such as pollution and carbon footprints. Carbon tax.

      Add other inputs that are grabbed or stolen like water or originally, Maori land. These are all part of the privatising of social inputs.

      And as they’re not charged for those they don’t on charge them and thus the free-market paradigm we use fails to bring about the efficient use that it’s supposed to bring about. Not that I’m supportive of the free market, just pointing out another unaccounted aspect of it that brings about it’s failure.

      With CC impacting on farming we have to make sure we don’t bail out capitalist farmers in the way we bailed out the banks, failed finance corps and sacked Ministry Heads.

      Yep, that’s what I was thinking. We should be looking at these farms and asking if we need them. If we don’t and we probably don’t, then we should just close them down and turn them back into native forest.

      Facing the huge social drain that will be sucked into into farmers pockets to cover the disasters of CC the only answer is to nationalise the land and plan production based on the needs of all in society, not not just a few who have privatised nature and labour in the name of private profit.

      QFT

      We have to state the purpose of the economy as to provide for us at a sustainable level and get away from the failure of infinite exponential growth and the enrichment of the few. From what I can make it’s these latter that bring about the fall of civilisations.

  17. xtasy 17

    I have heard of farmers, particularly dairy farmers, who are happy to employ “beneficiary” farm workers from places like the Philippines, as they are prepared to work longer hours, for humble conditions and do as they are told.

    This is maybe the kind of “solidarity” that some farmers have with us when there is talk about the “lifestyle choosing” “layabouts” in urban and even rural areas, who may want a job with reasonable conditions, working hours and a pay you can life from in NZ.

    May I concede though, there are farmers and farmers, and of course under drought and other catastrophic situations they deserve help like anybody else. But do not get carried away with reading much true, genuine solidarity between “beneficiaries” that here are even farmers.

    Even the richest CEO will be able to apply for the dole, if she or he can claim having NO income!

    • AsleepWhileWalking 17.1

      In principle I support welfare for the farmers themselves as I think PEOPLE should be supported in difficult financial times, but I wonder how much of this could be predicted and mitigated through income protection insurance, business insurance, etc, but instead is now falling upon the government?

      • AsleepWhileWalking 17.1.1

        Another point on mitigating loss, has anybody here watched the documentary Greening the Desert?

        It is about Geoff Lawton using permiculture to grow stuff in an arid and nasty looking place close to Jerusalem.

        Now I remember the story it’s actually pissing me off that farmers are pretending to be powerless over their environment. They OPTED to used farming methods that resulted in higher yields rather than something that would last climate variations. They OPTED for this lifestyle. Nobody forced them to do it.

        They ELECTED to ingore other methods of farming that would have continued to sustain them, or at the very least lessened the impact of drought.

        Sorry, now I remember all the nasty things farmers have said via the media about beneficiaries I think all my sympathy is reserved for the animals.

        • Colonial Weka 17.1.1.1

          “all the nasty things farmers have said via the media about beneficiaries”

          Citation?

          “They OPTED to used farming methods that resulted in higher yields rather than something that would last climate variations. They OPTED for this lifestyle. Nobody forced them to do it.”

          Yes and no. Even the farmers that want to farm sustainably are tied into an industrial economic machine that can be very hard to break out of. eg if you don’t want to be part of that system, how do you sell your produce? There are alot of barriers to farmers shifting to sustainable land management, esp those that have med or high debt on the farm. And most mainstream farmers are being told that sustainably farming practices are not economic, and being given industry-sponsored advice.

          Greening the Desert (5 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzTHjlueqFI

          • Colonial Weka 17.1.1.1.1

            but on the otherhand, yes there are plenty of greedy people farming, just like in everything else. Federated Farmers is pretty good at representing them.

            • Ennui in Requiem 17.1.1.1.1.1

              The whole farming experience in NZ is extractive, and the necessary mindset is greed. I had the economics of farming explained to me by a family member who is a farmer. Here is how it has worked for the last century:
              * farms are traded / bought / sold for capital value of around 8 times the annual turn over in the period of a few years around the transaction date. This is supposed to reflect the revenue yield from the land. Note profitability is not the major price determinant as you would expect for most other businesses.
              * the farms capital value has historically gone up, and the assumption is that it will still. So when the farmer sells so long as the revenue has held constant to inflation, even with no profit he will make a big gain.
              * if the farmer adds lots of capital inputs and still makes a loss or small profit he gets an additional multiplier on farm resale value. If he can get the taxpayer to subsidise “improvements” by depreciating or some other accounting method so much the better.

              You will notice a trend appearing: its all about being able to stay on the land over time and letting inflation make your pay out work when you sell. Of course if some bank or whoever manages to push your revenue up, even if they gobble all the gain, so much the better. And if you wreck the land in the process, so long as revenue stays up good.

              What if we get deflation?

  18. Tiger Mountain 18

    Sheepshagging waterway polluting, tax dodging, Hi lux wheeling, rural conservatives in denial about the stolen Māori land many of them sit on. So definitely the undeserving ‘poor’. Sod off you dole bludgers. Bet you would like to see some of the urban suplus army of labour march over the hill, fill in your phosphate ridden poo pools and get down to growning some real food for local areas.

  19. aerobubble 19

    How long before people realize. Everyone benefits from government. Its the whole point of collectivizing our interests. So its obvious that those cut down by government legislation, harmed by its gaps or direct consequences puts a duty on government to *all*. Those in work get civil society, labour laws, capital protections, banking regulations, etc, those without income get welfare.

    Key and ACT are keen to frame the debate that ‘ought’ is the dictate of government.

  20. Mary 20

    Refreshing to hear a unionist saying these things. It’s just a pity her mates in the fucking Labour party don’t agree with her.

  21. Tom Gould 21

    Never mind, Joyce has finally come up with an economic development strategy to make us all rich. Strike oil. If we can only strike oil, lots of it, we can all live like Saudi princes. A Bentley in every carport. Sorted. Of course, the MSM will run this hard, complete with smiling photos of Joyce and Bridges, looking hopeful and optimistic. What a bunch of corrupt losers.

  22. Mary 22

    The CTU’s continued friendship with this Labour party is worrying. If I was the CTU I would tell Shearer and his uncaring anti-beneficiary mates to get stuffed and not to come back until he’s rediscovered what a real Labour party is supposed to about.

    • js 22.1

      Just wondering what evidence Mary has that the LP is anti-beneficiary. I think every Labour electorate office will tell you their local Labour MP cares a lot about beneficiaries and actively supports them.

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.1

        In that case I’m looking forwards to Labour taking income taxes off benefits, lifting the unemployment benefit to 60% of the minimum wage and eliminating the work testing of sickness beneficiaries, thank you very much.

        • Mary 22.1.1.1

          And restoring the special benefit, reinstating the meeting of need as the primary objective of the Social Security Act, removing the distinction under the Tax Act between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, stop locking innocent women up for alleged benefit fraud and wrongly establishing and recovering huge overpayments, announcing the reversal of the latest amendment Bill that attempts to criminalise partners of beneficiaries allegedly living in relationships in the nature of marriage, stop Income Support from ringing up doctors to try to get them to change their medical assessments so that they can refuse the benefit, say sorry for all the nasty changes they made to the Social Security Act, get David Shearer to say he was wrong about the sickness beneficiary on the roof debacle, and for Labour abandon the dumb idea that it’s a party for workers only…

          Is that enough, ts? Go do some reading.

        • Mary 22.1.1.2

          And restoring the special benefit, reinstating the meeting of need as the primary objective of the Social Security Act, removing the distinction under the Tax Act between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, stop locking innocent women up for alleged benefit fraud and wrongly establishing and recovering huge overpayments, announcing the reversal of the latest amendment Bill that attempts to criminalise partners of beneficiaries allegedly living in relationships in the nature of marriage, stop Income Support from ringing up doctors to try to get them to change their medical assessments so that they can refuse the benefit, say sorry for all the nasty changes they made to the Social Security Act, get David Shearer to say he was wrong about the sickness beneficiary on the roof debacle, and for Labour abandon the dumb idea that it’s a party for workers only…

          Is that enough, ts? I suggest you do some reading before you come back. I very nearly couldn’t be bothered responding to you.

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.2

        Oh yeah, and reducing the horrendous abatement rates on income for people trying to return to the workforce.

        It’s not like these ideas haven’t been around for ages, either.

  23. Mike S 23

    Interesting video (actually more gobsmacking than interesting) on inequality below

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

    • Ess 23.1

      Thanks for this post…makes very interesting (indeed gobsmacking!) watching – and I should imagine if a similar study and resultant graph done for NZ it would not be too dissimilar. That is VERY sad.

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  • The obvious question
    John Key says he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. So, will the police be raiding his home for ten hours and taking all his data, or is that something they only do to enemies of the National Party?...
    No Right Turn | 29-10
  • Guest post: Living with a criminal conviction
    What happens when one moment of bad judgement changes everything anyone ever thinks about you? Mike Jones* used a weapon to defend his girlfriend from an aggressive man at a party seven years ago. He’s still paying for that choice....
    On the Left | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites Rapists To “Call In and Defend Yourselves...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites #Roastbusters Rapists To “Call In and Defe...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • Lower Hutt scientists win right to be academics
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 37 Lower Hutt scientists are joining TEU in large numbers after the union successfully argued that they should be classified as academics in Victoria University of Wellington’s new collective agreement. TEU members at Victoria recently...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • Ex-TEU member heads Parliament’s education committee
    Former TEU member Dr Jian Yang will chair parliament’s Education and Science Select Committee. Elected to parliament only three years ago directly from his job in the political science department at the University of Auckland, Yang has risen quickly to...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • Cabinet focuses tertiary education on economic growth
    The government has signalled again that it views tertiary education primarily as an economic tool rather than a tool for social opportunity and equity as well. The government has shifted tertiary education out of its Cabinet Social Policy Committee to...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • Aged care worker wins historic pay equity case
    Aged Care worker and union member Kristine Bartlett won an historic legal case for pay equity this week. Bartlett’s employer, Terranova Homes & Care Ltd had appealed to the Court of Appeal against an Employment Court ruling that the wages...
    Tertiary Education Union | 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...
    frogblog | 29-10
  • Look to international students for funding says Joyce
    Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce says universities need to expand overseas and recruit more international students to boost their income. Joyce told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that New Zealand universities are not doing enough to generate income from international students. “If...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s “NoahR...
    An Heretical Work: Darren Aronofsky's Noah is an attempt to reconstruct from the ill-fitting fragments of the much older and more finely textured myth of the Great Flood, a religious homily about human power, human guilt, and human redemption. That he...
    Bowalley Road | 29-10
  • World News Brief, Thursday October 30
    Top of the AgendaIraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Syria...
    Pundit | 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...
    frogblog | 29-10
  • Gordon Campbell on the links between bad labour laws and poor safety practi...
    By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port...
    Gordon Campbell | 29-10
  • How Labour’s ballot paper works
    Some weeks ago, I promised not to post about the Labour leadership election. I am going to break that promise today, but only because some of the people I have talked with appear a bit confused about Labour’s preferential ballot....
    Polity | 29-10
  • UKIP’s apostrophe fail
    The venerable institution that is the United Kingdom Independence Party wanted a hoodie for young patriots, so they can proudly declare how great Britain remains. For UKIP, the sun has never set on the British Empire of Awesomeness. Until this...
    Polity | 29-10
  • Understanding climate science in 10 easy steps
    The latest United Nations report on climate change is about to be finalised, written by thousands of scientists. The report is VERY important, but also a bit dull.What we really want to know is: How bad is climate change? And what can...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 29-10
  • Random thoughts on the Labour Party leadership contest
    Some thoughts on the leadership contest, and a puzzling mystery at the end....
    Imperator Fish | 29-10
  • Auckland Transport’s 30 Year Project List
    As part of the discussion on Alternative Transport Funding, which was launched yesterday, the Council also released a copy of Auckland Transport’s entire 30 year transport programme which includes the cost of projects and seemingly ranked according to some combination of criteria....
    Transport Blog | 29-10
  • Questions and Answers – October 30
    Press Release – Office of the Clerk EconomyInterest Rates and Inflation 1. ALASTAIR SCOTT (NationalWairarapa) to the Minister of Finance : What reports has he received on the economy, particularly on the direction of interest rates and inflation?QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS...
    Its our future | 29-10
  • Storm surge: Hurricane Sandy
    On the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy making landfall, we are running an extract from a new book by Adam Sobel “Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future”. It’s a great read...
    Real Climate | 29-10
  • Questions For Oral Answer October 30
    Press Release – Office of the Clerk 1. ALASTAIR SCOTT to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on the economy, particularly on the direction of interest rates and inflation? QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS 1. ALASTAIR SCOTT to the...
    Its our future | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    Press Release – GE Free NZ 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.Trade...
    Its our future | 29-10
  • The latest poverty excuses
    Today, the National Government managed to out produce Fonterra in its production of hot air and manure, with their explanations to justify the figures released in the latest (UNICEF) report documenting how little John Key’s administration has done to reduce...
    Closing the Gap | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Press Release – Joint Press Release 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...
    Its our future | 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...
    CTU | 29-10
  • Why my money’s on David Parker. And why Labour’s should be as well!
    OK, eventually you have to put your money where your mouth is. So who, of the four declared contestants – Nanaia Mahuta, Grant Robertson, Andrew Little and David Parker –  should, in my opinion, win the Labour leadership contest? And...
    Brian Edwards | 29-10
  • Arming police: evidence based policy or populist wishlist?
    At a time when people are questioning whether police forces in the United States have become too militarized, the president of New Zealand’s police association (NZPA) is calling for our police to be “fully armed”. He claims that incidents that...
    On the Left | 29-10
  • 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
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • 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
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • 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
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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