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What would I be prepared to die (or worse) for?

Written By: - Date published: 10:21 am, March 26th, 2013 - 62 comments
Categories: business, International, labour, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

I am at the Governing Body meeting of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. The GB is the tripartite executive that governs the place. There are 33 union representatives on the GB and a fair few of them live in very dangerous circumstances because of their union activities in their home countries. It is our group that has to live with this thought for the three weeks we are together – that those we sit, eat and plan with may be arrested, jailed, tortured or killed when they get home.

Also in the GB are 56 representatives from Governments and 33 employer representatives. Some of these people are complicit in the oppression. The whole employers group including those from Business NZ have launched a serious attack on the supervisory mechanism of the ILO that scrutinises these countries and puts pressure on that in some cases helps keep some of these people safe.

Our group includes Abdulla Hussain. He is the Assistant General Secretary of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU). That he comes here each meeting and continues to insist that the human rights abuses in Bahrain continue to be discussed, knowing that on any return trip he could be jailed and worse makes me question what I would do in his situation. I hope I would be as brave as them. The GFBTU is the only non sectarian union centre in the region and took a lead role in the Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain.

The ILO is unique as an organisation in the UN. Not only is it tripartite but it sets international labour standards and has a supervisory mechanism to hear complaints when countries breach them. The most famous conventions guarantee Freedom of Association (ILO Convention 87) and Collective Bargaining (Convention 98). Unions and employers can take complaints against Governments who breach these conventions. Mostly they come from unions and in very serious circumstances. As an example of how important this process is the ILO was one of the very first international organisations Nelson Mandela visited when he was released from prison (before the end of Apartheid even) where he said:

Let us assure you that despite the thickness of the prison walls, all of us on Robben Island and other jails could hear your voices demanding our release very clearly. We drew inspiration from this. I knew from the very first day of our incarceration that in the end it would prove impossible for the apartheid system to keep us in its dungeons. We thank you that you refused to forget us. We thank you that you did not tire in your struggle. We thank you for your sense of humanity and your commitment to justice which drove you to reject the very idea that we should be imprisoned and that our people should be in bondage.

Last year I was here when Aung San Suu Kyi spoke acknowledging that the ILO persistence on the human rights issues in Burma had been significant and had compelled her to honour us with an early visit. The ILO continues to scrutinise Burma – all is not well there yet for sure.

Complaints of breaches of conventions are first considered by a Committee of Experts. This Committee is made up of some of the best judicial brains on the planet who scrutinise the complaints against the standards and give expert advice to the ILO Conference Committee on the Application of Standards which meets at the conference in June.

This Conference Committee then agrees a list of some of the cases examined by the Experts and debates them at conference giving them prominence and agreeing on conclusions regarding what it hears. It is here that the cases of Burma and South Africa got their hearings. It is the opinion of these Experts that on any interpretation of the Convention on Collective Bargaining, it includes the right to strike. This means that where unionists have been jailed for striking or where strikes have been deemed illegal or where national legislation outlaws striking the Committee has been clear that it is a breach of the Convention and these cases can be examined. The opinions of the experts have been used by judges in many countries as influential and they are very important as trade agreements now frequently reference compliance with these core conventions so having a mechanism that interprets them is essential. But now the experts are under attack and the whole supervisory mechanism is at risk. For those many unionists in jail in Bahrain for striking – this is a bitter blow.

Each year the list of cases to be considered at the conference is agreed between the unions and employers and then heard. In June last year the employers simply refused to agree a list – they effectively took it hostage and had a number of demands they wanted as ransom. Knowing workers had come to Geneva, in some cases risking their lives to be heard, was used as a trump card.

One demand included for a disclaimer to be attached to the expert report on the report effectively calling for judges to ignore them when considering cases relating to the conventions effectively seriously weakening the supervisory mechanism. When this was refused, they sought to remove all cases where the right to strike was at issue. In the end they couldn’t get what they wanted so they simply refused to agree a list and the thousand or so people that had come to Geneva to hear these cases (including very serious abuses in Fiji), went home having wasted their time and in some cases having put themselves in harms way for nothing.

The issue is continuing and the employers are continuing the strategy to try to damage the system. It is unclear if this year we will have a list of cases or if we do, it will be chosen on the basis of the most serious cases.

Business NZ was personally thanked by the employers spokesperson for the lead strategy role they played in this disruptive process last June – in a speech that took place right before the Aung San Suu Kyi address to the full house that had gathered there to hear her speak they were thanked! It attracted much comment to me I can tell you.

So here I sit – with my brothers from Bahrain, hoping that when I come back in June they will be here too, still fighting on, and that perhaps even the case against Bahrain might be examined by the conference committee. They return to a country where union executive members are still in jail and in particular the executives of the teachers, doctors and nurses unions. One was just sentenced to another 5 years. His daughter tweeted minutes after the verdict:

Mama’s tears are heartbreaking .. 563 days were hard .. 5 years are a nightmare.

I’m not yet ready to answer the question of how far I would go if this were me.

62 comments on “What would I be prepared to die (or worse) for?”

  1. Populuxe1 1

    Frankly Helen, I’d be more impressed if you could turn around the decline of the unions in the relatively cushy situation of liberal democratic New Zealand where you’re in very little danger of being thrown in gaol.

    • karol 1.1

      NZ unions will not become strong in isolation. The NZ government is uniting with overseas business interests to undermine unions. The struggle for strong unions in NZ needs to be part of a global struggle. And seriously, pop, do you really advocate standing by and doing nothing while unionists in other countries are in danger of loosing their lives?

      Excellent post, Helen – the kind of stuff we don’t see reported in the MSM.

      • Populuxe1 1.1.1

        Um, no, I advocate New Zealand unions getting their shit together, properly advancing their cause to potential members, and generally not letting this government walk all over them – and no, I really don’t think overseas unions have much to offer us, mainly because it has minimum impact on our far away national working environment in a globalised world – unless you want to encourage the idea that international solidarity can force one govenrmnet to put pressure on another government, which is not something to be enouraged. The primary focus of our unions should be our country.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          So you’re willing to lend your support to the union movement in solidarity P1?

          Or just criticise the work that others do? I think I already know the answer.

          • Populuxe1 1.1.1.1.1

            Yes CV, being an arrogant prick I’m sure you would assume you know EVERYTHING. And yes you sad, bitter, armchair sniper, I am in a union and I strike when called upon. However, if the union movement wants to address its sad decline it needs to look to itself for part of the blame.

        • Daveo 1.1.1.2

          What do you think the union movement should be doing differently, given the current economic environment, the legal restraints they operate under and their huge under-resourcing problems? I’m interested to hear it, because so far all I’ve heard is an intimation that they should stop sending the CTU President to the ILO.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.2.1

            The union movement need to organise their members into profitable co-operative enterprises and begin the transition away from the ‘owner and employees’ model, to the ‘owner-employees’ model.

            • Daveo 1.1.1.2.1.1

              How exactly do they do that?

              • Bill

                How exactly do they do that?

                By making their members aware of the possibility of forming co-operatives/collectives.

                By writing literature on possible democratic structures and on the known pitfalls to be avoided.

                By making their members familiar with the Industrial and Provident Societies Act (1908).

                And if there’s no-one within the union movement with the knowledge or experience, then by talking to somebody like me, who has and disseminating the information they gather.

                And then bargaining with employers while holding the possibility for the formation of a collective/co-op at the forefront of their minds and incorporating that possibility into their industrual strategies.

                • Rogue Trooper

                  you are the person Bill to get things done

                • Colonial Viper

                  +1000

                  Labour aren’t going to deliver on anything groundbreaking in this area, but I bet the union movement could.

              • Blue

                “How do they do that?” the usual way any start-up business does, develop a business model, raise the capital amongst yourselves and take a risk with your own money, not someone elses.

                • Daveo

                  I think the idea of turning all workers into co-operative owners is worthy, but it’s not the panacea to our problems, and it’s certainly not what union members are demanding at the moment. Right now people want safe, skilled, secure and well paid jobs. Union education should involve thinking of alternatives to the current economic paradigm, but to suggest moving to co-ops tomorrow is the answer is naive.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I don’t really like your statement Daveo.

                    You raised the bar very high on what was originally suggested, trying to, it seems to me, kill the suggestion.

                    For starters:
                    – You talk of turning ALL workers into co-op owners. Thats stupid. No one (apart from you) suggested that. I suggest an initial aim of 5% of workers.

                    – You spoke of it being a PANACEA to ALL our problems. That’s stupid. No one (apart from you) suggested it would solve everything. I suggest that it will however strengthen the hand of unions when those co-ops can offer better jobs directly to compete with private employers.

                    – You spoke of union members not demanding co-op opportunities. Well, if the unions don’t raise the possibility how else will union members learn of it?

                    – You spoke of moving to co-ops TOMORROW. That’s stupid. No one (apart from you) suggested that. My suggestion is that a plan be formulated and carried out, step by step over say, 5 years.

                    • AmaKiwi

                      CV, I support you on cooperatives. There is no reason the people who do the work cannot also be the collective owners of the enterprise.

                      In most northern European countries a large company’s board of directors must, by law, include 30% union representatives.

                      Although many managers were horrified when this was first legislated, it has worked well. Workers also want the company to prosper. Workers can often bring profitable suggestions to the table that are outside the experience of the white collar managers.

                      Workers ARE the company. They should own it collectively or sit on the board of management.

    • fabregas4 1.2

      I’m on Helen’s side but its hard not to agree with this. Fiddling whilst Rome burns.

      • karol 1.2.1

        Actually, I think unions have been weakened in NZ as part of an international effort against unions generally. The Hobbit case shows how NZ unions can be both undermined by overseas corporates, but also strengthened through international solidarity.

    • millsy 1.3

      If the likes of Rodney Hide, and the rest of the right had their way, union members in NZ would be chucked in jail as well. Peter Jackson probably has come closest to making this happen. He has a fantasy of stringing up Actors Equity bods with piano wire. He would probably film it.

      Just saying…

  2. David 2

    Thanks Helen for the enlightening article. It is sad to see New Zealanders now playing an international role in attacking workers rights to the point of being prepared to risk the lives of participants in a conference they are attending. At the risk of sound like an old fogie – I never thought I would see the day…..

  3. Daveo 3

    Thanks for this Helen. It’s a perspective you wouldn’t see reported anywhere else. Keep up the good work.

  4. Rogue Trooper 4

    I’d “die for you”, Helen; for what greater thing can a man do than die for his friend!

  5. Blue 5

    Who would I die for? My family and my country.

  6. chris73 acualy is Dolan 6

    What would I be prepared to die (or worse) for? My wife, my country though I’d rather the other person died instead of me

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Worth killing for but not worth dying for?

      • chris73 acualy is Dolan 6.1.1

        If I’m alive I can better guarantee my wifes safety…

        like I said I would give my life but I’d prefer it if I could take the other persons life. I did consider what would happen if the SHTF in Timor, fortunately it didn’t but again it was a situation where I was prepared to put my life on the line but If given the choice between me or the other guy…

        • One Tāne Huna 6.1.1.1

          I don’t mean this to be offensive, I’m trying to figure out where you stand.

          Would you die to protect your wife from sexual harassment in the workplace?

          • chris73 acualy is Dolan 6.1.1.1.1

            No, killing someone over sexual harassment is overkill.

            I’d give the guy doing it a damn good hiding or rather I’d watch in amusement as my wife gave the guy a hiding (she has no problem smacking over guys)

            • One Tāne Huna 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Well that rather depends on the guy I guess, for you and your wife. So we can take that as a yes. You’d put yourself in harm’s way.

              What about if she were continually being passed over for promotion despite being better equipped than the men who got the jobs instead?

              Where do you say “this isn’t worth dying for”, and submit to it instead?

              And what if it involves a higher infant mortality rate?

              • chris73 acualy is Dolan

                What about if she were continually being passed over for promotion despite being better equipped than the men who got the jobs instead?

                – Find another job or start your own business, plenty of people men and women get passed for many different reasons

                And what if it involves a higher infant mortality rate?

                – As I posted before, what are you going to do about it?

                • One Tāne Huna

                  “what are you going to do about it?”

                  A facile question. Do you think there might be a better way to address the problem than whatever actions I might take? Do you think that action might be better addressed, for example, at a public policy level? By Parliament, for example?

                  If and when Parliament gets around to giving a toss about the harm’s way part of its duties, what kind of evidence do you think they should consider? Rational, peer reviewed evidence, or any old wingnut drivel?

                  • chris73 acualy is Dolan

                    So you asking me = fine, me asking you = facile…

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      That isn’t what I asked. I asked where you draw the line in the scale of human rights abuses. At which point do you say “that’s worth dying for”?

  7. One Tāne Huna 7

    It’s interesting how many people say “my country”. “Their” country is being betrayed as they speak, and many of them are cheering the betrayal. Invasion from outside? Fight to the end! Destruction from within? Bend over and cheer as your wages are cut and your human rights eroded.

    • chris73 acualy is Dolan 7.1

      Depends on your point of view I guess

      • One Tāne Huna 7.1.1

        So what are you dying for this week? 100% Middle Earth?

        • chris73 acualy is Dolan 7.1.1.1

          I’m just thankful we live in a society where we can express our personal opinions without fear of being slung in jail…

          • One Tāne Huna 7.1.1.1.1

            Does that mean you’re prepared to die to defend freedom of speech?

            How about freedom of assembly?

            Freedom from discrimination based on gender, age, race, etc?

            • chris73 acualy is Dolan 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I was in Timor as a peacekeeper and I prepared (as well as one could I guess) for the eventuality that I may well have been killed, if that answers your question.

              • One Tāne Huna

                Well, not quite.

                Being prepared to risk your life to defend people against what could have become a genocide is not the same as being prepared to do the same for equal pay for women, or youth.

                So where would you draw the line in New Zealand?

                Edit: and well done for the work in Timor.

                • chris73 acualy is Dolan

                  “Being prepared to risk your life to defend people against what could have become a genocide is not the same as being prepared to do the same for equal pay for women, or youth.”

                  I don’t consider equal pay for women, or youth to be on a par with genocide.

                  Personally I agree with youth rates and if women want to be paid more then its in their hands to do so.

                  • One Tāne Huna

                    I’m not suggesting they are on a par with genocide.

                    I’m asking where’s your bottom line?

                    You’re prepared to give up the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of youth or gender. What else are you prepared to submit to? Or more accurately, to wish on others?

                    • chris73 acualy is Dolan

                      What giving up, what submit to?

                      I agree with youth rates and if women want to be paid more then its in their own hands to be paid more.

                      How about you, what are you prepared to do or rather what you think what you might do in theory from the comfort of your own chair.

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      It’s a good question. I believe in the right to self-defence, and that extends to action in defence of others.

                      However, while I am (more-or-less) unlikely to be in a position to defend someone from a physical assault, I can see our infectious disease admission rates and our poor quality housing and recognise that they have much the same effect as an assault.

                      Obviously I have not taken violent action against this injustice, but neither have you, so perhaps that makes us both keyboard warriors.

                • Populuxe1

                  If you could possibly come up with a scenario in which one might actually have to risk one’s life for equal pay for women or youth, the resulting dystopia would have to be so fucked up as to render the example irrelevant. This isn’t the Middle East.

  8. Roy 8

    I’d die for any one of my kids. My country? Hell no.

  9. Populuxe1 9

    “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. “– E. M. Forster

    Though quite frankly I have no idea what I would do unless confronted with the situation

  10. infused 10

    A bacon and egg pie. God damm I’m hungry.

  11. chris73 acualy is Dolan 11

    To One Tāne Huna

    Obviously I have not taken violent action against this injustice, but neither have you, so perhaps that makes us both keyboard warriors

    – No it doesn’t, I went to Timor because I wanted to, because it would be a great experience and mostly because I had an opportunity to make a difference, to actually cause a positive effect no matter small my contribution was (and it was small, probably one of the smallest)

    So you may consider yourself a keyboard warrior but when I had the opportunity to do something I did it even if it meant the possibility that I may have to put myself in harms way to do it

    Fortunately for me nothing what I consider bad happened to me.

    • One Tāne Huna 11.1

      What I said before wasn’t strictly true: I have in the past defended people from physical assault, but it must be said, not particularly determined nor well-equipped assault. I have no more wish to be further tested in that department than you do.

      Your righteous and commendable action in Timor doesn’t answer my question about New Zealand.

      People in New Zealand are in “harm’s way” right now. Your answer to this is to pay them less?

      • chris73 acualy is Dolan 11.1.1

        In your opinion they’re in harms way.

        Tell you what, you set up a situation where someones death in NZ will solve whatever problems you think we have in NZ and I’ll let you know what my actions will be because at the moment its very easy to sit back in our comfortable chairs (I’m lying down on the couch at the moment) and say what we’d do and wouldn’t do.

        Its not until we’re in the situation that we know what we’d do so until that time all we’re doing is merely blowing our own trumpets over something that will probably never come to pass

        • One Tāne Huna 11.1.1.1

          Acualy is not my opinion. It’s The Lancet’s.

          PS: “Someone’s death” – killing isn’t the only action you’re allowed in this game.

          • chris73 acualy is Dolan 11.1.1.1.1

            So what are you going to do about it?

            • One Tāne Huna 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Apart from being politically active? And standing up to bullies in real life? And my job(s)?

              I’m going to continue trying to get people behind the idea that public policy that isn’t based on solid evidence is an assault.

      • Rogue Trooper 11.1.2

        effective link; speaks for itself

  12. Tigger 12

    Marriage equality. It matters that much to me.

  13. karol 13

    Who would be prepared to die for the forestry industry?. Just up on Stuff:

    A 23-year-old Rotorua man has died in a forestry accident.

    Rotorua police Senior Sergeant Karl Konlechner said the man died around 2.50pm today after he was hit by a falling tree.

    The man, whose name has not been released, was working with a small logging crew in steep and rugged terrain near Lake Rotoiti.

    He died instantly, Konlechner said.

  14. Murray Olsen 14

    My experience has been that people who fight for the rights of their class, or even their family, grow to fit the circumstances under which they are fighting. The Kiwis who went to Spain to fight Franco hadn’t been at risk of death back home, because the circumstances were different. Those who volunteered to fight fascism in WW2 rose to the occasion, even though a few old soldiers have told me they didn’t really know why they went except to be with their mates. Most of us rise to the occasion and the necessity of the place and time. We have enormous untapped reserves, and this is what makes me hopeful about our future.
    Some, of course, would just be happy to see conflict as another opportunity for currency speculation or profiteering. They are usually the most militant in their speeches, and are the ones who put our country on the wrong side in the battles the ILO is fighting. They are not all on the National side of the political spectrum either.

  15. In some places, you risk death, beatings or being thrown in the loony bin for things that would be uncontroversial here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/life/8473684/Is-this-photo-grounds-for-death. Don’t think I’d have the bollocks for it (or some less inappropriate analogy).

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

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

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