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Will Labour back $15 minimum wage?

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, October 7th, 2008 - 45 comments
Categories: election 2008, greens, labour, maori party, national, nz first, progressives, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

The unions want the minimum wage lifted to $15 an hour, two thirds of the average hourly rate, restoring the historic ratio. The Greens, New Zealand First, The Progressives (I think), the Maori Party* and, oddly, the Kiwi Party are also calling for $15 an hour. Will Labour join them?

Labour has an excellent record on the minimum wage. After 9 years in which National let inflation eat into the minimum wage, one of the Labour/Alliance Government’s first actions in 1999 was to lift the minimum wage. It continued to do so every year since (albeit with more prodding from the unions than should be necessary). The minimum wage is up from $7 an hour to $12 an hour since 1999. That’s an after-inflation increase of 40%. Along with the full employment policy, it is an important reason why incomes for low income families have increased under Labour after falling under National.

With tough economic times ahead, it is important we protect the wages of the lowest paid workers and ensure the fruits of production are shared with the most vulnerable, not hoarded by the owners of capital. There are about 100,000 workers earning the minumum wage and many more very close to it. About 450,000 workers would be directly affected if the minimum wage were lifted to $15 an hour today. Hundreds of thousands earning a little more than $15 an hour would also get knock-on pay rises. If the minimum wage is not lifted those workers will probably not get pay increases.  Lifting immediately to $15 would put $50 million more a week into New Zealand’s poorest communities but would have an inflationary impact of about 1.5%. The captialists’ argument that increasing the minimum wage leads to unemployment has not been borne out in the real world but a sudden lift of $3 an hour during an economic downturn could be too much too quickly. For these reasons, I would guess cautious Labour will back a $15 minimum wage but introduce it gradually, prehaps over the course of three years, rather than one. [figures from DoL]

Labour and the Left are committed to lifting the minimum wage and looking after the most vulnerable workers.  National is not. National MPs, including Labour Relations spokesperson Kate Wilkinson, have opposed the minimum wage’s existance, let alone lifting it. Key has made some soothing sounds but refused to make any commitments. 

If Labour has the courage to back $15 an hour and campaign on it hard they will place a stark choice in front of more than half a million workers and their families. Vote Left and get higher wages to help you through the tough times ahead or vote National and see the well-off protected while your standard of living falls.

45 comments on “Will Labour back $15 minimum wage?”

  1. John Stevens 1

    How do you propose employers pay for the increase when for the next year or 2 their profit margins will fall, credit is harder to come by and the recession will cause a lower demand?

    There will come a time when people will be laid off and they will get less on the benefit as employeers cash flows are severely squeezed.

    The min wage will not go to $15ph as LPG will not be in power.

  2. You’re right about one thing, John, the minimum wage won’t go to $15 an hour if the Left isn’t in power.

    Companies have done very well under Labour, experiencing record profit growth. In hard times, we need to ensure that the most vulnerable people aren’t made to suffer the most. If companies need to accept smaller profits to make that happen, so be it.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    SP, this is a very interesting topic.

    I don’t think the government can increase the minimum wage when in a recession without destroying a lot of jobs. The big difference between the minimum wage rises of the last nine years was that they were made in a growing economy, with declining unemployment. There’s a good argument to be made that increasing the minimum wage didn’t significantly affect workers’ incomes any more than the market would have delivered in a scarce labour supply.

    If you increase the minimum wage when more people are going onto unemployment (as forecast), then you’re just going to worsen the problem.

    The climate of increasing unemployment seems to me to be a good reason to lower the minimum wage, to encourage more employers to take on and retain employees, rather than increase it.

  4. Greg 4

    Why would you want to increase the minimum wage when unemployment is forcast to increase? That would just make the situation worse AND make the worst off in our society even more worse off. Its not logical.

  5. Matthew Pilott 5

    Tim, as far as I know there is no evidence to show that workers in unskilled jobs are paid more in scarce markets. Look at fruitpickers in NZ – they’re still paid crap, employers seem to prefer having vacant roles to paying decent wages.

    Remember that it might make a nice clean theory but in practice, well, the invisible hand also seems to be very ineffectual.

    National have been saying for years that increasing the minimum wage will cause unemployment, and also that 6% was about as low as unemployment could really get. Wrong on both counts… Why should this be any different?

  6. Bill 6

    With a model of export orientated growth it’s necessary to keep wages low to get a ‘competitive edge’ in the market.

    This is the model Labour has followed and perhaps explains the amount of pushing that has been required to get them to raise the minimum wage level…even then, only to a point where wage gaps with Australia stopped widening. They didn’t decrease. Thereby that particular competitive advantage was maintained.

    And they are continuing to follow this idea of growth being generated through growing exports…FTA China, US as well as pressure being put on Pacific Nations to adopt the same free trade export orientated economic model that has immiserated country after country over the past 25 – 30 years.

    Another way to generate growth is to encourage wages to rise which means more money circulating which creates job opportunities. I hear people shouting inflation about now. But if my wage rises faster than inflation then it’s no bad thing, is it?

    And if I have to pay higher interest rates, there is still the fact that the principle is devaluing as time goes by.

    Somebody want to take the time to explain to an economic illiterate why wage driven growth would be a bad idea?

  7. rave 7

    But companies won’t accept smaller profits.
    That’s why they are demanding bailouts to save them.
    This is just a backdoor method of cutting the social wage.
    There is a growing demand that bailouts should be full nationalisations. We should work on that.
    Paying a living wage should be a condition employers to invest. Its obvious that they have no special powers that justifies their existence. There are plenty of cases of successful state owned companies run by their workers without bosses. If they can’t pay a living wage we should nationalise them and put them under workers control.
    And no need to pay compensation since since they have shown that their incompetence has forfeited any claim to ownership of value. Instead of bonuses they get minuses.

  8. Greg 8

    Wage drieven growth would be a bad idea because wage rises can only be sustained in the short term. You need an increase in productivity to sustain wage growth in the long term. When the wage growth stops, inflation stays and thats bad for everybody, it eats away at the rage rises and eventually you end up further back from where you started from.

  9. Productivity doesn’t automatically flow through into wages. The lowest paid jobs never get pay increases unless there are minimum wage increases.

  10. John Stevens 10

    Thats right, lets nationlise everything so there are no bosses and everyone will live happy ever after just like they did in the Soviet Union as they were all equal.

    In the next year or 3 some businesses will go to the wall, that is a fact. They won’t be bailed out as per the US/Eur/UK situation for the banks. Some commentators are saying this will be a 3-4 year recession, worse than 1990.

    If the banks all go under we are all rooted, and that includes the people without any savings.

    Also, we always have to think of the lowest paid. Well it is about time they stsrted thinking for themselves instead of relying on the govt. to increase their lifestyle. They will not get any credit from now on and will live a real fugal life, no 42″ LCD on credit etc. (A bit like peasants in the old days). They will have to start thinking on how they can improve their lot, not rely on wage top ups and WFF to keep them going. Sure, it is ok to be the bottom of the pile when you start out (I used to be there) but if you are still there at 30 years old it is generally your own fault, why should I bail you out?

    [after your racist comments in the previous thread, you’ve shot your crediblity John. No-one is talking about communism. We are talking about whether increasing the minimum wage is reasonable. Maybe you don’t think we hould have a minimum wage at all, but that puts you at odds with Key. SP]

  11. Dom 11

    Totally agree with Steve. Productivity improvements are typically cited as leading to…increased profits.

  12. ben 12

    Productivity doesn’t automatically flow through into wages.

    Actually it does, both within countries

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/krozner20060927chart1.gif

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/images/prod2916.gif

    and across them, see Martin Wolf “Why Globalization Works,” (2004) figure 10.1 p. 176.

    The US wages data is almost certainly biased downwards in recent years because wage data does not generally include benefits, notably medical insurance.

  13. John Stevens 13

    Productivity improvements are also cited to leading to……….better job security. In the past few years where there have been productivity increases most employers have rewarded staff with better pay/conditions as the labour market was tight.

    However, there would have also been instances where productivity did not increase.

  14. Daveski 14

    Without a doubt, we want a high wage economy. However, this must come through productivity rather than legislative changes.

    Let me guess – I’d say at least 95% of those promoting the benefits here have never been in the position of actually running their own business and paying for it.

    Simply mandating an increase in the minimum wage will cost jobs at a time of increasing unemployment. [evidence? SP]

    [lprent: Yes I have, several times. They usually have good returns and virtually no staff turnover.]

  15. ben. if productivity increases did flow into wage increases automatically, then we wouldn’t see the portion of GDP going to wage drop when anti-worker policies are implemented and vice versa because wages would increase inline with GDP without the need for government assistance, yet that isn’t the case in reality.. see here http://www.thestandard.org.nz/lucky-aussies-they-kept-their-work-rights/

  16. randal 16

    woe woe woe…alfred marsahll said it is one of the wonders of the ages how quickly a country recovers from the destrction of war. all I see here is anarrow little bourgeoisie afraiid they might have to step out of their comfort zone and do some work fora change. Get a grip tuggers. and labour will win the election and it will consider the minimum wage in the light of new developments…hahahahahaha

  17. Phil 17

    Productivity improvements are typically cited as leading to… increased profits.

    And the problem with that is… ?

    If you look at productivity gains in any business over the last 25 or so years, it becomes fairly clear that the biggest contriubtion has come from capital investment and technology. ICT has been a comparatively ‘low hanging fruit’ in terms of productive gain (when businesses go about it sensibly…).

  18. Daveski 18

    SP – there’s no evidence in your post to counter my position.

    You also ignore in your post the impact that this would likely have on inflation.

    To me it’s the equivalent of the “life is life” clamour from the right – it looks good on paper until you analyse it in depth.

  19. Daveski – you’re the one asserting that A will lead to B, you have to provide some evidence that is the case.

    Have a look at the business nz and biz roundtable sites, they’ve got papers in which they oppose minimum wage rises , threatening increased unemployment, yet it has never happened.

    i specifically mention the inflationary impact

  20. Daveski 20

    SP – apologies re inflation you did so.

    The point I was making re unemployment is timing – unemployment is predicted to increase in any case.

  21. ben 21

    ben. if productivity increases did flow into wage increases automatically, then we wouldn’t see the portion of GDP going to wage drop when anti-worker policies are implemented and vice versa because wages would increase inline with GDP without the need for government assistance, yet that isn’t the case in reality

    Which is a different claim to the one you made earlier and to which I responded.

    And, actually, you will see changes in the share of wages in GDP for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with the relationship between productivity and wages – e.g. a relative increase in the capital stock, or a relative increase in the return on capital invested.

    All the evidence I’ve seen shows a near one-to-one relationship between productivity and wages.

  22. ben 22

    Have a look at the business nz and biz roundtable sites, they’ve got papers in which they oppose minimum wage rises , threatening increased unemployment, yet it has never happened.

    Again, almost certainly untrue Steve. If the effects of minimum wage are hard to see, it is because relatively few people in the economy are caught. But among those caught the effect is serious.

    A consensus estimate is that a 10% increase in the minimum wage reduces employment among low-skilled workers from 1% to 3%. A long list of papers is here:

    See: http://www.house.gov/jec/cost-gov/regs/minimum/50years.htm

    A series of papers by Card and Krueger in 1993 is the only serious empirical challenge to this assessment. Using a different methodology from previous research, they found little or no effect on employment and some evidence that an increase in the minimum wage might increase employment. This study remains controversial.

  23. You mention the Kiwi Party’s support for increasing the minimum wage, but not the Alliance? Which is also missing from your list of party logos on the right, I note. Though at least you acknowledge the Alliance’s role in the 1999 minimum wage increases. The Alliance policy is actually for a $17 minimum wage, which seems fair to me – how many of you opponents of a higher minimum wage would be happy to be paid less than $17 an hour yourself?

    [Tane: Probably an oversight. But you know what? As far as I’m concerned the Alliance can fuck right off after it publicly attacked the CTU over not being invited to the CTU election debate. There are constructive ways to handle these things, picketing your comrades and accusing them of a ‘lockout’ is not one of them.]

    [lprent: Had to cut off the parties somewhere (there are a lot of them). I don’t want to overburden the site with graphics that have to be downloaded. So I cut off at parties currently in parliament. I do have a request to add the alliance and a graphic might happen when I get through some of the outstanding work.]

  24. Greg 24

    “oppose minimum wage rises , threatening increased unemployment, yet it has never happened.”

    SP – Yes it did, post 1984 New Zealand is a good example of it. The unions’ wage rounds during the time of the fourth labour government forced wages up and everyone saw the resulting unemployment. Economics is based on real life observations, its not all theory like you seem to be suggesting – thats why its called a ‘social science’.

  25. ben 25

    Commie Traitor

    The Alliance policy is actually for a $17 minimum wage, which seems fair to me – how many of you opponents of a higher minimum wage would be happy to be paid less than $17 an hour yourself?

    I would certainly oppose it if I could not produce enough per hour for an employer to justify that wage, for the simple reason that I could anticipate either losing my job or, if unemployed, finding it increasingly difficult to get a new one.

  26. rave 26

    Ben:
    But why do you still trust any private owner to run any company profitably, despite cowering in the face of his/here self-serving neo-classical crap calculations about not earning your wage yet?
    Why don’t you demand to see the books, work out that your boss is not earning his bonus, that you could get the loan from kiwi bank and the technology from state funded R&D, and run the show with your workmates yourself?

    Phil was it:
    Capital and technology has a larger share of productivity increase than labour? That’s true of neo-classical assumptions about factors of production. It’s not true of Marxist economics in which the labour component is the only component that produces value. Capital is merely accumulated labour value and technology is the product of intellectual labour.

    Now that people are beginning to see capitalism as the emperor with no clothes, I’m not interested in a boring discussion with his tailors whether its for a new suit of armour or lycra tights.

  27. burt 27

    Life would be so much easier if we were all paid exactly the same irrespective of what value we added to our glorious state monopoly. Just imagine, when the PM gets a 9% pay rise every year we would all get the same 9% pay rise every year. But no we don’t do that do we. The PM gets a 9% pay rise every year and almost all other workers get 3% if they are lucky. What a nasty profit hungry self serving CEO the PM is.

  28. Tane 28

    Burt. I know this is an old gripe of yours, the PM’s salary is set independently of the PM. But yeah, I agree politicians shouldn’t get an increase above that of the average worker.

    Where we differ is on supporting policies that allow workers to bargain for higher wages.

  29. Phil 29

    labour component is the only component that produces value

    … and the labour/effort that funded the purchase of the capital came from where?

    The Entrepreneur!

  30. ben 30

    Rave, neo-classical economic theory has nothing to do with running a business. A business owner is concerned with bringing at least as much money in the door as goes out in wages and other costs. A business owner can not hire somebody for $17/hour when the value to the business is less than that. Now, there is nothing wrong with charity – but sooner or later businesses that cannot meet their payments go under.

    Rave, businesses take on workers when the business needs it and the value they add is at least as much as what they cost to the firm. Opening the books may prove the business is making money – but that is not the test businesses use on whether to hire the next worker. The decision is made at the margin.

  31. rave 31

    Ben, I know what motivates employers. They will not invest in more workers unless they calculate an increase in their profits.
    I am saying that ALL their profits come from labour.

    Phil, capital is dead labour value; i.e. labour already expended in producing it. The entrepreneur borrows some from a bank to exploit living labour. If s/he gets more labour value than s/he puts in then s/he deducts the cost of the money borrowed (and other costs) and then pockets the balance as profits.
    The risk taking which is the only ideological claim left to the entrepreneur has been shown to be fucked (for the nth time) by the credit crisis.

    Moral hazard? What is that? Rampant hypocrisy that takes workers wages by the backdoor via taxes to cover the losses of risk taking that goes bad. Especially if the rich keep getting tax cuts on top of their bonuses.

    Better to collectivise the risk and base it on the needs of the collective than the greed of the individual entrepreneur. At least if things go bust, the collective can bail itself out.

  32. Matt 32

    Ben, minimum wage increases have had no affect on unemployment in the past 7 years – the relationship between min wage increases and unemployment is complex – and a lot of it is to do with the fact that minimum wages are usually paid to vulnerable workers who are not getting paid what their work is worth – so the increase is absorbed into that margin. Strange, but the freer the market the less like a perfect market it works – free markets are full of distortions.

    Also, who said economics is based on observation and is a science not just some theories? You obviously have no understanding of economics – it is basically a set of theories based on some observations which rarely, if ever, actually tell us anything accurate about the economy.

  33. Spider_Pig 33

    “it is basically a set of theories based on some observations which rarely, if ever, actually tell us anything accurate about the economy.”

    So you’re saying the observations are inaccurate? Who’s observations? Are Steve’s comments above inaccurate? Or is it a case of the Left’s observations are accurate, but the Right’s are not?

    Like Labour’s tax cuts are affordable? But National’s are not?
    Like Labour’s tax cuts are non-inflationary? But National’s are not?

    The hypocrisy is staggering.

  34. randal 34

    national is going to give everybody a $1000 bucks for christmas and $150 a week for everyone else, woweeeeeeeeee…

  35. Greg 35

    Matt – Try studying it. You’ll find it applies quite well to the real world.

    “it is basically a set of theories based on some observations which rarely, if ever, actually tell us anything accurate about the economy.”

    That is one of the least accurate and insulting statement’s I’ve heard recently. Economists make future observations based on lessons learn’t in the past. Even the Labour government employees hundreds if not thousands of economists to run New zealand’s economy. If they’re always wrong, son’t ya think they’d have lost their jobs?

  36. Tane – the Alliance tried dealing with the issue constructively, and only went public when that didn’t get anywhere.

    [lprent: In case you didn’t realise, your psuedonym contains a word in the auto-moderation list. It is there because of its over-worked and out of context usage by some of our trolls (along with a number of other indicator words). Which is of course probably why you chose it – sounds like a buggerlugs style label. I found there was a pretty small list of words or phrases without which most wingnuts had problems expressing themselves. So if they use them they moderate themselves.

    You might want to consider modifying your psuedonym so it doesn’t send you into moderation all of the time. :twisted: ]

  37. ben 37

    Ben, I know what motivates employers. They will not invest in more workers unless they calculate an increase in their profits.
    I am saying that ALL their profits come from labour.

    Ok. I guess you’re taking a broad view of what labour is. Fine. But wherever the profits come from, employers can only take on workers that produce at least as much to cover the wage bill. We can I presume agree that a minimum wage of $100/hour would force most workers (including me) out of a job for the simple reason that most workers do not produce enough to cover justify that wage. Either the workers must be let go or the business will go under and they lose their job.

    Similarly but to a lesser extent for $50. Similarly for $20. Is it really that difficult to accept that some workers will not be caught at $17?

  38. $100 is much more than the average wage, while $17 is significantly less. You can give people with the smallest slices of pie bigger slices, but you can’t give everyone a bigger slice.

    I’d be surprised if there are many companies that generate less than $17 an hour per worker in revenue.

  39. ben 39

    Matt

    Thanks for your reply, and the insults. I do know a bit about economics, thanks very much, and I can tell you a great deal of work goes into producing theories and then testing them empirically. Pick up a copy of the American Economic Review next time you’re in a university library, which, I take it, isn’t that often.

    Ben, minimum wage increases have had no affect on unemployment in the past 7 years

    And you can tell this, how? Because unemployment declined during the boom? That is not a test of, well, anything. Around 4% of the work force is at minimum wage in NZ, so you would not expect minimum wages increases to overwhelm economy-wide effects. Doesn’t mean they’re not real for the 4%.

    What you’re saying is demand for labour is not decreasing in its cost. Firms just – what – don’t care about money? What you’re saying also defies almost every empiricial study of one of the most researched questions in microeconomics. Yes, Matt, demand curves slope down.

    - the relationship between min wage increases and unemployment is complex – and a lot of it is to do with the fact that minimum wages are usually paid to vulnerable workers who are not getting paid what their work is worth

    I have just quoted evidence showing that is untrue. Productivity and wages move 1 to 1. Within countries, and across them.

    - so the increase is absorbed into that margin. Strange, but the freer the market the less like a perfect market it works – free markets are full of distortions.

    So we’re all walking past $100 bills on the footpath? Not that you’ll understand the point.

    Also, who said economics is based on observation and is a science not just some theories? You obviously have no understanding of economics – it is basically a set of theories based on some observations which rarely, if ever, actually tell us anything accurate about the economy.

    Please. If you pick up any journal in economics you’ll find the following format in about 2/3rds of all articles: introduction, overview of past literature, theory, empirical test of the theory, conclusion. I’ll bet good money you’ve never opened an economics journal if your idea of economics is that limited.

  40. ben 40

    .I’d be surprised if there are many companies that generate less than $17 an hour per worker in revenue.

    Commie, its not the average worker in a firm that is relevant here – it is at the margin that what matters. Is the least valuable task being undertaken by each firm worth more than the cost of hiring that last worker to do it? For some firms, the answer will be yes at current minimum wage and no at $17. And the evidence supports that.

  41. It depends how you measure that value of that “least valuable task”. Could the firm function if that task wasn’t carried out at all? Supermarket checkout operators are very low-paid, but supermarkets would be in a bit of trouble if they didn’t have any.

  42. ben 42

    It depends how you measure that value of that “least valuable task’.

    The firm could measure it three ways. Directly, by trying to calculate the additional revenue. Second, by benchmarking – is this task undertaken by competitors? Or third, indirectly – through the firm’s survival. I suspect all firms have more work for one more recruit to do – an important part of good business is knowing when to place the job advert and when to go without. For some firms, minimum wage rules will influence that decision.

  43. And for other firms, the increased sales thanks to workers spending their increased wages will lead to them taking on more staff.

  44. Why not address the costs of living and issues surrounding rising costs, instead of just putting another minimum wage increase band-aid on the situation?

  45. higherstandard 45

    Because the politicians are bereft of ideas beyond those of the band-aid variety Thinkbig and if they have been using their grey matter they certainly don’t want to scare the electorate a few weeks out from the election.

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    Last time I met a New Zealand First MP, I decided to ask him about New Zealand First’s succession plan. He replied “why would we need a succession plan? Winston Peters isn’t going anywhere” “Well, Winston Peters is not as… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    54 mins ago
  • The importance of circulation workers in 21st century capitalism
    New Zealand disribution workers While the article below is about the United States, it is highly relevant to the New Zealand situation. by Joe Allen Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics,” US Army General Omar Bradley famously said. Bradley’s declaration was… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 hour ago
  • The cost of corporate tax cheating in Australia
    How much does corporate tax-cheating cost us? In Australia, A$25 billion a year - enough to eliminate two-thirds of the government budget deficit:Australia's biggest 900 companies claimed tax deductions and exemptions worth a total $25 billion last year – enough… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 hours ago
  • Union merger gives local government sector a stronger voice
    On 1 April 2015 the Southern Local Government Officers Union (SLGOU) and the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) merged. Already New Zealand’s largest union, the merger brings the PSA’s membership to nearly 62,000. ...
    2 hours ago
  • March ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    There are now over 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake, or get your stats wrong).… ...
    2 hours ago
  • the stone in Winston
    The Greens made a good choice in not standing a candidate in the Northland by-election but the win from Winston and NZF is not good news for them.I like the Green Party and I'd be happy if they were dominant… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Secret squirrel
    The New Zealand Herald reports: Labour has attacked the degree of secrecy about the preparation of a New Zealand troop deployment to Iraq. The ABC in Australia revealed yesterday that New Zealand troops had begun training with the Australian Defence… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    3 hours ago
  • A victory on freshwater
    Fresh water quality is one of the big environmental battlegrounds in New Zealand, with the government hellbent on destroying it for the profit of its cronies in the dairy sector, while the public understandably wants rivers which are safe to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 hours ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day. And the big question is what will the parties do in expectation of the shift in the balance of power when the Northland by-election results are finalised? Will they filibuster to prevent ballots or preserve… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 hours ago
  • Midweek lunch break
    Sit back and relax to these soothing, beautiful Wrestlemania 31 gifs. Best. Entrance. Ever. Dean. Fucking. Ambrose. Ronda. Fucking. Rousey. Super. Ladder. Plex. RKO. Outta. Nowhere. ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    4 hours ago
  • No spy, no fly
    A really disturbing report out of the US: The United States Justice Department has moved to dismiss a lawsuit in which American Muslims allege that that twenty-five law enforcement officials, particularly FBI agents, had them placed on the No Fly… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    4 hours ago
  • Will the Govt’s new HomeStarter scheme make it easier to buy a house?
    The Government is defending a new subsidy scheme for low and middle income couple who build a new home, but the Labour Party says it will add to the housing crisis. New Zealanders on the hunt for their first home… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Invercargill to become New Zealand’s Capital City
    At a specially called press conference this morning, Prime Minister John Key announced that Invercargill was to become New Zealand's new capital. The news was unexpected as there had been no awareness that moving the capital was even being considered.Key… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Not in my backyard!
    As we have written before on Transportblog, we think that choice in housing and transport markets is really important. In particular, Aucklanders need to be able to choose not to live in apartments. Therefore we must act now to ban… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    5 hours ago
  • The Nashing Of Labour’s Teeth: Why Being Green Ain’t Getting An...
    Red In Tooth And Claw: Stuart Nash, winner of the provincial seat of Napier, clearly intends to build Labour's vote by savaging the Greens. IF THE GREENS want a glimpse of their future with Labour, then they should listen to… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping
    When I was a lad, we didn't have your fancy smartphones. We didn't have mobile phones at all, which meant there was much greater need for public payphones and they were consequently more numerous. The funny thing was, there was… ...
    6 hours ago
  • The Age of Sustainable Development
    It is profoundly depressing to hear pundits and politicians talking about the prospects for economic growth with no reference to either equity or environmental constraints. In the case of New Zealand a “rock star” economy can apparently develop accompanied by… ...
    Hot TopicBy Bryan Walker
    6 hours ago
  • Asbestos needs a ban and a plan – petition presented
    Workers have today presented a petition signed by over a thousand New Zealanders calling on the Government to ban the importation of asbestos and develop a comprehensive plan for the removal of all existing asbestos in New Zealand.  Photo:  … ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    6 hours ago
  • Genius from google
    PacMan on google maps. I'm guessing for today only. Complete genius. Sweet! Just click on the PacMan logo on the bottom left and you're off. The Courtenay Place end of Wellington is easier to play than the Parliament end.… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    7 hours ago
  • Hard News: The GCSB and the consequences of mass surveillance
    Fewer whistleblowers, more corruption, less stability.That's the assessment of longtime Pacific journalist Jason Brown of the impact of the revelation that the GCSB has been conducting "full take" collection of communications in Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands and other Pacific nations… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Paid Parental leave increases – but more work needed
    Workers are pleased that, from today, paid parental leave increases from 14 to 16 weeks, but unfortunately New Zealand is still well behind the support that other countries offer to new parents, the Council of Trade Unions said. Photo:  … ...
    CTUBy Huia.Welton
    7 hours ago
  • QOTD: snark vs smarm
    From the epic On Smarm by Tom Scocca at Gawker: Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of… ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    7 hours ago
  • Birkenhead Transport orders triple-articulated double decker bus
    Birkenhead Transport announced today that it is planning replace its entire fleet with a single triple-articulated double decker bus. The bus is 57m long and over 4m tall. The Walfisch 57 double decker triple-bendy bus. Owner, managing director and part… ...
    7 hours ago
  • The X Factor NZ: That summer feeling
    Improvements have been made, true contenders are emerging and Dominic Bowden only grows in power.   X Factor NZ judges Shelton Woolwright, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Stan Walker and Melanie Blatt. Photo: The X Factor NZ A good X… ...
    7 hours ago
  • MPs back animal testing ban
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    8 hours ago
  • The other missing mode
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    Transport BlogBy John Polkinghorne
    9 hours ago
  • Why are young people in Europe joining jihadist groups?
    by Kenan Malik First it was Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, three schoolgirls from Tower Hamlets who smuggled themselves to Syria during their half term holiday. Then it was ‘Jihadi John’, the IS executioner who was unmasked by… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    16 hours ago
  • Sea Level Rise is Spiking Sharply
    Global sea level is rising because of warming from the industrial greenhouse gas emissions we humans keep pumping into the atmosphere. The expansion of seawater as it warms, and the addition of meltwater from disintegrating land-based ice, enforce a relentless rise… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the inadequate response to sexual violence prevention
    On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Judgment day for Planet Key (the song, that is)
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    19 hours ago
  • A rape joke walks into a comedy festival
    Here’s a story about stand-up comedy that shouldn’t be shocking: Adrienne Truscott’s first full-length show involves an hour of jokes about rape culture, during which time you can see her genitals. Supplied In reality though, how rape is… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Introducing: Wurld Series
    Emerging local musicians are given two minutes to introduce one of their songs and say whatever they like about themselves and their music. Wurld Series. Name: Wurld Series (Luke, Jared and James). Age: 24, 25, 30. Hometown: Christchurch.… ...
    21 hours ago
  • On The Dial – Episode 17
    This week in On The Dial, the Northland by-election, we go behind the scenes of Parliament’s Hansard office, talk to comedian Adrienne Truscott, and, of course, look back at the Cricket world cup. The National Party is promising to take… ...
    23 hours ago

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  • Many regions need by-election levels of support
    Northland is not the only region struggling under the National Government, but unfortunately places like Gisborne, Whanganui and Tasman do not have by-elections on the horizon, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “A desperate National Party has thrown money… ...
    1 hour ago
  • Real changes must come from CYF review
    A well-overdue revamp of Child, Youth and Family cannot be just another cost cutting exercise, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour has been pushing for a review for some time. It was part of our policy at the election. ...
    2 hours ago
  • Latest Air NZ plan carries on regional snub
    Christchurch Labour Members of Parliament have secured a meeting with Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon following the airline’s decision to cut its Christchurch to Tokyo summer flights.  They are also calling on the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges to… ...
    24 hours ago
  • Carmel Sepuloni back in Social Development role
    Andrew Little has reinstated Carmel Sepuloni as Labour’s Social Development spokesperson following the sentencing of her mother in the New Plymouth District Court today. “It has been a tough time for Carmel, but we both agreed it was appropriate she… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government taking Kiwis for April Fools
    Many Kiwis will be wondering if the joke is on them when a raft of Government changes come into effect tomorrow, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “First is ACC and National’s unwillingness to end its rort of Kiwi businesses which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time to show RMA housing affordability plans
    Labour is challenging the Government to reveal its plans to make housing more affordable through amending the Resource Management Act, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour remains willing to consider the proposals on housing affordability on their merits and… ...
    1 day ago
  • John Key now admits no broad support for RMA changes
    John Key has now been forced to admit that he never had the broad political support to gut the Resource Management Act, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “Cornerstone legislation such as the RMA should never be changed without genuine… ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s changes leave student bodies in chaos
    The chaos created by National’s scrapping of compulsory student association membership may force the 86-year old Union of Students Association to fold, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “National’s 2011 Voluntary Student Membership Act has left student associations with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    5 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    6 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    6 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    6 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    7 days ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    1 week ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 weeks ago

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