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Workers’ rights: too many steps behind

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, February 25th, 2013 - 30 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

I’m a big fan of the Living Wage campaign.  And I really liked the Herald‘s series covering the launch week.

But part of that coverage highlighted a big problem that I don’t think the Living Wage campaign will reach.

There are a number of proposed changes in Employment Relations that I hope to see next time we have a Labour / Left government.  $15 minimum wage (although by next election I hope that’ll be $16…).  The Living Wage for all Government employees and Government contractors.  Compulsory redundancy cover for long-service.  And Labour’s modern awards system that should see industry minimums of wages and conditions negotiated – giving the Four Square worker in Kaitaia the same union advantage that their counterpart in an Auckland Countdown gets.  That should beef up collective bargaining and multi-employer deals.

But even if we get all those, and the many fabulous rewards they will bring for many low and middle income Kiwis, there will still be a big section who miss out.  Because a number of employers are even further ahead of the employment relations curve.

It’s seen in the Herald’s example here.

Instead of employing people, many companies are now having their employees be “independent contractors” (or sometimes “freelance”).

Contracting has its place; I have very happy contracting colleagues.  But it is often being used to screw down the income and conditions of a company’s workers.

Sick pay, statutory holidays, annual leave, ACC, tax are no longer paid by the company, but those costs – combined with all the administration of them – are passed over to the past employee, now new “independent contractor”.  Health & Safety and required tools are now the contractor’s responsibility – including in the Herald article the big-rig truck that drivers need.

The contractor may be paid for work achieved rather than hours – so that when the company has a delay and the contractor is left waiting, the contractor bears the brunt of the lost productivity, not the company.

Often these contractors are independent in name only – their truck may be painted with the company decals and they may have stipulated that they have to be available on short notice, meaning other work can’t be taken.  And the pay on offer doesn’t compensate for the extra costs – let alone the extra risks – transferred to the past employee.

How do we protect workers who will be desperate to keep their jobs, and are presented with this ultimatum?

There needs to be greater protections.

Often these deals are legally grey as contractors legally need to be independent, so a beefing up for the Department of Labour and a tightening of the “independent” terminology in law would be a good start.

Perhaps a company could be required to guarantee that those who contract directly to it earn their industry’s minimum wages & conditions, and guarantee their health and safety.  So paperboys and girls can’t be paid 1/3 minimum wage because they’re paid per paper rather than per hour.

What other ideas can you come up with?  How can we protect workers from unscrupulous employers, and keep the law up to date with their practices?

30 comments on “Workers’ rights: too many steps behind”

  1. Afewknowthetruth 1

    No wonder Labour languishes in the polls when Labour supporters write drivel so disconnected from reality.

    [Ben Clark: self-martyrdom again. Policy states that abuse of authors on their own site will result in bans. You got a 1 week ban 1 week ago, which you ignored (you’re now in moderation), so we’ll double it. Then second offence, so we’ll double it again. 1 month ban.]

    • A.Ziffel 1.1

      Disconnected form reality?
      I can only imagine that the few who know the truth are the voices in your head.

    • Polish Pride 1.2

      They are not disconnected from their day to day reality.. just perhaps not connected with the possibilities and what they could have.

    • Ben if you had watched the documentaries I sent you over 6 months ago with an open mind, and a turned on brain, then wrote the truth instead of the crap you do write, then maybe Afew wouldn’t need to point out how much of an idiot you are
      Don’t worry I will take the month or whatever your small dicked brain dishes out.

      [Ben Clark: Don’t worry Robert I remember your mail to my personal address about how you hoped I’d watch my children suffer because of the impending climactic doom – now that I know how to do such things: permanent ban]

  2. George D 2

    I’m a big fan of the Living Wage campaign.

    I’m not.

    The Living Wage campaign (aka the Employer Charity campaign) is a sign of a failing union movement. Trotter has it right. http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/the-living-wage-campaign-solidarity-or.html

    • George D 2.1

      Hmmm, that was entirely negative. I think Labour’s negotiated industrial relations framework is a step forward from the environment we have now, and it will deliver substantial improvements for many New Zealand workers and their families. But much of what will be up for negotiation shouldn’t be up for negotiation.

      We shouldn’t have to negotiate the 40 hour week. It should be law.

      • Bunji 2.1.1

        We shouldn’t have to negotiate the 40 hour week. It should be law.
        Indeed – bring back penalty rates over 40 hours should be added to the list.

        • Polish Pride 2.1.1.1

          Great in theory, in reality you will push more jobs overseas in bigger corporations.
          In smaller ones they will struggle but to be fair you might end up creating new jobs as employers try to avoid paying time and a half and double time. Personally I prefer to move forwards not backwards because even if what you are talking about where to be put in place, I’d say it will remain for 6, maybe 9 years befor it is again removed by the next National government.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            Great in theory, in reality you will push more jobs overseas in bigger corporations.

            Make it harder for those corporations to operate profitably in NZ and in doing so replace them with homegrown NZ firms.

    • Polish Pride 2.2

      Good it is about time that people stood up for what is right and stopped relying on unions. Social media has the potential more powerful than unions ever where for the right causes and is helping to reshape the very world we live in.
      It is hard for any political party or person to argue against ideas and policy that go to the heart of enabling people to have their needs met – The living wage is one of these ideas – Not the best one in my view but probably the most obtainable accross the board.

      • Colonial Viper 2.2.1

        Good it is about time that people stood up for what is right and stopped relying on unions. Social media has the potential more powerful than unions ever where for the right causes

        Brilliant. Lets band together for what is right , but online instead, and this time not call it a “union” (?!)

    • Richard Down South 2.3

      Sadly, when unions are legislated against, you dont have much choice

  3. Polish Pride 3

    Perhaps at the same time you should be asking how do you protect employers from unscrupulous employees who create personal grievance situations in a bid to use the ERA to get payouts from their employer.

    Mnay employers are looking at moving to a contracting model because it significantly lessens the risk in a number of areas of their business. If market conditions change they can react quickly to take advantage of them. If a contractor is causing trouble, they can simply let them go. Current employment law and the ERA is stacked against employers. At least this is the view I have formed from my own personal experiences. Many employers even when they are in the right feel it is easier to just pay out the employee, move on and get back to running the business.
    The 90 day trial is excellent for employees because it gives them a far greater level of comfort that if the employee can put on a good show in interviews but then doesn’t pull his weight or even worse can’t do the job it is easier to get rid of them and findsomeone else who wants to work and can do the job. Many employees before this only employ when absolutely necessary (or go on recommendations from trusted staff, otherwise it can be a big risk. For small businesses it can be sometimes too big

    • framu 3.1

      “Perhaps at the same time you should be asking how do you protect employers from unscrupulous employees who create personal grievance situations in a bid to use the ERA to get payouts from their employer.”

      wheres the evidence its ever been a problem? – sure we hear lots of wailing from the employers union, but as far as im aware the stats tell the opposite

      “The 90 day trial is excellent for employees because it gives them a far greater level of comfort that if the employee can put on a good show in interviews but then doesn’t pull his weight or even worse can’t do the job it is easier to get rid of them and findsomeone else who wants to work and can do the job.”

      Sure you didnt mean good for the employer? – cause its no good for anyone else. Also, you didnt need the 90 day law before hand anyway – there was absolutely nothing at all stopping an employer giving any new employee a trial period. All that changed was the bit where you needed to tell the person in question why you were letting them go, and they had a right to challenge it.

      Good employers, who knew employment law, didnt even need the 90 day law then, and they dont need it now – its just a fig leaf for the bad and ignorant ones

      Why do so many employers seem so woefully ignorant of the laws they have at their disposal, both now and previously?

      Look, im not saying “employee good, boss bad”. (To me its a symbiotic relationship, i think my boss is one of the good ones) Its just that all the arguments for these kind of changes all turn out to be based on BS, denial of facts and outright maliciousness.

      • Polish Pride 3.1.1

        “Perhaps at the same time you should be asking how do you protect employers from unscrupulous employees who create personal grievance situations in a bid to use the ERA to get payouts from their employer.”

        wheres the evidence its ever been a problem? – sure we hear lots of wailing from the employers union, but as far as im aware the stats tell the opposite

        Don’t personally know of any employers belonging to an employers union. I prefer to do the right thing by my employees in the hope that it is reciprocated. Most of the time it is.
        4 times since 2007 it hasn’t been

        Most if not all are confidential settlements to protect both sides so no you won’t hear about it similarly most employers have a business to run and don’t think they will change the system by making any noise on the issue. They, as a general rule do not have the spare time to spend on things and generally end up making it a financial decision vs right and wrong. i.e. what is it worth to me to have to sit here and prep for the mediation and then the subsequent hearing vs making an arbitrary payment so that I can get on with running my business. Or put another way how much will it cost for us to get rid of the rogue employee and the problem.

        “The 90 day trial is excellent for employees because it gives them a far greater level of comfort that if the employee can put on a good show in interviews but then doesn’t pull his weight or even worse can’t do the job it is easier to get rid of them and findsomeone else who wants to work and can do the job.”

        Sure you didnt mean good for the employer? – cause its no good for anyone else. Also, you didnt need the 90 day law before hand anyway – there was absolutely nothing at all stopping an employer giving any new employee a trial period. All that changed was the bit where you needed to tell the person in question why you were letting them go, and they had a right to challenge it.
        Yes I deid mean for the employer

        Good employers, who knew employment law, didnt even need the 90 day law then, and they dont need it now – its just a fig leaf for the bad and ignorant ones
        If you think that what makes a good employer is simply one that knows employment law and the others are bad or ignorant then this explains a lot about your views on the matter. I must be a bad or ignorant one then because despite paying employees as much as I could afford and not taking a wage or drawings myself (Lived soley off my wifes income) I wouldn’t consider myself to know a lot about employment law. Thats why I have an employment lawyer.
        There are situations where you just have to get rid of an employee and wear the grievance that you know is coming. especially in dishonesty cases.

        Why do so many employers seem so woefully ignorant of the laws they have at their disposal, both now and previously?
        Because they are too busy trying to build a business and making sure their employees have enough work so they don’t have to lay them off. Often they don’t pay themselves or at best do so sporadically in the hope that oneday they will make a profit or be able to sell their business and it will all be worth it.

        Look, im not saying “employee good, boss bad”. (To me its a symbiotic relationship, i think my boss is one of the good ones) Its just that all the arguments for these kind of changes all turn out to be based on BS, denial of facts and outright maliciousness.
        Before I started my business I would have agreed with you. Now having experienced it first hand I can ssure you it is not BS, denial or anything else.

        First employee – tried to load false information into the system so that processes would fall over and lead to pissed off customers. He then raised it as an issue and blamed it on the person whose job he wanted. Unfortunately for him we had an audit trail.
        Suspended full pay pending an investigation.
        Investigation completed, employee asked to come in for a meeting to discuss at a proposed time.
        Employee. said he couldn’t make it
        Proposed another time.
        Employee again said he couldn’t make it
        Asked employee for a suitable time
        Employee wouldn’t provide one.
        Decided to make a time and inform the employee that he needed to be there, to bring a support person and that the meeting would have to go ahead without him if he couldn’t make it. (he was given a weeks notice).
        He was let go
        PG
        Mediation adjudicator started making noise about not waiting long enough.
        Adjudicator made noises about not waiting long enough
        Payout move on

        I won’t list the other three which were all the employees too and all resulted in payouts.
        In my view I see employers needing protection from workers as much as the otherway around.
        It might be surprising but to a good employer, a good worker is worth their weight in gold and most employers will do whatever they can to retain them.
        I have no doubt that there are bad eggs on both sides and I personally believe that the current employment law has the balance about right for the first time. Especially with the ability for employees to get rid of rogue employees and not be liable where it can be shown the employee contributed to his or her downfall.

        There will still be payouts as employers decide to cut their losses and focus on running the business but at least logically there appears to be some semblance of fairness.

        Lastly the 90 day trial is not as simple as you have made out. You cannot just sack an employee and provide no reason. In fact you have to identify any issues, highlight them to the employee including what they need to work on to improve and any other support/training that you can provide. You will also give a reason if you let them go. You are just protected from a BS PG by someone who couldn’t do the job and wants to extract extra cash as a last goodbye from the employer.

        • fatty 3.1.1.1

          It might be surprising but to a good employer, a good worker is worth their weight in gold and most employers will do whatever they can to retain them.

          That doesn’t surprise me at all. I think there are quite a few average workers out there, but I see that as being the outcome of poor workers rights, and I think stripping worker’s rights will just create more average workers. If we look at the younger generations coming through, they have only experienced working within short-term contracts, poor wages, little chance to upskill/progress within a company etc. Likewise, the older generations have learned since the 1980s to not give a shit about their work, because its temporary, they are disposible workers, and therefore the job is also disposable.

          Who looks after a paper plate if you are just gonna throw it in the bin after eating? Our economic ideology has created workers that don’t give a shit…you’d have to be an idiot to work hard in most jobs.

          Polish Pride, I’m not saying you give your workers a short-term contract, shit pay and no future (maybe you do) …my point is that our McJob culture has changed everyone’s perception of work and responsibility. We have hacked away at workers rights and the ERA2000 is not too lenient on workers. It offers them little protection, I would say that no other Act passed under Clark did more to continue neoliberalism than the ERA

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    What other ideas can you come up with?

    How about the old fashioned retainer? The company has to pay reasonable amount each week whether the contractor works or not. Extra is then paid for when they do.

    Or have it so that contractors are paid a minimum of $100+GST per hour. This would allow for all the unpaid work and time that contractors have.

  5. geoff 5

    The contractor may be paid for work achieved rather than hours – so that when the company has a delay and the contractor is left waiting, the contractor bears the brunt of the lost productivity, not the company.

    This sort of thing happens because NZ is riddled with oligopolies. Legislation is needed to cut these rent seekers off at the knees.

    • George D 5.1

      Yes. NZ is small. And in small countries, a small number of companies impose their conditions on industries. It’s up to Government to break up these cosy relationships; that requires a Labour-Green cabinet with the intelligence and conviction to see it through.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        It requires a Labour Green cabinet which has power in the real world, outside of Cabinet, powerful levers outside of Parliament.

        National has that. Labour-Greens have shit in comparison.

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    *sigh*

  7. Richard Down South 7

    My question is WHO are they asking… if you asked 1000 people who are National Supporters through and through, then you’ll get right leaning polls… even if the rest of the country despised Key.

    Also, are they asking the same people? because i assume not, and thus, asking people who never would change party vote, all of a sudden brings ‘a boost for national’ when in fact its just asking people who would never have voted labour/greens etc

  8. Ed 8

    I would have thought that legislation against “onerous contracts” could cover some things, but not all. There must be sometimes good reason for a worker to be no longer needed one day before there would be an entitlement to pay for public holidays for example – its just that seems to strike more often than many would expect . . .

    I believe that there is a good argument that higher wages force employers to use people efficiently – it changes the relative pricing of using machines for example. While that may seem to act against more jobs, the reality is that ‘working smarter’ can mean a lift in competitiveness that means more workers are actually needed. Again nothing is that simple, but the idea that higher wages send businesses broke is not always valid either – there was a good interview on radio recently where the arguent was that higher wages gave stability and commitment that were more valuable than teh additional wage cost.

  9. saarbo 9

    Great Post Ben. I have been commenting on TS lately about many in the dairy farming sector who are employing contract farm managers under terrible conditions.

  10. xtasy 10

    Hey you can invent and start off any campaign you can dream of, but if you think it is top to bottom, and if you may never have lived the bottom nor connect much with the bottom, all this is like a big bucket of shit in the face of the ones you want to “reach”, matey.

    I think you mean it honestly, but the reality is, workers are shafted day in and out, they do not dare even asking for a decent lunch break. They fear for their job asking for normal, legal holiday entitlement. It was the damned Employment Contract Act, in 1991 or so, which the unions said they would fight, they also organised marches for, but to which they finally resigned.

    It was a half hearted Labour government that brought in the Employment Relations Act and only reversed some nasty provisions and conditions.

    I do not only blame it on the in the past a bit slack unions, I blame it on many GUTLESS KIWIS, and sadly too many KIWIS are GUTLESS, and that is why you have this damned situation in NZ.

    Ask yourselves, are you not rather wanting to “blame ” your neighbour”, envy the beneficiary for not working, are you not thinking that bloody migrant should work for his pay harder and make you happier, or should not be here in the first place?

    Are you not so proud of Key to tell the world to f-off? We need no environmentalism, labour laws, rules, laws to ensure this and the other? Is NZ not doing so much better than Greece and Spain, when even there welfare pays more than here???

    I am sure, NZers are a “proud” lot, “knowing” much, they fought Rommel in the desert, but the young ones never knew who that man was, nor the desert, so smart talk, smart thinking. The world is changing fast, NZ is a bit behind. I feel that this present status of affairs is redundant, and most Kiwis better wake up and learn Mandarin, as that will be your future language.

  11. xtasy 11

    It is one thing to legally set wage rates and the likes, and to a degree it is justified. Yet you cannot and will never create the social and economic system that you aspire by simply passing wage rates and laws. For once workers have a role to play, and they must stand up and take action, if they see fit to get basic pay and working condition rates. The employer organisations have to face it and deal with it, to make agreements that work for both.

    This actually works in most countries in Europe and elsewhere. You have the battle between workers and their representatives and the employers legally ensured, yet regulated also.

    Sadly there are many countries where working relationships are rather controversial, adverserial or even hostile. This is so in the US, UK and mostly Anglo Saxon economies of a “developed” kind, apart from 3rd world countries. This makes you think. Does the economic and social situation of certain countries perhaps have a reason that lies in the kind of society, legal and social system that abounds in a country?

    I am led to believe so, as it has over the last 20 years or so a proved history of Anglo Saxon, supposedly “free market” type countries and societies, where the division between better off and poor has grown immensely, where many standards and laws have been broken, and where the gap between rich and poor has grown immensely.

    There is NO ideal society, there is NO final and perfect solution, but I invite the Anglo Saxon residents and tenants to perhaps look at their own and other societies to address issues raised here. Good luck.

  12. Arfamo 12

    Simon Bridges announces 25c increase to minimum wage.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10867876

    “Setting these wage rates represents a careful balance between protecting low paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost as the economic recovery gains pace.”

    He said the Government is firmly focussed on growing the economy and boosting incomes.”

    Christ. The Nats are impervious to both credibility and shame. What economic recovery is he talking about?

    • xtasy 12.1

      Simon Bridges is a slimy career politician, who adheres to the right wing interpretation of economic and social matters. Of course he will and has to “sell” this as great and “balanced” action by a government that really does not give a damn about the lower paid workers in NZ.

  13. tracey 13

    He says they are creating an environment for jobs and stuff. They are like the santa of govts…. Well, fat and unreal.

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    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
    15 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. ...
    15 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).… ...
    16 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… ...
    17 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
    17 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
    17 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
    18 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
    18 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
    18 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… ...
    18 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… ...
    19 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
    19 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… ...
    19 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… ...
    20 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
    20 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
    20 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
    20 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… ...
    20 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
    21 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
    21 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… ...
    21 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… ...
    21 hours ago
  • MPs back animal testing ban
    From left, owner of Crumpet the Rabbit Greta-Mae McDowell, Green Party MP Mojo Mathers and #BeCrueltyFree campaigner Tara Jackson. MPs have unanimously supported a ban on animal testing in New Zealand for finished cosmetic products and their… ...
    22 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… ...
    15 hours 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. ...
    15 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… ...
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days 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… ...
    3 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… ...
    3 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… ...
    6 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… ...
    6 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
    7 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,… ...
    7 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… ...
    7 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
    7 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… ...
    7 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… ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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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