Undo the cuts

Written By: - Date published: 3:05 pm, May 11th, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: history, labour, national - Tags: , ,

Good to see Ruth Dyson finally admitting we have left beneficiaries behind. I would hope now that there would be a lot more done than simply indexing benefits to wages though. Increasing the benefit to real pre-1991 levels would be a good start.

A lot of people know about the benefit cuts but not many know about the rationale behind them. At the time the plan was to increase the “gap” between welfare and work in order to make people compete harder for jobs. Effectively it forced people to take lower and lower wages for any job they managed to secure.

The figures treasury and the National party used for the benefit cuts were based on what they called the “New Zealand income adequacy standard”. In theory this was a poverty line. In effect it was well below that. Figures for the cuts were based on research from Otago University’s department of human nutrition which determined the lowest level of income people could survive on while maintaining basic needs such as balanced dietary intake. Unfortunately this lowest level was based on things such as bulk purchasing, slow-cooking cheap cuts of meat, making food from scratch and a whole lot of other saving methods that presumed time and skill. The Dunedin researchers discovered that in practice nobody was able to feed themselves properly on their minimum food budget but that didn’t stop the National Government adopting it and cutting it a further 20%.

The results were predictable. Coupled with other National party policies such as market rents for state housing tens of thousands of New Zealanders fell into extreme poverty, food-banks sprang up and third-world diseases such as TB, glue-ear and meningitis ran rife. In 1996, 473 New Zealanders ended up in hospital with rheumatic fever – a poverty-related disease that was virtually unknown in most western countries since the 1960s – and one in four of them died from it. The next year the National Government launched a publicity campaign that misrepresented benefit fraud levels and attacked beneficiaries as bludgers. Prior to the 1990’s people who could not get a job were thought of as vulnerable people we should all look after. No longer.

Some of the worst effects of the cuts have been ameliorated by income-related rents, PHOs and the fact that we have had a period of strong economic growth and at the moment there are few people on a long-term benefit and there are plenty of jobs. But if the economy slows we’ll find out how little we’ve moved on from the 90’s. Until we increase the benefits to a meaningful level and start thinking about social welfare as, well, integral to the welfare of our society then we will not see wages for low-skill jobs increase without minimum-wage intervention and tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of New Zealanders will continue to risk the same poverty we saw in the 1990’s if we have a downturn.

As an aside, I note that Judith Collins claims better budgeting advice is all that is needed. It reminds me of how in the late 90’s Jenny Shipley claimed beneficiaries just needed to grow their own vegetables and everything would be fine. I hope Labour does something to fix this. After reading Collins’ delusional comment I know National won’t.

56 comments on “Undo the cuts”

  1. Ha! Grow veges – I remember that scumbag Shipley saying that. At the time I was barely surviving on a benefit and already was growing my own veges!

    Captcha: “thwarting society” – it knows Shippers and Collins well…

  2. Tane 2

    Good post Bill. The only question is whether Labour has the courage to do this in election year. Beneficiary-bashing is easy sport and Labour will need to show some leadership to get it through, something I’m not too hopeful of given their backdown on the ETS.

  3. Lyn 3

    Thanks Irishbill for such a well-researched and thoughtful piece. I still remember the helplessness I felt as a graduate on a benefit during the Shipley era, and the utter impossibility of getting a job in the town where I was living. I also remember my rage on discovering that benefit levels had been determined by subverting academic research in the interests of keeping up to 6% of the population below the breadline. I shudder to think what it will be like for beneficiaries when we next experience an economy with higher unemployment levels – benefit levels are something we need to address now.

  4. higherstandard 4

    Indeed good on Ruth Dyson for telling it like it is especially in election year I would have expected evasion on the topic.

    However I think your “blame it on National approach” is not really useful and is somewhat duplicitous after the present government has been in situ for three terms.

    The dataset around glue ear, meningitis, rheumatic fever and Tb is also misleading suffice to say that although poverty is certainly a factor in these conditions there are other causative effects for outbreaks – while I don’t have the figures at my finger tips I would be surprised for instance that the number of grommets we’ve put in children has dropped over the last couple of decades and also whether the TB and rheumatic fever incidence has changed from it’s steady decline of the last 20 years.

  5. A good example of the lie that is “turkeys don’t vote for an early xmas”. You can expect all the receivers of our tax largesse to vote for Harry and her team again this year. it is the only voting bloc labour can rely on.
    The labour way is to make people even more dependent on social charity.
    How about some suggestions for reducing the benefit roll eh lads.

  6. AncientGeek 6

    bb: You appear to have avoided looking at the drops in the “benefit roll” over the last decade.

    They didn’t happen under the national politicians because frankly they appeared to be adverse to doing any hard work during their last watch. Changes in the level of the benefits happened despite their hunt for idiotic quick-fixes rather than because of them.

    What we got out of the mother-of-all-budgets was an artificial recession for 5 years triggered by a massive drop in consumption, causing a reduction in local production. It was a massive economic shock which had only negative effects downstream. It also nearly induced a social change to having a permanent underclass from which there was little or no hope of children getting out of.

    What I’m hearing from the tories at present doesn’t inspire me to any level of confidence that they won’t do something as bonehead stupid again. In fact the me-too rhetoric sounds pretty much like what we heard before the 1990 election.

    You have to wonder if to be a tory, you have to carry a recessive congenital stupidity gene.

  7. IrishBill 7

    HS, I blame National for the cuts and I blame Labour for not reversing them. I also blame National for the systematic stigmatisation of beneficiaries and I blame Labour for being to scared by that mendacious piece of PR to do anything pro-beneficiary.

    I also don’t have the data sets for TB, rhumatic fever, etc but from what I can recall they increased in the late 90’s and the generally acknowledged cause for this was poverty and its symptoms including limited access to health care, overcrowding and malnourished and poorly clothed kids.

    BB, the benefit roll has been dramatically decreased. Even after the increase in unemployment the other day we still have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. How about acknowledging that a market economy means unemployment and how about making sure that if we choose a market economy we should also recognise that we owe those at the bottom enough to live on?

  8. IB, Every body has the right to a clean dry bed and food in their belly.
    while we can argue over statistics till the day after the end of time I have no sympathy or pity for people who have managed to stay on the unemployment benefit over the last few years of global prosperity.
    Right now today there are hundreds of vacancies in the bay of Islands, But hundreds on the dole in kaikohe, Kawakawa, Motown and other areas of Northland. (I live upo here so am using this region as an example I can speak with some knowledge on).
    I would never suggest impinging on the dignity of those unable to work. However the able bodied but morally crippled members of the dole roll need a rocket up them.
    Your labour govt has increased the minimum wage many times, an action I agree with wholeheartedly, as an honest hours work deserves an honest hours pay. But people on the dole for longer than a month are taking the piss.
    Cue the usual suspects offering examples of their aunties brothers cousins dog who has been on the rock and roll for nineteen years but the ancient art of whitebait filleting that they trained in is no longer available to them.
    Come on guys, call it like it is, people on the dole longer than a month or two are stealing from all of us.

  9. IrishBill 9

    Bill, the cuts were not only to the dole but to the DPB and other benefits and they have denied people a clean dry bed and food in their belly. Full employment does not fit with the monetarist model and there are very few people (if any) who are on the dole by choice. It’s 185 bucks a week. That’s less than I spend on a good night out (and I suspect less that you’d spend likewise) and it’s not an amount anyone lives on by choice.

  10. r0b 10

    I think it is disappointing that Labour has been so influenced by the National-style framing of beneficiaries as lazy bludgers. Yes, Labour have been very good at getting people off benefits and in to work. Yes Labour have raised the minimum wage substantially. But those who must remain on a benefit (for some genuine reason) deserve a better deal. The cuts of ’91 should have been reversed long ago.

    Interesting piece here on comparing Labour and National before the 05 election: http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/other8273.html

  11. ak 11

    Bill said: “I have no sympathy or pity for people who have managed to stay on the unemployment benefit over the last few years….”

    Fair enough, I can understand your attitude. May I gently suggest though, that it may change if you actually met some of these people.

    Having dealt and worked with literally hundreds of beneficiaries over many years, I can assure you Bill (and HS) that there are very few in the “wilful bludger” category. Nip over to the DWI site (“Manuals and Procedures” and you will see that there are manifest powers (sanctions) available to DWI staff (including cutting benefits) that are regularly employed, believe me. Anyone who still thinks it is easy to get on UB and remain there is deluded. (And remember that all Invalid and Sickness beneficiaries must be assessed by a medical professional to qualify).

    For those very few remaining long-term UB clients there are always other factors involved: the biggest of course being that someone has to choose to employ them.
    Have a close look at those “hundreds of jobs” Bill: would you employ someone who cannot read or write, has ongoing low-level mental health issues, no transport, a criminal record, advanced years etc etc? And how secure/permanent are those jobs? Beneficiary-bashing from above only further lowers self-esteem and exacerbates the situation.

    Count your blessings you two, if only for your own benefit. There is no faceless mass of bludgers out there: anyone can hit the wall and in my experience it is those who share your attitude that suffer the most when it happens.

  12. AncientGeek 12

    rOb: Can’t agree more. The superannuation benefit has been tracking pretty much above inflation for the last few years once you count items like the rates rebate into it.

    But benefits like the DPB and sickness haven’t as far as I can see. They’re benefits that you have little choice about how long you have to be on them.

    The dole is now acting as it is meant to – to ease the transition between jobs. That is apparent in the short-term presence of people on it. The vast bulk are now less than 3 months. While a number are transitioning off into retraining courses, that again is what you’d expect to see in a changing economy. But the level even after you add in the housing supplement etc, still seems to be designed to make sure that you can’t even hunt for work – especially in areas with inadequate public transport. It takes money to keep a vehicle on the road.

    For instance in the cases barnsley cites above, I’d suspect a contributing problem the work is the lack of public transport. No point in taking a job when it doesn’t pay enough to cover the cost of either transport or relocation. In other words I suspect a structural unemployment problem rather than a wish to be unemployed.

    Of course if the employers wish, they could either increase wages, offer more security than a part-time or seasonal job, or lay on transport to bring the workers to them. Perhaps building low rent family accommodation closer to the areas where the work is.

    But some employers prefer to get something for nothing, and would like the state to do everything for them

  13. higherstandard 13

    ak

    Can you please explain what “my attitude is”.

    I have not argued against Bill’s suggestion of increasing benefits I’ve merely called the fact that this hasn’t happened overnight and the current government has had three terms to address this issue.

  14. ak 14

    (Quite right – sorry HS. Mea culpa, guilty of the same “lumping together” I berated Bill for)

  15. higherstandard 15

    Apology accepted …. I’m just being snippy anyway – clearly must be time for dinner and a glass of wine.

  16. AncientGeek 16

    Know the feeling. All this house cleaning today has definitely gotten me a bit more ummm sarcastic than usual.

    I hate domestic chores. Mind you I was just scanning Real Mummy. Just reading the posts was starting to make me really glad not to be around infants any more. I’d hate to think what the comments would have been like.

    I got there after reading this really interesting post Your daughter will probably have sex at the handmirror. It is the most interesting post I’ve yet read on the HPV vaccine. I must have missed the post on it here, because they referenced an idiotic comment by someone here.

  17. Santi 17

    Male the benefits more difficult to get, so just people in real need (the ill, the old, the infirm) can access them.

    The other lazy buggers should get off their fat arse and earn a living like the rest of us. A drastic reform of the social welfare system is badly needed.

    I’m sick and tired of undeserving people living off my taxes, like those who have adopted a beneficiary lifestyle and don’t lift a finger in life. Enough is enough!

  18. big bruv 18

    So IB does not like beneficiaries being stigmatised…tough luck IB, when we have had record levels of low unemployment (in spite of Labour not because of them) there is no reason at all to be drawing (stealing) money from the tax payer by way of a dole cheque or DPB.

    Bludgers are what they are and buldgers is what they should be called, there is no justification for increasing benefits and any govt that increased benefits would be committing electoral suicide.

    As a result I demand that Clark increase benefits immediately, middle NZ have been raped by this lot for the last nine years and there is not a chance in hell that they will accept benefit increases while they (the ones who pay tax) are struggling.

  19. rjs131 19

    Irishbill, do you think it is a bit artifical to say that the benefits shoudl be increased without saying how much it would cost? Surely that bit of information is relevant for this debate?

  20. “As a result I demand that Clark increase benefits immediately, middle NZ have been raped by this lot for the last nine years and there is not a chance in hell that they will accept benefit increases while they (the ones who pay tax) are struggling.”

    Therefore I assume BB that you support raising taxes in the 45,000 people who earn over $150,000 p.a. in order to give the middle class tax cuts? This is what Australia has.

    Its not about wealth envy or rich pricks. Its about using the economy in a way to make sure there is no person who goes to waste despite lack of trying or effort. Wealth envy is simply the opposite of contempt for the poor.

  21. big bruv 21

    PP

    Those that CHOOSE to “waste” deserve nothing from the tax payer.

    And let me be clear, I do not support raising taxes at all, if those who claim that they cannot survive on the benefit can always get a job.

    [lprent: bruv – I could write a program to generate your comments. Very very very predicable.]

  22. big bruv 22

    Iprent

    Could you?, it seems you have one that generates left wing comments

    Labour = Good
    National = Bad

    I might be asking a bit much but I would hope at some stage to read ONE post where you admit dear corrupt leader has got it wrong.

    [lprent to bruv:

    • I don’t write the political posts.
    • I’ve seldom seen a post here that actually praised Helen.
    • If you look at the posts, I think you’ll find that she is barely mentioned. The government she leads is frequently mentioned, often unfavourably. Probably because our posters are far more left than centrist.
    • I don’t think that you actually read the posts. Otherwise how could you come out with this twaddle. Tell me – did you read IrishBill critizing Labour in this post?

    As I said earlier – I could write a program to write your comments. It doesn’t have to read either.]

  23. But Bruv. You’re the one living off a sickness benefit. What would you do if it was cut?

    Oh and Santi? You really are a dumb arse. The benefits have been made harder to get. Honestly you lot on the right are sounding more like crazy talkback callers every day…

  24. deemac 24

    good post – benefit leels are a disgrace – but don’t diss veg patches! one of the joys of living in NZ is that you CAN grow veges pretty easily

  25. milo 25

    It’s a fascinating issue, from a policy point of view. There is a tension between the safety net and the incentive to work, unquestionably, and probably unresolvably. Labour has come down on the side of productivity, with in-work payments, working for families and the like. That worked while the tide was high, but as the tide goes out, starts to look very ugly. It emphasises that they have been quite a centrist government. (Although kudos for state house moves.)

    What to do? The ideal would be to lift both benefit and wage levels. That way, poverty could be relieved, but the incentive to work would remain. (There are more complex community building issues to be addressed as well, but that’s a different issue).

    Now I know I’m a partisan. But on this I would vote for National, because I think they are most likely to increase wage levels through sensible macroeconomic policy and microeconomic reform. And I think John Key follows that tradition, sometimes seen in the National party, of compassion. But I’d be delighted to consider the arguments for the other side.

  26. AncientGeek 26

    milo:

    And I think John Key follows that tradition, sometimes seen in the National party, of compassion.

    Kiwi Keith was certainly in that tradition, and Muldoon was as well, albeit quite incompetently as a long term policy maker.

    The question of if Key is, is to me quite open. He has said that he is but so did Bolger before he let the mother of all budgets go through in the name of macro-economics. Anyone around the the bottom of the cliff area like womans refuge will tell you that they’re still picking up the debris from that 2 generations on.

    I haven’t seen the policy from the Nats backs it up your hope.

    [lprent: fixed]

  27. r0b 27

    Now I know I’m a partisan. But on this I would vote for National, because I think they are most likely to increase wage levels through sensible macroeconomic policy and microeconomic reform. And I think John Key follows that tradition, sometimes seen in the National party, of compassion. But I’d be delighted to consider the arguments for the other side.

    How about the argument from history Milo? The last Nat government slashed benefits, hardly raised the minimum wage, and introduced repressive labour legislation that kept wages down (and allowed a huge wage gap to open up with Australia).

    So why, why, why do you expect anything different if they get to be government in 08?

  28. AncientGeek 28

    Opps – I buggered up the blockquotes somehow…..

  29. IrishBill 29

    I think it may be fair of you to believe that of Key, milo(I don’t and have seen no policy indicating it) but his front bench are all veterans of the last National government and I seem to recall Bill saying something about unemployment at 6% being the ideal.

    Thus far the only employment policy that has been confirmed by National is its policy of removing rights for worker in the first 90 days of a job. This is hardly a policy representative of a vision of a high-wage economy. Judith Collins’ knee-jerk rhetoric blaming poor budgeting certainly doesn’t inspire me either.

  30. AncientGeek 30

    milo: The other point I’d make is that you’re really only talking about one benefit – the dole.

    The overwhelming number of people on the DPB are there because they have a failed marriage and young kids.

    Sickness benefit because they have conditions that make it hard for employers to employ them. I believe a high proportion are either disabled or have mental problems.

    Superannuation’s for people that (as my parents remind me frequently) they’ve already paid for it – but that is another discussion.

    As it stands, my back of envelope calcs say minimum wage is about $400 odd gross per week. Unemployment is on the order of half of that for a single person (? IB). It is a pretty big gap already.

  31. Dean 31

    Lynn:

    “If you look at the posts, I think you’ll find that she is barely mentioned. The government she leads is frequently mentioned, often unfavourably. Probably because our posters are far more left than centrist.”

    Not as unfavourably as John KKKey is. You have to admit it.

    “I don’t think that you actually read the posts. Otherwise how could you come out with this twaddle. Tell me – did you read IrishBill critizing Labour in this post?”

    Irishbill is fine. It’s Steve “the sky is going to fall if Key is ever PM” that’s the problem.

    Have you read his posts?

    “As I said earlier – I could write a program to write your comments. It doesn’t have to read either.”

    Normally you tend to stick to technical issues, and you do them very well.

    I can’t say the same for the posts you comment on this site though.

    Do you actually read the site? Did attending the Labour conference mean more to you than you’d like to admit?

    [lprent: Key is mentioned a lot more then Clark in the posts, and probably more unfavourably. Just look in the archives page at the tag cloud. Not surprising as this is a blog written by left-wing posters. I do read the posts after I’ve finished with the comments. Steve likes pointing out the holes using numbers and graphs – sort of a reality check. Personally I’d have said the IB was way harder on JK.

    I thought I’d mentioned frequently that I’ve been a labour activist from a long time, from the right of the party. It is hardly secret. I got hauled in here because of my technical skills both at running computer systems and for knowing how blog/usenet/mail systems go wrong.

    bruv is my technical issue. He got tossed into moderation last week by Tane. So I’ve been reading his comments for the last few days before releasing them. I have this problem that I’m starting to view him as spam, generated like the other auto-moderated machine comments about selling movies, sex or tablets.

    It is a personal problem I know – but I really hate machine driven spam

    update: It is interesting that you isolate Steve out. I just did a brief pass through posts on Key. Steve writes less of them than any other poster proportional to the number of posts that he does, and I’d definitely say he is less critical than any of the others. Jaspers or a_y_b’s posts sometimes get a bit tough.]

  32. Dean 32

    “As an aside, I note that Judith Collins claims better budgeting advice is all that is needed. It reminds me of how in the late 90’s Jenny Shipley claimed beneficiaries just needed to grow their own vegetables and everything would be fine. I hope Labour does something to fix this. After reading Collins’ delusional comment I know National won’t.”

    Irish, what are the stats on benficaries smoking and drinking?

    Do you even know?

    You may wish to take this into consideration before telling everyone that budgeting isn’t the answer.

  33. milo 33

    Interesting comments. I don’t hold a torch for Bolger, but he did sack Ruth Richardson and morph into ‘The Great Helmsman’. But fair point that John Key is still a bit of an unknown quantity. I think he’s okay, and I think Bill English is okay too. The conservatives still hold sway in many other places, but I the National leadership is pretty liberal.

    And AG, yes, fair to say that I am talking mostly about the dole. There is a separate argument about the signals sent out by the DPB, but I don’t see a huge problem, except perhaps about whether we ensure disadvantaged kids (including kids of DPB recipients) have the educational opportunities and inspirational examples they need.

    Perhaps the most interesting thing is that the economic slowdown will change the political agenda. All of a sudden, poverty is big again (politically), and I suspect both major parties will be scrambling to formulate policy.

  34. r0b 34

    but I the National leadership is pretty liberal.

    Umm – what? Milo, please, on what do you base such an observation? After the departure of Rich, who are the liberals?

    And how can you ignore the history of the party (including most of the current old front bench) in your optimistic hopes for their performance?

  35. Dean. I have on good authority that Key will, in fact, sell the column that supports the sky above New Zealand to foreign asset-strippers if elected.

    [lprent: ah Steve – do you really want a reprimand for starting a flame? Besides I heard he wanted to sell the right to generate hot air (flip-flops perhaps?).]

  36. milo 36

    r0b, I think that John Key and Bill English are both liberals, unlike, say Don Brash and Jenny Shipley. Just my opinion, happy to see opposing views.

  37. r0b 37

    Milo, you’re dreaming.

    Bill is a hard core conservative Nat from a strongly Catholic background. From his Wikipedia page: “English opposes abortion,[4] voluntary euthanasia and physician assisted suicide,[5][6] civil unions,[7] and the decriminalisation of prostitution.[8]”

    John “frankly, it’s a market” Key has no strong political orientation, hence the fear that he will be managed and driven by his strongly conservative caucus. As per Brash and The Hollow Men.

    If you want Liberals Milo, vote Labour. Don’t vote National in the hope that the leopard will change its spots, because it won’t.

  38. milo 38

    Oh r0b. I don’t see liberals in Labour. I see win-at-all-costs politicians. It’s true that they have pursued a liberal social agenda. But aside from that, they just haven’t done all that much.

  39. milo. You know what got the biggest applause at the Labour Party congress (I got sneaked in for Clark’s speech)?

    It was when Clark announced that the number of people on the unemployment benefit was below 20,000 for the first time since 1979. The pride and just happiness over that achievement was palpable. I hadn’t realised before how much Labour is still what it always was – the party that wants a better deal for the ordinary person at the bottom of the heap… the delegates were so happy that so few people are now unemployed, and they were delighted that under their party’s rule the minimum wage had gone up each and every year faster than inflation and incomes had risen 15% in real terms. You can’t say they haven’t done much.. they’ve done the most important thing of all – got more people into a decent job with fair pay.

    captcha: “salary itself”. captcha gets it.

  40. AncientGeek 40

    SP: I have a membership book handy – got a spare $15 handy.

  41. Bill 41

    Have any of you guys how much resistance there was to the instigation of a system of wage slavery? How many lifes and communities were trashed? Just because having a job is now the norm doesn’t make it right or desirable.

  42. AncientGeek 42

    I’ll sign you up. You look like you could be a good canvasser.

    captcha: heroes $75
    See – costs a lot less in the NZLP

  43. r0b 43

    Oh r0b. I don’t see liberals in Labour. I see win-at-all-costs politicians.

    You see Kiwiblog spin Milo.

    It’s true that they have pursued a liberal social agenda. But aside from that, they just haven’t done all that much.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    Unemployment down to 30 year lows, crime down, numbers on benefits down, economy growing, Working for Families, superannuation increases, minimum wage raised every year, four weeks leave, 20 hours free early childhood education, fair rents, interest free loans for students, poverty / childhood poverty rates down, suicide rates down, cheaper doctors vists, and employment law which stopped the widening wage gap with Australia. An independent and sane foreign policy. Planning for the long term future via Cullen Fund and KiwiSaver. Strengthening the economy with state owned assets (Air NZ, KiwiBank, Railways, breaking up the Telecom monopoly, back to ACC).

    You are here Milo trying to argue that National is going to be “liberal’ and Labour is not. It’s just crazy talk. Goodnight.

  44. Lyn 44

    Dean – at the risk of this comment being written off for using anecdotal evidence, I’ve been a beneficiary, and I don’t (and didn’t) smoke, and am a comparatively abstemious drinker (especially compared to the people I was mixing with at the time I was on the dole). While I was on the dole I was able to manage things most of the time, but going to the doctor, buying contraception, socialising (including meeting people in cafes, taking food to their houses if invited and buying gifts), driving outside of the suburb where I was living and purchasing toiletries and house-hold cleaners were often things I found next to impossible. I well remember bursting into tears when I received a care-parcel from my parents – my dad had stuffed $100 in the bottom of the box. It makes you go a bit funny in the head when you can’t participate in what used to be ordinary activities. In most respects I’m a “nice middle-class” person – I don’t fit the stereotype of a long-term beneficiary and I wasn’t one. I have a masters degree and in my current occupation I manage projects with budgets in the 10s – to 100s of thousands. I know that there’s a certain amount of wiggle-room that accrues in a budget as it gets bigger. With beneficiary-tight budgets, there’s no room for error. Life is reduced to a tightrope walk from one week to the next. It reduces people to managing day to day when they need to be thinking long-term in order to move themselves out of where they are. I strongly believe that when there’s simply not enough money, better budgeting is not the answer.

  45. r0b 45

    I see win-at-all-costs politicians.

    PS – read The Hollow Men yet Milo?

    Really goodnight…

  46. milo 46

    G;’night rOb. Joust another day …

  47. Lyn 47

    Irishbill – you may have gotten the 6% unemployment figure from my earlier comment – it was ex Alistair Barry’s excellent documentary “In a Land of Plenty” (2002). TVNZ footage never said so much.

  48. rex brown 48

    I’m not sure if this is right.

    I heard on the radio today that benefit increases are tied to the CPI?

    The problem now is that wages are increasing at a higher rate than the CPI?

    So really, they are falling behind compared to workers, but they are inline with inflation?

    So, what exactly is the problem?

    Shouldn’t a worker have a better pay increase than someone that gets to stay at home all day? where is the incentive to work?

  49. IrishBill 49

    RB, if you had read my post you would realise that the problem is that benefits are set at 20% below the poverty-line. All a CPI increase does is continue that problem. Seeing benefit level simply in terms of an incentive to work is absurd. It could equally be argued a low benefit level provides an incentive to pay poverty wages. Benefits are not just about the individuals involved but about society (hint: it’s called social welfare). I don’t know what your work is but I doubt you would be happy to have hundreds of thousands of desperate people keen to do it for half the cost but that’s exactly what workers faced in the 90’s. A regular employer comment passed across the negotiation table in those days was “if you don’t like it there’s thousands who’ll do your job for half the price.” The benefit cuts are good part of the reason wages collapsed in the 90’s and Kiwi workers are struggling now.

    Lyn, 6% was the unspoken unemployment target of the Reserve Bank and Treasury during the 1990’s. It’s also seen as the ideal figure by a certain brand of monetarist. I’m pretty certain I’ve heard Battling Bill quote it approvingly.

  50. Ben R 50

    From Lindsay Mitchell’s press release 4/01/08 (perhaps to be taken with a grain of salt, but a different perspective nonetheless):

    “According to a recently published Ministry of Social Development report, one third of surveyed sole parents receiving the DPB expressed no interest in looking for work. The report, The 2002 Domestic Purposes and Widow’s Benefit Reform: Evaluation Report also found that since the controversial removal of work testing in 2003, the ‘exit rate’ for recipients whose youngest child is 14 or older has dropped.

    “There is no surprise that other factors associated with the fall in this group’s exit rate (the rate at which people leave the benefit) included being a teenager when the oldest child was born, having already spent a large proportion of their time in the benefit system and being Maori or Pacific.

    What should worry the Ministry, ” said welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell, “is the number of very young newcomers has not decreased. In September 1999 there were 2,687 18-19 year-olds on the DPB. By September 2007 the number had increased by 15 percent to 3,093. Additionally there are typically six or seven hundred 16 and 17 year-old teenage parents receiving the Emergency Maintenance Allowance at any given time.”

    “Most of the Work and Income’s resources have been focussed on getting more amenable cases into work or training, Meanwhile nothing has been done to discourage the inflow of those mothers who will stay the longest in the system.”

    “Some case managers reported that the Personal Employment and Development Plans, which replaced work-testing, have made little impression on women who have been on the benefit for six to twelve years who use the new system ‘to their advantage’. Others said that their clients showed no interest in keeping a copy of their plan or binned it on the way out. The report states, ‘There was a general feeling among case managers that for many people, having a copy of their PDEP was not something they valued highly.’ “

  51. r0b 51

    Thanks Lyn. I think the world needs more personal stories like this. Politics is about people, and their lives.

  52. To go right back to the first line of the original post, why are you congratulating Ruth Dyson for “admitting” the truth about beneficiaries being worse off on her watch? According to the SST article:

    “Beneficiaries were being hit by “significant price shocks” in food, housing, power and transport, said the June 2007 report by the Ministry of Social Development. It was released to the Sunday Star-Times under the Official Information Act.”

    In other words, MSD has sat on this report for almost a year. Dyson is only ‘fessing up because she has no option.

  53. higherstandard 53

    IV2

    If that is indeed the case I retract my praise for her honesty and openess on the issue.

  54. IrishBill 54

    Good point IV2 – I’ll change my first line.

  55. Cheers IB – appreciate your ethics!

    PS – captcha = rat Lounge – hmmmmmmmmmmm

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • The Greens should not support tyranny
    Last week, the government introduced an odious bill to allow it to apply "control orders" - effectively a bail regime - on suspected terrorists entering New Zealand, without the need for prosecution or evidence. But National refused to support it (because, naturally, it wasn't tyrannical enough), meaning the bill looked ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 hour ago
  • Climate Change: Chickening out on agriculture
    As expected, the government has chickened out on agricultural emissions. Given the option to put farmers in the ETS and make them properly pay for their pollution like the rest of us, they have instead decided to threaten them with it, in the hope that this will cause climate-change denying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 hours ago
  • The persecution of feminist folk singer and activist Thistle Petterson
    Some of us at Redline are part of a Marxist and anarchist gender-critical e-group that consists of activists in several countries – trade unionists, women’s liberation activists, gay and straight, male and female.  Through this we became aware of the case outlined below.  Thanks to Thistle for writing this for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 hours ago
  • Close Tiwai Point
    Tiwai Point's electricity contract is up for renewal. And as usual, they're sticking their hand out, demanding a government subsidy, and threatening to close if they don't get one:The owners of the aluminium smelter said on Wednesday that there were seeking talks with the Government amid a strategic review which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • How volcanoes influence climate and how their emissions compare to what we produce
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Everyone is going on about reducing our carbon footprint, zero ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    21 hours ago
  • ACT: Backed by Nazis
    So, it turns out that the ACT Party - which previously called itself "the liberal party" - is financed by Nazis:ACT Party leader David Seymour says his party will not return a donation from Mike Allen, a Christchurch businessman who sells mock "Make America Great Again" hats to fund advertising ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    21 hours ago
  • Counting Barretts
    Just in case you don’t have a seven-year-old boy in your house (in which case this will be obvious) a well-known brand of breakfast cereal here in NZ is currently coming with All-Blacks stats cards. Perfect for finding out your favourite rugby player’s height, number of caps, and how much ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    22 hours ago
  • Bullying their critics
    Over the past month we've heard some horrific stories about bullying in the police. The police's response? Try to bully people into silence:The police have told a whistleblower to retract his statements to RNZ about being bullied or face legal action. The demand came just hours after Police Commissioner Mike ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 5
    Today is a Member's Day, which should see the final part of the committee stage of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. The big question today is the referendum clause: will it be necessary, or can the bill pass without it? While the majorities for his amendments during the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • There is no ‘gendered brain’
    One of the key arguments used by trans ideologists is that some male-bodied people (ie men) are women because they ‘feel’ they are women.  To make this hocus-pocus sound a bit more credible, some will argue that such men have a ‘female brain’.  But this is thoroughly anti-scientific too. . ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Canada’s electoral system is broken
    Canadians went to the polls today in parliamentary elections, and appear to have re-elected blackface wearer Justin Trudeau. Unfortunately, they use first-past-the-post, and they've provided a perfect demonstration of how unfair this system is:PartySeats% Seats% VoteLiberal15746.4%33.1%Conservative12135.8%34.4%Bloc Québécois329.5%7.7%New Democratic Party247.1%15.9%Green Party30.9%6.5%Other10.3%2.4% [Results from Elections Canada] Yes, the Liberals got fewer votes ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Measles: the quackery that is homeopathic “vaccination”
    A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to a health-related FB page that had published a post from a homeopathist, offering homeopathic “vaccination”¹ against measles (using something called a “Morbillinum nosode” at a “potency” of 200C, which I’ll explain shortly). I followed the link, left a comment ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 days ago
  • Colombia: 20th anniversary of La Gabarra massacre
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh This year marks the 20th anniversary of the La Gabarra massacre. The community organised an event to remember the most well-known of the horrendous heart-breaking events that befell the communities of this area of the municipality of Tibú: the massacre carried out on August 21st 1999. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • A prediction
    There was another police chase in Christchurch this morning, resulting in a crash which killed one person and injured five more. Because someone died, the chase is being investigated by the Independent Police Conduct Authority. And based on previous reports by the IPCA, we know how it will go: the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: The Zero Carbon Bill
    Just a month ago we saw the biggest protest in a generation as people marched to demand stronger action on climate change. A core demand of the protesters was to strengthen the Zero Carbon Bill's target to net-zero by 2040. So what is the government's response? Judging by the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Zombie ants, updated
    Back in 2010, I wrote about the strange tale of the zombie ants, which do the bidding of their fungal overlords. (They’re not an isolated example; a range of parasites change their hosts’ behaviour. See here and here for example – though as you’ll find, the toxoplasmosis story may be ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 days ago
  • Paying For Our Pakeha “Guilt” And “Privilege”.
    Shouldn't That Be: "Wrong White Crowd"? Rather than apportion guilt, would it not have been wiser for the makers of Land Of The Long White Cloud to accept that the Pakeha of 2019 are not – and never will be – “Europeans”? Just as contemporary Maori are not – and ...
    2 days ago
  • A Bodyguard of Truths.
    One, Two, Many Truths: With the collapse of “actually existing socialism” in 1991, the universities of the West found themselves saddled with a new mission. With their ideological competitors now soundly defeated they were no longer required to demonstrate the superiority of capitalist values. Their job now was to cement ...
    2 days ago
  • A call to unionists
    by the Council of Disobedient Women   We call on the Council of Trade Unions to show some fortitude and take a stand with your sisters. Unionists know that there is a material world, otherwise workers could simply identify out of poverty. They could declare themselves Well Paid. Why stop ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Sophistry and bullshit
    I spent some time reading the Regulatory Impact Statement and Bill of Rights Act advice for the government's odious control order scheme today. I am not impressed with either of them. Starting with the RIS, it is built on some pretty questionable assumptions. For example:Unless individuals have been convicted of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • I’m so fly, I’m #NoFly!
    #NoFly: Walking the talk on climate change, by Shaun Hendy. BWB Texts, 2019. Reviewed by Robert McLachlan In June 2018, Swede Maja Rosén founded We stay on the ground with a pledge not to fly in 2019, and a goal of persuading 100,000 other Swedes to join her. In August, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Punishing the young
    We all know that NZ First is a party of and for old people who hate the young. But they've topped their previous pedophobia with a proposal that all young people be forced to do 100 hours community work:NZ First wants all young people to do 100 hours of community ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Journalism, clickbait, & ideas of classical beauty – but not science
    A couple days ago the NZ Herald published a story with the headline, “Science says Bella Hadid is world’s most beautiful woman“, and followed up with the ridiculous statement that Supermodel Bella Hadid has been declared as the world’s most beautiful woman following a scientific study into what constitutes as ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    3 days ago
  • Is Simon’s Smile Sustainable?
    A Sustainable Proposition: With as much as 18 percent of the electorate declaring itself “undecided” about who to vote for, there is obviously plenty of space for a party like former Green Party member, Vernon Tava's, about-to-be-launched "Sustainable NZ Party" to move into. The most hospitable political territory for such ...
    3 days ago
  • What the actual Hell?
    Keir Starmer has hinted that Labour might vote in favour of the Johnson government's shoddy deal, with the proviso that a second referendum is attached:Speaking to BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, he said: “We will see what that looks like but it makes sense to say that by whatever ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Dealer’s Choice, an oral history from Planet 1994
    In 1994, I was the editor for an issue of Planet magazine focused on cannabis, its culture and the prospects for the end of its prohibition. Part of that issue was an interview with 'Ringo', an experienced cannabis dealer.I recently posted my essay from that issue, and I figured it ...
    5 days ago
  • The invasion of women’s sports by men: some facts
    Dr Helen Waite, sports sociologist and former elite athlete, on the invasion of women’s sport by men and the anti-scientific and misogynist ideology used to rationalise it.   ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Remainers starting to sound like fascists
    As Brexit comes to a grisly conclusion (perhaps) people on all sides are saying intemperate and uwise things.  Some, like the Daly Mail, have been doing it for years.People as normally level headed as Jon Lansman are calling for automatic deselection of MPs who vote against a (likely) Labour three ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour MPs supporting Johnson’s turd-sandwich deal?
    I find this unbelievable:
    I've got one source saying more Labour MPs than expected are mulling whether to vote for the deal - including names who were not on the letter to Juncker and Tusk— Emilio Casalicchio (@e_casalicchio) 17 October 2019 I've compiled a list of possible reasons why Labour ...
    6 days ago
  • Why do we need control orders again?
    On Wednesday, the government was loudly telling us that it needed to legislate to allow it to impose "control orders" - effectively a parole regime, but imposed without charge, prosecution, conviction or real evidence - on suspected terrorists because they couldn't be prosecuted for their supposed crimes. Today, it turns ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Bullshitting the Minister
    On Monday, the Hit and Run inquiry heard from NZDF's former director of special operations, who claimed that the defence Minister knew everything about the Operation Burnham raid. Today, the inquiry heard from that (former) Minister - and it turns out that he didn't know nearly as much as NZDF ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Extinction Rebellion is not a cult (but ecstasy for the people)
    Yoga gurus and cult leaders – I’ve seen a few. Two weeks ago, I unknowingly joined an alleged new-age cult at the Kāpiti coast, together with a giant kraken and some neatly dressed pensioners who would make any book club proud.They were among the two hundred people of all ages ...
    6 days ago
  • We need to bring the police under control
    The last decade has seen a trend of increasing weapons availability to police. Assault rifles. Tasers on every hip. Guns in cars. And following the march 15 massacre, pistols on every hip, all over the country. At the same time, its also seen an increase in the abuse of force: ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • If you can’t measure it, does it exist?
    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for our summer paper on Science Communication. Looking for something amusing about ‘risk’ in science, I came across this neat xkcd.com cartoon about why so many people come knocking on my door (or phoning me, or emailing me) desperately wanting ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    6 days ago
  • Swinson’s swithering
    Jo Swinson is doing even worse at this Being Sensible lark that I'd thought.  I've just become aware of the following utterance
    .@KayBurley presses Lib Dem leader @joswinson on whether she would agree to a #Brexit deal 'no matter how bad a deal it is' as long as it had ...
    7 days ago
  • Women’s rights, trans ideology and Gramsci’s morbid symptoms
    by John Edmundson The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) have recently reposted a February article, by Romany Tasker-Poland, explaining ISO’s position in the “trans rights” debate.  It is available on their website and on their Facebook Page.  The article sets out to explain why “socialists support trans rights”.  It reads more ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • We need to take guns off police
    Today's IPCA report of police criminality: a police officer unalwfully tasered a fleeing suspect who posed no threat to anyone:The police watchdog has found an officer unlawfully tasered an Auckland man who broke his ankle jumping off a balcony to escape arrest. [...] To avoid arrest, the man jumped over ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • “Bringing kindness back”
    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    1 week ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    1 week ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    1 week ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 week ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago

  • Government to progress Control Orders for community safety
    The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill will have its first reading in Parliament today, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. “The control orders Bill will mean our community is better protected from the risks of the very small number of New Zealand citizens who have engaged in terrorism related activities overseas. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • World-first plan for farmers to reduce emissions
    The Government and farming sector leaders have agreed to a world-first partnership to reduce primary sector emissions in one of the most significant developments on climate action in New Zealand's history. Today farming leaders and the Government announced a plan to join forces to develop practical and cost-effective ways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • More homes where they are needed
    More houses for homeless New Zealanders are being opened today in Tauranga by Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi. Six 2-bedroom quality units are being opened at 878 Cameron Road by Minister Faafoi and Accessible Properties, a local Community Housing Provider (CHP). Accessible Properties now provides more than 1,700 community housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Minister of Finance and Sport and Recreation to visit Japan and Vietnam
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson departs tomorrow for events and meetings in Japan and Vietnam.  While in Japan, he will discuss economic and fiscal issues including meeting with the Minister of Finance, Taro Aso, and Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, Yasutoshi Nishimura. He will meet with the Minister of Education, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Dashboard tracks housing progress
    The Government’s Housing Dashboard released today confirms record numbers of state houses are under construction and shows the Government build programme is gaining momentum.  “After nine years of inaction, and a hands-off attitude from the previous government we’re starting to see things move in the right direction for housing,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Ministerial Statement on the International Convention Centre fire
    Mr Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement relating to the Auckland fire. The Government is closely monitoring the situation with the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre and is thankful that everyone is now safe. Firefighters are doing an incredible job managing the fire and bringing it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government invests in Te Reo, environmental data research
    The Government is investing in ambitious research that will digitise Te Reo, grow the low-carbon protein efficient aquaculture industry, help interpret environmental trends, and large data sets says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The four projects range from teaching Siri to speak Te Reo to crunching large environmental ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government announces next steps as part of a comprehensive plan to fix skills gap
    A new education-to-employment brokerage service to strengthen connections between local employers and schools. Funding for more trades focused ‘speed-dating’ events to connect schools with employers. Promotional campaign to raise profile of vocational education. The Government is taking action to increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago