Holding Bennett to account

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, August 11th, 2009 - 59 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: , ,

NZPA reports:

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff has confirmed she will investigate Social Development Minister Paula Bennett after the release of details of two mothers’ income.

Good. John Key has made it clear he won’t hold his ministers to account for abusing their power, now it’s up to the Privacy Commisioner to do his job for him.

The question now is whether Key will do the honorable thing and give Bennett the sack if the Commissioner finds against her.

59 comments on “Holding Bennett to account ”

  1. BLiP 1

    Good news. Hopefully the two beneficiaries will get sufficient compensation so as to be able to complete their studies without the TIA.

    • starboard 1.1

      pffft..more wasted money..heres a thought..maybe they could get a job…earn some money…save it..and PAY FOR THE COURSES THEMSELVES !! Not rocket science.

  2. burt 2

    The ref will make a bad call. Parliament knows more about the rules than any ref ever would so parliament will rule as it should based on previous justifications.

    Move on ya muppets, it was good enough for Labour to make the rules up for accountability as they went along so it is good enough for National.

    OH: BTW – sack her is my call but I have been shouted down so many times calling for accountability that I’ll just agree with you all saying move on.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1

      If she apologises for being a bit over-zealous, then takes the rap over the knuckles from the Commissioner, she should come out of it just fine. If she stays unrepentent and asks Key to back her, she will have used up a lot of brownie points.

      Either wa, sacking her for this sounds a bit over the top.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        Bugger sacking. As far as I am concerned she should be charged with fraud, malfeasance, theft as a servant, or something similar.

        She used information given to the ministry for a purpose that were not what it was given for – for political gain. Moreover, as a minister of the crown, she probably wasn’t entitled to even look at or know that information. I suspect that only civil servants were entitled to look at it.

        I think that if the law were perfect then she’d be serving prison time after short trial.

        Bugger – now I sound like burt on an extreme day…. But privacy is privacy – especially from ministers of the crown.

        • starboard 2.1.1.1

          Idiot. Why not just hang her from the nearest tree. Ms Clark set the benchmark for dealing with ” wayward ” ministers..so dont expect to much.

          • burt 2.1.1.1.1

            startboard

            So what would happen to me if I were working in WINZ and I released personal information like this? Would I just be required to apologise if it were deemed I broke the law or do you think I might loose my job? Or I might be charged with breach of the privacy act? I wonder….

            It’s very similar to Jolly Jim using the parliamentary franking machine some years ago for his wife’s local council campaign – he had to pay the money back – whoooopeeee… Meanwhile a service station worker lifting $5 from the till to pay for his bus fare home would be sacked as well as pay back the money…

            Why do you think we should not hold the MP’s to the same standard as joe average ?

            • starboard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              You must remember burt that the 2 females involved fired the first shots..and then only supplied half the info. Bennett was only balancing the argument with the full story. One must ask what the girls motives were in doing that. Me thinks it backfired and now they covered in the brown stuff.

            • burt 2.1.1.1.1.2

              starboard

              I have no argument the woman involved fired the first shot, and I’m also glad that we have the context of how much money they get from tax payers each week. But there is one little glitch – it is called the rule of law and that should be applied evenly and consistently. It is not up to the minister to make up how the law should be applied as she goes… Not this minister or any other minister.

              Hey look you are provoking lprent by calling him an idiot, how would you feel if he published your IP and your internet account details and/or your name and address? He could say you were asking for it because you called him an idiot…

              Oh, I call him an asshole if he did that – then where would it end?

            • burt 2.1.1.1.1.3

              starboard

              There was one other question in my previous comment. Why not hold MP’s to the same standard as joe average ? Or do you really think a front line WINZ worker would not be in trouble if they released the details like the minister did ?

              Note: I’m glad the details became public domain, but I;m not happy they were released like they were.

        • burt 2.1.1.2

          lprent

          Na, on an extreme day you would ban me and I would be silent. Sorry dude you can’t sound like a silent guy !

        • Tim Ellis 2.1.1.3

          Goodness me, LP. Anybody would think that Ms Bennett did something that previous Labour Ministers didn’t do. The advice from several senior members of the press gallery however is that Labour Ministers frequently leaked information to them about private citizens in order to spin a story.

          Are you calling for Labour ministers to be hung drawn and quartered as well?

          • BLiP 2.1.1.3.1

            Timmy – can you point to one – yes, just one – instance where a Labour minister broke the law to release private information of no relevance whatsoever to the discussion at hand?

            Let me remind you, the two beneficiaries that Basher Bennett dealt to were talking about the TIA – not the total income they were entitled to and for which they expressed gratitude. Little facts, maybe, but facts all the same.

            Now that the releasing of private information is an acceptable practise by National Inc, all sorts of outfits are taking a leaf from Bennett’s example and John Key’s comforting.

            Wonderful new standards we are seeing from National Inc. Are you lovin’ it yet?

      • Frank Macskasy 2.1.2

        “Over-zealous”?

        Abuse of ministerial power; mis-use of personal information; and demonising two women because they criticised a government policy – you call that “over zealous”?!

        Well, I guess the KGB were a bit “over zealous” in the way they harassed dissidents during the Soviet era. (But they were the Bad Guys. We is the Good Guys, y’know.)

    • Bright Red 2.2

      burt, this isn’t an issue for Parliament. Parliament passes the law, it doesn’t enforce it. Moreover, Parliament has made no finding as to the legality or appropriateness of Bennett’s actions.

      Bennett was acting as a minister, not as a member of Parliament.

      Still good you think she should go.

      • burt 2.2.1

        Parliament passes the law, it doesn’t enforce it.

        Yes it use to be that way before Darnton VS Clark and the corruption that was Labour.

        • r0b 2.2.1.1

          Hey Burt, you still haven’t said why ACT didn’t vote to allow that lawsuit to proceed. Why didn’t they Burt?

          Bet you dodge the question again.

        • burt 2.2.1.2

          Would you like me to link to where you deliberately and consistently misquoted Rodney to support your assertion here rOb? If you want me to highlight again how little integrity you have when you quote people I’ll happily do that, again. But it might be a bit embarrassing for you considering your recent quote banging on about how it is poor form to misquote people.

          • r0b 2.2.1.2.1

            Hey Burt, you still haven’t said why ACT didn’t vote to allow that lawsuit to proceed. Why didn’t they Burt?

            Bet you dodge the question again.

          • burt 2.2.1.2.2

            rOb

            You know I don’t have an answer for that, I have told you several times I don’t. Dodging the question is a figment of your imagination. (BTW: do you want me to define “that’ for you again or have you been able to understand “that’ since you managed to make a complete fool of yourself ignoring it’s meaning when misquoting Rodney)

            I suspect (my opinion) it was related to the issue that ACT did not support making illegal activities legal but I don’t actually know (as I have said before). However the question out of all of this is why you hinge the validity of Labour killing off Darnton VS Clark on what Rodney voted for. Are you saying that how Rodney votes should be a guiding principle for parliament?

            • r0b 2.2.1.2.2.1

              You know I don’t have an answer for that

              No, you really really don’t do you.

              I have told you several times I don’t.

              Please link to one burt.

              (BTW: do you want me to define “that’ for you again or have you been able to understand “that’ since you managed to make a complete fool of yourself ignoring it’s meaning when misquoting Rodney)

              Come on Burt, link to it, so we can all see what a plonker you’re making of yourself here.

              I suspect (my opinion) it was related to the issue that ACT did not support making illegal activities legal

              What does that even mean? If the court case was so vital to democratic integrity why didn’t ACT vote to allow it to proceed?

              However the question out of all of this is why you hinge the validity of Labour killing off Darnton VS Clark on what Rodney voted for. Are you saying that how Rodney votes should be a guiding principle for parliament?

              Parliament killed it off Burt, and not even ACT voted to save it. The point is that it was such a crap law suit that not even ACT saw any merit in allowing it to proceed. Only you Burt, only you carry on the lost and lonely fight for Darnton vs Clark…

            • burt 2.2.1.2.2.2

              (http://www.thestandard.org.nz/helen-stop-critiquing-polls )

              Here we go rOb, the history of you saying it is OK to do unconstitutional things as long as it is Labour. Also you asking why Rodney didn’t vote for keeping the amendment that Labour also voted against and of course your misquoting of Rodney when your defence of Labour was looking more and more desperate. There is also my first English lesson on the word “that’ which I have had to repeat for you again since you tried again to misquote Rodney. Clearly you needed your misquoted version to be seen to be true for your argument to hold water because without that it’s a colander.

              As for being the only one who cares about Darnton VS Clark, I suspect I’m not the only one who thinks parliament should not be above the law. Although I get the fact that you think it is OK for Labour, I also suspect you will agree with me completely if National ever stoop so low as to use the power of parliament to defeat an embarrassing court case against them.

            • r0b 2.2.1.2.2.3

              Well done for linking to it Burt. Now the 0 people who are interested can go and see for themselves what a pack of lies you create in your memory about the discussion that we had.

              National ever stoop so low as to use the power of parliament to defeat an embarrassing court case against them.

              Well you’d better explain to Rodney how badly he got it wrong I guess.

            • burt 2.2.1.2.2.4

              rOb

              I’m happy to be called where I’m inconsistent about these things rOb. So far the only high ground you have is that Rodney didn’t vote to keep Darnton VS Clark. Must be hard for you needing to use the decision of someone you denigrate to justify the decisions of someone you defend irrespective of what they do.

      • burt 2.2.2

        Rex

        The same might have been said about Bradley before it was expedient for Labour to say he didn’t know what he was talking about.

        • Rex Widerstrom 2.2.2.1

          Agreed. And the way is always open for Key to say Shroff doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I’d love to see him do it to her face though 😀 I for one wouldn’t dare.

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.3

      The ref will make a bad call.

      If so, I think we can safely say that would be the first time Marie Shroff has made a seriously bad call during her entire career. She wrote the MMP-era Cabinet Manual, after all, and had a formidable reputation as fierce sticker-to-the-rules as Secretary of Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council.

      If Bennett has broken a rule, expect Shroff to say so. However don’t expect her to step outside those bounds and start commenting on the morality of what Bennett did, which is a different issue.

  3. bill brown 3

    If she’s found guilty, he’ll make her say sorrreeee and then give here a piece of chocolate and a pat on the head later when no one’s watching.

    • burt 3.1

      No bill, if she is found guilty then National will say the referee made a bad call and validate her actions becuase parliament know more about the intent of the law than anyone else. Move on will be the call but who knows, that might involve chocolate or a special trip to meet Owen Glenn – who knows.

  4. Steve 4

    “Good news. Hopefully the two beneficiaries will get sufficient compensation so as to be able to complete their studies”??
    You mean continue with their hobbies …

    • felix 4.1

      Nursing and teaching? Are you serial?

      • Steve 4.1.1

        Tie dying silk scaves, or maybe that was others on DPB

        • Bright Red 4.1.1.1

          Steve you don’t even know what you’re talking about. In fact, you’re confusing your Nat lines.

          It was Tolley cancelling Adult Community Education funding who dismissed language courses for immigrants and trade tranining courses as ‘hobby courses’.

          Bennett cancelled the Training Incentive Allowance for degree courses, like nursing and teaching, which is what these women were taking.

        • jarbury 4.1.1.2

          Nice one Steve. You just made a complete arse out of yourself.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    In the rush from one headline to the next, it’s easy to forget that the real killers are often the slow burners.

    The pledge card spending was a “beltway issue” (Clark) for months, while the Auditor-General prepared his report. By the end, it had done enormous damage to Labour, was their first real setback in the third term, and they never really recovered.

    If Key is true to form, Bennett will get the Melissa Lee treatment, with all good wishes for her future, a very long way from his Cabinet.

  6. SJ Hawkins 6

    Jennifer Johnston said it best:

    Johnston says anyone can look up the benefit payments a woman like herself is receiving, and says she is simply fighting for the chance to keep up her training and get off a benefit.

    “The information that (Bennett) gave is not anything that people could not have readily accessed,” she says.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/solo-mum-privacy-isn-t-real-issue-2879584

    I won’t argue the decision of the privacy commissioner though, that is her job not mine

    • Bright Red 6.1

      To know the amount a particular person is getting, you have to know exact information about them – number of children, housing costs, medicial costs, what training they’re in, any childcare payments. Apparently, Bennett actually got it wrong because they forgot to count offsetting childcare payments.

      If you don’t believe that’s true, do and work out what Johnston’s entitlement is without relying on any of the info given out by Bennett, just the initial HoS article and the MSD website.

    • gobsmacked 6.2

      Thank goodness it’s her job, not yours, S Hawkins.

      I can get info about my neighbours from the public domain (electoral roll, phone book, etc). Or I can rummage through their mail box – illegally. It is not the information, it is the method of acquiring that information, and the lack of consent, that defines an invasion of privacy.

      Bennett could have pointed to details that were already made public. She didn’t. She accessed the department’s computer (or ordered a staff member to), without consent, for political point-scoring, and without the knowledge of her own chief executive, because he would have refused.

      Fortunately, the privacy commissioner will uphold the law.

  7. No need for sacking surely?
    Just quietly promote her to another ministry.

  8. If the commissioner finds against Bennett, I’m sure Key will sack her, I hope the Police investigate Fuller also for not declaring to Winz her access to her ex’s credit card.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 8.1

      No he won’t- he’s already publicly backed her and her actions. More likely he’ll treat her like Melissa Lee- hope she goes away.

  9. I see there is a new Auditor General – Lyn Provost – Hopefully she will be as willing to stand up to the government as the Privacy Commission (if they do actually chastise Bennett)

    • Tim Ellis 9.1

      I hope the Auditor General stands up to the Government when necessary too, Loco. I also hope the Auditor General never receives the kind of abuse from politicians that Ms Provost’s predecessor received from ministers in the last Labour Government when he criticised the parliamentary spending by political parties on election expenses.

      • Loco Burro 9.1.1

        There isn’t a party in Parliament that hasn’t criticised the Auditor General at some point or another Tim. That is why the position is important and should maintain an indepedent status, not everyone has to agree with the Auditor General but it is a voice that is needed.

    • burt 9.2

      Here here. Absolutely shameful behaviour.

    • BLiP 9.3

      The Timmy & Burp Show continues unabated and bereft of facts . . .

      Tell me, did you know it was actually National Inc’s new buddy Peter Dunne that attacked the Auditor General but you chose to lie anyway or were you just ignorant? And what do you have to say about National Inc’s total back-flip on what was previously an “attack on democracy”? Any time frame yet on when National Inc will be paying back the $112,000 it owes in GST for its election spending? Labour paid back its overspend – why can’t National Inc?

      • burt 9.3.1

        BLiP

        No argument about the windsock being involved in claiming it was a bad call. I’ll be more careful putting ‘Labour-led’ rather than just Labour in the future.

        However, the behaviour of the Labour-led govt was a disgrace and the Labour-led govt should be utterly ashamed of itself over that incident.

        Oh, why can’t National pay back the GST. Simple, to do so they will need to spend money they are not legally allowed to do. Therefore to pay it back (the unpaid GST) National will break the law. So, National did request a retrospective amendment to allow them to pay that money back but Labour were not having a bar of it. Rightly so some (including myself) would say.

        Perhaps National could now pay that money and validate themselves (under urgency clearing any civil cases that might erupt during the process) for doing so – what would you say to that?

      • burt 9.3.2

        BLiP

        I was unaware of the back flip, cheers for bringing it to my attention. Interesting that National want to keep that provision now they are in Govt, more interesting if Labour claim it is unfair. This could get really interesting.

  10. Rodel 10

    Kermit won’t stand up to Miss Piggy.I Look! If she’s found guilty he’ll make lame excuses for her and ‘y’know move on.

  11. outofbed 11

    How long before Brady stands as a Nat or Act candidate
    ….he says to be controversial

    • Loco Burro 11.1

      Out of Bed – “How long before Brady stands as a Nat or Act candidate”

      Heh, maybe in Ohariu-Blemont, him and Peter Dunne already dislike each other, maybe they’ll get into a rumble ……. just kidding! 🙂

  12. Deep Throat 12

    Can you imagine the media if this shit happened on Clark’s watch.

    The minister in question would have been stood down from her portfolio while the investigation progressed and either returned to cabinet or fired.

    Standards?

    • BLiP 12.1

      Under Labour, Bennett would have been gone long before lunch. Turns out the new standards promised by John Key and National Inc are actually lesser standards than previously.

      • burt 12.1.1

        Gone by lunch time but back before afternoon tea exonerated and promoted….

        Must be a bit of a glut in the whitewash market now Labour can’t cover everthing with it to make us move on.

  13. just another student 13

    I have to wonder if any commenting (here or elsewhere in the past few weeks) have considered just what effect PB’s actions have had not only on those women, but on their families.

    There are children involved here, who have had to suffer the effects of the actions of the Minister. Sadly there are many horrible people in this country of ours and children are not immune to that cruelty.

  14. • The group Hand Up was officially established on 10th July with the establishment of a Facebook page
    • The first Lobby Letter from HANDUP to all MP’s was written and sent out on 15th July.
    • The NZ Herald published an article (NZ Herald, Govt axe destroys dreams) highlighting two women’s stories was published on 19th July, to support the Facebook campaign. The reporter approached the women personally, not the other way around.
    • The second Lobby Letter to MP’s was written and sent out on 20th July.
    • The TIA issue was discussed in Parliament Q&A time on 22nd and 23rd July. This is the first time that these two women have been mentioned IN PARLIAMENT, along with their full names but their personal financial details were not talked about.
    • Monday 27th July, the Minister for Social Development & Employment leaks personal financial details to a reporter who then contacts the women for their comment (NZ Herald, Bennett gets tough with outspoken solo mums).
    • Natasha contacts Campbell Live to try and defend herself re the article. Message Boards, radio and TV talkback & shows, and Blog sites go ‘viral’ in their response to the release of the information.
    • The Hand Up group had grown and the founders (not the women in the NZ Herald story) developed and established a website, which went live on 28th July.
    • The group released a Media Statement on 30th July.

    • It is interesting to note that although Natasha, Jenni, Greg, Trudy and Christine were all quoted or talked about in Q&A in Parliament on 22nd and/or 23rd July ONLY Greg, Natasha and Jenni’s first AND last names were mentioned.

    • It is further interesting to note that Greg is an Invalid Beneficiary and thus it would be expected that his plight would elicit maximum sympathy due to that but that choosing Natasha and Jenni, as DPB recipients, would elicit a howl of response and fuel ‘bene bashing’.

    • It would seem that the Minister used these discussions in Q&A, the Facebook page and the NZ Herald article as ‘implicit’ permission to further investigate the personal financial circumstances of Natasha and Jenni.

    Now you have FACTS.

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  • You take nicer pictures when you’re not drunk
    Readers keeping count will know it's more than five years since I gave up booze. Some of you get worried on my behalf when I recount a possibly testing moment. Anxious readers: today I got well tested.All the way across France I've been enquiring in my very polite and well-meaning but ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    7 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    7 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    7 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    1 week ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    2 weeks ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
    The coalition Government is delivering up to 26 cancer treatments as part of an overall package of up to 54 more new medicines, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health Minister David Seymour announced today. “Pharmac estimates that around 175,000 people will benefit from the additional treatments in just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
    The coalition Government is providing more financial support to drought-stricken farmers and growers in many parts of the country to help with essential living costs. “Rural Assistance Payments have been made available in 38 districts affected by dry conditions to help eligible farmers and growers whose income has taken a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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