Arses and Elbows

Written By: - Date published: 11:35 am, July 1st, 2018 - 50 comments
Categories: business, class war, cost of living, discrimination, employment, equality, minimum wage, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

A few weeks ago, it was reported that

All core public service employees are being given a pay rise to at least the living wage of $20.55 [and it] will apply to full-time, part-time and casual employees.

That’s good. And in line with commitments made during the election campaign, there’s a “Triangulation Bill” at the Select Committee stage of proceedings that would end the rort of workers by employment agencies. Currently, a worker employed through an employment agency has no claim against the employer who actually runs their place of work. So the purpose of the triangulation bill is

..to ensure that employees employed by one employer, but working under the control and direction of another business or organisation, are not deprived of the right to coverage of a collective agreement, and to ensure that such employees are not subject to a detriment in their right to allege a personal grievance.

So far, so good.

Taking those two movements in the area of workplace relations, would it not be reasonable to expect the public service to prepare for or even pre-figure some of those changes? It seems not.

IRD have changed the agency it uses for some 130 of its call centre workers, and the Employment Agreements they are being asked to sign, quite frankly, beggar fcking belief.

Their new employer will be Madison Recruitment. Against the backdrop of changes coming through, IRD have chosen to use an agency that expects workers to accept not necessarily being told what their wage will be; nor an indication of where they are to work; or even a description of the work, and no indication of  expected hours of work.

Just widgets then. Not people.

And IRD spokesperson, Pete van Schaardenburg (that’s him in the picture), is cute enough when asked for comment, to point out that the call centre workers workers are not IRD employees and claim it would inappropriate for him to comment on the Employment Agreements offered by the Agency that IRD itself had chosen as the result of a tender process.

So core public service workers will get a living wage, but not workers in core public services who are employed through agencies. And the living wage will be rolled out to casual workers over time, but again, not if they are employed through an employment agency.

Does the Triangulation Bill before select committee confront that iniquity? Not being familiar with the details of the bill, I’m not sure. But regardless, what is going on when, on the one hand government has made all these noises about improving worker’s wages and conditions, and on the other, government agencies are contracting out through employment agencies such as Madison with their repulsive Employment Agreements in a move that could easily be seen as a wage cutting exercise?

Update. After publishing this post I came across a press release from Unite where they state that Stuart Nash has not responded to their communications over IRD contracting out to Madison. I’d be thinking that’s not a very good look at all, given that Nash was also “unavailable for comment” when the stuff article linked to in the post was published.

50 comments on “Arses and Elbows ”

  1. cleangreen 1

    Un-believable again I am gob-stopped at this.

    Privatisation of public workforce employees is toxic to our core prinipals here as they always have a same excuse for not being held responsible for our public services, “as they are not as IRD spokesperson, Pete van Schaardenburg claims ‘workers are not IRD employees and claim it would inappropriate for him to comment on the Employment Agreements offered by the Agency,

    Classic excuse use by ‘privateers’ to not answer to any critisisms of their acrtions.

  2. Pat 2

    “A spokeswoman for Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said he was unavailable for comment. “

    • Bill 2.1

      I saw that in the stuff article I linked, but thought I’d let it slide on the grounds there could have been a genuine enough reason for Nash not responding in time for publication.

      But since putting the post up, I’ve come across this on scoop.

      Unite has contacted IRD who refused to meet to discuss these issues.

      Unite has contacted Minister Stuart Nash who has not responded.

      edit – so on the grounds that the presser from Unite is dated the 28th (meaning they sought a response from Nash before that date), and the stuff article was last updated on the 30th…I’d say Nash is being a (insert word or words of choice)

      Fuck it. I’ve updated the post to include Nash’s silence.

      • Pat 2.1.1

        I wonder if he’ll find time to comment in the coming week?

        I know they arnt going to get any favours from the status quo interests but they really do appear determined to make life as difficult for themselves as possible at times.

      • Gabby 2.1.2

        I choose ‘tory mole’.

      • Chris 2.1.3

        Just like with social welfare issues (and no doubt plenty of others) Labour’s chickens are coming home to roost. It’s again getting close to rubber hits the road time. I remember in 1999 when everybody relaxed and thought things will be sorted because we’ve got the ‘right government’. Then Labour shafted us. We were at the same time too stunned to do anything and too scared to complain because surely ‘it must be a mistake’. Then Labour kept shafting us. By the time we realised we couldn’t stand by and watch any longer the baton has been handed to Keys and his mates. Baby or no baby, if the left lets this happen again we’re fucked.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Against the backdrop of changes coming through, IRD have chosen to use an agency that expects workers to accept not necessarily being told what their wage will be; nor an indication of where they are to work; or even a description of the work, and no indication of expected hours of work.

    Which is ridiculous in many ways:

    1. IRD actually need that call centre filled with well trained staff and so it would be better to have the call centre as part of IRD rather than getting a contractor.
    2. Getting a contractor in to do it won’t be saving any money but it will make the service worse.
    3. It looks like IRD is about to contract a company that is actually breaking the law which is not a good look for any government department but especially IRD.
    4. Keeping people on below living wage rates is detrimental to the community.

    • Craig H 3.1

      As someone who used to work in the IRD contact centre, temps were used to do easy stuff in peak times like tell people their IRD number and update addresses – all easy enough to learn. Not that I endorse actually using temps, but it’s not like they are used to do anything difficult.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        I see that you’ve written you do not endorse using temps.

        But I’m a bit lost on the “not difficult” angle that implies it’s somehow okay to view and treat people as widgets as long as what they are doing isn’t difficult…

        • Craig H 3.1.1.1

          Updating addresses and similar aspects of the work are not difficult. Explaining things like taxes, working for families and Kiwisaver to employers, on the other hand, is difficult, and why training is important, as is not treating staff like widgets.

          One issue is that there is a lot of work around July particularly, and a lot less work around Christmas, so IRD struggles with that a little. To go away from temps or fixed term employees requires accepting a little fat in the system at that time of year – fine by me but needs a mindset and budget shift.

    • dukeofurl 3.2

      This came up some years back for Social Welfare call centres, and WINZ directly employed them rather than have a contractor operate the centre( and all the wrong info being given out as a result)
      Dont know if it applies still ?

  4. adam 4

    Another glorious example of the labour party being right wing (economically)

    • Incognito 4.1

      Let’s briefly consider the possibility that Labour has ‘inherited’ this from the previous government.

      Inland Revenue spokesman Pete van Schaardenburg confirmed the department had gone out to tender to select a partner to provide “contingent labour across our business” in November and had selected Madison Recruitment.

      “We gave our existing provider Salmat, which has provided contingent labour for our contact centres only, a six-month notice period. The service provision from Salmat will end on September 30.

      As you can see in the link below, the Government Tender Request for Proposals (RFP) opened on 7 Nov 2017 and quickly (?) closed 20 days (!) later on 27 Nov 2017.

      As you know, the current Government got sworn in on 26 Oct 2017.

      The Tender was awarded on 21 March 2018.

      https://www.gets.govt.nz/IRD/ExternalTenderDetails.htm?id=19207205

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Not quite getting you there Icognito.

        Government sworn in on Oct 26. Tender process begins after that date, ends just a month after that date, and is decided on, fully five months after that date.

        So unless I’m missing something around a new government being “locked-in” to processes that haven’t even started when they assume the position of office, then the “brief” entertainment of the idea that this was ‘inherited’ has been and gone in a blink.

        Or maybe that was what you meant to illustrate?

        • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1

          Public Service Act doesnt allow Ministers to ‘ choose the providers’ nor the terms and conditions of any contracts for the departments they oversee.
          They ARENT CEOs
          if they did interfere directly they would be told to FO. – Happens more than you think
          https://www.dpmc.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2017-06/cabinet-manual-2017.pdf

          Under section 33 of the State Sector Act, chief executives must act
          independently in matters such as the appointment, promotion, or disciplining of individual employees. They are not responsible to their Minister in such matters. Generally, the duty of independence and the obligation to act as a good employer will make it inappropriate for a chief executive to involve the Minister in any staffing matter.

        • Incognito 4.1.1.2

          At the change of Government last year IRD was “in the middle of a large-scale transformation” (see link to BIM below), i.e. the process was well and truly underway before the RFP was announced. I tried unsuccessfully to find anything more specific info in the BIM but there certainly is some interesting information about planned and already-actioned restructuring & reorganisation of IRD and some of the most relevant info to the OP can be found on pg. 28 & 29. For example:

          We are exploring alternatives if the new organisation design cannot be fully implemented on 12 February 2018 as planned, due to some concerns raised by one of the unions about the selection processes for some of the new roles. While this will not prevent the implementation of Release 2 in April 2018, it may compromise the effectiveness of our new ways of working.

          Nonetheless, as noted above, embedding a new organisation design, systems and processes as we seek to downsize our workforce will be challenging and will take time. During this time, clear and honest communication with our people and constructive engagement with our unions will continue to be our key areas of focus. [There’s more in the 39-page document]

          http://www.ird.govt.nz/resources/5/6/567a4e90-731e-4ba8-a682-6120a06e49ac/briefing-for-the-incoming-minister-of-revenue-2017.pdf

          I don’t know at what stage IRD got legally locked in with Madison but there are various levels (i.e. at various stages of contract negotiation) of being ‘locked in’.

          Given that IRD, as a Government Department, is autonomous I’d question how much direct , if any at all, oversight and/or involvement the accountable Minister has (had) at any stage of the overall process.

          My comment @ 4.1 was to Adam who, IMO, was tilting at windmills by trying point the finger to Labour as the responsible party [pun] for IRD’s internal decisions regarding “employment matters” and considering this “[A]nother glorious example of the labour party being right wing (economically)”; it has no bearing on the IRD issue.

      • adam 4.1.2

        Incognito you have not saying anything I did not say. The economics has not changed. So it’s the same hard right economics we have had for sometime now, some will argue this is it just playing itself out.

        As for this tender, BFW, politics is the art of changing one’s mind. But if they want to prove how slavish they are to this hard right economic plan, then by all means keep supporting this silliness.

        • Incognito 4.1.2.1

          Adam, whether you like it or not, and no matter how much you think it is the case, the Minister has (had) no say in this as it is up to the IRD management to make these decisions – the large funding package was approved in November 2015 by the then-Cabinet.

          There are strict rules around the tender process and procurement and they cannot be changed on a whim.

          • adam 4.1.2.1.1

            The process argument. It really is the argument of people who have got nothing else.

            The point of left politics, is change, and change to benefit working people. The point of agreement is that socialism, in one form or another will bring about that constructive change.

            To embrace hard right economics, and say the process made me do it – is no different that saying “I’m only following orders”. You have to ask how well does that argument hold up with the voting public?

            • Incognito 4.1.2.1.1.1

              I note that you conveniently ignored the main argument in and of my comments.

              There are good reasons why there are strict rules for Government Procurement with Taxpayers’ money and surely you don’t want the Minister-of-the-day to change these on a whim?

              In any case, I think comparing the tender process with the political process is comparing apples with oranges, i.e. a false equivalence and thus a non-argument.

              If you like to argue that the tender process is intrinsically bad for working people, e.g. because it is directed at the market, sends out a clear signal to the market, and “promote[s] open, fair competition for New Zealand Government contract opportunities”, and why it should be changed on the fly then please make that argument.

              Edit: I should clarify my assertion that the tender process “cannot be changed on a whim”. It can be changed, which will take a huge effort because of those pesky little things called Laws, Acts and the likes, and will have major consequences, some of which may be as intended (“benefit working people”?) and some of which may be unforeseen and unintended. You mentioned “constructive change” …

              • adam

                No one is saying don’t be careful with our money.

                That said, it’s our money, we want socialist solutions on this issue. You know, fair wages, and conditions. So be socialist in how you spend our money – not this hard right economic “There is no alternative” argument you keep pushing.

                There are laws, so change them. Just because national wreaked the civil service for cheap ideological point scoring, there is no need for a government who said it would improve the life of working people to do the same thing. Nor for them to follow the same broken economic ideology of the last 40 odd years, which produces situations just like this.

                I like how conservative and anti socialist you keep painting yourself Incognito, are you doing it on purpose, or is it an unintended consequence of defending shitty hard right economics?

  5. David Mac 5

    I can imagine fluctuating staffing needs depending on where we are in the financial year cycle. For a few months, 1000’s of “Where’s my refund cheque?” calls coming in.

    Whilst an agency might make sense, said agency treating their people like things is well wrong.

    If the IRD person on the other end of the phone has an indepth knowledge of the NZ taxation system, our obligations, their IT systems etc I think it is right that they have a more substantial remuneration arrangement than people brought in to punch in an IRD number and say “Your cheque is (or isn’t) in the mail Mr Jones”.

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      No one ‘gets refund cheques’ anymore .

      You have to supply a bank account number for payments.
      Anyway they dont release the payments for some months after the refund amount is accepted. I suppose they go through some sort of checking against similar groups to pick out those that are outside the norms.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      I can imagine fluctuating staffing needs depending on where we are in the financial year cycle. For a few months, 1000’s of “Where’s my refund cheque?” calls coming in.

      All of which would be known and thus could easily be planned for. It may even use agencies for short term stuff the same way that Stats contracted Telnet for the weeks of the census.

      But their core call-centre, which will have very limited and well understood fluctuations, should be in-house.

      • David Mac 5.2.1

        I think the regular incoming calls, the stuff they get all year, are best directed by a recorded message system.

        As a client, rather than a receptionist, I’d rather hear “Are you self employed and would you like to talk to someone about your return this year? Press 3” and be connected with someone that has an indepth working knowledge of the subject I wish to discuss.

        If the recorded message asks if I want to know about my tax refund for this year, I’d expect to be connected to one of the temps in question.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1

          I think the regular incoming calls, the stuff they get all year, are best directed by a recorded message system.

          All call centres have the auto-direct thing.

          If the recorded message asks if I want to know about my tax refund for this year, I’d expect to be connected to one of the temps in question.

          If it’s that simple then perhaps it should tell you how much you’re getting rather than passing it on to a person. It’s a good question as to how much can be done without involving a person at all.

          And then, of course, there’s the internet where you can pretty much do everything. Hopefully the new computer system will allow you to do everything online up to and including full business accounting.

  6. Philg 6

    Not surprising, especially from Nash. He could easily be accommodated on the opposition benches as a righty.

    • David Mac 6.1

      WOLST – Wary of lefties Slater tolerates.

      • dukeofurl 6.1.1

        Not Slater. he knows Lusk who masqueraded, like quite a few others, as ‘Whaleoil’

    • dukeofurl 6.2

      Employment agreements and contractors are the sole responsibility of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
      Its not how NZs public service works, the Minister isnt involved in deciding which contractor to use or to chose full time employees instead.
      Thats why theres ‘no comment’.

      The Core Public Service living wage hasnt happened yet, but was decided at the State Services level.

      • adam 6.2.1

        Sometime all politics is, is pointing out how shit process is. And process in this instance, is just another weapon in the beige revolution against working people.

        Or just more hard right economics stuffing with people trying to get by.

        • dukeofurl 6.2.1.1

          One step at a time.
          First get the living wage in
          Then certainly tackle the ‘contractors’ question and there terrible conditions, for everyone.
          Its endemic ,the sham contracting, the power exercised by the recruitment contractors ( which often is used to hold wages down) and it seems they are expanding to foreign worker recruitment with dubious circumstances

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.2

          Sometime all politics is, is pointing out how shit process is. And process in this instance, is just another weapon in the beige revolution against working people.

          QFT

          At present the entire system is based upon the flawed ideology of neo-liberalism and the delusional idea that the private sector does everything better.

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    God help us if the contractors for the Vodafone call center take over the IRD’s. (Sorry, a bit of a random Sunday thought.)

    Madison Recruitment sounds dodgy as.

  8. David Mac 8

    I think the spotlight falls on Madison.

    They have the power to determine if they are slave traders or have first rate candidates climbing over each other to work for them.

    Their legal obligations should be just the beginning and no matter If I’m a Madison employee working for the IRD or Coca Cola it is down to Madison to create a great place for me to work.

  9. David Mac 9

    Madison of course had to carve the guts out of their tender to win the contract. Like Serco and jails. The cut to the bone tenders win and we live in hope of eye fillet steak.

  10. One Two 10

    Madison is a child company…

    The exist under an umbrella with a number of other ‘brands’ operating the same space…

    • David Mac 10.1

      An entity that the pin can be pulled on at any time. I don’t want our government to maintain relationships with companies of this ilk. Please stop buying your TVs from some bloke at the pub Jacinda.

  11. David Mac 11

    A potential solution is government depts insisting that those companies tendering for govt contracts pay a minimum living wage to their people. Easy done, it just becomes a clause in the tender requirements.

    I suspect all tenders would be lifted by a degree, a hit for the taxpayer’s chin. Our government should lead. Set the pace, swamp and oblige the private sector to follow suit and match base incomes.

  12. David Mac 12

    I think there is much to be said for Penny Bright’s crusade.

    “So how much of our money is going to fat cat seat polishers and how much of it is going to men with diggers, spades and gravel?”

    When we’re paying the bill, it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable question.

    • Sacha 12.1

      In the economy of last century, sure. Can’t get enough of those blokes with shovels. We’ll all be rich, I tells you!

  13. David Mac 13

    Lets pay IRD employees on a 100% commission remuneration basis. A percentage of what comes in the door and court derived make-goods.

    Sparky doing a cashie….BEWARE

  14. David Mac 14

    I’m getting a bit open mike here, sorry. I’ll try to focus.

  15. Darien Fenton 15

    It’s the Triangular Employment Bill. It was a members’ bill written by me way back in 2008 which became a government bill, but not passed before the Natz were elected in 2008. It was picked up by new Labour MP Keiran and drawn from the ballot. The purpose of the bill is to require labour hire agency workers to be able to join a collective where there is one in place for directly hired workers. It also enables temporary workers to take a personal grievance against the controlling employer. If it passes, (and theres a big IF about NZ First) it will deal with an issue that has been hanging around for years and years. Re the Living Wage ; have a look at Labour’s policy ; the intention is to require a Living Wage for contractors too ; it will take time, but I know work is being done on it.

    • Bill 15.1

      Did I say “triangulation”? Yup. I said “triangulation”. I have no idea why I might have mistakenly used that term (cough) 🙂

      I understood the grievance component of the bill and had been anticipating a move along those lines for a while, but from a hurried look, the wording around the right to join a collective agreement came across as confusing. Thanks for the clarification.

  16. DH 16

    If I was still naive enough to have a wish list for a government near top of the list would be a return to inhouse recruitment and training by all Govt departments. There’s few real justifications for using recruitment agencies, it’s mostly just management laziness IMO.

    What the Govt could do here is find out how much commission this Madison Recruitment are pocketing on the deal. Whatever they’re paying their casuals you can bet they’ll be charging IRD more than a living wage for them.

    I sometimes signed up for casual labour whilst inbetween jobs. On one job I found out the slave traders were making nearly as much as I was from my labour – paid me $10hr and were charging me out at $18.

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    TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so on the morning of July 11 are:Climate: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts issued the National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government’s climate strategy yesterday, including a three-page document with five bullet ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • By George! Splendid streets take shape down south
    The revitalisation of Auckland city centre, especially around Wynyard Quarter, Te Komititanga, and Queen Street, is top of mind for Greater Auckland readers – but other cities around Aotearoa New Zealandare installing people-friendly streets. This guest post by Jessica de Heij, who grew up in the Netherlands and is an ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:30 am on July 11 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister acted 'contrary to law’. Casey Costello has been severely reprimanded by the Chief Ombudsman and forced ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Thursday, July 11 are:Economy: Te Pūtea Matua The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) announced its Monetary Policy Committee decided to hold the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Farmers’ revenge meets Green resistance
    If there was one issue that united farmers in opposition to the Labour Government, it was the battle of the waterways between farmers and Environment Minister David Parker. Parker won the first round with his 2020 National Policy Standard on Freshwater Management (NPSFM) which imposed tough new standards on waterways ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Personal Reflections: 10th July
    Please note: This is a personal reflection and does not refer to politics. These entries are not sent to subscribers.Text within this block will maintain its original spacing when publishedHubris and Pride Out of the fire and into the frying pan? Swimming with the big sharks Tonight, I am excited. ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Oh Vienna
    Nothing can warm your heart like the sight of your daughter stepping off a train. Mary-Margaret arrived on Saturday to ride with us to Vienna.You know your way around a bike? the guy at the hire shop asks her. Yep. She’s ridden them on rail trails, Auckland’s mean streets, commutes ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: New Zealand forges deeper ties with NATO
    Christopher Luxon is finding his foreign policy feet. Now eight months into the job, New Zealand’s Prime Minister is in Washington DC this week to attend the NATO summit. It is the third year in a row that Wellington has been invited to the annual gathering of the North Atlantic ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: National’s carbon capture fantasy
    As the climate crisis has grown worse, the tactics of the polluting industries have shifted. From denying climate change, they then moved on to pushing "carbon capture" - dumping their emissions underground rather than in the atmosphere. It's a PR scam, intended to prolong the life of the industry we ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Harsh Truths.
    The Way We Were: An indelible mark was left upon a whole generation of New Zealanders by the Great Depression and World War II; an impression that not only permitted men and women of all classes and races to perceive the need to work together for the common good, but also ...
    3 days ago
  • Explainer: Simeon Brown's CCUS Announcement
    Sources for the data and research:Peter Milne: Time’s up on Gorgon’s five years of carbon storage failureSimon Holmes a Court: "Does best CCS power station in world provide model for Australia?" Chris Vanderstock: "The truth about Carbon Capture and Storage"   "Sunk Costs": documenting CCS's failure to meet every, single, target, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • The Kiwirail Interislander saga continues
    This morning, 1 News is reporting that the cancellation of the i-Rex ferries has so far cost taxpayers $484 million.That's almost half a billion dollars. That could probably fund thousands of new doctors, maybe complete a few hospital rebuilds, or how about money for our experienced police so they don’t ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Wednesday, July 10
    As foreshadowed in legislation passed quietly under urgency just before Christmas, the Transport Minister has personally watered down standards for car imports in a way expected to add millions of tonnes to our climate emissions Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Christopher Luxon's business acumen
    It’s April, and the relatively new Prime Minister of New Zealand is on his first overseas mission to South East Asia.Christopher Luxon walks into the room. A warm smile on his face. A hand extended to his counterpart.“We are open for business,” he says confidently. “New Zealand is under new ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Meet New Zealand's Russell Brand?
    Hi,There is an all too common story within the guru community, and we see it play out again and again. The end is nearly always the same — a trail of victims and confusion left in the guru’s wake.As seen in the recent case of Russell Brand, the guru simply ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • Why is the Government flooring it on unsafe speeds?
    Feedback closes midnight Thursday 11 July, on the draft speed-setting rule. See our previous post on the subject for details, and guidance on having your say. Among other things, it proposes to raise speeds in cities back up to a universal 50km/h (with no option of 30km/h), and will restrict safe ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • American Boy
    Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some dayTake me to New York, I'd love to see LAI really want to come kick it with youYou'll be my American boy…Love letters straight from the heart. Hmm, I think that’s a different tune, but that’s where we’ll begin. With ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Jannis Brandt on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am are:Investigation: Benefitting from the misery of others. Over 40% of emergency housing funding went to a concentrated group ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:30 am on Wednesday, July 10 are:Climate: Minister for Transport Simeon Brown announced changes to the Clean Car Importer Standard that ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • How rural families are saving thousands with electric vehicles
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons (Photo credit: Automotive Rhythms / CC BY-NC 2.0) Some people thought Juliana Dockery and her husband Sean were being impractical when they bought an electric vehicle in 2022. Why? Like one in five Americans, they live in a rural area ...
    4 days ago
  • Love to complete it all
    Photo credit: Rob DickinsonThis is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: What’s left of the Emissions Reduction Plan?
    In 2019, Parliament, in a supposed bipartisan consensus, passed the Zero Carbon Act. The Act established long-term emissions reduction targets, and a cycle of five-yearly budgets and emissions reduction plans to meet them, with monitoring by the independent Climate Change Commission. In theory this was meant to ensure that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The President They Have Got.
    “This cannot be real life!” Confronted with the choice of recommitting themselves to the myth of Joe Biden, or believing the evidence of their own eyes, those Americans not already committed to Donald Trump will reach out instinctively for the President they wish they had – blind to the President they ...
    4 days ago
  • Has Progressivism Peaked?
    Let’s Go Crazy! AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) rarks-up the voters of New York’s 16th Congressional District.HAVE WE MOVED past peak progressivism? Across the planet, there are signs that the surge of support for left-wing causes and personalities, exemplified by the election of the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) to the US House ...
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Dawn Chorus for July 9
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Labour may be looking at signing up for an Irish style 33% inheritance tax instead of or as well as a capital gains tax;Sam Stubbs has proposed the Government sell ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Mr Luxon goes to Washington.
    Once fastened servile now your getting sharpMoving oh so swiftly with such disarmI pulled the covers over him shoulda' pulled the alarmTurned to my nemesis a fool no fucking godTuesday morning usually provides something to write about with a regular round of interviews for the Prime Minister across Newshub, TVNZ, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Kiwirail at Councils Transport & Infrastructure Committee
    Last week at the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Kiwirail gave an update about the state of the network and the work they’re doing to get it ready for the opening of the City Rail Link. There were a few aspects that stood out to me so I’ve pulled them ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 9
    Photo by City Church Christchurch on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six links elsewhere I’ve spotted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 8:00 am are:Scoop: Waipareira Trust political donations probe referred to Charities Registration Board NZ Herald-$$$’s Matt NippertScoop: Migrant whistleblowers speak out after ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • What’s next after Supreme Court curbs regulatory power: More focus on laws’ wording, less on the...
    This article by Robin Kundis Craig, Professor of Law, University of Kansas is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Federal Chevron deference is dead. On June 28, 2024, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court overturned the 40-year-old legal tenet that when a federal ...
    5 days ago
  • The folly of retreat in the face of defeat
    Note: This is a long readPolitical discourse on social media taught me that bad faith operators and tactics are not only prevalent, they are widespread and effective.Thanks for reading Mountain Tui! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Their objectives are much narrower than one might imagine.The ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • The Parent Zone
    Hi,I am about to wing my way back to New Zealand for the Webworm popup this Saturday in Auckland — can’t wait to see some of you there! In the meantime, I highly recommend the latest pet thread over on the Webworm app. All I’ll say is that readers here ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Tuesday: The Kākā’s Journal of Record for July 9
    Photo by Alex Zaj on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, news conferences reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 9 are:Politics: Full news conference: 'Please resign', Chloe Swarbrick tells Darleen Tana RNZ VideoPaper: Increasing speed ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Breaking up is so hard to do
    The fundamental weakness of the waka jumping legislation is once again on display, as the Greens seem reluctant to trigger it to remove Darleen Tana from Parliament altogether. Tana has been suspended from the Greens Caucus while it had barrister Rachel Burt investigate allegations that she had been involved in ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the privatising of state housing provision, by stealth
    Kāinga Ora’s “independent review” was carried out by the same National Party leader whose own administration’s inadequate housing build – and selling of state houses- had caused Kāinga Ora to embark on its crash building programme in the first place. To use a rugby analogy, this situation is exactly like ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • “Laser focused on the cost of living crisis”
    Cartoonist credit: Christopher Slane ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the elections in France, Iran and Britain
    As Werewolf predicted a week ago, it was premature to call Emmanuel Macron’s snap election call “a bitter failure” and “a humiliating defeat” purely on the basis of the first round results. In fact, it is the far-right that has suffered a crushing defeat. It has come in third in ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • The UK needs proportional representation
    Like a lot of people, I spent Friday watching the UK election. There's the obvious joy at seeing the end of 14 years of Tory chaos, but at the same time the new government does not greatly enthuse me. In order to win over the establishment, Starmer has moved UK ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Bernard's Chorus for Monday, July 8
    TL;DR: Thanks for the break, and now I’m back. These are the top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so:Chris Bishop’s pledge to ‘flood the market’ with land to build new houses both out and up remains dependent ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • French Left Wins Big
    Usually I start with some lyrics from the song at the end of the newsletter, to set the mood. But today I’m going to begin with a bit of a plea. About six weeks ago I decided to make more of my writing public with the hope that people would ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Satire: It's great our Prime Minister is so on the ball
    ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • This is the real reason David Seymour needs to reinterpret the Treaty of Waitangi
    This is republished from an earlier write upDavid Seymour is part of the ACT Party. He's backed by people like Alan Gibbs, and Koch money. He grew up as a right wing lobbyist - tick tick tick. All cool and fine - we know.What's also been clear is a fervent ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Going for Housing Growth: Filling the housing donut?
    Hot take: it should be affordable to live in Auckland. You may not be surprised to learn I’m not the only one with this hot take. Indeed, the Minister of Housing recently took the notable step of saying house prices should come down, something common wisdom says should be a politically ...
    Greater AucklandBy Scott Caldwell
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Monday July 9
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Monday, July 9, the top six links elsewhere I’ve spotted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so are:Scoop: Probation officer sacked for snooping is linked to alleged spy Jian Yang. Corrections dismissed Xu Shan over his ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • What has the Government done for you so far?
    List effective 1 July 2024Consumer and household (note: road and car costs are under infrastructure)Cancelled half-price public transport fares for under-25s and free fares for under-13s funding, scrapping the Labour government-era subsidies. The change will not affect pre-existing discounts funded directly by councils.Cut funding for free budgeting services. One third of the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 8
    Photo by Amador Loureiro on UnsplashTL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Monday, July 8, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days were:Local Government Minister Simeon Brown announced the Coalition Government would not be responding to ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 15 and beyond
    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 15 include:PM Christopher Luxon is travelling to Washington this week to attend a NATO meeting running from Tuesday to Thursday. Parliament is not sitting this week.The RBNZ is expected to hold the OCR on ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 30, 2024 thru Sat, July 6, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is brought to us by Dr. Ella Gilbert, a researcher with the British ...
    6 days ago
  • The Great Splintering: Thoughts on the British Election
    I can remember 1997. Even living on the other side of the world, having a Scottish father and Welsh grandfather meant I acquired a childhood knowledge of British politics via family connections (and general geekery). And yes, I inherited the dark legends of that evil folk-devil, Margaret Thatcher. So when ...
    6 days ago
  • 2% royalties for mining? Deal!
    Snapshot postToday, Shane Jones was courageous enough to front Q&A with Jack Tame. Thanks for reading Mountain Tui ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Jack Tame is a bit of a legend. And that’s only because he strikes me as a good journalist i.e. well ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Aotearoa Says – No Diggity.
    Strictly biz, don't play aroundCover much ground, got game by the poundGetting paid is a forteEach and every day, true player wayOne month ago tens of thousands of Kiwis took to the streets to protest against the coalition’s Fast Track legislation. Concerned that it would prioritise some people making a ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Strangers and others
    For a moment yesterday I thought I might have been trailing my old friend Simon Wilson across the Danube, over cobbled stones, and into the old town square of Linz. Same comfortable riding style, same jacket, same full head of hair, but no, different friend of cycling.There is a kindred ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Killing the Golden Goose of New Zealand's economy
    IntroductionIn New Zealand, the National party generally retains a reputation of being pro-business and pro-economy.Thanks for reading Mountain Tui ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.The underlying assumption is National are more competent economic managers, and by all accounts Luxon and his team have talked ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Newshub Signs Off
    Wait for the night, for the light at the end of an era'Cause it's love at the end of an eraThe last episode of Newshub, the final instalment of TV3 News, aired last night. Many of us who took the time to watch felt sad and nostalgic looking back over ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Pharmac Fiasco
    If you don’t understand how things work you make foolish mistakes. To explain how the government got into its cancer drugs muddle, we need to explain first how New Zealand’s pharmaceutical purchasing system works. There is a parallel between Pharmac and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. The Government sets ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago

  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • District Court judges appointed
    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins
    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance
    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones
    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government unveils five-point climate strategy
    The coalition Government is proud to announce the launch of its Climate Strategy, a comprehensive and ambitious plan aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change and preparing for its future effects, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “The Strategy is built on five core pillars and underscores the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • National Bowel Screening Programme reaches 2 million life-saving screening kits
    The National Bowel Screening Programme has reached a significant milestone, with two million home bowel screening kits distributed across the country, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.   “This programme, which began in 2017, has detected 2,495 cancers as of June 2024. A third of these were at an early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Granny flats popular with all ages
    More than 1,300 people have submitted on the recent proposal to make it easier to build granny flats, RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk say. “The strong response shows how popular the proposal is and how hungry the public is for common sense changes to make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $25 million boost for conservation
    Toitū te taiao – our environment endures!  New Zealanders will get to enjoy more of our country’s natural beauty including at Cathedral Cove – Mautohe thanks to a $25 million boost for conservation, Conservation Minister Tama Potaka announced today.  “Te taiao (our environment) is critical for the country’s present and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand increases support for Ukraine
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced a further $16 million of support for Ukraine, as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal invasion. The announcement of further support for Ukraine comes as Prime Minister Luxon attends the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. “New Zealand will provide an additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Country Kindy to remain open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says that Country Kindy in Manawatu will be able to remain open, after being granted a stay from the Ministry of Education for 12 weeks. “When I heard of the decision made last week to shut down Country Kindy I was immediately concerned and asked ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government lifts Indonesian trade cooperation
    New export arrangements signed today by New Zealand and Indonesia will boost two-way trade, Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. Mr McClay and Dr Sahat Manaor Panggabean, Chairman of the Indonesia Quarantine Authority (IQA), signed an updated cooperation arrangement between New Zealand and Indonesia in Auckland today. “The cooperation arrangement paves the way for New Zealand and Indonesia to boost our $3 billion two-way trade and further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Carbon capture framework to reduce emissions
    A Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) framework has been released by the Coalition Government for consultation, providing an opportunity for industry to reduce net CO2 emissions from gas use and production, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “Our Government is committed to reducing red tape and removing barriers to drive investment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Faster consenting with remote inspections
    The Government is progressing a requirement for building consent authorities to use remote inspections as the default approach so building a home is easier and cheaper, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Building anything in New Zealand is too expensive and takes too long. Building costs have increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Revision programme presented to Parliament
    A new revision programme enabling the Government to continue the progressive revision of Acts in New Zealand has been presented to Parliament, Attorney-General Judith Collins announced today. “Revision targets our older and outdated or much-amended Acts to make them more accessible and readable without changing their substance,” Ms Collins says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government aligns Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia to reduce vehicle prices for Kiwis
    The Government will be aligning the Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia in order to provide the vehicle import market with certainty and ease cost of living pressures on Kiwis the next time they need to purchase a vehicle, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“The Government supports the Clean Car Importer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZQA Board appointments
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today announced three appointments to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Kevin Jenkins has been appointed as the new Chair of the NZQA Board while Bill Moran MNZM has been appointed as the Deputy Chair, replacing Pania Gray who remains on the Board as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More support for Wairoa clean-up
    A further $3 million of funding to Wairoa will allow Wairoa District Council to get on with cleaning up household waste and sediment left by last week’s flooding, Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell says.  In Budget 24 the Government provided $10 million to the Hawke’s Bay Region to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister thanks outgoing Secretary for Education
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today thanked the outgoing Secretary for Education. Iona Holsted was appointed in 2016 and has spent eight years in the role after being reappointed in May 2021. Her term comes to an end later this year.  “I acknowledge Iona’s distinguished public service to New Zealand ...
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