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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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    In 2003 New Zealand sent a Provincial Reconstruction Team to Afghanistan to support America's doomed war there. While there, they conducted regular weapons practice on local firing ranges, littering the landscape with unexploded ammunition. These ranges weren't secure - they're on land used by locals for animal herding - so ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A loss for the Greens
    Green MP Gareth Hughes has announced he will retire at the election. Its understandable - he's been there ten years, and wants to actually see his children grow up rather than miss it while drowning in the toxic parliamentary sewer. But his departure is also a huge loss for the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • New era for Ngāti Kuri and Auckland Museum
    Words and images by Jacqui Gibson Gone are Auckland Museum’s days of doing science using a museum-centric academic approach, after Māori land rights holders Ngāti Kuri gave the museum an ultimatum.
    Tom Trnski holding a fossilised whale tooth from the Far North.Aussie-born Head of Natural Sciences at Auckland Museum ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Circling vultures: Why MediaWorks TV is really in trouble
    MediaWorks announced in October 2019 that it intended to sell off its struggling television business and cancel or cut back on several popular local programmes, including New Zealand Today, Married at First Sight New Zealand and 7 Days. Its radio and outdoor advertising arms are currently performing well, but MediaWorks’ ...
    Briefing PapersBy Peter Thompson
    4 days ago
  • Scary Opinium Poll
    Westminster voting intention:CON: 44% (+3)LAB: 28% (-1)LDEM: 14% (-1)BREX: 6% (-)via @OpiniumResearch, surveyed this weekChgs. w/ 08 Nov— Britain Elects (@britainelects) 16 November 2019 This, of course, doesn't look good.  Labour have been chucking big, headline grabbing policies left, right and centre ... Well, maybe not right.  Left, left ...
    5 days ago
  • A coward’s ploy.
    Some readers may remember that I mentioned last year that I was applying for NZ citizenship. I filled out the paperwork and had my original citizenship interview in February. Everything went well until they discovered that, because I had spent five months in the US in 2017, I had not ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Left censorship and exclusion against gender-critical women: a Marxist critique
    by Deirdre O’Neill It is becoming quite acceptable for certain sections of the left to declare that people like me – women who are ‘gender critical’ – should not be allowed in leftist or anarchist spaces. Leaving aside the arrogance and implicit authoritarianism of this claim, its lack of critical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Uncertainty” can be better solved with a better grasp of life’s inherent complexities…
    There is an article in The Conversation, written by Jeremy P. Shapiro (Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University), about what he sees as the psychologically-based underpinnings of three main matters that seem to vex people all around the planet. The article is titled “The Thinking ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Citizens vs the Rogue Deep State
    . .   Blogger Martyn Bradbury has won his case against unreasonable search and surveillance against the NZ Police; and subsequent Police attempts to produce evidence in secrecy, in a closed Court. His case highlights a disturbing growing trend in Aotearoa New Zealand for State power to be used against ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Massey University’s free speech policy double-plus-good
    The Committee of Disobedient Women has intercepted an email from Dr Emma Eejut, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Massey University to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Jan Thomas. Dear Jan, Thank you for your courageous move.  I think 10 pages of blether** should tie any of the students game enough to try holding ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Unacceptable
    That's the only response to the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation into LGOIMA practices at the Christchurch City Council:My investigation identified serious concerns about the Council’s leadership and culture, and its commitment to openness and transparency. In particular, Council staff raised concerns with me about various methods employed by some ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • There is what corruption looks like
    NZ First seems to be nakedly trying to enrich itself from public office:A powerful New Zealand First figure helped establish a forestry company that then pushed for money from two key funding streams controlled by a New Zealand First Minister. An RNZ investigation has found Brian Henry, lawyer for Winston ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Escape from Manus Island
    Behrouz Boochani is an award winning author and journalist. He is also a refugee, who for the past six years has been detained in Australia's offshore gulag on Manus Island, and in Papua New Guinea. But last night, with the cooperation of the WORD Christchurch festival and Amnesty International, he ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When World’s Collide.
    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    1 week ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    1 week ago
  • How does poor air quality from bushfire smoke affect our health?
    Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney New South Wales and Queensland are in the grip of a devastating bushfire emergency, which has tragically resulted in the loss of homes and lives. But the smoke produced can affect many more people not immediately impacted by the fires – even people many ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Holy bin chickens: ancient Egyptians tamed wild ibis for sacrifice
    Sally Wasef, Griffith University and David Lambert, Griffith University These days, not many Aussies consider the ibis a particularly admirable creature. But these birds, now colloquially referred to as “bin chickens” due to their notorious scavenging antics, have a grandiose and important place in history – ancient Egyptian history, to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why municipal waste-to-energy incineration is not the answer to NZ’s plastic waste crisis
    Trisia Farrelly, Massey University New Zealand is ranked the third-most-wasteful country in the OECD. New Zealanders produce five times the global daily average of waste per person – and they are getting more wasteful, producing 35% more than a decade ago. These statistics are likely to get worse following China’s ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    2 weeks ago

  • New measures for wood processing boost
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Forestry The Government will further strengthen New Zealand’s wood processing sector as part of our focus on ‘value over volume’ in our forestry industry, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones will today meet with forestry representatives in Northland to signal new measures to help the ...
    57 mins ago
  • New high tech traps will reduce the need for 1080 poison
    New Zealand First are celebrating the announcement of an investment of $3.5 million into five new trapping devices. These are a range of bait and trap devices, all designed to be left unattended for long periods of time. NZ First conservation spokesperson Jenny Marcroft says that this latest development will ...
    1 day ago
  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    3 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    3 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    4 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    1 week ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago

  • PGF approves wind turbines funding for Stewart Island
    Stewart Island/Rakiura has been granted $3.16 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to help build two wind turbines, putting the island on a path to sustainable electricity generation, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “Stewart Island is our third largest island, after the North and South Islands, and it is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • NZ economy in good shape amid global headwinds
    A major new report on the global economy shows New Zealand is in good shape amid increased global headwinds. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just released its latest Economic Outlook. It shows the OECD group of economies is forecast to grow between 1.6% and 1.7% across ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Milestone of 1800 new Police officers
    The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters say today’s graduation means 1825 new Police have been deployed all ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • PM appoints business leaders to APEC Business Advisory Council
    Ensuring APEC work gets input from diverse New Zealand business and trade interests is behind three new appointments to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Toni Moyes have been appointed to represent New Zealand on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • PM speech notes for Trans-Tasman Business Circle
    Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa. Thank you for having me to speak today. To start, I’d like to acknowledge Sharron Lloyd, the General Manager of the Trans–Tasman Business Circle, the partners for this event Westpac’s  David McLean, and Derek McCormack from  AUT, and, of course ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Otago Regional Council given deadline for freshwater management plan
    A four-month investigation by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton found that Otago’s freshwater planning system is not fit for purpose to manage the region’s rivers, lakes and aquifers and that the Council has inadequate rules for the taking of water and the discharge of nutrients.   “Existing planning provisions ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • LGNZ Rural and Provincial Sector Speech
      Introduction Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to speak to an LGNZ meeting since the local elections, and I’m delighted to see the fresh faces of newly elected mayors. To returning mayors here today, as well as chief ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to attend G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Japan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters departs New Zealand today to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya at the invitation of this year’s G20 President, Japan. “This is the first time New Zealand will attend a G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and we are deeply honoured that it is at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Ambassador to the European Union announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of diplomat Carl Reaich as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the European Union. “The Ambassador to the EU is one of the most important and senior roles in New Zealand’s foreign service, advocating for New Zealand’s interests with the EU institutions,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New inventions boost Predator Free 2050 effort
        Innovation and technology are behind five new tools to give nature a helping hand by helping eliminate predators, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “The new tools will be trialled in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • APEC 2021 Bill passes first reading
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC 2021) Bill in Parliament today. The temporary bill supports New Zealand’s security preparations for hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2021. “APEC is the leading economic and trade forum ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making progress for our kids
    The Government is making progress on improving the wellbeing of the one million New Zealanders under the age of 18,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on World Children’s Day. The Government has today recommitted to the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history – the United Nation’s Convention on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Māori women in business contribute to our economy, whānau and communities
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has released a new report celebrating the contribution of Māori women in business across Aotearoa New Zealand. “Māori women are leaders in our communities, they employ many people and support our economy and our communities,” Julie Anne Genter said. The report, Ngā wāhine kaipakihi: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two schools on the way for Omokoroa
    Four parcels of land have been bought in Omokoroa, in the Western Bay of Plenty District, for an education facility that will accommodate both a primary and secondary school on a campus-like facility, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Two parcels were acquired from private land owners and two were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year
    1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total   They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clamp down on wheel clamping passes third reading
    New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and extortionate fees charged in order to release a vehicle have passed their final stage in Parliament today. The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill has now passed its third reading. “These changes mean $100 will be the maximum wheel clamping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
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