Author Archive

I’m sorry, I’m out

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, April 16th, 2011 - 68 comments

Every country that has ever sleepwalked from democracy to dictatorship has done it in the belief that it was taking extraordinary, temporary measures in response to an emergency. Seeing Labour denounce every aspect of CERA and then vote for it has shaken me to the core.

Oil spike takes off

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, April 11th, 2011 - 36 comments

Get ready for another petrol increase this week. Last week, the Dubai crude benchmark, which most of New Zealand’s imports are priced of, shot up over 4% in NZD terms. Unless that rise reverses right away, petrol will have to rise past $2.25 a litre. We’re now pay $160m a week for oil imports – $2b a year more than a year ago.

AMI socialises its losses

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, April 8th, 2011 - 70 comments

Another week, another massive corporate bailout as National reaches into our pockets to aid a company. Whatever happened to free-market ideology? Isn’t failure of bad businesses healthy? When did every financial sector company become ‘too big to fail’? We’re rewarding a bad business model and punishing good ones.

They just waste it on booze & smokes

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, April 6th, 2011 - 246 comments

John Key says the thousands of Kiwi families turning to foodbanks to get by are made ‘poor choices’. Among the ‘poor choices’ that poor people allegedly make according to righties is spending all their money on alcohol and cigarettes, rather than on food. As with most ‘truths’ that underpin rightwing prejudice, the facts don’t back this up.

No plan, no worries?

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, April 5th, 2011 - 9 comments

A unemployment disaster is slowly unfolding in Christchurch. For now, the tide of job losses is being partially held back by wage subsidies supporting nearly 70,000 workers, but those will be phased out by June. Then, all hell will break loose. The Government has no plan for this and, according to Key, hasn’t even bothered to understand the scope of the crisis.

A goal is not a strategy

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 pm, April 4th, 2011 - 26 comments

Last year, the New Zealand Institute lambasted the Nats’ ‘aspiration’ to catch Australia by 2025 with a report entitled ‘A goal is not a strategy‘. Did the Nats change? Of course not. Yesterday, their energy strategy was released. It offers some goals but is mute on how to get there. It’s not really a strategy at all, but it serves the Nats’ purpose nonetheless.

Kiwis want buses, not holiday highways

Written By: - Date published: 1:34 pm, April 4th, 2011 - 30 comments

Kiwis are voting with their feet, or rather their arses. Patronage of public transport is skyrocketing to the point of overcrowding while state highway use is falling among except for freight. You have to wonder why the government keeps building expensive highways that will be underused when public transport is full to the brim.

Plurality support quake levy

Written By: - Date published: 11:29 am, April 4th, 2011 - 4 comments

A UMR poll shows that 40% of Kiwis support paying an earthquake levy to help pay for the Christchurch rebuild. 22% prefer more borrowing, and 29% want spending cuts. Asked just whether they supported or opposed a levy – 57% supported it. Yet the Nats are choosing cuts instead.

Choices, choices

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, April 1st, 2011 - 21 comments

In the last Budget, National cut the corporate tax rate to 28%, which costs $400 million a year and comes into effect today. It also cut $200 million a year from early childhood education and tertiary funding in the same Budget, while borrowing billions. When the government cuts public services it is because it chooses […]

Meltdown at Fukushima

Written By: - Date published: 8:39 am, March 31st, 2011 - 34 comments

Efforts to cool the nuclear fuel rods in Fukushima’s No 2 reactor have failed. The rods have become molten and it appears some have melted through the steel reactor core into a concrete layer. Two dangers now arise: radioactive chemicals created by the concrete reacting with the nuclear fuel and the nuclear fuel pooling enough to go critical.

Cuts don’t make costs disappear

Written By: - Date published: 11:19 am, March 30th, 2011 - 58 comments

Key and English are trying to soften us up for big public service cuts this budget. They tell us it’ll just be ‘nice to haves’ and that the private sector will step in to fill the gap when they cut too close to the bone. The important thing to realise is that every time the public service doesn’t provide us with something either we have to buy it out of our own pockets (usually at greater cost) or we don’t get it at all.

Key’s kiss of death for Chch workers

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, March 29th, 2011 - 57 comments

The $6.8 million package for businesses offered last week by the government was an insult: business mentors and export junkets – just what people who aren’t allowed to access their businesses need. Now, Key and Bennett have announced they are slashing wage support and and the job loss payment. It will hammer the Christchurch economy.

Half a million protest UK budget cuts

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 am, March 28th, 2011 - 36 comments

I’ve been checking out some of the amazing footage and photos from friends who were in the London ‘March for the Alternative’. 500,000 people turned out to show the depth of feeling against the slash and burn budget of the Conservative-Lib Dem government. As the Nats plan their own shock doctrine budget, I hope they’re taking notes.

Fukushima radiation skyrockets

Written By: - Date published: 11:16 pm, March 27th, 2011 - 45 comments

Normally, we get 3.65 millisieverts of radiation a year. Increased cancer risk is associated with 100 millisieverts per year. Nuclear workers are only meant to get 100 millisieverts even in an emergency with protective clothing. Today, water in No 2 reactor was detected emitting 1 sievert per hour – and they’re not sure of the source.

O’Sullivan gets it right & wrong

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, March 27th, 2011 - 65 comments

Fran O’Sullivan makes some pertinent remarks about John Key’s recent performance. The fact is, he wanted to be the Party PM, head clown presiding over good times, but times aren’t good and his heart just isn’t in tackling the hard issues. However, while saying these issues matter more than the Hughes affair, O’Sullivan makes one big mistake.

Zero is a cut

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, March 25th, 2011 - 24 comments

As we brace for this year’s budget it’s important to remember that no change is a cut. A dollar today buys nearly 5% less than it did a year ago and there are 1% more New Zealanders. This is the most subtle and insidious way that the Right can undermine public services, by letting inflation and population growth do the work for them.

Flat as a pancake

Written By: - Date published: 12:43 pm, March 24th, 2011 - 58 comments

The economy grew just 0.2% in the December quarter, enough to avoid the technical definition of recession but did it feel like that for you? No. It felt like recession because the economic pie grew slower than the population. National’s economic record is GDP per capita 5% below its peak and down another 0.6% between […]

30% of Chch workers jobless by quake

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, March 24th, 2011 - 11 comments

62,000 Christchurch workers are now receiving special earthquake payments. Most of these workers’ businesses have been closed by the earthquake and plan to re-open at some point by 6,300 jobs are gone for good That’s about 30% of Christchurch workers out of action and 3% without the hope that their workplace will re-open.

‘Crisis’ but tax cuts for the rich keep coming

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, March 23rd, 2011 - 41 comments

The Nats want us to believe there is no other option than massive cuts to government spending. Roughly, a third of the cuts covers the earthquake rebuilding, another third covers the Nats’ tax cuts for the rich, and the last third covers the revenue loss from this neverending recession. So, how come the Nats can afford another round of tax cuts for the rich?

Armstrong on Key’s thinking

Written By: - Date published: 12:07 pm, March 22nd, 2011 - 29 comments

John Armstrong’s contacts in National are telling him that Working for Families and student loans are the targets for cuts in this year’s budget. He also reveals the real reason for National opposing the widely-supported earthquake levy: putting on a tax would be an admission that tax cuts for the rich were a mistake in the first place.

Slash and burn, Key’s choice

Written By: - Date published: 10:41 pm, March 21st, 2011 - 91 comments

John Key says there’ll be no new money in the Budget. The health, education, and other locked-in increases  plus the Christchurch rebuild will come from cuts elsewhere. Cuts of up to 32%. It doesn’t have to be that way. The rebuild and the shortfall can be easily covered if Key wanted to. If he chooses to slash and burn, it’s because he wants to.

Credit where it’s due

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, March 21st, 2011 - 17 comments

On Friday, the government sent out a Request for Proposal for building companies to build 2,500 temporary modular homes in Christchurch. It looks like step towards the rebuilding plan I and others have been suggesting for the past couple of weeks. Now, lets see an aggressive timetable and a plan for what comes next.

The mannequin candidate

Written By: - Date published: 12:23 pm, March 20th, 2011 - 34 comments

Key was full of excuses and vague promises for Christchurch on Q+A. He ruled out a levy and indicated the rebuilding would be funded out of savage cuts to our public services. He stuck to his script. Maybe the earpiece he was wearing helped. What was being whispered in his ear? And who was telling our PM what words to mouth?

Hartevelt swipes Nats’ elitism

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, March 20th, 2011 - 30 comments

The SST’s John Hartevelt is shocked by National’s decision to pay out millions for Christchurch rugby business while ordinary people live in shattered homes and lose their jobs with meager support. He asks whether the Nats have lost their moral-political bearings. In fact, this is a perfect example of National’s elitist philosophy.

Who’s bulldozing Christchurch business?

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 am, March 18th, 2011 - 60 comments

There’s a large number of reports coming out of Christchurch of businesses that have been demolished without Civil Defence consulting with the owners, as is procedure, and giving them a chance to recover vital equipment and records first. Disturbingly, some of these demolitions seem to have been carried out by ‘cowboys’ without CD approval.

Fukushima crisis deepens

Written By: - Date published: 10:46 am, March 17th, 2011 - 46 comments

In American football, there’s a move called the ‘Hail Mary pass’ – throw the ball down field and pray. That’s what filling the Fukushima reactors with sea-water has been described as, a Hail Mary pass. It just doesn’t seem to be coming off. Reactor 3 has started emitting more radiation, 4 is on fire, the core may be breached in 2. Even 5 and 6 pose a risk.

The building blocks of new Christchurch?

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 pm, March 16th, 2011 - 96 comments

Me & others: How come the government seems to have no plan for rebuilding Christchurch or desire to get one?
Righties: Well, um, Key’s awesome and, anyway, what’s your plan, smart-arse ?
Me: I’m not the government, rebuilding Christchurch isn’t my job. But here’s where I would start.

Re-run: Unemployment up, productivity up

Written By: - Date published: 2:42 pm, March 16th, 2011 - 8 comments

As I predicted in this post last year, productivity has risen sharply in the latest stats but for all the wrong reasons.The Herald gushes “NZ employers squeeze more out of fewer workers” but that’s fundamentally wrong. We’re getting less out of even fewer workers. “Labour input” fell 4.3%, while GDP fell 0.8%. Why anyone would think this is a Good Thing is beyond me.

Continuing nuke crisis in Japan

Written By: - Date published: 10:40 am, March 16th, 2011 - 63 comments

Every day brings a new disaster from the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant. Four reactors have now experienced an explosion and/or fire and/or partial meltdown. Yesterday saw the first significant radiation release, from Reactor 4. It’s a complex situation, so I’ve tried to summarise it as it stands this morning.

Chart of the day: measuring success

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 am, March 15th, 2011 - 32 comments

Earthquake news round-up

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, March 14th, 2011 - 19 comments

The destruction wrought by the 9.0 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami is truly appalling. Untold lives have been lost. Thousands of square kilometres were obliterated by the water which swept up to 20km inland.Updates second explosion at nuke plant. New tsunami warning. 70% chance of 7+ aftershock within days.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Commerce Commission investigates Ron Hoy Fong
    The decision by the Commerce Commission to investigate Ron Hoy Fong and his questionable advice to property investors to use fake names and target ‘dummies’ is good news, Labour’s spokesperson on Consumer Affairs Michael Wood says.  “I am pleased that ...
    23 hours ago
  • National running out of excuses on Pike
    The latest Pike River revelations further erode National's position of blocking a manned re-entry of the Pike River Mine drift, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 day ago
  • Nats’ Budget locks in housing crisis
    National’s ninth Budget forecasts house prices will rise at three times the rate of wages, locking in the housing crisis for years to come, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “After nine years, all National can offer is a ...
    2 days ago
  • Small change that is sorely needed
    The big headline of the Government’s Budget yesterday was its Family Incomes Package – a range of measures including changes to income tax thresholds and the Family Tax Credit. Overall the Budget is a huge disappointment and a missed opportunity ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Kids bear the brunt of Budget
    Future generations are the ones bearing the brunt of National’s failure to provide education services the funding they need to make ends meet, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “For nine years in a row the Government has told our ...
    2 days ago
  • The real costs of National’s election bribe
    The cost of National’s poorly-targeted election year budget bribe is that there’s nothing to fix the housing crisis, health funding is cut, and funding for schools is cut, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “As the dust begins to settle ...
    2 days ago
  • Health running on empty
    Get ready for more cuts to health at a local level, affecting all New Zealanders, after a Budget that failed to deliver even enough for health services to stand still, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “District Health Boards this ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats’ budget a double-crewed ambulance parked at the bottom of the cliff
    National’s election year Budget shows that there’s no coincidence Finance Minister Steven Joyce doubles as National’s campaign manager, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The 2017 Budget reveals a lack of vision, and is simply an election year budget with ...
    3 days ago
  • After nine years, it’s the One Dollar Bill Budget
    National’s Budget 2017 is an irresponsible election bribe which after nine years exposes a government that’s run out of energy and ideas to tackle the big issues facing New Zealand,” says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “This is simply cynical electioneering ...
    3 days ago
  • Alfred Ngaro might be sorry – but to whom?
    The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “As ...
    4 days ago
  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    4 days ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    4 days ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    4 days ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    5 days ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    6 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    6 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    3 weeks ago