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Bennett: a complete failure

Written By: - Date published: 11:06 pm, March 28th, 2010 - 72 comments
Categories: benefits - Tags: , , , ,

What a complete failure Paula Bennett is. If you could bear to sit through her interview on Q+A yesterday, you would have heard nothing but vacuous crap completely divorced from reality and her actual policies.

We learn now that not only do her policies unjustifiably breach human rights, they were opposed by Treasury because the cost to DPB families of the parent being forced into whatever part-time work they can get is not worth the pitiful monetary reward.

Thanks to the punitive rate that benefits are abated at, a person can earn as little as a dollar an hour if they move into part-time work while on a benefit. Even if you’re an ordinary person on a benefit and working on minimum wage, every dollar you earn over $80 a week gets 12.5% tax plus 70% abatement, a 82.5% effective tax rate, which means you walk away with $2.20 an hour. For $2.20 an hour, Bennett is going to make solo mums leave their kids alone during school holidays.

Add to that the concerns of the Ministry of Health. They say her sickness benefit policy will cause 49,000 more GP visits a year for little appreciable reason. Her overly prescriptive and stupid approach will see the health system clogged with GP visits that simply restate what is already known about the beneficiaries health.

The utter drivel that came out of Bennett’s mouth when confronted with Treasury’s and Healths’ criticism of her policy was mind-numbing. Just a bunch of empty motherhood and apple-pie nonsense. It’s clear that the complexities of administering a $20 billion a year system and understanding the consequences of her polices are simply beyond her and, worse, she is incapable of even being concerned by her own limitations.

Meanwhile, benefit numbers continue to rise.There are 67,000 more working age people on benefits than when Paula Bennett became minister.

National has no solution because they refuse to even consider the one real solution to benefit dependency, a full employment policy.

72 comments on “Bennett: a complete failure ”

  1. mcflock 1

    That’s a bit off – not the comments about Bennett, but fiddling with the scales on the graph. Not to mention the year gap between the Labour graph and NAct. During which time a recession was spreading, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of a spike during the last months of labour.

    Hey, I reckon just as much as the next guy that this govt is crap , but it should rest on facts, not fiddling with pretty pictures. Warts and all, not all and add a few warts that don’t exist.

    • Marty G 1.1

      There’s no year gap. The National one starts with Oct 2008 as the base. The Labour one ends in Oct 2008.

      Oh! you got confused because there aren’t labels on each month of the labour graph! Cute!

      But seriously, you can clearly see that it extends beyond the last (Nov 07) tick,

      I haven’t fooled with the scales – they show different things, read the titles.

      • Sarge 1.1.1

        mcflock: “During which time a recession was spreading, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of a spike during the last months of labour.”

        That’s a fair point. Whilst I too hate this govt as much as the next guy, two graphs showing the same thing would be a fairer comparsion (Yes, I realise the scale on the x-axis of Labour’s graph would have to be larger).

      • Ari 1.1.2

        While they may have different titles, they’re both tracking beneficiaries, and it’s a little confusing to have two graphs measuring similar things next to each other that operate on different scales.

      • Chris 1.1.3

        To make your point clearer, perhaps you could switch the order of graphs so that the Labour one is first followed by the National one.

      • mcflock 1.1.4

        Okay, so you have a chart where the tick marks on the axis, rather than the intervals betwwen the tick-marks, indicate the data points. You just haven’t labelled the last one, so it could go either way until I put a ruler against the monitor.

        Secondly, placing two similar, but subtley different, graphs side by side with different scales is misleading. Even when the titles are read and understood, the metamessage can be contrary to the actual data indicated. I read the titles. That’s why I think having a 30 degree gradient (or thereabouts, I’m not putting a protractor up to the screen as well) over the entire chart to represent a roughly 20% increase over one year is a bit off.

        Again, Nact are jerks. But this helps nobody because it looks either amateurish or just plain dodgy.

    • Mcdonalds 1.2

      Precisely why Bennett is asking the long term unemployed to get off their arses and at least try and find work so that the Social Welfare System can return what Savage intended them to be -safety nets for the unfortunate rather than lifestyle choices for the indolent.

  2. So is it a reflection of Key’s piss poor choice in appointing her or is there a serious lack of talent in Nationals ranks ?

    She must have talked a good game in opposition to have suckled her way into the trough but now that shes been found wanting, i’m wondering who the next lil piggy in line for her portfolio is and is it a real possibility that she’ll get shuffled back into the pack before long ?

    • Bill 2.1

      When you want to mindlessly fuck people over, you employ dumb fucks to do the fucking.

      • Janice 2.1.1

        And when she has finished fucking people over the boys will be all surprised at what she has done and sack her, but not unitl she has done their dirty work. Then they won’t change a thing.

        • A Nonny Moose 2.1.1.1

          And then those boys will say “Gosh darn it, look at how the poor little woman failed so miserable. Good example of why you never should have women in government. Ohhh shiney! Lookit that Woman’s Affairs office…let’s do something with that…”

  3. Peter Johns 3

    If Labour Greens is the alternative, then NZ is fucked. Labour had 9 years and produced squat for NZ.

    • r0b 3.1

      You mean squat apart from unemployment down to 30 year lows, crime down, numbers on benefits down, economy growing, Working for Families, superannuation increases, minimum wage raised every year, four weeks leave, 20 hours free early childhood education, fair rents, interest free loans for students, poverty / childhood poverty rates down, suicide rates down, cheaper doctors vists, modern apprenticeships, and employment law which stopped the widening wage gap with Australia. Not to forget, an independent and sane foreign policy, planning for the long term future via Cullen Fund and KiwiSaver, and strengthening the economy by paying off massive amounts of 70’s and 80’s debt (so reducing previously crippling annual interest charges), stimulating a booming rural economy, and with state owned assets (Air NZ, KiwiBank, KiwiRail, breaking up the Telecom monopoly, back to ACC).

      And they did it all without tearing up Schedule 4 conservation land.

      Bloody Romans Labour.

      • Zorr 3.1.1

        LMAO

        Damn you Rob beating me to it!

      • infused 3.1.2

        Yawn, Labour didn’t produce that. They had their finger up their ass. The global boom did this.

      • Jum 3.1.3

        Great Rob

        Keep the list going. I will carry it in my wallet. Can it be a growing thread on The Standard??? A list for National and a list for Labour might be useful.

        I always maintained that everything the last Labour did was positive and everything National did/are doing was negative. I’d be interested to know if that’s correct. Certainly looks like I’m right about positive Labour. National is still weaving its dream and we’re ending up with a nightmayor if all goes according to NAct’s plan.

    • Zorr 3.2

      Honestly, somewhere on the internet, there should be THE LIST – a document containing all the advances that Labour + Greens made for this country in the past 9 years that we can just drag out a link to every time one of these cretins makes this allegation.

      Wait, what I really mean is:
      “All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

      • r0b 3.2.1

        Make a list, post it here! I have my own (as above) which I paste in every time some ninny makes this claim – saves heaps of time…

        • Skippybuckstrend 3.2.1.1

          Labour achievements or policies, with their positive effects and/or the reason they were good policies and then the ones that National has managed to screwup or has taken away so far.

          A pledge card in reverse…

      • Jum 3.2.2

        Sorry Zorr – missed your post. Plus I thought about acknowledging the MMP parties gains – very important if we support having MMP. The Act list will be priceless. The Greens will possibly be the only positive in a sea of negative on National’s list.

  4. B 4

    youve got the figures a bit wrong marty – for the dpb anyway – its secondary tax if you work while on a benefit so around 22% not 12.5% also abatement rate is 30% between $80 and $180 ,then 70% over$180. I think the sickness benefit might have steeper abatement not too sure on that.

    however you are absolutely right its a pretty crappy deal, some other factors are-

    beneficiaries don’t get to keep the first $80 of what they earn – its $80 gross so works out to around $60 – or less of you are on student loan rate.

    Take into account childcare and petrol it works out pretty much to a negative hourly rate after the first $80 ($60)

    • Marty G 4.1

      secondary tax is a withholding tax, it doesn’t change your ultimate tax liability for the year.

      • B 4.1.1

        Sorry about that Im not up on ird ins and outs, does that mean you get a refund at the end of the year? The figures I gave were from having worked part time while on the dpb myself – but dont remember ever getting that secondary tax back

      • JAS 4.1.2

        True Marty, but it does affect low income earners at the time its withheld.

        Theres a major flaw in that secondary tax [b]must[/b] be charged on income from wages, even if that is the greater income, as it cannot be charged on a benefit.

      • B 4.1.3

        anyway regardless – people have to live on what they get week to week – a refund at the end of the year is a little late for those who have hungry mouths to feed today

  5. I think you will also find that they also deduct all or a portion of housing allowance and possibly any child allowance which i think is an IRD thing. It would be nice if someone in the know fills us with some of the details because i expect it is way worse than what it may seem.

    • Zorr 5.1

      Well, I can give you all the figures if you want:

      DPB Solo Parents – can earn $80 before any abatement (can get up to an extra $20 added to this abatement for childcare costs associated with working). The next $100 is abated at 30c in the dollar. And after that it is at 70c. Most people who manage to pick up part time work on this abatement scheme (also includes Invalids beneficiaries) actually do end up quite a lot better off – if they earn $200 gross or less though.

      Sickness Benefit – $80 before any abatement but after that it is 70c in the dollar.

      The one thing to remember here though is that no matter what you earn, as long as you are still capable of receiving any part of a main benefit you will still be able to receive the full rates for the additional assistance such as Accomodation Supplement, Disability Allowance and Temporary Additional Support.

      Plus Family Tax Credits are an excellent incentive in this regard as it does take a significant amount of earning to have them decreased and if you are a sole parent and work 20hours or more a week you can get the $60 In Work Tax Credit.

      Any further questions?

      And yes, I just happen to know this stuff… =^_^=

      • B 5.1.1

        Temporary Additional Support is reduced dolar for dollar

        • Zorr 5.1.1.1

          Depends on the specifics of the situation. Often Temporary Additional Support is either granted or not granted. It also only lasts 13 weeks maximum before you have to reapply for it. It doesn’t quite fall in to the same category as the other two as far as ongoing assistance. It is specifically there to help those who are unable to meet their essential needs with all other assistance (including the other Work and Income options) tapped out. It is one of the last lines of assistance.

          So, in short, yes if you are working then you are unlikely to get Temporary Additional Support but if you aren’t working and require it then you are already in a difficult quandry. And working DOES pay A LOT better than the temporary additional support.

    • Chris 5.2

      Perhaps we could ask Bennett?

    • Ms X 5.3

      From memory I think that the accommodation supplement is safe – because you can get it as non-beneficiary – but the first $80 is the only bit that doesn’t affect the benefit (unless the dyname govt we have now keeps one of its promises and does move that threshold to $100 -wow). After that the rate is as stated above. Accommodation supplement would only abate on high income, as with Disability Allowance – but Temporary Additional support (which replace Special Benefit) goes quite quickly with additional income.

  6. JAS 6

    Dont forget any that are Housing NZ tenants also face a rent increase based on their income.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 6.1

      Good point, if they were truly interested in getting beneficiaries into work they’d stop penalising Housing NZ tenants when they start earning an income.

  7. BLiP 7

    Basher Bennett puts the boot in again . . . rinse and repeat.

    • MikeG 7.1

      Once again she manages to find one extreme example, but with the implication that it is one of many.

      • JAS 7.1.1

        I guess at least this time she didn’t name her example, but she also didn’t provide the entire story, her example could be someone who has saved the country the expense of foster care for children she took in etc etc.

        Of course the majority of NZ jumps to conclusions that shes deliberately popping out babes for the extra fortune she can grab from the govt, just like PB intended.

  8. Jenny 8

    Paula Bennet is the Sarah Palin of New Zealand politics.

    Now if we only had some really good comedy act, able to highlight her embarrassingly vacuous, and vicious nature.

    • Janice 8.1

      Not as well dressed or good looking though, certainly as dumb. Who was the comedian that used to take off Jenny Shipley? She should be good for the job, but who would screen it?

  9. Jenny 9

    Yay, Marty.

    “National has no solution because they refuse to even consider the one real solution to benefit dependency, a full employment policy.”

    Of course for National to consider”A full employment policy”, would mean National having to consider massive tax increases on the wealthy bankers and financiers to pay for it. But, Hey, aren’t they the ones who caused the recession in the first place. And it is not as if they couldn’t afford it.
    Maybe it is about time these sorts of people felt some of the pain of the recession as well.

    How about it Marty, what do you think?

    • goldenshower 9.1

      Why does there have to be a massive tax increase to pay for a full employment policy ………. why not work for the dole ?

  10. tc 10

    And I bet she received a stern examination and dissection of her comments on the publicly funded national soapbox TVNZ provides with it’s intelligent and independant panel………yeah right.

    Remember the day when polly’s were put on the spot by the msm media for poor performances……you’d have to look at Beaston 8.30 tuesday stratos for that now if they show up.

  11. Vivienne 11

    Do not forget the FACTS. It was the Labour-Progressive government which did all the great things. The Greens had a confidence and supply agreement with the government throughout the Clark-Anderton years. Many of these gains came from The Progressives for example Kiwi Bank, Four Weeks Annual Leave, Paid Parental Leave, Interest Free Student Loans, Modern apprenticeships and The Ministry Of Regional Economic and Industry Development driving The Jobs Machine. None of these were Green Party policy. Please ascribe credit were it is due and be honest.

    • mcflock 11.1

      Actually it was Labour-Alliance, right up until somebody in party leadership decided to make up policy as he went along (Afghanistan was the final straw). Then it was Labour-Anderton, during which time more Green policy got implemented that Anderton-whim. And so NZ is flooded with the mad criminals created by the evil NOS…

    • Jum 11.2

      Right Vivienne and these FACTS will be very important when fighting for a tweaked MMP (the tweaking of Act would be a good start.

      I’ve added those to my wallet list.

  12. h1 12

    …. a closet with a few awkward facts lurking within, inheritance anybody…how did the late legator come by the legacy, I mean….. all those trips home….from where…with what…diving gear…. ?

  13. Anne 13

    The drivel coming out of Paula Bennett’s mouth was too much for me. I tuned out. But not before I noted the stacking of the Q&A panel in Bennett’s favour. I’d be interested to know how much influence Holmes has on the selection of guest panellists. Last year he expressed his admiration for both Paula Bennett and Christine Rankin. “I don’t understand what people have against them” he said. He even gave Bennett the top ministerial score (8/10) in one of his HOS columns. One of the first things Bennett did when she became minister was to appoint Rankin to the Families Commission, so it came as no surprise she was picked for the panel. And the other panellist – to balance out the debate – was John Tamihere. Need I say more?

    • B 13.1

      Ill give you the highlights: Christine Rankin waxed lyrical on the power of the human spirit and what amazing things can happen when you tap into it. Tamahere was rambling. Arseneau was the voice of reason but as usual noone was listening.

  14. Ianmac 14

    Be fair. Look for the good aspects of people. Paula Benefit for example has in her favour support from John Key, Paul Holmes, Christine Rankin. And she now has ummm… super, brilliantly WHITE teeth!

  15. Anne 16

    Yeah, she’s been to the dentist and spent a few thousand having them whitened. Coming to think of it, so have Holmes and Rankin. 😀

  16. Anne 17

    On second thoughts they’ve all been to the dentist.

    Crosby/Textor instructions Nov. 2008:
    TOP PRIORITY.
    All National parliamentary teeth to be laser whitened. Essential for ‘smile and wave’ photo ops. and TV interviews. Cost (all up) $285,000 – to be reimbursed by tax-payer funded Parliamentary Services.

    • Ianmac 17.1

      Anne:
      Question in the House: “Is it true that the Ministers who have had teeth whitening, have done so at the taxpayers expense?”
      Answer from the PM: “Everyone knows that Phil Goff is not as sexy as I am, and when Labour was in power for 9 whole years they did nothing about discoloured teeth!” Applause from the Govt benches. Labour MP’s look crushed.

  17. Jum 18

    I was an advocate for people with benefit issues but the main thing that has always stuck in my mind, and which made me laugh out loud at Bennett’s breezy reply about quickly organising a same-day appointment, if the benefit was halved or stopped, to re-instate the benefit.

    On all the occasions I rang the local WINZ office to speak to the receptionist, I HAD TO LEAVE A MESSAGE! I thought receptionists were on duty all the time, with backup for breaks, in any business, otherwise why would you have them! I always had a reply… the following day.

    It was hard enough just linking up with the local office through the customer service number. You could get personal case manager numbers but they were not always available to me, and they were always on answer phone while assisting clients. (The Case Manager’s workload is back to back all day except for lunch and breaks).

    Hence my total disbelief at hearing Paula Bennett saying how simple it would be to get a same day appointment

    Next step; travel in using money you can ill afford (if you still have any) to spend to make an appointment you probably won’t get until tomorrow to get money you needed today…

    Absolutely, every appointment should be kept and I have no patience with those who think the world revolves around them, but let’s not pretend that number is large and certainly let’s not pretend that the Ministry of Social Development is there to support beneficiaries under this government.

    This is like the National Standards garbage, and an Auckland transport problem that became a supercity. A few people in each area that NAct uses to exploit and control the powerless.

    Why, when keyhole surgery would suffice, do they go in for open cast mining? Shock and awe if you will. Doesn’t bode well for the mining of New Zealand…

  18. Anne 19

    @ B
    Before I tuned out, I did notice that Arseneau was looking quite uncomfortable parked as she was between those two… 😀

  19. Anne 20

    @Ianmac.
    Watch parliament during Question Time tomorrow. Check the Nat women in particular. Most of them have sets of molars that would do a lighthouse proud. Maybe it’s true. They’ve been lasered as per Crosby/Textor instructions.

  20. Beth 21

    Paula Bennett is an incompetent fool. I loathe her. What really baffles me is the increased amount of medical certificates required for the sickness benefit. Doctors can select how long it should be before a person requires reassessment depending on their illness, it doesn’t make sense that a Govt department should over-ride that, especially when most of the case managers have no idea what most of the illnesses are and how it effects someone. Also, am I right thinking that a few months ago there was a huge MSD staffing cull? Are they planning on re-hiring those people to tackle the mountain of paperwork these changes are going to produce.
    Also, is the pressure on WINZ case managers to push people into work going to influence them to make unethical decisions to meet targets?

    I had an experience with a patient of mine, a 16 year old boy with severe psychosis, who applied for the Independent Youth Benefit (Sickness) with a medical cert clearing outlining his illness and how it effected him (including: ‘disoriented at times to time and place, delusional and grandiose causing serious risk to himself and others’) and a covering letter explaining that under no circumstances should he be forced into schooling/work at that time, and he left having being enrolled in the BOOT CAMP programme MSD runs!! He was pressured into enrolling by his case manager, who was either too thick to understand what psychosis is, or too lazy and negligent to read their own paperwork.
    I mean seriously, what the fuck is that? How many very vulnerable people, particularly those with chronic, long term illnesses and those with mental illness are going to be pressured into positions that will only make their problems worse?

  21. aj 22

    Anne, at one point Arseneau gave a spanking to Rankin, after a Rankin-esque put-down. Slightly gratify but Arseneaux is too polite for her role.

  22. Frank Macskasy 23

    Beneficiary bashing in this country is definitely becoming uglier by the day. It seems that Paula Bennet’s attacks on beneficiaries – seemingly condoned by the Prime Minister – has given prejudice free reign in the country. It is now permissable to demonise a vulnerable group in society based on the pretext of “ending bludging”.

    The SUNDAY STAR TIMES article “Solo mum racks up 36 years on benefit” (http://tinyurl.com/ydqe7mk, 28 March), was a grubby piece of pseudo-journalism. The article was critical in it’s tone of an un-named woman who has cared for children for 36 years. The article failed on every level of professional journalism to ask the basic questions; What, How, Why, and Who.

    For all we know, that woman has dedicated herself to raising unwanted children from broken families – children who might otherwise have ended up like Nia Glassie or James Whakaruru.

    But we don’t know.

    Because the SST took a few facts and figures (provided no doubt by a compliant Minister of Social Welfare) and presented them in a way to guarantee a moral outrage response.

    This is not journalism. This is propaganda. And though Dr Goebbels would have been pleased with it, I found it vile.

    As for the Q & A last night; we sat and watched with a mixture of horror and amusement (if the two can ever be mixed). Bennet’s statements became more outrageous every time she opened her mouth and god knows what Guyon Espiner must have thought of that grinning idiot.

    The most telling moment came when Espiner suggested that sickness beneficiaries would probably end up working for the equivalent of $1 an hour. Bennet blithly replied that it’s not all about money, it’s about other ‘benefits’ to working.

    I have three responses to that.

    1. Ms Bennet earns an $243,700 (http://tinyurl.com/yfxqkmj) plus perks plus generous retirement packages plus god-knows-what-else. So much for “it’s not all about money”.

    2. Five haunting words, taken from one of the darkest periods of the 20th Century: “Work will set you free”.

    3. John Key originally had more humane ideas about welfare, prior to the election;

    “Before I get into that, I want to talk a little more about welfare in general.

    You might ask why I use the word “welfare” when the vogue nowadays is to talk about “social development”. I unashamedly use the word welfare because I believe in the welfare state. I have a personal commitment to it. My father died when I was seven years old. My mother, my two older sisters, and I had no other family in New Zealand. For a period of time after my father died, my mother relied on the safety net provided by the Widows Benefit.

    My family was poor, and we knew it, but the benefit gave my mother enough security to keep us together and keep us focused on a time when things would improve. By having our most basic needs covered as a family, we were able to hold on to that most precious human emotion hope.

    Over time, my mother moved off the benefit and into work. The welfare system continued to support us, however, by providing us with a state house. It wasn’t flash, but it was home.

    I think almost all New Zealanders believe in the desirability of the welfare state. In particular, I think New Zealanders take it on trust that there will always be a safety net of social welfare benefits. We’re a compassionate and fair people whose instinct is to give a person a helping hand when they need it.

    National is committed to a benefit system that is a genuine safety net in times of need. We’re committed to a comprehensive system of benefits that provides temporary support to people as they return to independence, and also provides indefinite, compassionate support to people who are physically or mentally unable to support themselves.” – http://tinyurl.com/ykaqvob

    Yeah, right.

  23. Anne 24

    I think Frank Macskasy’s comments should be repeated as a “guest post.”

    • B 24.1

      I second that

      • felix 24.1.1

        Me 3.

        • blinded by the right 24.1.1.1

          Really? Even though he twice compares National to the Nazis?

          • lprent 24.1.1.1.1

            I think that we’ve all read No Minister, Clint Heine, WhaleOil and Halfdone with their uninteresting analogies to irrelevant past history. For that matter Tumeke and Ideologically Impure when they get wound up.

            At least Frank put both references exactly into context without much of the ridiculous assumptions used by others in the blogosphere…

          • Frank Macskasy 24.1.1.1.2

            Not quite, “blinded by the right”.

            My reference to Dr Goebbels was in regards to the Sunday Star Times’ article.

            As for comparing National to the Nazis – again, no. I used the statement, “Five haunting words, taken from one of the darkest periods of the 20th Century: “Work will set you free’.” to illustrate how the concept of enforced labour can be exploited and mis-used.

            At any rate, my criticisms in my writings are pretty mild and non-confrontation when compared to some of the vitriol I’ve seen on right-wing blogs (as lprent said); on other internet messageboards; or heard on talkback.

            Why is it, I wonder, that the Right wing will make quite nasty personal attacks on someone presenting an opinion – rather than address the opinion itself?

            Can it be that the Right have no answers to the criticisms expressed by the Left?

            Can it be that the Left deals in facts that are unpalatable to the Right, and the only way to respond is with naked fury unleashed at the individual, rather than the individual’s views?

            This isn’t directed at you, “blinded by the right”. More by what I read here: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/too-far/ the other day.

            Unbelievable, really.

            When we see comments and behaviour like that (irrespective of where it comes from), it shows that those who stoop to such gutter-levels are totally bankrupt in their philosophy and have alienated themselves from the mainstream of society…

            Just something to ponder.

  24. BLiP 25

    mainstream of society

    What’s that?

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    3 days ago
  • New South Wales travel pause to be lifted tomorrow
    COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the current travel pause with New South Wales will lift tomorrow – subject to no further significant developments in NSW. “New Zealand health officials met today to conduct a further assessment of the public health risk from the recently identified COVID-19 community cases in Sydney. It has been determined that the risk to public ...
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    3 days ago
  • March 15 Collective Impact Board appointed
    The voices of those affected by the March 15 mosque attacks will be heard more effectively with the establishment of a new collective impact board, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Priyanca Radhakrishnan announced today. Seven members of the Christchurch Muslim community have been appointed to the newly established Board, ...
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    3 days ago
  • More young Kiwis supported with mental health and addiction services
    Nearly quarter of a million more young New Zealanders will have access to mental health and addiction support in their communities as the Government’s youth mental health programme gathers pace. New contracts to expand youth-specific services across the Northland, Waitematā and Auckland District Health Board areas have been confirmed, providing ...
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    4 days ago
  • New hospital facilities mean fewer trips to Auckland for Northlanders
    Northlanders will no longer automatically have to go to Auckland for lifesaving heart procedures like angiograms, angioplasty and the insertion of pacemakers, thanks to new operating theatres and a cardiac catheter laboratory opened at Whangārei Hospital by Health Minister Andrew Little today. The two projects – along with a new ...
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    4 days ago
  • Fair Pay Agreements to improve pay and conditions for essential workers
    The Government is delivering on its pre-election commitment to implement Fair Pay Agreements which will improve wages and conditions, as well as help support our economic recovery, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards for all employees and employers in an ...
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    4 days ago
  • Establishment of the new Māori Health Authority takes first big step
    Sir Mason Durie will lead a Steering Group to provide advice to the Transition Unit on governance arrangements and initial appointments to an interim board to oversee the establishment of the Māori Health Authority. This Group will ensure that Māori shape a vital element of our future health system, Minister ...
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    4 days ago
  • Cycle trails move up a gear in Central
    Work on new and upgraded cycle trails in Queenstown, Arrowtown and Central Otago is moving up a gear as two significant projects pass further milestones today. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced new funding for the Queenstown Trails Project, and will also formally open the Lake Dunstan Trail at Bannockburn ...
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    4 days ago
  • Picton ferry terminal upgrade consent fast-tracked
    The planned upgrade of the Waitohi Picton Ferry terminal has been approved under the fast-track consenting process.  Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the decision by the expert consenting panel to approve the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment Project.    The project will provide a significant upgrade to the ferry facilities ...
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    5 days ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with New South Wales paused
    COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced his intention to pause Quarantine Free Travel from New South Wales to New Zealand while the source of infection of the two cases announced in Sydney in the last two days is investigated.  Whole genome sequencing has linked the case yesterday to a recent ...
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    5 days ago
  • Covid-19 immigration powers to be extended
    The passing of a bill to extend temporary COVID-19 immigration powers means continued flexibility to support migrants, manage the border, and help industries facing labour shortages, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said. “Over the past year, we’ve made rapid decisions to extend visas, vary visa conditions and waive some application requirements ...
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    5 days ago
  • “Supporting a Trade-Led Economic Recovery”
    Trade Policy Road Show SpeechManukau, Auckland   Kia ora koutou – nau mai, haere mai ki Manukau, ki Tāmaki.   Good morning everyone, and thank you for this opportunity to discuss with you current global challenges, opportunities and the Government’s strategy in support of a trade-led recovery from the economic ...
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    5 days ago
  • Building consent numbers at an all-time high
    A record 41,028 new homes have been consented in the year ended March 2021 March 2021 consent numbers the highest since the 1940s Record number of new homes consented in Auckland The number of new homes consented is at an all-time high, showing a strong and increasing pipeline of demand ...
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    5 days ago
  • Whānau-centred support for parents and tamariki
    Up to 60 whānau in Counties Manukau will be supported through the first three years of their parenthood by a new whānau-centred model of care, said Associate Health Minister, Hon Aupito William Sio. “Providing this support to young parents is something we have to get right. It’s a priority both ...
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    5 days ago
  • NZ backs moves to improve global access to COVID vaccines
    New Zealand welcomes and strongly supports the announcement made by the United States Trade Representative to work for a waiver of IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines at the WTO, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said. “New Zealand supports equitable access to COVID vaccines for all. No one is safe from the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Tourism communities: support, recovery and re-set plan
    TIHEI MAURI ORA Tuia te whakapono Tuia te tumanako Tuia te aroha Tuia te hunga ora Ki te hunga ora Tihei Mauri ora Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Thank you, Hilary and thank you, Chris, and everyone at TIA for this ...
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    5 days ago
  • Support, recovery and re-set plan for tourism communities
    Five South Island tourist communities targeted for specialist support Pressure on Māori tourism operators and Conservation facilities recognised Domestic and international-facing tourism agencies put on more secure footing Long-term plan to re-set tourism with a focus on sustainability, industry standards and regional economic diversification A plan to ensure the immediate ...
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    5 days ago
  • Speech on NZ Rail Plan
    Check against delivery E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karanga maha o te wa, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa. Ki ngā mana whenua o Taranaki Whānui anō nei aku mihi ki a koutou. Nōku te hōnore kia haere mai ki te whakanuia tēnei huihuinga whakahirahira. Nō ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government hits massive milestone in Violence Prevention & Elimination
    Minister for Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson announced a major milestone at a hui in South Auckland today, with the launch of the national engagement process on the prevention and elimination of family and sexual violence. “There is no room for violence in our lives – there is no ...
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    5 days ago
  • Fee waiver extended for conservation tourism businesses
    Tourism businesses operating on public conservation land will have another six months of fees waived to help them adjust to the downturn in international visitors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Minister of Conservation Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced. "We acknowledge it has been a difficult year for ...
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    5 days ago
  • ‘Lua Wave’ to future-proof Pasifika Festivals in Aotearoa
    Pasifika festival organisers will receive additional support to adapt to the COVID-19 environment thanks to the Government’s newly launched ‘Lua Wave’ component of the Pasifika Festivals Initiative, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “This initiative has not only been to support festival organisers to recover from ...
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    5 days ago
  • Crown accounts show confidence in Govt economic plan
    The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect the resilience of the economy and confidence in the Government’s economic recovery plan. The Crown accounts for the nine months to the end of March 2021 show both OBEGAL and the operating balance remain better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Energy Trusts of NZ Autumn Conference
    It’s a pleasure to be here today. Thank you Karen [Sherry] for the introduction and thanks to the Energy Trusts Executive for inviting me to speak at tonight’s event. It is an exciting time to come to speak to trustees of distribution companies. For many decades the electricity industry was ...
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    5 days ago
  • New partnership to grow Māori success in STEM
    A new partnership with the Pūhoro STEM Academy will support thousands more rangatahi Māori to participate and succeed in the fields of science, technology, and innovation, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Since 2016, Pūhoro has worked with Māori students to build their capability and create pathways to employment ...
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    5 days ago
  • Rail builds platform for economic recovery
    Transport Minister Michael Wood and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dr David Clark today released the Government’s long term vision for a sustainable rail network that supports our economic recovery. New Zealand Rail Plan lays out how the Government is building a resilient, reliable and safe network, as well as the indicative ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ and UK agree to lift the pace of free trade talks
    New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed to rapidly lift the tempo of talks, as the two countries enter a new phase in free trade negotiations, Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, and I spoke today about ...
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    6 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill passes first reading
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has passed its first reading and will now be considered by Parliament’s Justice select committee. “The Bill updates and improves New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm,” Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi said. “The ...
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    6 days ago
  • Statement on The Speaker and Annual Review Debate
    “The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Any investigation of claims of sexual assault should be in a manner ...
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    6 days ago
  • Govt motoring towards zero-carbon buses and protecting drivers’ conditions
    Transport Minister Michael Wood is seeking feedback on options for the next phase of the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) review to better protect bus drivers’ pay conditions, and also achieving the Government’s target of fully decarbonising the public transport bus fleet by 2035. Michael Wood said investing in our ...
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    6 days ago
  • Drop in unemployment shows Govt economic plan is working
    The Government’s economic recovery plan continues to be reflected in the labour market, with more people in work and unemployment falling. Stats NZ figures show employment rose by 15,000 in the March quarter, with 14,000 more women in work. The unemployment rate fell from 4.9 percent to 4.7 percent. This ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government sets pay and workforce expectations for the Public Sector
    The Government’s Workforce Policy Statement issued today sets out its expectations for pay and employment relations in the Public Sector, the Minister of Finance and Minister for the Public Service say. “New Zealand has had an exceptionally successful health and economic response to COVID-19. This has been supported by the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Author Ben Brown is New Zealand’s first Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador
    Lyttleton writer Ben Brown (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Paoa) will be New Zealand’s first Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador, promoting the value of reading for children and young people, Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti announced today. A poet and award-winning author, Ben Brown writes books, non-fiction and short stories ...
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    1 week ago