web analytics

Branko Marcetic: Labour’s public sector pay freeze isn’t just a betrayal of frontline workers – it’s a rejection of mainstream economic thinking

Written By: - Date published: 6:04 am, May 8th, 2021 - 24 comments
Categories: economy, labour, wages, workers' rights - Tags: ,

First published at The Democracy Project May 7, 2021

All around the world, governments, economists, and even neoliberal bastions like the World Bank are urging a change in the direction of economic policy away from the mistakes of a decade ago – all except here in New Zealand, where the government appears determined to repeat them. Branko Marcetic examines the Government’s pay freeze for public sector workers.

 

Observing events in the rest of the world, the state of things in Aotearoa can sometimes feel like they’re happening in an alternate universe. And that’s not just because for more than a year, New Zealand’s been living almost as if the pandemic never happened, healthy and free of the anxiety and restrictions people overseas are still forced to endure.

But in fact, New Zealand is exceptional for a different reason. All over the world right now, economic opinion is turning against the austerity and debt fears that reigned supreme for the past decade, as governments, economists, and musty, conservative institutions all acknowledge the need to invest now to shore up a post-Covid economy.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen — a young, female social democrat who has drawn numerous comparisons to our own prime ministercalled austerity an “old-fashioned way of thinking” and promised a program of robust public spending. In the UK, an influential Thatcherite think-tank has similarly renounced the austerity it used to cheer, and instead urged Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold to his inconsistent vow not to worry about historically high government debt. Even in the United States, President Joe Biden, a lifelong fiscal conservative, has put his traditional fear of budget deficits to the side and embarked on a program of trillions of dollars of spending.

All of this has happened at the explicit urging of some of the world’s most conservative economic institutions.

“First you worry about fighting the war, then you figure out how to pay for it,” said Carmen Reinhart, the World Bank’s chief economist, one of the leading crusaders for austerity a decade ago.

“Fiscal authorities can actively support demand through cash transfers to support consumption and large-scale investment in medical facilities, digital infrastructure and environment protection,” wrote the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, warning that there is a “consensus that fiscal stimulation was withdrawn too quickly right after the financial crisis” last time.

Several high-ranking figures from the OECD are now calling the spending cuts and debt paydowns their organisation pushed governments to do after the 2008 global financial crisis a terrible error. “The first lesson is to make sure governments are not tightening in the one to two years following the trough of GDP,” says its chief economist, pointing to the “mistake” made through 2010-11. “Austerity is not the answer today, both because of the bad experiences from the last crisis and because today we are in a zero-interest rate environment,” says its deputy secretary general.

So as the rest of the world rethinks the policy mistakes of the last decade and urges a bold change in direction, what is our nominally social democratic government up to? Doubling down on those very same mistakes, it seems.

The government’s three-year pay freeze for public sector workers announced on Tuesday is rightly being assailed across the board as a betrayal of the frontline workers who have worked themselves to the bone and risked their own health to keep New Zealand moving through a tough year. Worse, it was prefaced with a statement from Finance Minister Grant Robertson thanking “the public service for their contribution during Covid-19” and acknowledging “the efforts of our frontline staff” and their “dedication and public service” through the crisis. It would be hard to engineer a bigger slap in the face to frontline workers if you tried.

Needless to say, the move is only going to put a further squeeze on working New Zealanders already grappling with sky-high living costs that are getting worse, from fruit and vegetables to, especially, housing, which has been experiencing runaway inflation compared to incomes. As Paul Kelland points out, you can freeze incomes, but living costs are going to keep going up, effectively turning this pay freeze into a pay cut. It not only threatens to push overseas already strained nurses and teachers that our country has struggled to retain— the very same workers who struck just three years ago over, among other things, inadequate pay — but also to prod the most experienced and therefore highest paid public sector workers potentially into the private sector.

Unfortunately, by now we’ve come to expect that these concerns aren’t at the top of this government’s priorities. From refusing to lift benefits to blaming low-wage workers for its own missteps on the pandemic, this government has consistently exhibited an antipathy to what in theory should be its core voter base.

But with this latest pivot to austerity, Labour isn’t just defying its most loyal constituents — it’s rejecting the pragmatic advice of much of the global power establishment it aspires to emulate.

As Robertson explained on Tuesday, it’s the fear of government debt that’s driving all this. In other words, the government is embarking on the very economic strategy — an early pivot to austerity that puts debt concerns over human ones — that foreign governments, economists and conservative institutions like the World Bank and IMF right now are overwhelmingly rejecting as a proven failure. We don’t know exactly what ideas Jacinda Ardern and Frederiksen shared in their well-publicized phone call last year, but it probably wasn’t that.

If the government really feels the debt is such a pressing issue, it’s not as if it didn’t have alternatives. A booming housing market and growing wealth inequality might’ve been a prime opportunity to replenish government coffers by asking investors and the 1,904 Kiwis who are worth more than $30 million to pay their fair share. This would do much more for narrowing the economic inequality that Robertson claims this attempt to pit public sector workers against each other is about.

But Labour has already ruled out putting in place capital gains or wealth taxes (which have already been used to great effect in countries like Argentina and Bolivia for this purpose), seem cool on introducing an inheritance tax, and have dismissed raising the tax rate for trusts, one of New Zealand’s most popular vehicles for tax avoidance. This, despite breezily raising taxes on ordinary New Zealanders yet again in the middle of the pandemic last year in the form of higher petrol, alcohol and road user charges. Consistent with how they’ve governed so far, Ardern and Robertson are happy to demand workers sacrifice for the greater good — but asking the rich to do the same is a red line they simply won’t cross.

As one more kick in the teeth, just a day after the pay freeze announcement, the government announced that its books were $5.2 billion better than expected, raising the question of why the pay freeze is necessary at all. What’s more, as Treasury itself admitted late last year, this state of affairs is in no small part because government support kept consumer spending up over 2020, funnelling more tax revenue back into its coffers, and suggesting that there’s less tension between public investment and keeping the government’s books in order than Robertson would have us believe. But instead, his government’s strategy is to effectively stifle consumer spending for the next three years from public sector workers.

After last year’s stunning election result, there was fevered speculation about just how Labour would spend its unprecedented political capital in a second term. We appear to have now found out: it will reject the advice of most mainstream economic opinion, protect the existing arrangement of wealth and power in the country, and pick a fight with the country’s largest union. Now the question is whether public sector workers will take it, or rebel like they did three years ago. Debt or no debt, someone is going to have to pay.

Branko Marcetic is co-host of the podcast 1 of 200 and a staff writer for Jacobin magazine

This article can be republished under a Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0  license. Attributions should include a link to the Democracy Project.  

24 comments on “Branko Marcetic: Labour’s public sector pay freeze isn’t just a betrayal of frontline workers – it’s a rejection of mainstream economic thinking ”

  1. Tricledrown 1

    Stupid policy no one likes this except ACT and National supporters.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      The well paid professional class ( with degrees) and managerial elite in the public service doesnt really represent the overall public.

      Doesnt cover the largest portion who are clerical and support workers and in call centres.

      Are you one of this professional class, by chance ?

  2. Pat 2

    The fear of debt has not disappeared but the fear of collapse is greater and so can kicking remains the order of the day

  3. Francis James 3

    I am very interested in the figure you quote for New Zealanders worth thirty million or more. Where did you get this from, please?

  4. Incognito 4

    This Government is not embarking on austerity, it has been and still is spending up large, AFAIK, so that’s a red herring. I should add that much of the Government’s largesse so far has gone to middle-NZ and the big end of town.

    It cannot be austerity if the 25% pf the PS is still in line for pay rises. It is called prioritisation. This means Government can focus on the lowest wages while keeping the overall PS wage bill under control and possibly spend money elsewhere where/when it is needed more.

    https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-sets-pay-and-workforce-expectations-public-sector

    There’s no blanket stop on pay rises for PS earning between $60k and $100k and under exceptional circumstances, they can still receive a truly deserved pay rise.

    I think this move will keep the pressure on the lower wages in the private sector too, as it should be. The lowest earners in our society need all the support they can get.

    There seems to be quite a lot of hysteria around this move, some from surprising corners.

    • Pat 4.1

      The government appears to be confused…..the PS pay freeze is sending the signal that wages must be constrained…and yet there is only two ways to improve housing affordability…increased wages (above the rate of property inflation) or a fall in property prices…a fall in property prices has been ruled out….go figure.

      • Incognito 4.1.1

        Sure, but I’d think that many PS on < $60k would be renting in Wellington and elsewhere and there is a lot of pain in the rental market; tenants done’ have the same and as many options as home owners. It does appear that there’s some cohesion between the various Government announcements lately … It is too early to say this but ‘strike me down with a feather’ is starting to form in my mind.

        • Pat 4.1.1.1

          On the contrary..it appears the various ministers dont speak to each other…the policies conflict.

          • Incognito 4.1.1.1.1

            Hard to believe when only a few of Ministers have their fingerprints all over it, one in particular. And so close to Budget-2021.

            • Pat 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Considering only a few Ministers appear to be active that would be the expectation and only adds to the perplexity……the budget will have to be a squaring of the circle exercise to solve that.

              Somehow I doubt that will be the case.

      • Patricia Bremner 4.1.2

        A housing plateau is beginning. They usually last 5 years, so fix your mortgage if you have one.

    • greywarshark 4.2

      I think this move will keep the pressure on the lower wages in the private sector too, as it should be. The lowest earners in our society need all the support they can get.

      I feel this is ambiguous. You mean I suppose, that employers will feel pressure to increase pay to the lowest earners in both public and private sector? And as the economy improves that would be expected to happen.

  5. greywarshark 5

    I feel that some in the House don't have similar personal lives to others., and not because of the demands of the job to be away in Wellington for periods. If childless, in a same-sex relationship, it just takes them further away from the everyday citizen when they are already caught up in the toils of politics and the beltway. If they are conservative-minded then they often come with ready-made prejudices against strugglers and solo and single parents who are just outside their understanding. I think that low-income people get patronised or demonised, rather than attitudes falling between those views.

  6. Rosalene Bradbury 6

    Sorry guys – not sympathetic. It is not austerity to refuse to give people who are already earning well more money, and instead give money to those at the lower end who 1) will spend it, 2) need it! Moreover this policy helps to reduce the huge and increasing disparity between those at the bottom and the top of the workforce (let alone those on benefits.) $60,000 a years is a !@#$ a lot of money for many people in this country. Lets put the money into those at the bottom of the state pay scale – often the people who work hardest! Go Labour!

    [error in user name corrected]

    • Ad 6.2

      If that is their policy goal then they should do so as policy with the tax system not by mere command over those they hold power.

      This is Labour acting as the worst kind of commercial employer.

    • roblogic 6.3

      Go Labour! Pit the workers against each other in a zero-sum game! Ignore the incredible accumulations of wealth at the top! Houses earn more than most workers, so don't fucken tax them whatever you do!!

      A "Labour" government?!? Bullshit. It's a "landed gentry" government.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Part of the reason this timid majority MMP Govt. gets away with this crap is because millions of New Zealanders are in effect the “children of Roger’n’Ruth”, their monetarist legacy is as natural as the falling rain to so many.

    The ascendency of individualism over collectivism, precarious employment, finder provider splits, contracting out, all put pressure on people to be compliant. In other words New Zealanders are used to sucking it up as housing goes out of control and 50% of us own just 2% of the wealth.

  8. Angry Public Servant 8

    PSA newsletter to its members.

    Tēnā koutou katoa

    Last week the government announced pay restrictions for many workers in the public, state and DHB sectors.

    This was a surprise to the union, and a slap in the face of members who have worked so hard to keep Aotearoa New Zealand running during lockdown and help with the rebuild.

    This decision by the government cannot go unchallenged.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO

    You along with your friends, family and whānau can show how much you value public workers by:

    • Leaving a message of support here
    • Sharing our social media posts on Facebook and Twitter
    • Heading here and searching NZPSA to add our 'PSA Value Our Work' Facebook Frame
    • Printing and putting up this poster in your workplace

    NEXT STEPS

    We've already had a massive response from members and we'll be strongly raising your concerns this week at meetings with the Prime Minister and the Ministers for the Public Service, Workplace Relations, and Finance.

    We will be back in touch very soon about the outcomes of the meetings and our next steps. We may need to escalate this further, and we should be prepared to show our widely supported opposition to this poor decision.

    SPEAKING OUT

    The meetings with Ministers come after we spoke out publicly against the pay restrictions last week and sent a letter to the Minister for the Public Service, Hon Chris Hipkins, along with a copy of several thousand comments from our members.

    The letter asked that he:

    • Amend his Public Service Pay Guidance so that we can negotiate pay increases for all members that recognise increases in costs, and to mandate moves away from performance pay to predictable step progression
    • Recognise the importance of the work of all public workers, whatever they earn, and that these restrictions will be detrimental to them and the services they provide
    • Consider negotiating a multi-employer collective agreement for the whole of the public sector so that equitable increases can be delivered to everyone

    WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?

    We've taken this stand because this decision by the government has huge implications for all members, wherever they work, and out in the wider economy. It will continue the under-investment in public services and the people who work in them.

    It is also an attempt to restrict our right to bargain fair pay and conditions for members before we even get to the bargaining table.

    As we continue to advocate for our members, you can take heart from the huge out-pouring of support for public workers in the past week. The coverage in the news and social media has been unprecedented. This shows how much your work is valued.

    Kia kaha

    PSA National Secretaries

    Kerry Davies and Erin Polaczuk

    6380049 – 7357446

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Clean car package to drive down emissions
    New rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles start July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used. Electric vehicle chargers now available every 75km along most state highways to give Kiwis confidence. Low Emission Transport Fund will have nearly four times the funding by 2023 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates
    The Government is taking the next step to support transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, by progressing the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill, Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti announced today. “This Government understands that self-identification is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Crown speeds up engagement with takutai moana applicants
    The Crown is taking a new approach to takutai moana applications to give all applicants an opportunity to engage with the Crown and better support the Māori-Crown relationship, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says. Following discussions with applicant groups, the Crown has reviewed the existing takutai moana application ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court opens
    The Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, and the Minister for Courts, Aupito William Sio, have welcomed the opening of a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court in Hamilton. The AODT Court (Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua) addresses situations where substance abuse and offending are intertwined. “New Zealanders have told ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • EU and UK FTAs top of list for first ministerial trip since COVID-19
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor today announced details of his planned visit to the United Kingdom and European Union next week, where he will hold trade and agriculture discussions to further New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The visit will add political weight to ongoing negotiations with both the EU ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Arihia Bennett to chair Royal Commission Ministerial Advisory Group
    Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett MNZM has been appointed chair of the newly appointed Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “Twenty-eight people from diverse backgrounds across Aotearoa have been selected for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
    Ki ngā pou maha o te whare hauora o Aotearoa, kei te mihiTo the pillars of our health system I acknowledge/thank you Ki te ope hapai hauora o roto o tēnei rūma, kei te mihi To our health force here in the room today, I acknowledge/thank you He taura tangata, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Karangahape Road upgrades are streets ahead
    The upgrades to Karangahape Road makes the iconic street more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, attractive and environmentally sustainable, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said at the formal celebration of the completion of the Karangahape Road Enhancements project. The project included widening footpaths supporting a better outdoor dining ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to APEC business event
    E ngā tumu herenga waka, ākina ā ngaru, ākina ā tai ka whakatere ngā waka ki te whakapapa pounamu, otirā, ki Tamaki o ngā waka Tena koutou katoa… To the great leaders assembled, who guided your waka through turbulent times, challenging waters and you continue to navigate your respective waka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pause on Quarantine Free Travel with Victoria extended
    Following an assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria will continue for a further seven days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. There are now 93 cases associated with the outbreak in greater Melbourne, spread over four clusters. Contact tracing efforts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supplier Diversity Aotearoa Summit: Navigate 2021
    *** Check with delivery *** A mihi to all who have contributed to making today a success – starting with you! As you have explored and navigated government procurement today you will hopefully have reflected on the journey of our people so far – and how you can make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pukemiro School to close
    Pukemiro Primary School near Huntly will close following years of declining roll numbers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “I’ve consulted with the School Commissioner, and this decision acknowledges the fact that the few remaining students from last term are now settled at other nearby schools. “I want to thank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt acts to protect NZers from harmful content
    New Zealanders will be better protected from harmful or illegal content as a result of work to design a modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework, Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti announced today. New Zealand currently has a content regulatory system that is comprised of six different arrangements covering some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Consultation on exemption of new builds from proposed tax rules
    The Government has today confirmed new builds will be exempt from planned changes to the tax treatment of residential investment property.  Public consultation is now open on details of the proposals, which stop interest deductions being claimed for residential investment properties other than new builds.   “The Government’s goal is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech for Predator Free 2050 Conference
    Introduction E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa   Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei i raro i te kaupapa o te rā Ko Ayesha Verrall toku ingoa No ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New stock exchange to help grow small businesses
    A new share trading market, designed as a gateway to the NZX for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has been granted a licence by the Government. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said Catalist Markets Ltd will provide a simpler and more affordable ‘stepping stone’ for SMEs to raise capital. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Visa extensions provide certainty to employers and 10,000 visa holders
    Changes to onshore visas will provide employers and visa holders with more certainty, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced. Around 10,000 Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas due to expire between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 will be extended for another six months to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Border class exceptions approved for more farm workers and vets
    The Government has approved border class exceptions for an additional 200 dairy workers and 50 veterinarians to enter New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.  “It is clear from conversations with the dairy and veterinarian sectors that they are facing workforce pressures. These border exceptions will go a long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More freezers and South Island hub to support vaccine roll-out
    A South Island hub and 17 new ultra-low temperature freezers will help further prepare New Zealand for the ramp up of the vaccination programme in the second half of this year, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. The new freezers arrived in New Zealand on 27 May. They’re currently being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech at the release of Climate Change Commission's final advice
    Good morning – and thank you Prime Minister. Over the last three and half years we have been putting in place the foundations for a low-carbon Aotearoa that will be a catalyst for job creation, innovation, and prosperity for decades to come. In that future, many of our everyday tasks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Achievable blueprint for addressing climate change released
    Report says Government making good progress on emissions reduction, but more action required Meeting climate targets achievable and affordable with existing technology Economic cost of delaying action higher than taking action now Benefits from climate action include health improvements and lower energy bills All Ministers to help meet climate targets ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to release of Climate Commission final report
    A few years ago in a speech in Auckland, I compared climate change to the nuclear free movement of roughly four decades ago. And I did so for a few reasons. Firstly, because the movement of the 1980s represented a life or death situation for the Pacific, and so does ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Barrister Michael Robinson has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Robinson graduated with a BA and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1996, and commenced practice as a solicitor with Brookfields in Auckland.  In 1998 he travelled to London ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government takes action to improve protections for subcontractors
    The Construction Contracts (Retention Money) Amendment Bill – which provides greater financial protection for subcontractors, has passed its first reading today. The Bill amends the retention provisions in the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) to provide increased confidence and transparency for subcontractors that retention money they are owed is safe. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 1 million more Pfizer doses to arrive in July
    Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, COVID1-9 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These consignments will double the total number of Pfizer doses we have received this year to more than 1,900,000 – enough to fully vaccinate almost 1 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Long-term home of the Independent Children’s Monitor identified
    The Independent Children’s Monitor (Te Mana Whakamaru Tamariki Motuhake), which is currently located within the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), will become its own departmental agency within Government. “Following the recommendations of several reviews, Cabinet agreed in 2019 to build a significantly expanded independent monitor for children in care,” Carmel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Racing Integrity Board members announced
    The new Racing Integrity Board will be up and running from July 1 to ensure high standards of animal welfare, integrity and professionalism in the racing industry. Racing Minister Grant Robertson today announced the appointments to the new Board: Sir Bruce Robertson KNZM – Chair Kristy McDonald ONZM QC Penelope ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt crackdown on organised crime continues
    A major operation against multiple organised crime groups with international links will make a significant dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks, Police Minister Poto Williams says. “I want to take an opportunity to congratulate the Police for their role in Operation Trojan Shield. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Farm planning framework supports farmers into the future
    A new framework, agreed between Government and industry, will make it easier for farmers and growers to integrate future greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater regulatory requirements into their farm planning, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “The Good Farm Planning Principles Guide out today, provides guidance for how farmers can organise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for Canterbury
    The Government has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to the Canterbury floods. The Minister of Social Development and Employment, Hon Carmel Sepuloni says $500,000 will be made available to help with the clean-up. The flooding in Canterbury has been a significant and adverse event damaging farmland, homes, roads ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Connecting rangatahi to the soil
    A Jobs for Nature project to raise 480,000 native plants in nurseries across South Auckland will provide work for communities disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, Acting Conservation Minister Ayesha Verrall says. The Mana in Kaimahi project is being run by Te Whāngai Trust Board and will establish ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Roll out of high-resolution elevation mapping begins
    The first tranche of mapping data from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)-LiDAR project is now available to the public from Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand. LiDAR data, which creates 3D baseline elevation information, will deliver multiple uses over the coming decades to councils and regional industries. “This mapping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Champions of Pacific education rewarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours
    Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours list show that across Aotearoa New Zealand there were many champions of Pacific education. “Education is so vital to the success of Pacific people that it’s truly fitting that a number of educators have been honoured this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • PM congratulates Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List. “This group represents decades of services across many areas, and those honoured highlight how many New Zealanders are going above and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Change of status for Rangiriri kura
    A change of status for Te Kura o Rangiriri sees it become a designated character school within the Māori-medium network, Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis announced today. “This kura has been providing Māori immersion learning since 2003 in the historic town of Rangiriri, so I’m delighted that it is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • APEC trade ministers’ unite on COVID-19 vaccine steps and rejuvenating the WTO
    APEC trade ministers today committed to speeding up the cross-border flow of vaccines and related goods to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This followed the completion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting chaired by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor early this morning. “As we face the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further consultation for Melville schools
    Formal consultation is set to begin on specific options for the future of schooling in South West Hamilton, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. “Recent engagement has shown that the schools and community want a change to Year 7-13 schooling for the area.  “I am now asking the Boards of Melville ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Primary schoolkids dig trees for Arbor Day
    A new Arbor Day initiative announced by Forestry Minister Stuart Nash will see thousands of primary school children get the chance to plant native trees in their communities. The initiative is open to more than 2,400 primary schools. It is a partnership between Te Uru Rākau/NZ Forest Service and the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ Upgrade Programme kept on track
    The Government is increasing its investment in the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) to support New Zealand’s economic recovery. Over two thirds of the projects will proceed as announced despite increased costs due to COVID, with modifications being made to others. “NZUP is already supporting over 1,000 jobs with 13 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Northern Pathway gets green light
    The Government is committed to the Northern Pathway with its preferred option being a separate structure for walking and cycling alongside the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Geotechnical investigations and testing has determined that building a structure connected to the Auckland Harbour Bridge is not possible ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago