Brethren taking subsidies for illegal discrimination

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 pm, January 13th, 2011 - 65 comments
Categories: business, corruption, crime, kiwisaver, religion - Tags: ,

Another great piece of work from I/S at No Right Turn:

According to a report in the Herald, the Exclusive Brethren have set up their own KiwiSaver scheme. That’s not particularly interesting, but what caught my attention is that the scheme will only be offered to members of the cult:

In its prospectus, released just before Christmas, the BCF scheme made it clear that membership would be – no surprises here – exclusive: sorry Richard, this one’s for the bros only.

This is, of course, illegal. Religious belief is a prohibited form of discrimination, and no institution is allowed to discriminate on those grounds in the provision of goods and services…

…The Brethren are collecting government subsidies to engage in this discriminatory behaviour (in fact, that’s the point – using KiwiSaver subsidies as a line of easy credit to boost their businesses). That should not be permitted. Taxpayer’s money should not be used to subsidise discrimination.

I assume that the responsible Ministers, Peter Dunne and Bill English, will immediately be seeking answers and stop the Exclusive Brethren from engaging in illegal discrimination and receiving taxpayer money to do it.

If you’re unhappy about your money being used by the Brethern to subsidise their business, tell IRD you want to switch to their provider – BCF Finance – and demand to know why when your application is rejected.

65 comments on “Brethren taking subsidies for illegal discrimination ”

  1. Deadly_NZ 1

    I assume that the responsible Ministers, Peter Dunne and Bill English, will immediately be seeking answers and stop the Exclusive Brethren from engaging in illegal discrimination and receiving taxpayer money to do it.

    If it wasn’t so serious it would be a funny line, or at least a tui moment. But Please please do not use the word responsible in the same sentence as those 2 names unless it has the other 2 letters needed IR in front of the word..
    But whats to stop Joe public from applying to their Kiwi Saver scheme , and get knocked back they appeal their decision I am sure the works could get gummed up that way, and get enough people to do it should cost em a pretty penny.

  2. QoT 2

    (Psst, Eddie, typo in the headline)

  3. Chris73 3

    As a self-proclaimed right-winger I’m not happy about this and I hope some action is taken

    • Neptune 3.1

      So do I Chris73. Just become a self proclaimed Left – winger!

    • I would be unhappy if I was a self professed right winger as well …

      BTW I do not know how I/S does it. He always seems to be on the cutting edge of stories.

      • Chris73 3.2.1

        As I see it either the Bretheren are either acting within the rules which were set up by Labour (who to be fair probably didn’t consider this type of thing happening) which means this is a loophole which needs to be closed or they’re straight out breaking the law which means the police need to be involved

        But for me its nothing to do with their religion as this could easily be replicated by a maori tribe or gang like the hells angels etc etc

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Of course it’s to do with their religion as the discrimination that they’re perpetrating is based solely on their religion.

      • Chris73 3.2.2

        What do you mean you don’t know how I/S does it? I/S got it from the Herald

        • Mickysavage 3.2.2.1

          Please reread my comment. I said “cutting edge” I did not say “break”. I/S day in day out manages to blog on immediate issues of note.

          As to your other rules I suspect that Cullen relied on the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act which says words to the effect “though shalt not discriminate on the grounds of religion”. There was no need to have any more rules as the rules were already there.

          Good attempted diversion thought. It is not Blinglish’s or Dunne’s fault for approving the scheme, it is Cullens because, well, it must be …

          • luva 3.2.2.1.1

            Micky, what are English and Dunne responsible for exactly?

            Closing the loophole or enforcing the law?

            • Bright Red 3.2.2.1.1.1

              enforcing the law.

              what loophole are you talking about?

              • luva

                That is my point BR, if there is no loophole to fix then there is no problem with the law and there is no need for English and Dunne to be in this debate.

                They make the rules; others enforce them

                It is the role of the Police and Courts to enforce the law. Lets not confuse the respective roles just so we can associate Bill English with this.

                • burt

                  luva

                  I don’t think the lefties ever understood that there is a separation of judicial roles between the legislature, the police and the courts. If they did they would not have supported Labour deciding that Labour didn’t break the law. Move on.

          • Chris73 3.2.2.1.2

            Um I thought I was being pretty fair actually, I imagine it would be difficult to imagine a relgious group starting up a kiwisaver scheme (I certainly hadn’t thought about it untill the article in the herald) or they’re acting illegally

            So I wasn’t actually pointing the finger at anyone rather just stating the facts and what can/should be done

            I don’t think this is a political point rather just tightning some rules

            • mcflock 3.2.2.1.2.1

              The problem as far as I can see is not who created the scheme, but the fact this particular fund has membership restricted on the basis of religion. Given that some churches employ their minister/pastor/priests and various ancillary staff directly, I would be surprised if they didn’t make a decision to create a Kiwisaver fund like any other company.

              As for “blame”, I agree with other commentators that it is a job for folk like the police (or being BoR I assume it’s the job of the Human Rights Commission if they receive a formal complaint? Then firing it through to I assume the IRD if the HRC determines the BoR has been WIA, but the decision has to be formally and fairly arrived at before the referral is TBA? I’m sure procedural regulations can be obtained via OIA or some other TLA 🙂 ) .

  4. Liberty 4

    Labour set up kiwi saver. Now out smarted by the EB .
    Doesn’t say much for the then Minister in charge. A Mr Cullen.

    • Marty G 4.1

      how has Labour been outsmarted? The EB is acting illegally, not exploiting a loophole. National is in charge (this provider only just registered) – it’s their job to stop this breach of human rights.

      not looking too smart, son.

      • liberty 4.1.1

        It is not illegal. The EB are just astute at business.
        This bitch by the labour apologist has more to do with religious intolerance .

        • prism 4.1.1.1

          It seems that Exclusive Brethren are astute at business and money control and exploiting it to advance their narrow beliefs. It is uncomfortable to have religious groups or perhaps cults, using government funds to bolster their exclusive schemes. Are religious groups likely to dispense gratuities to those in power is one thing that concerns people? Does this threaten the separation of church and state? Concern expressed is not simple religious intolerance.

    • Tiwkcuf …

      If you think Cullen is responsible you need professional help bro ..

    • luva 4.3

      If it is a loophole then English and Dunne are responsible for closing it.

      If there is no loophole and the EB are breaking the law, then Parliament has done it’s job and the relevant authorities are responsible for enforcing the law.

      Which one is it?

      • mickysavage 4.3.1

        I hate to get legal but the Government Actuary decides on registration of Kiwisaver schemes. Under section 116 of the Kiwisaver Act “[a] scheme is eligible to be a KiwiSaver scheme if … it is … established and governed by a trust deed that is interpreted and administered in accordance with New Zealand law.”

        The bold bit should mean that the Actuary has some powers. Further provisions (s 169) give the Actuary considerable powers over registered schemes.

        There appears to be nothing wrong with the law. Perhaps a complaint should be made.

  5. TightyRighty 5

    I’m unhappy about this. But I’ll be vilified for being unhappy about my money being used to support gang members on the Dole on this site. So where is the balance? Whoops, I know you are partisan, so really where is the story? As I bet more gang members are claiming the Dole than bretheren claiming kiwisaver. Any takers?

    • Tigger 5.1

      WTF? If someone can make sense of this logic then they’re doing better than me…

      • QoT 5.1.1

        Apparently there’s some Black Power-members-only KiwiSaver scheme we haven’t heard about. TR’s going to break the story any day now. Otherwise he’s just making a hilarious false equivalence between “an organisation breaking the law by discriminating on the basis of religion while administering a scheme for which it receives government funds” and “people getting benefits while being people I Don’t Like”.

  6. highrestandard 6

    I blame Sarah Palin.

  7. SjS 7

    I work for local government, and was offered the chance to join the exclusive local government kiwisaver scheme available only to employees of local government (I declined and went with GMK, as it is NZ owned an apparently responsibly invested, but I would have been better putting the money in the bank). Is this somesort of discrimination as well? Or is it something that is actually legal under kiwisaver? Genuine question … I actually don’t know the answer…

    • marco 7.1

      Most local and central government departments have their own schemes that are similar to Kiwisaver but not managed the same way therefore they are treated as employee schemes. I’m unsure if this would be the case for your particular local body though, it would probably pay to check.

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      “(I declined and went with GMK, as it is NZ owned an apparently responsibly invested, but I would have been better putting the money in the bank).”

      I too am with GMK, and think they’re great. They say (probably not often enough) that their guiding principal is wealth protection, followed by growth. If you watch the charts for performance over 2008-2009, you’ll see that the other providers dropped off far more than GMK did, and therefore had steep return.

      I think my account is sitting at just slightly positive, something like 0.9% up. I would’ve done better on a return basis to have put the money in the bank, *except* that ignores the matching money I get from the government and from my employer. So while I might be only 0.9% up on the total value, actually I’m (roughly) 200% up on what money I have actually invested myself, and I’d like to see a bank interest rate that gives you 200% return.

      • SjS 7.2.1

        point taken lanthanide

        I joined at the begining of 2009 so missed seeing GMK not loose all my money (but that was also a part of my decision to go with them, along with the responsible investment). But since then I’ve had about the same as you at around 1%, but once I count the extra money from my employer and the credits I am better off. It would be great it I could put the extra money from my employer and my own in the bank, but then that would be against the point of kiwisaver (which I think is a good idea) as not everyone is a good saver unless they can’t get it back out again.

        • Lanthanide 7.2.1.1

          Yeah, I joined in 2009 also. After my work announced a pay freeze (normally there’s an annual pay rise for everyone) I figured I’d force them to give me a 2% one. Also I was hoping to get in on the rebound in share prices, but unfortunately there’s the ~3 month lag time between when you join and when the IRD actually hands the money over to your provider, so I missed out on the big growth months.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    Not a lot of details available from the Government Actuary
    BCF Kiwisaver
    Registration Number: 10071
    Balance Date: 31 March
    Default Provider: No
    Commencement Date: 02 September 2010
    Names of Trustees: AROTAHI TRUST LIMITED
    Trustee Address for Service: 160 BUSH ROAD
    ALBANY, AUCKLAND 2578

  9. nadis 9

    You guys need to read the legislation. Put aside questions of we like/don’t like the brethren. What they are doing is perfectly legal and provided for in relevant legislation, from the original kiwisaver bill to the 2010 Financial markets bill.

    There is a category of Kiwisaver funds called “restricted funds”. Currently about 9 of them covering religious groups (bretheren, anglicans), industries (waterfront workers), occupations (architects, engineers and surveyors, seafarers, doctors) etc.

    The legislation allows a restricted scheme with the following clause…..

    A restricted kiwi saver scheme must (amongst other things):

    “restrict membership of the scheme, in its conditions of entry of members to the scheme and in the way in which those conditions are applied, to 1 or more classes of persons who are employed by a particular employer, or who belong to a particular profession, calling, trade, or occupation, or to a particular association, society, or other body having a definable community of interest.”

    I think “definable community of interest” appropriately covers the brethren or any other religious, trade, racial, professional or other organisation that wants to retain its special identity in the Kiwisaver world.

    I imagine the Bretheren have some kind of organisation or society, membership of which is a prerequisite to enrol in their scheme. Just like any other restricted scheme.

    I think you should be more concerned about that horrible SRF kiwisaver scheme. Did you know that unless you are a member or family of a member of one particular union that you can’t join that scheme? It’s a disgrace. My taxes are going to prop up a kiwisaver scheme just for unionists and their families! Just wait till a Maori organisation sets up a Kiwisaver scheme for members of their tribal organisation. That would be racist right? Even more disgraceful.

    Ngai Tahu have set up a non-restricted scheme “iwisaver”, not much of a stretch to see them or another iwi (appropriately) setting up a restricted scheme. And why not? Why also not a scheme just for indian small business owners and their families, or mongrel mob members and their families. All these members are getting exactly the same government benefit as any KS member in a non-restricted scheme.

    So, do we object to anglicans, unionists, professionals, doctors etc “collecting government subsidies to engage in this discriminatory behaviour” or is it just that when the brethren do it that we don’t like it?

    • Chris73 9.1

      Well played

    • Nadis can you state which section you are quoting from?

      The only reference I can see to the passage that you quoted is from the Financial Markets (Regulators and KiwiSaver) Bill 2010 which as far as I am aware is not law as yet.

      Besides I do not see that it allows for state support of a religion in the way you suggest.

  10. Bill 10

    As far as I’m aware, an employee of a Brethren business does not themselves have to be a Brethren (That would be religious discrimination.) So, if the scheme covers employees in their businesses, there is no discrimination. No?

    • burt 10.1

      Bill

      You might be right but remember that the EB campaigned against Labour in 2005. Labour have since been on a crusade against them changing the law so that they couldn’t do what they legally did in 2005 because it upset the poor Labour party and made them steal tax payers money to defend themselves from free speech.

    • Lanthanide 10.2

      A friend used to work at a company owned by the brethren. She said it was very weird and they were quite open about their religion, but there was nothing stopping anyone from working there depending on their religion. Having said that, though, I think that if you weren’t part of the sect you’d have a hard time advancing up the promotion ladder.

  11. nadis 11

    I haven’t read their trust deed but by the looks of what David Chaplin wrote in the herald it is not a workplace based scheme. I imagine it will be open only to individuals who are members of a particular society, all of whose members happen to be brethren or fellow travelers.

    Here is the language from the restricted Anglican scheme:

    The Koinonia Fund is principally intended to provide retirement benefits for employees of persons whose primary activities are, in the opinion of the Trustees, Christian mission or ministry and other persons who the Trustees consider have served their church in a particular way or made a particular commitment to Christian outreach. However, the Trustees may also (in their sole discretion) admit other persons, or classes of person, as members of the Fund.

    Question: More or less offensive than the brethren scheme?

  12. Deadly_NZ 12

    Now this will allow the EB’s to give more money to shonky donkey to get him reelected sohe can finish what he and Blinglish started. The complete meltdown of NZ’s economy, then they can call in their mates at the IMF to bail us out just like they did in Ireland. The first thing the IMF did there was Take the 20 billion euro’s in the superfund for themselves. All the working mans Money gone, however the poli’s and bankers are laughing at a complete stitch up of the irish people. Well they have an election coming in soon so maby these theives will get their marching orders and the damage they have done can be undone

    http://dailybail.com/home/may-god-protect-global-bankers-irish-leaders-castigated-as-g.html
    Thanks to Johnm i pinched his link.

    Or maybe Key is angling for an invitation to become a member of this exclusive club https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Bilderberg_Group

  13. nadis 13

    I think you fail the logic test Deadly. How does this profit the brethren above them just investing in say the Tower kiwisaver scheme?

    I would guess they have probably spent minimum $200 k in legal fees setting up a kiwisaver scheme – given their small membership, hard to see it making money for them, particularly after employing a few staff to run it. Again I would guess that this is more about control – they want a kiwisaver scheme but want to control the investment strategy and obviously have a black and white list of suitable investments.

    And I didn’t realise the brethren were mates with the IMF – that’s an interesting connection no one else had made. Forget bilderberg, this is the real conspiracy – in fact you can see John Key sitting next to 2 brethren at the far end of the table

    Funny thing about Bilderberg is that left wing nutters think it is a right wing conspiracy to steal the worlds resources for a small elite (typically Jewish bankers), whereas right wing nutters think it is a conspiracy to impose a new order one world government led by the godless UN with associated concentration camps and black helicopters. Maybe both sides are right?

    • Blighty 13.1

      you can’t refuse to supply a good or service on the basis of religion. That is the problem. It is not that the EB as individuals can join Kiwisaver.

  14. ghostwhowalksnz 14

    Soon we will have the Right Wing Resistance/National Front setting up their own Kiwisaver, with rules to exclude Jews, Maori/Polynesians ,Chinese and so on. All based on the same interpretation that EB have of the rules.

    I dont think so

    I cant see any judge allowing a clause in some financial legislation over riding the ban on discrimination based on religion. Others may have rules restricting members to ‘missionaries’ or trade union members , but those groups themselves are open to a wider membership and dont explicitly rule out other ethnic or religious groups.

  15. Akldnut 15

    They must have started doing this just recently because BCF Finance wasn’t on the list of Providers as at 8/11/2010.
    http://www.kiwisaver.govt.nz/providers/ks-providers.html

    According to the IRD you can change your KiwiSaver scheme at any time,………If you want to change your scheme, you must apply directly to the provider of the scheme you want to join. Your new provider will then arrange for your savings to be transferred from your old scheme to the new one. You’ll be notified of the transfer.
    You may be charged a transfer fee by your old scheme and will need to check this with your provider.

  16. Glee McPerkins 16

    Why is the man in the picture putting USA dollars in his pocket?

    • Marty G 16.1

      it’s our stock thumb image for corruption – businessman pocketing the cash. Don’t have one with NZD.

      • jcuknz 16.1.1

        Surely it is not to hard for somebody to do a bit of editing …I would offer to assist if wanted if nobody closer to you has the skills. I assumed it was a legal safeguard, that it is illegal to copy our own currency?.

      • Glee McPerkins 16.1.2

        Surly you could photograph someone in a suit putting NZ dollars in his pocket?

  17. jcuknz 17

    What a load of rabble rousing twaddle …. The Brethren are running their own super scheme for members .. just like I was a member of National Provident and Government Superannuation schemes.
    Both restricted to those eligible to join.

    How on earth can it be illegal? Basically the country needs people to save rather than splurge so I say good luck to them in defending their enterprise against the whingers and whiners.

    I have no connection with the group.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1

      Its NOT a super scheme for their own members. Its a registered Kiwisaver scheme. As such it gets a lot of government subsidies which wouldnt apply to an ordinary super scheme.

  18. Swampy 18

    This is actually nonsense. Kiiwsaver schemes are allowed to have membership qualifications so that only people meeting membership criteria can enter them.

    Another example of getting on your high horse without checking the legislation first, dont you just laugh at how all these lefties do that when they know that the legislation was passed by Parliament and all they have to do is stop trying to pull wool over peoples eyes by making these stupid allegations.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 18.1

      membership yes , restriction on members solely on religious grounds, no.

      You can have special cases for ‘advancement’ of groups which have suffered from discrimination, clearly EB doesnt come into this category.

      For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—
      (a)sex, which includes pregnancy and childbirth:
      (b)marital status, which means being—
      (i)single; or
      (ii)married, in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship; or
      (iii)the surviving spouse of a marriage or the surviving partner of a civil union or de facto relationship; or
      (iv)separated from a spouse or civil union partner; or
      (v)a party to a marriage or civil union that is now dissolved, or to a de facto relationship that is now ended:
      (c)religious belief:
      (d)ethical belief, which means the lack of a religious belief, whether in respect of a particular religion or religions or all religions:
      (e)colour:
      (f)race:
      (g)ethnic or national origins, which includes nationality or citizens.

      Note lack of religious belief is a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  19. Swampy 19

    Its a scheme where theyre entitled to define who is allowed to be a member that is the right of any scheme or society they can impose choice of members

    As you can see there are other schemes that impose qualifications on which religions can join there schemes

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    I loved everything about my first Cook Strait ferry crossing: a day parked in the car in howling Wellington wind and driving Wellington rain, waiting to hear if they were going to sail or not; watching the huge black ministerial limousines come and go; listening to the adventures of Chicken ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Was the Medieval Warm Period a global event?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Was the Medieval Warm Period a global ...
    4 days ago
  • Aotearoa Runs Aground
    Your face has fallen sad nowFor you know the time is nighWhen I must remove your wingsAnd you, you must try to flyCome sail your ships around meAnd burn your bridges downWe make a little history, babyEvery time you come aroundWhen I went to bed last night I thought the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Wagon keeps movin'
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Mainstreaming Māori
    Mainstreaming need not be inherently anti-Māori. It will be if it is done badly because it will be anti-those-in need, and proportionally more of them are Māori.That the Coalition Government says it will deliver public services on the basis of need rather than, say, race deserves consideration, even though many ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • National says “fuck you”
    The Justice Committee has reported back on the government's racist bill to eliminate Māori representation in local government. The report duly notes the Waitangi Tribunal's finding that the bill breaches te Tiriti, and the bill's inconsistency with our international human rights obligations - and then proceeds to ignore both. Instead, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Christopher Luxon is – Big in Japan
    This week our Prime Minister Christopher Luxon… mmm, let’s take a moment to consider just how good that sounds. Hope you weren’t eating.Anyway that guy. Better? That bloke from the telly, he said - what I would say to you is… I’m big in Japan. My kind of people, hard ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 21-June-2024
    Tis the winter solstice! The shortest day and longest night of the year. The good news: we’re on our way back to summertime. Here’s another roundup of stories to brighten up your Friday. Our header image is from CRL and shows Waihorotiu Station lit up for Matariki 2024 The ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Friday, June 21
    Our economic momentum remains anaemic, and it’s possible the tiny increase in GDP was a ‘dead cat bounce’. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Per-capita GDP has fallen 4.3% from its peak over the last 21 months, which is more than it it fell in the Global Financial Crisis recession ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Futility of Punishment
    Hi,I was in Texas recently and couldn’t stop thinking about how in some parts of America they really like to kill their prisoners. As a society we tend to agree murder is wrong, but somewhere along the way Texas figured it’s fine if it’s after 6pm and the killing is ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • The new Beehive approach to the environment
    A persistent theme has been weaving between the Committee rooms at Parliament all this so-called “Scrutiny” week as MPs have probed Ministers and agencies about their work and plans. The question has been simply what the environmental price might be if the country begins to accelerate its infrastructure building to ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2024
    Open access notables Climate Change Is Leading to a Convergence of Global Climate Distribution, Li et al., Geophysical Research Letters: The impact of changes in global temperatures and precipitation on climate distribution remains unclear. Taking the annual global average temperatures and precipitation as the origin, this study determined the climate distribution with the ...
    6 days ago
  • You take nicer pictures when you’re not drunk
    Readers keeping count will know it's more than five years since I gave up booze. Some of you get worried on my behalf when I recount a possibly testing moment. Anxious readers: today I got well tested.All the way across France I've been enquiring in my very polite and well-meaning but ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    6 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    1 week ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    2 weeks ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Minister celebrates students’ space success
    Space Minister Judith Collins is applauding students from Canterbury University’s Aerospace Club on their success at the world’s largest inter-collegiate rocket engineering competition, the Spaceport America Cup. “More than 120 teams from 20 countries participated in Spaceport America Cup, with the team from Canterbury University winning in their ‘30,000 Foot’ ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Address – Commemoration of the 74th Anniversary of the Commencement of the Korean War
    Tena koutou.Ki nga kaumatua,Ki nga whanau,Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou. Greetings.To the elders,To the families,We will remember them. Firstly, a special welcome to all the veterans here this morning and their families.  I want to acknowledge the veterans who are marking this day but cannot be with us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • New WorkSafe board appointments to address a history of poor financial management
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden says three appointments to the WorkSafe board have been made to strengthen the organisation, ensuring it has the skills and expertise it needs to carry out its functions.  “WorkSafe has faced a number of recent challenges, including accumulating an almost $18 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Next phase of the Royal Commission into COVID-19
    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says this coalition Government is delivering on our commitment to expand the terms of reference for the independent Royal Commission into COVID-19 Lessons Learned. “There will be a second phase to the Royal Commission which features new commissioners and an expanded terms of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Government introduces Three Strikes Bill
    The Government has introduced a Bill today to restore the Three Strikes sentencing law, Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says. “New Zealanders are rightly concerned about violent crime. We are delivering on our commitment to introduce a revised Three Strikes law as one of our key law and order priorities.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • New support for agricultural emissions reduction
    The Government and the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) are together committing an additional $8 million towards AgriZeroNZ to boost New Zealand’s efforts to reduce agricultural emissions. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the strength of the New Zealand economy relies on effective and affordable emission reduction solutions for New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government actions strengthening Māori success
    Tākina Puanga. Ko Puanga kei runga. Ko Puanga e Rangi. Tākina mai te ara o Puanga nui o te rangi. Tākina ngā pou o te tau. Ki te whai ao ki te ao marama. Puanga or Rigel celebrations reflect a renewed energy across our communities – to acknowledge those who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
    The coalition Government is delivering up to 26 cancer treatments as part of an overall package of up to 54 more new medicines, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health Minister David Seymour announced today. “Pharmac estimates that around 175,000 people will benefit from the additional treatments in just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
    The coalition Government is providing more financial support to drought-stricken farmers and growers in many parts of the country to help with essential living costs. “Rural Assistance Payments have been made available in 38 districts affected by dry conditions to help eligible farmers and growers whose income has taken a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • High Court Judge appointed
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