web analytics

Coalitions and Movements and Democracy

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, August 15th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: economy, political alternatives - Tags:

This is very much a one pass broad brush stroke and I’ve embedded a long video at the end of this post because the talk on the video, even although a certain amount of extrapolation is necessary, expresses basic matters better than I can in the space of a blog post. Watch the video. It’s well worth the time and broadband.

Meanwhile. Maybe coalitions are an encapsulation of market place dynamics that permeate our culture; or maybe a ‘natural’ extension of the internal dynamics and structures of the organisations that seek to form them; or maybe a bit of both.

Whatever their genesis, we know what happens to them. Always. They fall apart.

The hairline cracks that precede any destructive factionalism are already appearing in the nascent coalition that has been cobbled together to oppose the Fire at Will legislation. It might hold long enough to see off the Fire at Will bill.

But then what? The short answer is ‘Nothing’.

Coalitions aren’t built for the long haul.

Meantime, what of those few hairline cracks? What happens if one widens and threatens to become a schism sometime through the week? How does a coalition deal with that?

Short answer again. It doesn’t.

It experiences a crisis. A power struggle ensues. People from different organisations nail their colours to one or another mast and eventually one camp/ one position triumphs, or a compromise is arrived at, or a split occurs.

No matter the outcome, democracy gets a kicking and the power that would flow from acting in solidarity is never realised.

And all to achieve a false and somewhat disingenuous goal of a united front and so-called solidarity.

But this ‘one voice’ that results from coalition horse-trading and strong arming is no expression of solidarity at all. Solidarity arises from the recognition of multiple commonalities across differences and distances being freely realised, not from the imposition of a unitary commonality.

Even putting that aside, and regardless of any serious split occurring, while the various organisations and their controlling bodies or members compete with each other over who should control the coalition, and what the lines or tactics should be, and what the slogans should be, and who should be seen to take credit for this, that, or the other, and who should be censured and so on; the vast bulk of people, those who don’t belong to the eminent organisations within the coalition, or any organisation for that matter, get to learn that they are to be mere foot soldiers of, and spectators to, the inter-organisational politics of parties seeking domination of a coalition structure, and that the operation of the coalition is something that has nothing to with them.

And they slowly disengage completely and drift away.

And as long as the organisations of the left persist in using, and forcing on us, the disempowering and anti-democratic hierarchical model of coalitions, the left will go nowhere. We won’t gain any momentum. We won’t broaden and deepen our constituency. We’ll just bob up from time to time around this issue or that issue, maybe win a few battles, and always disappear again. Back to being dragged by the indefatigable corporatist undertow of contemporary politics.

An alternative would be to insist that our organisations be exposed to the democratising effects of a movement. Movements are built around people and as such, the roles of organisations and people are reversed. Whereas the individual has no meaningful role to play in the coalition and is merely there to ‘make up the numbers’ for a show of force, so the organisations that formally made up the coalitions have no determining role to play in movements. Members of any given organisation participate fully and equally in the movement as individuals; not as representatives of any organisation. ( so for example, Helen Kelly would have no more power or say-so than you would have, because she would be there as Helen Kelly the individual, not Helen Kelly the head of the CTU. And the CTU, in line with all other organisations, would have no say whatsoever in proceedings. )

Which allows for a truly democratic space to develop where many voices can be heard and many ideas get to develop simultaneously – and even sometimes in contradiction one to another – free from the competitive environment of coalitions and the overarching demands and constraints that that entails.

To illustrate what I mean consider the proposed trading of the fourth week of annual leave. Put aside your thoughts on the rights or wrongs of either position for the time being Many workers think it’s a good idea. Many don’t. And neither the coalition nor its constituent organisations can deal with that. The Labour Party contradicted itself with Goff indicating one thing and Little another. The CTU has been unequivocal which is all very good but not very reflective of what sizable numbers of people are thinking. At the end of the day, the line that the fourth week is not to be traded will probably be imposed and that will be that. But where does that leave the many people who are against the rest of the bill but think that tradability is a good thing? Will they be among the first to feel disenfranchised and walk away? Probably.

But in a movement there would be no pressure on anyone to pay lip service to a line they didn’t agree with. The discussion and debate that coalitions can’t engage in -because they’re all about imposing lines and presenting and preserving faux solidarity – can take place in the environment offered by a movement. It doesn’t matter a toss if you and I agree on 100% of the matters at hand. Or even if we only agree on half the stuff. Just so long as there is enough common ground to engender a sense of solidarity. Hell, there might be people whose only concern is one aspect of the bill. In a movement, that enough. That one aspect is one open door; an entry point. And that is a world away from coalitions where it seems that either all of the doors are open or all of the doors are shut.

Which brings me on to the final point. Coalitions are self limiting. Due to their structural dynamics they cannot persist and expand beyond single issues. There is a dominant organisation that stamps its authority and decides the agenda. End. But we need more than that. We need to spread out beyond single issues and that simple fact necessitates the abandonment of delineated party lines and slogans in favour of expansive and inclusive descriptions that are always offering open doors to new people organising around new issues.

For example, in Argentina the movement formed under the broad sentiment of Ya Basta! (Enough!). You can see how a sentiment like that (at least when it’s said in Spanish.) lends itself to access by people concerned with matters as diverse as labour rights, mining of S4, super cities, water allocation rights, diminishment of surgical capacities, educational reform, surveillance legislation, farming practices and on and on. But how can a coalition progress or expand from ‘Fairness at Work’ to any other issue? It can’t. Only movements can.

And they can also become much more than mere locations of resistance. They can become locations where we inform and educate and realise the power to grasp the various ‘freedoms to’ as well as fight for ‘freedom from.’

But for anything worthwhile and sustainable to happen, all hierarchical organisations with their innate anti-democratic tendencies must be kept at arms length and matters conducted democratically, which means revolving around and centred on people.

And that’s it. We can carry on allowing our top-down organisations to form coalitions and so consign ourselves to going nowhere very fast. Or we can expose and subject the organisations we belong to to simple democratic dynamics and so, just perhaps, give ourselves a chance of building an ever broadening, ever deepening movement that will actually persist from one issue to the next and even, maybe, have the power to overcome the corporate drift of that undertow I mentioned earlier.

Bill

Alternative Economy Cultures part 1 from pixelACHE festival on Vimeo.

22 comments on “Coalitions and Movements and Democracy ”

  1. IrishBill 1

    I agree that the left needs to engage in movement politics but I don’t see that as proscribing unions or political parties as they stand (at least not in the current political economy).

    There’s no reason coalitions such as unions shouldn’t be a natural part of a movement as long as they don’t stifle other parts of it. Indeed New Zealand unions have survived as living, changing organisations focused on bettering the lives of workers for over a hundred years.

    I may be an old reformist but I believe that we need to use organisations such as unions and political parties as tools to forward left ideals within a broader movement. If we are unhappy with how democratic they are we change them. From without and from within.

    • Bill 1.1

      I don’t disagree.

      Unions or whatever can be a part of a movement. They just can’t be a part of any decision making process.

      Look at this way. Is Helen Kelly going to attend a meeting made up of ordinary people? Possibly. But if she did and stood up and, claiming to represent the x thousands of unionists up and down the country, proposed that x, y or z happen….except that she wouldn’t do that would she?….she’d propose that those present throw their hat in with a pre-determined x, y or z that the CTU and it’s affiliated unions had already decided to organise and resource. Bye-bye movement, hello coalition.

      Now, what if she was simply not allowed to speak on behalf of anybody at all? What if she was forced to be an equal among equals? What if she could speak only for herself and not make any calls on the behalf of others? Okay, so straight away the CTU and its affiliates are absent from the meeting.

      And the idea runs something like this.

      The organisations are deliberately repressed and gagged and made subject to the wishes of their various members who, coming back to them from their participation in a highly democratic setting where they were able to speak only on their own behalf, are able to ask, demand, cajole or whatever, that their organisation throw it’s hat in the ring with the wider movement by contributing in this, that or the other way.

      In other words, the organisations become part of an accumulated resource that the movement accesses by way of the make-up of its participants who are also members of some particular organisation. The only ‘in’ for any organisation is through releasing resources or whatever for use as determined by it’s members, managers or employees who are participating as equals in our theoretical movement.

      And it might refuse.

      The managers sitting some way up the hierarchy within whatever organisation might feel that it is they and only they who have the right to decide how resources are utilised. Or members of a particular organisation might seek to attach caveats to any release of or request for resources or expertise. And that’s an internal matter for that organisation to sort out and an asset that the movement would not be able to utilise.

      At the end of the day,it’s pretty basic. Movements are all about opening doors. And that entails shutting out and shutting down all identifiable anti-democratic tendencies and weeding out any and all coalition type dynamics.

  2. Ya Basta came and went. The Peronists are still in power in Argentina. The movement of movements the Zapatistas are holed down in Chiapas. The indigenous nations in Bolivia are included in the MAS (movement for socialism) government. The only real movement I can see from here is a succession of strikes in Greece and resistance elsewhere based on radicalising the unions. That’s good because it shows that working class can organise itself into a socialist movement that takes on capitalism and includes the many oppressed constitutencies who have a key role to play in gettting rid of capitalism.
    Social movements need to be united into a socialist movement.

    • Bill 2.1

      I really miss Uncle Joe, cousin Leon and the extended family. They were such dags!

      • dave brown 2.1.1

        Bill why don’t you say where social movements have actually moved anything.
        You offered Ya Basta as an example of a social movement. What has it done? You didnt repond to my point that the Peronist party is still in power in Argentina. The big change that still survives in Argentina are the factory occupations and they survive largely because of union and political party support.
        What have the Zapatistas done? They sent a letter of support to the Oaxaca commune in 2006 and Sub Com Marcos toured Mexico on his moped giving Oaxaca a wide berth. The Oaxaca commune wasnt a social movement as it was based on the unions in particular the rural teachers union that had fought for years to oust the corrupt leadership (by voting dare I say) to defend public education in teh rural and indigenous population.
        The fact is that capitalism is a massive structure that requires strong working class organisations with definite programs to defend and extend workers interests. This requires democratic majority decision making and unity around action.

        • Carol 2.1.1.1

          According to Manuel Castells, networked movements are the most suited to bring change in our networked society. He sites the examples of the feminist/women’s and environment as the kinds of movements that are, and will be, most successful in this kind of society – especially because they operate across national and organisational boundaries.

          Both have brought a lot of issues to mainstream attention and have so far been influential, without being completely successful. feminism for instance resulted in changes to laws on rape etc, and in the development of women’s refuges, in equal pay acts, UN declarations & conventions that incorporate women’s rights, anti-discrimination etc.

          Neoliberal capitalism is also a loose network of organisations and governments/politicians/parties, think tanks etc. that operate across national boundaries etc. So it would make sense to me, that opposition requires the multi-facted approach of a movement, or even inter-linked movements.

          • just saying 2.1.1.1.1

            I was thinking of the women’s, and conservationist, movements too, and also the smaller more localised movements I’ve been involved in. Often good examples of the participatory economy model when they have worked best, and been most inspiring. But also blighted at times by the competive, hieracrchical, factional, power and its abuse ‘bugs’ that seem poised to spread whenever people get together

            The problem is, quite literally, changing people’s hearts and minds, because the problems of capitalism live inside, as well as outside all of us.

            I can’t see how participatory-economics, in and of itself can wrest power away from the vested interests of the 20 percent, and I’m assuming it is hoped that the multiple world crises will topple capitalism and enforce positive changes in the ways we live?

            Anyway, I’m probably moving into a ‘transitional’ suburb this summer, because I want to be part of a movement towards cooperative, sustainable, inter-dependant community. It wont be perfect, and unfortuantely won’t change the direction of the wider community much-if-at-all, but it could be a positive step in the direction you advocate Bill. I’m wondering why you have been so scathing about these kind of movements when they’ve been discussed in the past. Surely fumbling attempts are better than just sitting around talking about ideal alternative systems that don’t exist yet?

        • Bill 2.1.1.2

          I offered the terminology ‘Ya Basta’ as embodying an expansive and inclusive message, which readily lends itself to any number of issues in contrast to the restrictive and exclusive messages portrayed by coalition arrangements eg ‘Fairness at Work’ which lends itself to no other issue beyond the one stated.

          • dave brown 2.1.1.2.1

            Bill: you still say nothing about results. Your speculations are abstract.
            Ironically, I would reverse your argument. Movements tend to be single issue because they are reactive against specific oppressions.
            Coalitions spark debate and openness because they give organisational form to different interests that can only unite and progress by organised practice.

            Carol: The weakness of the women’s movement is precisely in its specific gender focus, instead of using gender to drive the interests of working class women including unpaid domestic workers, by challenging the male dominance off the labour movement.
            I would argue that social movements of which the women’s movement is archetypal are limited by their inability to transcend the limits of what is acceptable to capitalism.

            In general, social movements which usually begin as populist single issue movements struggle to generalise those issues because they do not have the organisation basis for forming coalitions to breakdown the divisions that have been created inside the working class and other exploited groups. The Greens original environmental issue has been generalised towards a social democratic coalition politics but we still do not see a strong working class orientation.

            Looking at the Oaxaco Commume of 2006 would be very instructive. Here we had a massive community movement firmly based on a long history of struggle of rural teachers to defend public education in indigenous rural communities, struggling to remove the corrupt union leadership, challenging the male-dominated political mafia in Oaxaca, utilising both indigenous methods of meeting and decision making and the methods of coalition building and majoritiy voting to elect leaders and form policy.

            This commune was repressed by the state forces but in the process showed that there are lessons to be learned about both strengths and weaknesses. The main positive lesson was that unions and social movements of the indigenous can work together in a common cause. The main negative message is that there was no real attempt to join forces with the powerful national unions that have a very militant history in mining, steel etc.

            • Carol 2.1.1.2.1.1

              dave, you’re judging the success of the feminist movement as a movement, on the basis of its success as a movement focused on class issues. ie, you’re judging it in terms of something it isn’t. Feminism has had successes in what it aims to do, improve things for women across classes, nationalities and ethnicities.

              As a movement, feminism has a multi-pronged strategy. And this means it has focused on a range of inequalities, – far from the single issue basis of its formation that you attribute to all movements. The strength of such a loosely structured movement is that it can generate support for a diverse range of “single issues” when needed. And many feminists have long struggled within class politics with some noticable success. Political organisations focused on class, employment, and unemployment issues are far less male dominated than they used to be. And there is much more awareness on the left of how some of these issues tend to impact differently and selectively on males and females.

  3. ZB 3

    Over the last a hundred years we’ve got better at producing more, and we had it easy
    with cheap energy supplies. Over the last thirty the economy has had to be stimulated
    by monetry policy as the energy gult was hard to keep up with. Now we entering a
    new era of progressively high costs for energy. What do we know, well we know
    people can do work, we know if they are fed, housed and have health care, an
    the incentive of luxuries in return for their labor then the economy can re-engage
    many millions pushed aside by ‘profits’. The era of ‘just’ profit is over. Any
    future has to include employment policies. But wait, its not so bad, there are
    huge environmental impacts from the ‘just’ for profit era, that will need clearing up,
    our industries will need retooling, our practices will have to change. This will
    no start until we embrace the problems of the past, promise the basics to everyone
    and move forward together.

  4. Rex Widerstrom 4

    Thanks for writing this Bill. Because I don’t want to write a comment longer than the post (and because I’m off to visit a prison and can’t be late) I’ll start with just one question. But I hope you (and anyone else interested) will return here later, and over the next few days as the inevitable happens and this post sinks lower and lower down the hierarchy ( 😀 ) of articles to debate this further…

    It doesn’t matter a toss if you and I agree on 100% of the matters at hand. Or even if we only agree on half the stuff. Just so long as there is enough common ground to engender a sense of solidarity. Hell, there might be people whose only concern is one aspect of the bill. In a movement, that enough.

    It’d be enough for a discussion, yes. But what say we don’t shift our positions much? How do we agree on what action to take, particularly in terms of a cohesive and inpsiring message to encourage others to join us?

    And what if we’re in some group that’s asked to represent a broad sector (in your example, let’s say workers) in actual negotiations? If you want to go only half way and I want to go all the way, how do we sit down across the table from our opponents and start negotiating? One of us is going to emerge very unhappy.

    Not to say that’s not exactly what happens now. I agree with you, it is. I’m just advancing the proposition that a movement would need to agree and compromise before taking action, surely?

    • Bill 4.1

      “But what say we don’t shift our positions much? How do we agree on what action to take, particularly in terms of a cohesive and inpsiring message to encourage others to join us?”

      Not a problem. If enough people agree with both positions or proposed actions, then both get expressed. By ‘enough people’ is meant enough people to carry off the proposed action successfully as opposed to an action requiring any particular percentage of some total number of people.

      You’re not picking up on the problem of representation. Neither you nor I nor any other person or sub-group or committee has any right to claim to represent any real or imagined constituency within a movement. As soon as there is a spokesperson or a recognised authority the movement has essentially degenerated to become a coalition again with all its attendant problems (party lines developed and adhered to and fought over etc…all the shit outlined in the post)

      I’ve been in the position of representing others in negotiations and never felt altogether comfortable with the situation. What I always wanted to organise was a scenario where the boss, or bosses fronted up to all and sundry for the sake of negotiations. Haven’t managed to pull that one off, yet.

      • Rex Widerstrom 4.1.1

        If enough people agree with both positions or proposed actions, then both get expressed.

        [Playing devil’s advocate]…

        Employer: “So, do you want the fourth week tradeable or don’t you?

        ‘Movement’ representatives: “Well… they do… I don’t though… and those other people think it’s okay only under certain conditions…”

        Employer: “I can’t negotiate with this rabble, come back to me when you have a counter proposal”.

        “Old sayings” become such because there’s a deeply ingrained element of truth in them. “United we stand, divided we fall” is attributed to Aesop, circa 500 years BC. “A house divided against itself cannot stand”; “unity is strength” and a host of others come to mind.

        And when it comes to creating effective action around an issue, then as Chekov said “love, friendship and respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something” 😀 In short, what’s wrong with uniting for long enough to bring about the change on which the majority of us can agree, then re-forming our alliances to attempt to further perfect that change or bring about another? Certainly it doesn’t permit total equality of input (though I’d argue that’s as much about human frailty as structural weakness) but it at least gets things done that would otherwise languish while “movements” debated in coffee shops.

        • Bill 4.1.1.1

          It’s the law in this country that only registered unions can negotiate for collective terms and conditions. Unions won’t disappear just because movements develop. If people in a movement are members of a union and also in a particular workplace, then they’d utilise their union when it came to bargaining.

          If everything went south and a wider campaign was required, as was the case with the supermarkets a year or so back, then there is a ready formed mass of people who have been working together on various social issues, who are right there and who have been building up knowledges, and developing working relationships, and expanding networks and honing techniques and strategies.

          And presumably the union has, at the request of its members and employees who are involved in the movement, been supportive of the movement at various junctures. And so that relationship can be brought to bear fruit for those particular workers.

          And think of all the time that is saved by not having to resurrect old networks and re-establish contacts and rummage up resources….time that can be spent enjoying coffees in the sun perhaps?

          Movements don’t languish in interminable meetings. If anything, they get things done faster and with fewer meetings as there is no requirement to preserve some façade of a ‘united front’ on all matters or to always adhere to a particular line or to waste time competing for dominance etc.

  5. It is a dynamic – even a dialectic – top down and bottom up. The post 1970s faith in social movements and bottom-up “plural interests”, is primarily a reaction to “dictatorships of the proletariat” and Leninist models, and, as an historical current, has in some form or other been around for at least as long as Marxism (and I would argue further still – Levellers, Putney, Cevennes etc). The problem is twofold. The confrontation with capital requires organisations and institutional behaviours that will not and cannot function effectively as the post suggests. Equally, if we are to imagine a post-capitalist existence, it will require similar structures. So, it’s not a question of privileging movements as such but recognising and understanding the interplay between institutions and constituencies, which for me is a far more fruitful focus of discussion. That’s a discussion about the nature of democracy,.

    • Bill 5.1

      I’d agree that hierarchical modes of organisation are a fairly recent phenomena on ‘the left’. I can’t see how ‘the commons’ would have survived if their management depended on hierarchical structures. I suspect that the strict hierarchies of the authoritarian left only gained prominence with the Bolsheviks. I could be wrong, I’m no scholar. It’s just a hunch.

      As for bottom – up modes of organisation, they are doomed to fail eg democratic centralism. But what’s wrong with levelled organisational structures?

      Meanwhile, I thought what I’d written was about the interplay between institutions and people (constituencies) and about the inadequacy of the coalition as an institution and better efficacy of the movement from the standpoint of valuing democracy and the right of people to be empowered.

      Anyway, I only meant to ask if you could rephrase the following because in spite of reading it a number of times I can’t quite be sure of your meaning. Are you suggesting that the present environment is not the best one for trying to develop the structures we need? Or are you saying something else entirely. I’m unsure.

      “The confrontation with capital requires organisations and institutional behaviours that will not and cannot function effectively as the post suggests. Equally, if we are to imagine a post-capitalist existence, it will require similar structures.”

  6. The trouble with the Left is that we bend over-backwards to be decent and democratic. Nothing wrong in that but it leave us on the back foot to often.
    As tribal Leftie I have an ingrown intense( to put it mildly) dislike of the Nats/Right.Their whole purpose in life is power , money and ownership,thus their desire to privatize.
    The hegemony of the Right is scary ,just look at the positions of power they have , including an almost monopoly of local government. Its possible the latter may change with the Auckland elections. We must win in Auckland,this could well pave the way for victory in the General Election/
    So what about Phill? An excellent leader who may well prove to a excellent PM. However he must start to listen to grass roots people.
    He needs to be seen mingling with the under-privileged,the unemployed,solo-mums and workers.
    He must be seen at marches and rally’s and genuine strikes where worker are.
    These are the people who should and will vote Labour ,they are sick of the “change”
    Of course they also have a record of not voting ,this is Phill’s chance to convince them to get out and vote ,and vote Labour!!

  7. just saying 7

    Thanks Bill.

    Having read your post and listened to the webcast there is so much to digest that I’m going to have to have a think and come back to this.
    But I wanted to say now, that there are many, fresh, challenging ideas that make it really worth the hour or so, if and when anyone has the time.

  8. Without bothering to watch the video the only comment I have is that coalitions form to serve a purpose. It is neither a good nor a bad thing that they cease to exist after a period. If you help your neighbour build a deck or move house you have formed a temporary coalition that brings good. The coalition that formed to support the election of Obama was equally temporary.

    “But for anything worthwhile and sustainable to happen, all hierarchical organisations with their innate anti-democratic tendencies must be kept at arms length and matters conducted democratically, which means revolving around and centred on people.”
    It sounds like you have intellectually come to the point where a community of individual self interest is the preferred form of governance. That sounds very much like market democracy. Centralised state governance is a failure. Individual consumers making buying decisions in a free and open market is the future.
    Perhaps we could form a coalition to advance individual self determination.

  9. movement dynamics 9

    Was it a movement that stopped national mining in National Parks, and a lack of movement building that has seen a lot of losses in parliament, and a failure in action on climate change…

    Democracy is about more than elections, and politics is about more than just parliament.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Face to face meeting delivers significant progress on NZ-UK FTA
    New Zealand and the UK have committed to accelerating their free trade agreement negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement in principle this August, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor announced. “We’ve held constructive and productive discussions towards the conclusion of a high-quality and comprehensive FTA that will support sustainable and inclusive trade, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government taking action to protect albatross
    New population figures for the critically endangered Antipodean albatross showing a 5 percent decline per year highlights the importance of reducing all threats to these very special birds, Acting Minister of Conservation Dr Ayesha Verrall says. The latest population modelling, carried out by Dragonfly Data Science, shows the Antipodean albatross ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Adoption laws under review
    New Zealand’s 66-year-old adoption laws are being reviewed, with public engagement beginning today.  Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said the Government is seeking views on options for change to our adoption laws and system. “The Adoption Act has remained largely the same since 1955. We need our adoption laws to reflect ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wider roll-out of cameras on boats to support sustainability and protect marine life
    Up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment for future generations.  Minister for Oceans and Fisheries David Parker today announced the funding is now in place for the wider roll out ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Plan for vaccine rollout for general population announced
    New Zealanders over 60 will be offered a vaccination from July 28 and those over 55 from August 11, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The rollout of the vaccine to the general population will be done in age groups as is the approach commonly used overseas, with those over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand introduces Belarus travel bans
    New Zealand has imposed travel bans on selected individuals associated with the Lukashenko regime, following ongoing concerns about election fraud and human rights abuses after the 2020 Belarus elections, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced. The ban covers more than fifty individuals, including the President and key members of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy grows driven by households, construction and business investment
    The Government’s efforts to secure the recovery have been reflected in the robust rebound of GDP figures released today which show the economy remains resilient despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grant Robertson said. GDP increased 1.6 percent in the first three months of 2021. The Treasury had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Milestone 250th tower continues to improve rural connectivity
    The Government has welcomed the completion of the 250th 4G mobile tower, as part of its push for better rural connectivity. Waikato’s Wiltsdown, which is roughly 80 kilometres south of Hamilton, is home to the new tower, deployed by the Rural Connectivity Group to enable improved service to 70 homes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria to lift on Tuesday
    Following a further public health assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria has been extended to 11.59pm on Tuesday 22 June, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. It has been determined that the risk to public health in New Zealand continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister mourns passing of Dr Sir Ian Hassall
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is mourning the passing of Dr Sir Ian Hassall, New Zealand’s first Children’s Commissioner and lifelong champion for children and children’s health. As a paediatrician Sir Ian contributed to a major world-first cot death study that has been directly credited with reducing cot deaths in New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • APEC structural reform meeting a success
    APEC ministers have agreed working together will be crucial to ensure economies recover from the impact of COVID-19. Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs David Clark, chaired the virtual APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting today which revolved around the overarching theme of promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Digital hub to boost investment in forestry
    A new website has been launched at Fieldays to support the forestry sector find the information it needs to plant, grow and manage trees, and to encourage investment across the wider industry. Forestry Minister Stuart Nash says the new Canopy website is tailored for farmers, iwi and other forestry interests, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government continues support for rangatahi to get into employment, education and training
    Over 230 rangatahi are set to benefit from further funding through four new He Poutama Rangatahi programmes, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “We’re continuing to secure our economic recovery from COVID by investing in opportunities for rangatahi to get into meaningful employment, education or training ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NCEA subjects up for consultation
    The education sector, students, their parents, whānau and communities are invited to share their thoughts on a list of proposed NCEA subjects released today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. This is a significant part of the Government’s NCEA Change Programme that commenced in 2020 and will be largely implemented by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major investment in plantain forage programme aims to improve freshwater quality
    The Government is backing a major programme investigating plantain’s potential to help farmers protect waterways and improve freshwater quality, Acting Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri announced at Fieldays today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFFF) fund is contributing $8.98 million to the $22.23 million seven-year programme, which aims to deliver ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • America’s Cup decision
    The Minister responsible for the America’s Cup has confirmed the joint Crown-Auckland Council offer to host the next regatta has been declined by the Board of Team New Zealand. “The exclusive period of negotiation between the Crown, Auckland Council, and Team New Zealand ends tomorrow, 17 June,” said Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food and fibres sector making significant strides towards New Zealand’s economic recovery
    The Government is backing the food and fibres sector to lead New Zealand's economic recovery from COVID-19 with targeted investments as part of its Fit for a Better World roadmap, Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said. “To drive New Zealand’s recovery, we launched the Fit for a Better World – Accelerating ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to He Whenua Taurikura – New Zealand’s annual hui on countering terrorism and violent...
    Check against delivery Can I begin by acknowledging the 51 shuhada, their families and the Muslim community. It is because of the atrocious violent act that was done to them which has led ultimately to this, the start of a dialogue and a conversation about how we as a nation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Cost of Government Southern Response proactive package released
    The Government has announced the proactive package for some Southern Response policyholders could cost $313 million if all those eligible apply. In December, the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, David Clark announced a proactive package for SRES claimants who settled their claims before October 2014. It trailed the judgment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New support to reduce emissions from public building and construction projects
    Government agencies are getting new support to reduce carbon emissions generated by construction of new buildings, with the release of practical guidance to shape decisions on public projects. The Ministers for Building and Construction and for Economic Development say a new Procurement Guide will help government agencies, private sector suppliers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • He Whenua Taurikura: New Zealand’s first Hui on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
    The Prime Minister has opened New Zealand’s first hui on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, which is being held in Christchurch over the next two days. The hui delivers on one of the recommendations from the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to inaugural Countering Terrorism Hui
    E aku nui, e aku rahi, Te whaka-kanohi mai o rātou mā, Ru-ruku-tia i runga i te ngākau whakapono, Ru-ruku-tia i runga i te ngākau aroha, Waitaha, Ngāti Mamoe, Ngai Tahu, nāu rā te reo pohiri. Tena tātou katoa. Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, ki te kapuia, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Campaign shines a light on elder abuse
    A new campaign is shining a spotlight on elder abuse, and urging people to protect older New Zealanders. Launched on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Office for Seniors’ campaign encourages friends, whānau and neighbours to look for the signs of abuse, which is often hidden in plain sight. “Research suggests ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Farewelling sports administrator and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar
    Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson today expressed his sorrow at the passing of Sir Eion Edgar – a leading sports administrator and celebrated philanthropist who has made a significant impact both within and beyond the sport sector. “Sir Eion’s energy, drive and generosity has been truly immense. He leaves ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to apologise for Dawn Raids
    The Government will make a formal apology for the wrongs committed during the Dawn Raids of the 1970’s. Between 1974 and 1976, a series of rigorous immigration enforcement policies were carried out that resulted in targeted raids on the homes of Pacific families. The raids to find, convict and deport overstayers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Humanitarian support for Bangladesh and Myanmar
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced that New Zealand is providing NZ $8.25 million in humanitarian assistance to support refugees and their host populations in Bangladesh and to support humanitarian need of internally displaced and conflict affected people in Myanmar.  “Nearly four years after 900,000 Rohingya crossed the border ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Poroporoaki: Dame Georgina Kamiria Kirby
    E Te Kōkō Tangiwai, Te Tuhi Mareikura, Te Kākākura Pokai kua riro i a matou. He toka tū moana ākinga ā tai, ākinga ā hau, ākinga ā ngaru tūātea.  Haere atu rā ki te mūrau a te tini, ki te wenerau a te mano.  E tae koe ki ngā rire ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback sought on future of housing and urban development
    New Zealanders are encouraged to have their say on a long-term vision for housing and urban development to guide future work, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced. Consultation starts today on a Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will support the long-term direction of Aotearoa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago