Defence Force Members Are Workers Too

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, April 14th, 2013 - 84 comments
Categories: class war, defence, employment, uncategorized, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

The Court Martial of Flight Lieutenant Dan Pezaro by the NZ Defence Force is making me uneasy. The internal Court of Inquiry into this accident hinted at major disfunction within the upper reaches of the Forces in terms of health and safety. On my reading of that report, the RNZAF itself could be liable in a civil health and safety system as employer, for failing to take all practicable steps to keep its workers safe, but here we have it laying charges against its own staff member, and in a process where the force itself is prosecutor and judge.

I have written before about the lack of clarity within the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE – old DOL) regarding its role in investigating logging truck accidents – it doesn’t investigate them (leaving it to the Police) and in doing so fails to meet its statutory duties. Because the police do it, in most truck accidents the HSE law is not even considered regardless that they are clearly workplace deaths. The same applies to Defence.

In an SSC report commissioned at the end of last year which looked at which agency actually has responsibility for investigating military accidents, it was decided that MBIE is the agency responsible regardless that in the helicopter case MBIE was under the impression that Civil Aviation had the authority (something in the name Civil should have been a clue). It appears no real health and safety work has been done by the regulator with this huge employer. This is a great big gap!

Despite barely paying any attention to the forces, and the forces having a health and safety record that ain’t pretty, MBIE happily told the SSC that they are of the view that NZDF is on the whole a responsible employer! It is clear from the Court of Inquiry report that there were serious management problems in this squadron and higher up including encouragement to take risks to get a job done, and if you thought lack of power in the employment relationship was a factor in Pike River – try saying ‘no’ in the military.

The report goes on to recommend MBIE gets its act together and employs some specialist inspectors who can do this work – this hasn’t happened. The recent drowning by a soldier wearing a life jacket that didn’t inflate because the bloody gas bottle was empty raises questions regarding the most basic safety processes in some areas of Defence.

Because I can’t resist it despite you all telling me my blogs are too long – as a little aside – during the Pike investigation we objected when MBIE allowed Pike River lawyers to sit in while other miners from Pike were interviewed by its inspectors and the Police. We thought allowing the company which could be liable for the accident, to sit in when its workers were giving evidence potentially against it, was a conflict of interest. MBIE allowed it regardless. I was not surprised then to see this in the SSC report on how investigations could be done when the Defence Force or Police also want to investigate a defence accident:

NZ Police, MBIE and NZDF have advised that, in practice, joint interviews can be conducted or witness statements may be made available to other investigating bodies as far as practicable, which minimises the impact on survivors having to relive their experience and reduces the risk of evidence being altered in the retelling.”

Back to the point… sort of…

On a broader note I think it is time for more representation for those who work for the defence forces in this country. I have been concerned over the last couple of years about how the Government and Senior Officers have been taking advantage of the fact these men are sworn to loyalty and are unable to join together to have a collective voice about their employment issues. Recent attacks on them include the unilateral reduction in conditions as we saw last year when rents were significantly increased and other benefits cut, the fact that there have been virtually no pay increases to personnel for 5 years (a small increase was made last year), the moving of uniformed staff into civilian jobs undermining pay and career choices, and this along with the way the Defence Force seems to be unaccountable for its workplace accidents.

On the various picket lines last year I was surprised that the number of families who had sons in the military. It was fascinating to hear their stories – of poor quality shoes that hurt feet, of having to sew pockets into uniforms to carry necessary gear, but mostly concern over conditions of work and wage rates. Some of the stories they told were chilling.

Workers are considered “members” of the defence forces rather than employees. This means they are not covered by employment law and do not have either employment rights or a union. The legislation provides only two ways out – to leave of your own free will or to be discharged for bad behaviour (I have questioned the legality of the redundancies made last year). There is an understanding – you have a membership – in exchange for loyalty and giving up your employment rights, you will be looked after – not exploited – your pay will be fair, you will have a career etc etc. There is an assume extra level of care in the concession of rights these workers make.

But the safety stuff is the biggest worry to me. If Defence were a normal employer, the MBIE would have come in (hopefully!) and if it as an organisation was found to have failed, it would have been prosecuted. In the helicopter case – Defence investigated itself and is now charging Flight Lieutenant Dan Pezaro. The Court of Inquiry report makes disturbing reading and read along Pike River, has some similarities.

From the SSC report:

“The report found that the organisation rewarded risk-taking behaviour, for example the organisation gave a particular individual a “hero-villain” reputation; “The hero-villain would be lauded for what he/she had achieved, but was known to be pushing the limits of safe operations and therefore in conflict with the safety and rules expectations of the RNZAF”

From the Inquiry report

It is likely that operating in marginal weather conditions has become ‘normalised’ behaviour for 3 Squadron and that the formation either did not recognise the risk posed by the poor weather, or had been exposed to it so often that their perception of the risk had reduced.”

Makeshift securing strops and clips have been riveted or bolted onto the toolkit and picketing boxes throughout 3 Squadron role equipment stores and are used to secure them to the floor of the aircraft during flight. All three of these strop sets failed in the accident, freeing the items to move during the impact sequence. These items are heavy and present a significant hazard to the occupants of the aircraft once loose. The torn strops showed evidence of rotting and contamination. These strops are not subject to typical RNZAF servicing regimes, as there are no inspection requirements or design standards for the fitting of the strops to the boxes.”

The Human Factors Report identified that a ‘can do’ culture existed on 3 Squadron at the time of the accident. The ‘can do’ culture had positive aspects that included increased motivation and increased effort towards achieving tasks from scarce resources. These positive aspects are actively encouraged by the RNZAF. The positive aspect was described by one expert as ‘3 Squadron gets the job done, that’s just the way they are.’ Aircrew also stated that if you wanted to get another task, you’d get this one done. This reinforcement is apparent in the Unit Citations, SAR Awards and other commendations received by the Squadron.”

The organisational response was described by an expert as giving a particular individual a ‘hero-villain’ reputation. The hero-villain would be lauded for what he/she had achieved, but was known to be pushing the limits of safe operations and therefore in conflict with the safety and rules expectations of the RNZAF. “

It is unclear from these reports if the NZDF took “all practicable steps” to keep these young men safe. The chance the NZDF will prosecute itself it remote. It needs someone charged for this terrible accident and while this soldier may have some real responsibility to answer, I would feel better if the force itself were also at least investigated as other employers are. We know from Pike River that self regulation does not work to keep workers safe. I suspect the Military is a big fat example of that.



84 comments on “Defence Force Members Are Workers Too ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    On top of all the above, as we have seen the RWC duties meant that essential training for Afghanistan was reduced.
    Its unbelievable how National, by their cost saving targets have turned the Defence Force into a Dads Army of incompetance.

    That poor soldier drowning is a harrowing story, poor equipment , not having the required back up boat etc. Will anyone be accountable ?

  2. dumrse 2

    What they don’t need is a Union, certainly nothing represented by the writer of the article. Try and think how they might conduct a battle when two minutes before H hour, a platoon decides to go on strike.

    [lprent: Banned for two weeks for rewriting the authors narrative. Helen mentioned unions exactly once saying they were not covered by one. The post was about the lack of oversight by the government body tasked with health and safety You do not try to rewrite what was written by an author if you wish to comment here. ]

    • Matthew 2.1

      Theres a big difference between being in a combat zone & doing a flyby for shits & giggles. And if a soldier died in a war zone because his gear failed, you can be sure there would be an investigation.

    • KJT 2.2

      I wouldn’t blame them.

      People we expect to fight and maybe die for us should have the best gear and training we can give them.

      Sounds like they do need a Union.

    • chris73 2.4

      Roughly 11 000 personal in the NZDF (about 8500 full time off the top of my head) would add some nice figures and money to the union coffers…

      But I’m sure thats not whats being suggested…

      [lprent: No it wasn’t – banned 4 weeks. The extra weeks are for trying to be a stupid lawyer and dog-whistler. ]

      • fender 2.4.1

        The top of your head seems to be rotten, this is about protecting NZDF personal, not making money you idiot. Any money involved gets invested in ensuring the wellbeing of those who have decided their interests are better served when they work together as a group.

        It’s a shame you got infected with whaleoil virus chris.

    • Murray Olsen 2.5

      How many people would be alive today if soldiers in WW1 had gone on strike instead of going over the top? If the ANZACs had shared a hangi on the beach with the Turks? Let the chickenhawk politicians and the generals go and fight each other. They can even give the survivors medals afterwards, I don’t care.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.5.1

        World War I notwithstanding, nonsense. To paraphrase Tzun Tsu – failure to attend to military matters is the height of inhumanity. The alternative is that the world be ruled by despots.

        • Murray Olsen

          A good part of the world is ruled by despots. All the attending to military matters that’s gone on for centuries hasn’t done much to change that, and when our soldiers have fought, it has has sometimes been on the wrong side.
          I mentioned WW1 and Gallipoli. On Gallipoli specifically, how was Turkey not ruled by a despot after all the fighting?
          What did our troops achieve in Vietnam? Malaysia? Afghanistan? Iraq? With regard to Timor Leste, we trained the elite troops of a despot. We did really well as a Little Britain when we invaded Samoa.
          I’m no pacifist, far from it, but I don’t see that 90% of the fighting that’s happened has done anything to prevent despotic rule.

      • KJT 2.5.2

        Rather a few if both German and Allied troops had gone on strike, and refused to fight for Queen Victoria’s offspring’s domestic disputes.

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    Always good to see the rightwing voices here showing their true colours.

    Any time there’s a war, or the US wants to bomb someone, there’s a plague of rightwingers jumping up and down about patriotism and supporting the troops. When it come to actually supporting the troops however, there is nothing but bile and dishonest horseshit.

    They don’t support the troops, they just support wars.


    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      Well said. The Right is an ethics-free zone.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Not just ethics free but logic free – they really don’t seem to understand that the things they want have to be paid for.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2


      Bloody well said. During the 1990s the National government cut defense force spending to the point that the defense forces were effectively useless. They’re doing it again now. During the 2000s and a government that doesn’t support wars increased that spending giving the defense forces better gear and equipment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have given them better training or management.

  4. Tim 4

    “I have written before about the lack of clarity within the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE – old DOL) regarding its role in investigating logging truck accidents – it doesn’t investigate them…. ”

    No it doesn’t. Part of the tactic of this government was to utterly under-resource DoL investigative capability. I’ve no doubt people were yelling their concerns.
    When things verge on collapse, easier to just have a restructure/merger, no matter HOW inappropriate the mixture of functions might be, and pretend all is better.

    I’ve still got a couple of old reference numbers that (after 18 months) have just disappeared into a black hole.
    And NOT ONLY are Defence Force personnel workers too, so are students and immigrants who are subjected to broken promises, sharp deals, theft, unlawful bondage and so on by unscrupulous employers! Often they’re aided and abetted by an Immigration Department that issues visas that are tied to a specific employer. The lucky ones are those that find an employer that actually gives a shit.

    • Tim 4.1

      Oh….. I forgot – just how pleasing it is to see that we have the likes of Helen Kelly and Mike Treen giving a shit

  5. Helen Kelly 5

    David Fisher sent me this interesting link.
    On this issue of collective voice – these workers have fairly strict controls on their association so need a form of voice that fits those restrictions. I think the families could be a key here – they could form an association of some sort (Families Supporting Members of the Military?) and act as the lobby group these people need. This is a form of union with a small u really – a collective voice that fits the shape of the industry. It would have the inside information to know what was going on and could speak up with authority on the issues. It could demand that soldiers are reprseented in discussions that impact on their working conditions etc. Regardless – they need a voice in my view.

  6. mac1 6

    A former RAF and Air New Zealand pilot told me last night they should be courtmartialled. For him, with his training and experience, what seems to be a culture of risk-taking was anathema. Perhaps, though, the responsibility for that culture might be higher up than the senior pilot in the court martial.

    Reading Helen’s post, it seems that the armed services have poor equipment and safety standards, with inadequate action where safety is paramount. I would have thought that the armed forces would have been one service where inspection would be regular, rigorous and reactive.

    Widening the scope of that concern to other government initiatives, I note with concern that the new charter schools are going to be overseen by an agency that has no educational brief- the ombudsman- and therefore will have no real oversight.

  7. Macro_adder 7

    As a retired naval officer, and having worked for a number of years in what was then personnel (- now called HR) I really appreciate this post. It was always a concern for me that although most senior and middle management officers had the best interests of those who served at heart, the budgetary restrains and the need to fulfill “operational objectives” always seemed to be at odds. Having come from a family with strong socialist ideals – my dad was a union president for 20+ years the codes of conduct in Military service were out of right field so to speak! The only way that service personnel could express their dissatisfaction was, and still is! through mutiny. The last time this occurred as I recall was in the depression years when pay rates for servicemen were cut, leaving families in desperate straits.
    In the late 70’s early 80’s we had similar problems of poor pay. We were able to deal with this in a innovative way. Firstly an “open ended” engagement rather than fixed term engagement was negotiated with government. This allowed those who were dissatisfied to leave giving 3 months notice, and then, when the numbers of personnel began to reach such critical levels that the various arms were obviously becoming unable to meet their operational commitments, pay rates were finally raised to reasonable levels.
    Unfortunately, with an employment culture prevalent in this country, the result of the 1980’s and 90’s assault on worker rights and perpetuated to this day, which denigrates workers to such an extent, the situation for service personnel is exacerbated.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1

      Macro_Adder, what do you make of the new rôle for the Navy in suppressing marine-based protests?

      • Macro_adder 7.1.1

        I have already added my name to the on-line petition to which Sir Geoffery Palmer and numerous others have signed
        – In other words I am totally against the proposed changes. I might add that during the visit to Auckland of the the USN Nuclear ships to Auckland – whilst on one occassion I was Officer of the Day at Philomel and would have had to head the guard to eject intruders to the base – had that occurred, I and others, took the very real opportunity to tell the visitors that we really did not want their nuclear ships. We did this in a very cordial way – over a beer in the wardroom – after all they were only pawns in the game as well – but they were left in no doubt as to what we thought of the situation. Something that the civilian protester were not in a position to do.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Thanks for your response. I was also wondering if you could shed any light on the likely effect (if any) on morale of being deployed against NZ citizens. In an ideal world of course NZ troops would refuse any order to act against NZ civilians. Is there even a remote possibility of that?

          • Macro_adder

            I retired from the RNZN some years back so really am in position to answer as to what is the state of current morale, within the service. I understand that there is a huge turnover at the present time – mostly connected with current pay rates and renumeration with certain trades. Naval electrical and engineering trades in particular are in high demand by heavy industry. Unfortunately the country as a whole does not appreciate the fact that there are few institutions that train such specialist trades people. I would find it hard to accept an order to act against Civilians in fact this is one of the with the Proposed legislation.
            sorry have to log off now.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Thanks again M_A.

              Let’s hope the National Party fails to remake the military in its own image.

          • Murray Olsen

            I know some low level people in the Army. They are environmentally conscious. I suspect there is a remote possibility that they would refuse such orders. In 1981, I was told that soldiers had discussed how far they would let Muldoon use them against civilians. My information was that they would not have gone past the support roles they performed, and certainly would not have stood at the shoulders of the Red Squad. For obvious reasons, none of this has been documented.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Except here, by you, just now 🙂

              As for the rest, I should bloody well hope so too. On the environmental front, the US military rates the Greenhouse Effect as a national security concern. No congressional politics for them.

              Who would board Elvis Teddy’s boat? Or the Steve Irwin?

              I hope the National Party has picked a fight it cannot win.

              • Murray Olsen

                My “documentation” here lacks details, times, and names. I’d call it more of a passing mention.
                The military people most likely to board boats and attack civilians, in my opinion, would be in the RNZAF. They are the most right wing of any that I’ve come across, are quite happy to give lectures running down Labour Governments at the Australian Officer Academy, and are ironically seen by many others as “civilians in uniform.” Thankfully, they’d probably all get seasick.

            • joe90

              US Admiral Samuel J. Locklear on the greatest threat the Pacific faces.



              Inhofe pressed Locklear to say his view has been misrepresented by “environmental extremists” who “think we’re spending too much money on defense.” The admiral did anything but that.

              About 280,000 people died in natural disasters in his Pacific area of responsibility from 2008 to 2012, Locklear said.

              “Now, they weren’t all climate change or weather-related, but a lot of them were,” he said. And that will only get worse as the population soars and even more people move toward “the economic centers, which are near the ports and facilities that support globalization,” according to the admiral.

    • ghostrider888 7.2

      Thank You for the gen. “Master-At-Arms”

  8. ochocinco 8

    What National has done to the NZDF is nothing short of treason

    It actually makes me boil with rage. Funding slashed (but creative accounting – the Vote NZDF remains high, but look at the amount underspent. In real terms they have actually had funding CUT considerably since 2008 when under Labout 99-08 it grew by more than 50% in real terms (not counting the capital charge smoke and mirrors).

    Civilianisation was stupid. They’ve slashed outputs from P-3 hours through to IPV hours as well as reduced the required readiness of our infantry units.

    They let the disgusting beancounter Rod Deane near them… a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    Morale is suffering. You can’t run a country like a business, John Key, and you sure as hell can’t run a military force like a business. Esprit de corps, morale, all the intangibles are what matters.

    All the good done under Labour 99-08 has been DESTROYED. And it’s not the first time. Muldoon wondered why we needed battalions, the Roundtable in 90-92 wanted to get rid of the NZDF and thank goodness Richardson et al didn’t go along with it.

    And you know what? They’ve started, stealthily, doing the same to NZ Police. Despite their “tough on crime” rhetoric. They talk “front line” while jobs are bled from the back office… while senior officers are “steered” towards retirement. When important positions are regraded a band down.

    I could go on for hours, but I won’t. I left that world and won’t go back until we reclaim the Treasury benches in 2014.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      You can’t run a country like a business, John Key,

      And in fact, Key isn’t even running things like a good business, just a short term ponzi scam.

      No serious business person who wanted to build a value adding organisation to last would do what he has done.

  9. Tazireviper 9

    Reminds me of a long not forgotten Incident from my past

  10. Yes 10

    Hold on Helen Kelly just used the words collective…sounds like touting for union fees…the better question for Helen was what makes her an expert on this matter? The title also suggest employment slant

    [lprent: “Yes” only seems to show up when Helen Kelly writes a post and then runs troll style diversions on her posts. Now banned for being a idiot and for never managing to actually say anything on interest past their personal obsession. I’ve left the few comments where they said something substantive and wiped where they were simple trolling tactic statements. ]

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Touting for workers’ union fees and workers’ union strength!

      Every military knows that co-ordinated action always beats individualistic action. Duh.

      the better question for Helen was what makes her an expert on this matter?

      Do you have any substantial criticisms of the statements made or do you just want to take random potshots at the person?

      • Yes 10.1.1

        there is a fine line between military and workers – there is an expectation of our defence forces on what they sign up for – I think the heading is unfortunate and leads to the wrong assumptions.

        potshots – good words when you consider what the article is about – she is the one taking potshots

        • Colonial Viper

          there is a fine line between military and workers – there is an expectation of our defence forces on what they sign up for

          Yeah, like because they may be called on at any time to risk their lives, that they should be well paid, well resourced, well equipped and well led.

          Not much to ask eh?

          potshots – good words when you consider what the article is about – she is the one taking potshots

          Kelly has raised several critical and potentially systemic issues to do with the employment status and safety of our defence force staff. It’s time for you to take these seriously instead of treating the concerns as a joke.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Why can’t we get some commentary from the Right that consists of anything other than unsupported assertions and bile?

          Here we have yet another example – empty words signifying nothing other than a resentment of the author and the message. Genuine counter arguments are a bit of a stretch.

          No wonder they have a reputation for stupidity when “Yes” et al embody it on a daily basis.

          • Yes

            awww come on guys – firstly why do you think I am from the right?

            2nd – lets get to the nuts and bolts – Helen Kelly uses well known union phrases in writing her report or essay – whatever it is. But all I am saying is that talking to some mothers on a picket libne is pretty dam weak info to say the least.

            My wife complains everyday but I dont go writing big naff conclusions.

            Helen Kelly is not qualified to talk on that matter – if she invited someone on behalf on armed forces yes – i would give it cred. Of course defence workers are workers are workers – do you think the general public is that thick

            [lprent: She doesn’t have to be a expert on defense matters. She is asking a question about safety. When I was a soldier then I’d have expected to have some oversight on such matters from outside of the military as well. It rather shocks me that there doesn’t appear to be anything in the review of air accidents. It makes me wonder what other areas aren’t reviewed either.

            Simple standard safety procedures demand that all ‘accidents’ involving death or even injury are reviewed by an outside body who are experts. This may be anything from a coroners court to aviation authorities. They should definitely not be the rubber stamp that MOBIE appears to provide. ]

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Do you have anything substantive to say or are you a little bit challenged? The OP discusses health and safety issues and raises the conflict of interest and lack of natural justice inherent in the RNZAF’s prosecution of Flight Lieutenant Dan Pezaro, but instead you chose a vacuous childish attack on Helen Kelly, not to mention the poor woman who was unfortunate enough to marry you.

              Or is she a stupid wingnut too?

            • felix

              “My wife complains everyday”

              Really? I can’t imagine why.

              “but I dont go writing big naff conclusions.”

              Until now.

            • Murray Olsen

              We should all be worried about the conditions under which those our government may send into danger are serving. Are you suggesting that a unionist should not be?
              I also doubt if a present armed forces member can give their opinion about their employer on a blog.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    At the time of the crash the MSM speculated that to SAVE money on expensive hotel accommodation in Wellington on the night before ANZAC Day, the crew had been instructed NOT to fly in the day before. (They were going to the dawn ceremony.) So they took off in the dark and died.

    Any confirmation on whether that line of inquiry has been investigated?

    It sounds very plausible to me.

  12. Yes 12

    [idiot troll statement deleted]

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 12.1

      Yep, you really haven’t got anything to say, have you? Not only that, you are determined to confirm the widely held belief that wingnuts are as thick as pigshit.

      • Yes 12.1.1

        [idiot troll statement deleted]

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Have you read the site policy on attacking authors? Doing so might give you a teensy hint as to why I think you’re an idiot.

          I note you are still spouting vacuous drivel and you still haven’t made a single substantive observation.

          I sense you may not be here long.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      let me go another way – what has Helen Kelly done for NZ?

      She’s raised a number of important employment, health and safety issues affecting, and possibly endangering, our defence force staff.

      While you’ve patently ignored those issues simply in order to attack the messenger.

    • karol 12.3

      Reading, and examining the report, and posting about the concerns thereby raised, is beneficial to many Kiwis – as with Helen’s campaigning for the health and safety of forestry workers – or do the lives of Kiwis doing their best for the other people not matter to you?

  13. Yes 13

    [idiot troll statement deleted]

  14. Yes 14

    Never denied the intention of the article just why is talking to someone on a picket line makes her an expert on armed forces

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Why? Did she claim that she was a military strategist?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 14.2

      Does it? In your wizened little wingnut “brain” perhaps it does. The article, on the other hand, is about health and safety, the callous and fatal disregard of the same by this government, and the conflict of interest inherent in the RNZAF’s prosecution of Flight Lieutenant Dan Pezaro.

      I note your puerile drivel fails completely to challenge any of that, while also failing to land a single hit on your intended target.

      Keep it up, you’re a perfect example of a National Party gimp.

      • Yes 14.2.1

        [idiot troll statement deleted]

        • Colonial Viper

          Actually I voted for Martians and don’t worry I hired the Pink Panther to continue the investigation

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Still talking shite, still got nothing to say, except now you’re a literary critic. Twit.

        • karol

          Well, what Helen has done is a bit of an investigation – looking at the reports from 2 inquiries, talking to several relevant people. As far as I know she hasn’t been allocated funding, resources and the authority to do more.

          This is just a blog post, raising some important issues. Maybe it will eventually lead to a more extensive inquiry.

          Meanwhile, do you have anything to say about the substance of the issues Helen has raised?

          Looks more like a diversion to me.

    • karol 14.3

      Helen did more than talk to one person – she talked to several people on the picket line as well as looking closely at a couple of relevant reports. Did you actually read the post, Yes?

  15. Yes 15

    [idiot troll statement deleted]

  16. Yes 16

    [idiot troll statement deleted]

  17. Yes 17

    Tell me no one has answered my Helen kelly qualified to talk on this matter..not the report

    [lprent: What I find noticeable is that you only show up whenever Helen writes a post, and then you write crap. I’d say that you have a simple obsession. Permanent ban for attacking an author. All comments you make under any name will be wiped. ]

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.1

      English comprehension 101: it wasn’t a question.

      What qualifications does a workers’ advocate need to discuss health and safety, natural justice and conflict of interest? Am I using too many syllables?

    • lprent 17.2

      On the inability of MOBiE in overseeing safety? Yes I’d say that there is no-one better. Do you think that they’re doing a goo job. If so then explain where you get you expertise from.

      And you do look like just another moronic troll insisting that you know everything. All of the usual characteristics, which is why no-one engages with you.

      However. Wiping your comments that look like troll barbs and are without informational content.

  18. Forgotten 19

    Not a bad report, but you missed something vital that has irritated me for years throughout my service – the NZDF also employs WOMEN. We go through the same rubbish, get the same poor uniform & face the same, sometimes worse, treatment. So don’t forget. The NZDF isn’t just for men.

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    Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin will visit New Zealand next week, the first here by an Indonesian leader since 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has announced. “New Zealand and Indonesia have a strong partnership,” Mr Peters says.  “The Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen ...
    20 hours ago
  • Government boost to fight against caulerpa
    The battle to contain the fast-spreading exotic caulerpa seaweed has today received a $5 million boost to accelerate the development of removal techniques, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The time is now to really lean in and build on the work of Biosecurity New Zealand, mana whenua, communities and local ...
    21 hours ago
  • Minister attending Australian data, digital meeting
    Minister for Digitising Government Judith Collins is in Sydney to attend the first Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting of 2024.  “This is a great opportunity to connect with our Australian counterparts and identify how we can work together on digital transformation,” Ms Collins says.   “Both our nations are looking into ...
    2 days ago
  • Appointments to Antarctica New Zealand Board
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appointed Leon Grice and Heather Simpson to serve on the Antarctica New Zealand board.  “Since taking office, the Coalition Government has become concerned about the direction of the Scott Base Redevelopment Project,” Mr Peters says.  “It is vital that Antarctica New Zealand has the right ...
    2 days ago
  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
    2 days ago
  • Government to address business payment practices
    The Government will repeal the Business Payment Practices Act 2023, Small Business and Manufacturing Minister Andrew Bayly announced today. “There is a major problem with large market players imposing long payment terms and routinely paying invoices late. “However, the Business Payment Practices Act is not an effective solution and would ...
    2 days ago
  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
    2 days ago
  • Finance Minister to meet Australian Treasurer
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to Australia today to meet her Australian counterpart, Treasurer Jim Chalmers.    “New Zealand and Australia have an incredibly strong trade and investment relationship. The Closer Economic Relations and Single Economic Market are powerful engines for growth on both sides of the Tasman.     “I will ...
    2 days ago
  • PM shocked and saddened at death of Efeso Collins
    “I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death,” Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to his family, ...
    3 days ago
  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    3 days ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    4 days ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    4 days ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    6 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    1 week ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    1 week ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    1 week ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    1 week ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    1 week ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister congratulates NZQA Top Scholars
    Education Minister Erica Stanford congratulates the New Zealand Scholarship recipients from 2023 announced today.  “Receiving a New Zealand Scholarship is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the hard work and dedication the recipients have put in throughout the year,” says Ms Stanford.  “New Zealand Scholarship tests not only ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    2 weeks ago

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