web analytics

Digested Read – Spirit Level 1: The Problem

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, September 17th, 2010 - 41 comments
Categories: equality - Tags:

Digested Read Digested – We’re succeeding materially, but failing socially.

We’ve never had it so good – the luxury and extravagance of our lives threatens the planet, we have so much… but somehow our lives seem to be a constant psychological battle against stress and emotional exhaustion.

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are a pair of epidemiologists with over 50 years of research into the social determinants of health between them; trained in tracing the causes of disease in populations.  They started trying to work out why the life-expectancy of one suburb can be more than 10 years less than a neighbouring wealthier suburb, and have ended up with something that could be called ‘evidence-based politics’.

They make no claims to be left or right on the political spectrum, and got top politicians from all parties to sign up to their equality pledge before the recent UK general election – including the new Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.  Rather their philosophy is purely a scientific view of what works best for people – all people – in a community.

Research show that people feel that ‘materialism’ is coming between them and happiness.  People feel they are alone in wanting society to move away from greed and excess toward a way of life more centred on values, community and family – but in fact the vast majority feel the same way.  Mainstream politics doesn’t seem to tap into this feeling, and as such many have given up on society, and feel only able to better themselves as individuals – to society’s further ruin.

But what is the proof of the cause of the decline of community and the rise of the broken society?

This graph shows that above ~$US20,000 GDP/person, growth of wealth makes no difference to life expectancy.  But wealth within a society makes a great difference to life expectancy.  So additional wealth doesn’t gain a country more life for its citizens.  In fact we can generalise across a whole set of health and social indicators – additional wealth doesn’t seem to help with any of them:

But the rates of these various problems definitely varies between countries.  So what’s the difference between the US, UK & Portugal, coming out badly on so many indicators; and Japan & Sweden, which do so well?

Some countries have a far greater income inequality than others – the US, UK and Portugal are very unequal.  That’s us there, just above them after our great rise in Gini (link) in the late 80s and 90s.

So how does the graph look if we correlate with income inequality?

Suddenly the graph is linear.  There are various ways of measuring inequality (Gini, Robin Hood index, richest vs poorest 10 or 20%…) they all come out with a graph very similar to this.  The graph comparing US states inequality to social and health problems comes out similar as well.  So there is definitely a link between these problems and inequality.  I’ll go into more depth in each area in later blogs.

The Spirit Level authors believe income inequality is largely important as it is our current way of measuring hierarchy in society.  Other forms of inequality are probably important too, but income is where the data and evidence is, and it is the way society currently values people.  A certain level of wealth is required but in the wealthiest 50 nations virtually everyone has access to that.  So the problem is social distances and stratification – keeping up with the Joneses.

Second rate goods equals second rate people.  Status matters.  Having less than those next to us makes us anxious and stressed.  It affects our self-esteem.  We become self-promoting and insecure, as we are constantly in a race and scared of being found out as not as important (ie wealthy) as we make out to be.  We have less time to make and keep friends as we spend all our time trying to earn and spend our wealth to maintain our place.

In a more equal society the race isn’t so all-consuming, we have more friends, more trust, more community and more happiness.  But no less wealth.  He who has most toys doesn’t win, he just makes sure others lose out more.

For more detail: Read the book. Buy it and/or support the Trust.

Right-wing trolls: r0b had a recent post with links refuting the arguments you’re about to make…

41 comments on “Digested Read – Spirit Level 1: The Problem”

  1. SHG 1

    Why do people post 4-colour graphics as jpegs?

  2. tsmithfield 2

    There is plenty of criticism about various aspects of “the spirit level” that can be accessed online. Having thought about this for a few days now, there is one glaring aspect that I would like to point out. The study is mainly a correlation study. The well-worn phrase “correlation is not causation” applies here.

    For instance, In the last graph above, income inequality is shown as the IV and “health and social problems” as the DV. This implies that simply by sharing the wealth around more equally health and social problems will disappear. However, this makes no sense whatsoever.

    It would make a lot more sense to have “health and social problems” as the IV (the x axis) and income inequality as the DV (the y axis). This would imply that if we do something about the health and social issues then income inequality will reduce. For instance, if we improve parenting skills, take measures to improve educational outcomes etc, people are more likely to become well educated, get better jobs etc. If we do something about reducing smoking addiction, then people will be better off financially through not wasting money on smokes, and be healthier as well.

    • Puddleglum 2.1

      The well-worn phrase “correlation is not causation” applies here.

      Indeed. It could be a third factor that explains both … wonder what that might be? No, I don’t wonder: It’s the individualistic forms of life that underpin, and are reinforced by, capitalism. They produce both the inequality and the social and personal harms.

      That third factor even explains your ‘poor parenting skills’ factor.

      Well done TS – you led us to the cause.

    • Zorr 2.2

      I love this common misconception around the whole “correlation does not imply causation” issue. Correlation DOES imply causation – the issue ends up being that many people just assume that because it does that there is a relevant point to be made from just doing correlation studies and latching on to any results at all.

      Also, your labeling of the axes would be unscientific. You always have the fixed value as the x-axis and the variable as the y-axis. In this case the income inequality is a known fixed value and the y-axis is the value they are wanting to measure against it – in this case the social and health issues. Ultimately though, just another flash in the pan from you ts because that isn’t even an argument, just a diversion.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Still trying to deny reality there I see TS

    • Ari 2.4

      Correlation suggests possible causation, and shifts the burden of proof- that is to say, we should be suspicious that inequality causes health and social problems from that alone. You’re right that it doesn’t by itself prove anything, but I’d be genuinely curious to see what you think is actually causing this correlation if it’s not simply a linear relationship.

    • Bunji 2.5

      Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’.

      But the Spirit Level does look at a number of studies for various effects that look at correlation vs causation – does trust cause income difference or vice-versa. You can guess the conclusion given the book’s premise…

      The graphs have a particular format to make them easy to read. They all have the same simplified format, so you don’t need a science degree to understand it all. Having a science degree myself, I miss the detail; but prefer that it’s in a more widely understandable format.

      (SHG: which format would you prefer me to re-save them into? PNG? I exist to make y’all happy…)

      And TS – people who aren’t desperately trying to catch up on income tend to have more time to spend on their parenting skills, their children’s education etc. Equalising income a) won’t happen overnight and b) if it did it would still have a lag before some problems were solved/showed significant improvement.

      • SHG 2.5.1

        Just teasing mate, although you could have posted them as 4- or -8-color gifs and they would have looked better and been much smaller 🙂

        • Bunji 2.5.1.1

          Ah, but I have a philosophical objection to gif. Having programmed graphics applications in the past and then you have to *license* gif, I’m all about the png. That’s the best you’re getting.

          But then png is the best.

  3. roger nome 3

    You’re right – tsmith, i’ve heard that more unequal societies are targeted by extra-terrestrials for abductions as they offer more variety accross the human spectrum. The abductions harm poorer people more because they are better abducties (people won’t notice they’re gone as much). This is the crucial variable that the authors of the spirit level are missing – or is there a cover-up going on? (i.e. earth’s scientists being told to lie about global warming so the communist space lizards can centralise power and turn earth into a gulag planet).

    Can you email me? I would like to co-author a piece for investigate magazine with you about this pressing issue…

    • tsmithfield 3.1

      Zorr, as I understand it there are numerous variables from various studies that have been combined together to become one variable (index of health and social problems). The fact this has been described as an index means that it could validly be used as the x axis, so I am not sure your argument is sound.

      The problem with trying to address “health and social problems” by equalising income is that it does not change human habits that are causing the “health and social problems”. For example consider the examples often cited of people who have become instantly rich through a Lotto win or the like and then lose the money within a short time frame. Consider the likes of Mike Tyson who came into boxing with a lot of behavioural issues. Getting wealth did not change his behaviour.

      However, by looking at the picture the other way, and seeing “health and social problems” as the causal variable, then we can actually do something to address the problems that are stopping people from getting ahead. Simply throwing money at people simply won’t do this.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Nobody has said anything about throwing money at people. More that we should be looking at getting a more equal share going rather than giving it all to the worthless rich people.

      • Puddleglum 3.1.2

        Hi TS,

        Don’t you like my idea that there may be a third variable that causes both inequality and social and health problems? If not, why not?

      • bbfloyd 3.1.3

        ts.. you highlight a basic stumbling block to creating balanced societies.

        the philosophy that everything that ails us can be fixed with money. most people i know who are in the “deprived” sector of society don’t see having more money as any more than a basic necessity, required because their utilities and groceries etc, are purchased with money. given the choice, most would prefer to be self sufficient, and most have the skills and knowledge to do that.

        the fact that money is a necessary commodity for basic survival in todays society is seen as one of the largest sources of sress by these groups. unfortunately, we have government that, it seems is hellbent on ensuring that the aquisition of money is as fundamental to our continued participation in society as breeding.

        can’t help but wonder if commodity based economics wouldn’t lend itself to a more balanced approach to social outcomes

  4. roger nome 4

    ts – there are other simiar studies that have found the same thing.

    http://www.ccsd.ca/pubs/2002/olympic/indicators.htm

    The challange for the right is to replicate these studies, and see if the results come out different. But that won’t happen will it? Because “reality has a left wing bias…”

    • tsmithfield 4.1

      Roger, I am sure there are plenty of studies that are showing similar things. However, in each of the studies I would give the response I have given above.

      At least what I have proposed can be operationalised in specific changes that will improve people’s capability to get ahead. What I am suggesting will enable people to develop life-long habits that improve their life over the long-term.

      Simply equalising income does not achieve this. All it does is make people richer for a time. However, as it has been said before, if all the wealth in the world was distributed equally, it wouldn’t be long before most of it was back in the hands of those who had it in the first place.

      By actually giving people tools to improve their own situation they have the opportunity to generate sustainable wealth that will close the income gap in a more sustainable way. What objection do you have to this course of action?

      • mcflock 4.1.1

        By actually giving people tools to improve their own situation they have the opportunity to generate sustainable wealth that will close the income gap in a more sustainable way. I agree fully, TS.

        There are two ways for an individual to generate sustainable wealth: the work of their mind or the work of their body. I believe that everyone should be given these tools to generate their own wealth.

        To give them an effective mind, education up to and including tertiary level should be freely available.
        To give them effective bodies, we must give them healthcare, shelter, clothing and nutritious food.

        I am glad we are in agreement, and will look for you at the next socialist rally.

        • tsmithfield 4.1.1.1

          Actually, I think the tools are much more fundamental than that. For instance, I know someone who is a multi-millioinaire who has reached that position using tools that are available to nearly everyone.

  5. roger nome 5

    ts – i agree that the changes would take a decade or two have their full impact. I don’t see this as an argument to not impliment them however.

  6. roger nome 6

    ” Simply equalising income does not achieve this.”

    So we have a pronouncement from an anon blogger with no back up facts or argument, versus decades of meticulous research by experts… hmmm which side to pick…..

    • tsmithfield 6.1

      Since these sort of studies are invariably correlational it is quite open to see the research from the other direction. One way to determine which direction is most likely to be the correct view is to come up with some logical ways in which the effect might occur. I think its quite easy to see how improving educational outcomes etc will increase the likelihood of succeeding in life and thus earning more money.

      I don’t think it is at all easy to see how simply giving people more money will improve their outcomes. In fact, in many cases it might actually make things worse for people. For instance, what would be the likely effect of giving more money to a heroin addict?

      So roger, which part of my statement below do you disagree with and why?

      I said: “By actually giving people tools to improve their own situation they have the opportunity to generate sustainable wealth that will close the income gap in a more sustainable way.”

      • Puddleglum 6.1.1

        Sorry to pursue you, TS, (see comments above) but you seem to think that causality can only be from A to B or from B to A.

        What about a third variable? I’d really like to know what you think of that. (It might also help explain why, as you put it, if all the income were ‘equalised’ it would soon end up with an unequal distribution.)

        • Bunji 6.1.1.1

          I think ts is confusing income with wealth, and maintaining a system that pushes wealth to an elite.

        • tsmithfield 6.1.1.2

          You are quite right, Puddleglum. And this is one of the failings of the research in that it has lumped numerous variables, each with their own diverse 3rd variable relationships into one neat variable “index of health and social problems”.

          However, the approach I am suggesting would deal with third variable problems in the process of dealing with other issues. It is probably a lot harder than redistributing wealth, but in the long-term it is likely to be much more effective in achieving the same end.

  7. roger nome 7

    “I don’t think it is at all easy to see how simply giving people more money will improve their outcomes.”

    But we’re not not talking about “giving people more money”. We’re talking about changing the social contract so that the health and happiness of the people is improved. That you discount the evidence in favour of your bluster does not show you in a favourable light.

  8. KJT 8

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that unskilled get paid the same as skilled workers for instance. The problem is the gross inequality of income where a manager gets 100’s of times more pay than his/her staff. Or the owners of capital are able to remove most of societies wealth as of right even if it means other people live in unnecessary poverty.

    As Warren Buffet said. “There is class warfare and it is my class, the rich class, that is winning”

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Roger nome: “But we’re not not talking about “giving people more money”. We’re talking about changing the social contract so that the health and happiness of the people is improved. That you discount the evidence in favour of your bluster does not show you in a favourable light.”

    I think in some ways we are talking about the same thing. I am all in favour of people improving their situation in life and improving their outcomes. However, this is probably where I would differ from the socialist perspective which is largely based around taking money from the wealthy and redistributing it. However, that doesn’t in itself achieve anything to improve the ability of people to move away from dependence on others, or to change dysfunctional behaviours.

    I think that improving the ability of people to build their own wealth, prosperity and well-being is a through helping them overcome dysfunctional behavioural patterns and increase their skills and abilities is a much better long-term solution. This concept doesn’t seem that radical to me.

    • felix 9.1

      Interesting that you consider the poor to be dependent on the rich.

      It seems to me to be quite the reverse – that the wealthiest people in society are the ones riding on the backs of the rest.

      • tsmithfield 9.1.1

        I guess you could have that perspective.

        However, I see the roots of poverty are in dysfunction rather than inequity.

        The way I see it is that socialists want to take people out of the gutter to achieve equity. I don’t think this approach actually achieves very much other than to shift existing wealth around.

        My approach is to take the gutter out of people. This is much harder, but is likely to result in the pool of wealth actually increasing rather than just being shifted around..

        • Puddleglum 9.1.1.1

          TS, I think you’re confused abut socialism.

          Socialism is not about redistribution; it’s about re-organising society in such a way that work, community processes and the general economy are based on and run by the people in those workplaces, communities and economies.

          Socialists qua socialists, are opposed to the notion of limited liability companies, private corporations, etc., and their ability to be treated as legal individuals, because they see them as vehicles deliberately constructed for the leveraging, appropriation and accumulation of wealth for an individual person (or persons as shareholders) out of the work of a collective of people who do not fully share in the benefits of that production.

          They suggest a range of cooperatively controlled and run ‘entities’ to produce goods and services and participatory collective processes for determining what gets produced, how much, when, etc.. In addition, they advocate alternative processes for rewarding individuals’ economic activity to that of the market price for particular forms of labour. The assumption is usually that some individuals will receive greater reward than others, but just not in the extreme way it can happen in a capitalist market economy with its contraptions such as companies, etc. that allow immense differentials in how individuals are ‘rewarded’ for their economic activity.

          What you describe as ‘socialism’ is actually some hybrid of modern social democratic and liberal approaches. With these, capitalism is accepted as the best way to organise and run most of the non-state economy but they apply some degree of constraint to, regulation and limitation of that activity.

          Social democrats/liberals are the ones who use redistribution primarily to compensate the losers in an economic system that they tend to think cannot be (or should not be) replaced, while realising that it produces harsh and unfair outcomes for many people.

          More on topic, the best way to “take the gutter out of people”, as you put it, is to re-organise the social system that creates gutters so that it no longer does so.

          My point in response to your suggestion is that ‘poor parenting skills’ and other forms of what Richard Prebble used to call “behavioural poverty” are actually generated by market capitalism, as a general tendency,

          That’s because the incentive and impulse towards so-called economic efficiency encounters all non-market processes of social cohesion, connection and self-maintenance and organisation (e.g., parenting) as obstacles to the process of capital growth and wealth accumulation. At best such a society ends up commodifying those social processes and selling them back to us.

          For example, we all need connections to others (family, friends, etc.). Capitalist evolution results, necessarily, in the dismantling of communities, families, friendships and other forms of social support and connection. After creating a world in which people routinely move about and migrate for jobs and other opportunities. and, as a consequence, repeatedly leave family and friends and break social connections to place, those connections then get sold back to us (in emaciated form) via mobile phones, social networking sites and so on.

          The same pressures and incentives that dismantle other social processes have exerted themselves on parenting. Parenting isn’t an instinct. It needs to be passed on by exposure (from childhood) to others raising children. It needs to happen in a family life-sphere that is essentially organised around raising children not around earning incomes in workplaces far-removed from the domestic world. It needs to happen in a broader society, economic system and culture that is, itself, organised around the process of reproducing, socialising and enculturating new human beings rather than one organised around reproducing wealth and capital. (In evolutionary theory, it’s all about achieving an integrated balance between material ‘survival’ – economic behaviour – and reproduction.)

          In the latter society, the best that can be done is to sell ‘parenting’ back to parents via daycare, parenting books, tapes, etc.. In New Zealand – because of social democratic/liberal initiatives – we also have the non-market ‘redistribution’ of parenting skills via Plunket, Ante Natal groups, state-funded fostering, CYFS and the like.

          You’re right, ‘getting the gutter out of [society]’ is much harder and will no doubt take much longer than getting particular individuals out of the gutter. But some of us are trying to do just that. And at least some of those trying to do that call themselves ‘socialists’. Want to join the effort?

          • mcflock 9.1.1.1.1

            It depends on whether you are using the strict political philosophy “socialism”, the popular interpretation of “socialism”, the obscure RWNJ “socialism”, or socialism as a continuum of beliefs from communism through democratic socialism to social democrats and, indeed, hybrid state/private enterprise mixes of any degree.

            I remember two good comrades having a drunken argument as to whether they were social democrats or democratic socialists. The only thing that was important was that they were to the left of Labour5.

            • Puddleglum 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Fair enough, mcflock. To be honest – and despite that comment – I’m not that fussed about definitional debates unless they make a point.

              The point I wanted to make to TS was simply that redistribution is the bare minimum response to the problems of inequality. Reorganising society goes more to the root of the problems – including the parenting issue he was concerned about. If socialism was just the advocacy of redistribution then just about every western government and party that has ever existed has been socialist – so that definition really doesn’t help discriminate anything, politically.

  10. RedLogix 10

    ts
    My approach is to take the gutter out of people. This is much harder,

    You’re right, it’s much harder because you’re locked into a perpetual egg chasing chicken loop there.

    There is of course a thread of truth in what you are saying; dysfunction creates chaos. That’s obvious, but the immediate question that follows is ‘what causes the dysfunction?’. If you are simply going to say that it’s because they are ill-bred, brown or simply bad people…. then you’ve really just parked yourself into the ‘blame the victim’ garage.

    Equally the left is probably guilty of ‘throwing money at problems’ and hoping they will go away to a greater or lesser degree. Up front and personal, dysfunctional adults, chaotic families and the damaged children they create are not easy problems to solve. Ask any social worker.

    Put like this it’s not hard to understand that inequality and dysfunction are mutually interdependent sides of the same coin. The decent individual does not thrive in an indecent society.

    When life is nothing but a series of dissapointments and failed plans, it’s far less likely someone will be keen to commit to long-term goals and delayed gratification. When the ladder’s is too steep, there are too many others ruthlessly crawling over you to get up it as well , or when you get to a certain rung those above start pulling it up behind them… there’s just too much risk you’ll never get to the pay-off.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    RedLogix: “You’re right, it’s much harder because you’re locked into a perpetual egg chasing chicken loop there.”

    Of course I realise this. However, resolving the “egg” inequity side of the equation by shifting resources from one pocket to another doesn’t actually do much to catch up to the “chicken” dysfunction side of the equation. In fact, as I pointed out above, there are situations where this approach can be counterproductive.

    However, resolving the “chicken” dysfunction side will actually result in the “egg” inequity being caught in a sustainable way.

    Those countries in “The Spirit Level” that are high in GDP and low in dysfunction might well generating high GDP because of low dysfunction rather than the opposite direction that “The Spirit Level” proposes. Do you agree?

    • tsmithfield 11.1

      BTW, Red, I’m not thinking in terms of blaming people for their circumstances. Rather in terms of recognising that their are problems that need to be addressed so people can advance and improve their circumstances.

    • RedLogix 11.2

      It’s late and I’ve a big day tommorrow. Below is a repost of something I put on an earlier thread:

      The argument here is not unlike the one around the Laffer curve.

      Absolute equality can only be achieved at the expense of extreme interventions, the costs of which greatly outweigh the marginal benefits involved in eliminating the last few marginal degrees of inequality.

      Absolute inequality, ie where one person owns everything and all the rest of us are his/her chattels is equally undesirable.

      Logically somewhere in the middle must lie an optimum. Exactly where is hard to determine, because although there is a wide spread of GINI coeficients across the nations, there are also a wide range of other uncontrolled variables and data uncertainties that make ‘eyeballing’ the data a completely useless tool. (The obvious parallel with the climate change debate is rather compelling.)

      The argument can only hinge on whether in general NZ is on the positive or negative slope portion of the curve. NZ is in fact one of the more unequal nations, and more importantly over the last 30-40 years our GINI has been increasing at a faster rate than any other OECD nation. During that same period many of our social indicators have detoriorated.

      The chances that we are on the positive portion of the curve (ie that increasing inequality would yield positive social outcomes) is slim to zero.

      .

      The Spirit Level arrives at the same conclusion, but with an observational methodology.

      I’m happy to accept that there is a mutual, self-reinforcing interdependence between the individual and the society they live in. Put simply, while each is responsible to make the best of the opportunities they find in life, equally we are our brother’s keeper. Personal and collective responsibility is not an either/or choice….

  12. roger nome 12

    Have you read kierkegaard RL?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Milestones marked with 2,000+ new cops
    A milestone has been reached with the graduation of more than 2,000 new Police officers since the Coalition Government took office in October 2017. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation today of Wing 335 marks a surge of 2,023 new officers, and coincides with some significant breakthroughs against organised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • New diploma helps counter cyber security threats
    Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, and the Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, have welcomed a new cyber security qualification as a step towards countering cyber threats and keeping New Zealanders safe. Attending the launch of the new Level 6 Diploma of Cyber Security at Auckland’s Unitec Institute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Celebrating 20 years of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
    Government Ministers today celebrated 20 years of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park/ Ko te Pataka kai o Tikapa Moana/ Te Moananui a Toi, and recognise there is much to celebrate and so much more to do to give nature a helping hand.   Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said “New Zealanders care deeply about nature.I want to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • NZ economy in strong position to respond to coronavirus
    Prepared remarks on coronavirus by Finance Minister Grant Robertson to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Massey University. Good morning ladies and gentlemen, The topic of this speech is the Budget 2020 priorities. But, given the considerable interest that I imagine is in the room about COVID-19 coronavirus, I do ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Speech at opening of Nadi Women’s Crisis Centre
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira ma. Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Ni sa bula vinaka. Namaste Thank you Shamima, Hon. Minister Vuniwaqa, community leaders and Women’s Crisis Centre staff for your warm welcome. It’s an honour and privilege to officially ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Govt acts on fuel market competition
    The Government has released a comprehensive response to ensuring New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump. This follows the Commerce Commission fuel market study which found motorists were paying more than they should for petrol and includes: Fuel Market Bill drafting, to pass mid-year Industry consultation in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Speech at Lautoka Mosque
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira ma Tēnā koutou katoa Ni sa bula vinaka As-salaam alaikum It is a privilege to be here today. Thank you for welcoming us to your house of prayer. Thank you for your warmth. Thank you for greeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Taupō Airport upgrade takes off
    Taupō Airport is to be upgraded and expanded through a $5.9 million Government funding boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Taupō Airport is the gateway to the Central North Island. It is essential for both keeping local people and businesses connected, but also to bring more people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Place-based assessment confirmed for Rotorua
    The Minister of Housing Megan Woods has confirmed the Government is working with Rotorua Lakes District Council and Te Arawa for the second place-based assessment to better understand the housing and urban issues affecting the city. “Every New Zealander has a right to a warm, safe and secure place to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • More houses opened for New Zealanders
    19 new community homes (in addition to 14 opened in December) delivered in Takanini, Auckland 500 people housed by CORT Housing Trust by end of March 2,290 new public housing homes delivered in Auckland (November 2017 – December 2019). Another nineteen new public housing homes are being delivered in Auckland, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • New Zealand and India to strengthen ties
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker met today with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to discuss ways to strengthen ties between New Zealand and India.   “India is a priority relationship for New Zealand. We share common democratic traditions, growing two-way trade, extensive people-to-people links, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • The Indo-Pacific: from principles to partnerships
    Speech to the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) Delhi, India Wednesday 26 February 2020 [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] The Indo-Pacific: from principles to partnerships Distinguished guests, good afternoon and thank you for your invitation.  It is good to be here at a time where New Zealand needs less of an introduction than ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to University of the South Pacific students
    Tihei mauri ora Te Whare e tu nei Te Papa e takoto Tēnā korua  No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa Ni sa bula Vinaka It is a real pleasure to be here today, and to have the honour of addressing you all. If you’ll indulge me I’m ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Proposed new measures to improve Aotearoa’s air quality
      Improved air quality to support better health and environmental wellbeing is the focus of proposed amendments to air quality regulations, says the Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  “Although our air quality is good in most places, during winter certain places have spikes in air pollution, mainly from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Water investment in Raukokore
    The remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokere will receive a Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $10.6 million for a water storage facility, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “This is great news for the rural community. The landowner, Te Whānau a Maruhaeremuri Hapū Trust, will use ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Lake Ōkaro lakebed transferred to Te Arawa as final piece of Settlement Act
    The Lake Ōkaro lakebed has transferred to Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis joined Te Arawa at Te Papaiōuru Marae in Rotorua to celebrate the reinstatement of Te Arawa Lakes Trust as a key decision maker over the bed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better protection against late payments
    New legislation is being proposed which aims to reduce the stress and financial hardship caused by late payments to small businesses. The Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash is considering stricter rules around payment practices between businesses. “Late payments from large organisations to smaller suppliers can be crippling for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Police partnership programme with Fiji launched
    A new partnership programme between the New Zealand Police and Fiji Police will focus on combatting transnational organised crime and enhancing investigative skills, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on the first day of her visit to Fiji. The programme will see: ·       New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Joint statement from Prime Minister Ardern and Prime Minister Bainimarama
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama met today in Suva, and renewed their commitment to continue to strengthen Fiji-New Zealand relations on a foundation of shared values and equal partnership. The Prime Ministers acknowledged the kinship between Fijians and New Zealanders, one that has endured over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $19.9 million from PGF for Kawerau
    A $19.9 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund will help develop essential infrastructure for an industrial hub in the Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “The funding will go to three projects to further develop the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub, an industrial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PGF funds Mahia roading package
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing $8.3 million on a roading package for Mahia that will lead to greater and wider economic benefits for the region and beyond, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at an event in Mahia today. The $8.3 million announced consists of: $7 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 18,400 children lifted out of poverty
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed new reporting showing the Coalition Government is on track to meet its child poverty targets, with 18,400 children lifted out of poverty as a result of the Families Package.   Stats NZ has released the first set of comprehensive child poverty statistics since the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 20,000 more Kiwi kids on bikes
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today announced that Bikes in Schools facilities have been rolled out to 20,000 more kiwi kids under this Government. She made the announcement at the opening of a new bike track at Henderson North School in Auckland. “Bikes in Schools facilities give kids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April
    Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April   Main benefits will increase by over 3 percent, instead of 1.66 percent, on 1 April with the Government’s decision to annually adjust benefit rates to increases in the average wage. The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Foreign and Trade Ministers to lead business delegation to India
    Strengthening New Zealand’s political and business ties with India will be the focus of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters’ and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker’s visit to India this week. The Ministers are co-leading a high level business delegation to India to support increased people and economic engagement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister champions more Pacific in STEM – Toloa Awards
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio continues to champion for greater Pacific participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers with the announcement of the Toloa Awards, with 8 recipients of the Toloa Community Fund and 13 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships. “The Toloa Programme encourages more Pacific peoples ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Submission period for whitebait consultation extended
    Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has extended the date for people to have their say on proposed changes to improve management of whitebait across New Zealand.   Submissions were due to close on 2 March 2020 but will now remain open until 9am on Monday 16 March 2020.   “I have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New international protection for frequent fliers
    The endangered toroa/Antipodean albatross has new international protection for its 100,000km annual migration, thanks to collaborative efforts led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile.   Today, 130 countries agreed to strictly protect Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago