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Environment on the edge

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, April 20th, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: capitalism, China, energy, Europe, infrastructure, Mining, sustainability, uncategorized - Tags:

On Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning, there were two reports on environmental issues in different parts of the planet.  Both stories focus on the tension between pursuit of economic “growth” and the destruction of the environment.  In one country the cultural heritage of a small town is also under threat. In both countries, there are attempts to develop renewables, without changing the whole system.

environment closing-down-sale

The first is on the increasing pollution in China as their economy “grows” – ‘Chinese battle to make land fertile again’.  China does seem to take environmental issues seriously, as they attempt to invest in renewable technologies, even while their pursuit of economic “growth” pulls the country in the opposite direction.

People in China are increasingly having to deal with the environmental cost of their rapid economic growth.

A government report says nearly one-fifth of farmland in mainland China is polluted. The report was based on a study undertaken from April 2005 to last December on more than 2.4 million square miles of land across the country.

The study says 16.1 percent of China’s soil and 19.4 percent of its arable land is contaminated. It says heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic are the top pollutants.

The report blames industrial and agricultural activities – things like factory waste, the improper use of fertilizers and pesticides, and irrigating land with polluted water.


Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reports from Zhejian Province, in eastern China, about a scientist looking to make the land fertile once more.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the authorities are planning to destroy a centuries old village and turn the area into a vast coal mine – “German countryside under threat from coal use”.

Atterwasch, near the country’s border with Poland, is around 700-years-old. Its residents and those of neighbouring villages want to stop coal producers from uprooting their communities.

Environmentalists also oppose increased coal use, as it is has higher emissions levels than other forms of energy.

Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer reports from Atterwasch near Germany’s border with Poland.

On youtube *

The argument is that the coal is needed in the short term to aid the development of renewables, as a replacement for their nuclear power industry, which is being wound down.

And as this struggle between the “economy” as usual, and the urgent need to develop renewables continues, the environment is a commodity on the edge.

John Key sold environment

* I’ve forgotten how to embed more than one yt video in a post.


41 comments on “Environment on the edge”

  1. RedLogix 1

    The study says 16.1 percent of China’s soil and 19.4 percent of its arable land is contaminated. It says heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic are the top pollutants

    And we allow Chinese food into our local market with no testing because?

    • Paul 1.1

      Didn’t you know the neoliberal mantra?
      Get rid of red tape, it’s unpc, nanny state, blah blah.
      Hence no regulations.

      And Pike River, CTV, Leaky Buildings, Forestry deaths……

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        Yeah but the thing is the Chinese have the unmitigated gall to ban Fonterra products on completely bogus ‘food safety’ grounds.

        The reality is that a relatively complex testing regime popped up a false positive result as a result of a fairly minor one-off production issue. Despite some uncertainty and delays that arose because of this uncertainty – Fonterra did eventually respond to the problem with a precautionary recall.

        The recall was made more complex than desirable because of some IT issues largely beyond Fonterra’s control. (It’s a huge, complex and very high-tech industry and the goal-posts are constantly moving).

        As far as I can see Fonterra did everything it could have done in response to the problem as it presented to them – yet for some opaque and unjustified reason the Chinese continue to use this incident to ban some products and – while their own toxic shit continues to be freely imported into this country with zero testing.

        This asymmetry of power is looking more and more like neo-colonialism all over again.

      • Martin 1.1.2

        it’s called a free [nmarket] for all clusterf**k

    • Bill 1.2

      And we allow Chinese food into our local market with no testing because?

      Probably for much the same reason that we allow Japanese seafood and goods into the country with no testing; the health effects are far enough away in terms of years, that the authorities can shirk any sense of responsibility. (Could say the same about all that asbestos that was (is?) flying around Christchurch….)

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        Good point. Why is it that all our export customers demand the highest possible food safety standards from us – while we accept any old shit they feel like sending us with absolutely no testing?

    • Sanctuary 1.3

      Just BTW – I have been told that at the moment, Talley’s is the only brand that you can guarantee has no Chinese sourced veges in it’s frozen vege lines. I carefully check all labeling, and I won’t buy any food manufactured or sourced from China. I am the last person in the world you could accuse of being a food obsessed hippy, but I am a believer in “trust but verify”.

  2. tc 2

    Some would say that battle is being lost in large parts of NZ where rivers run black with cow shit, pastures can’t hold a decent rain or any form of drought without impacts as dairy farmers have pillaged the topsoil levels over the last few years expecially.

    • karol 2.1

      Agreed, even while the government does currently support some sustainable farming initiatives. Such initiatives seem to be marginal and don’t really change the dominant approach to agriculture in in.

      Article from NZ Farmer a couple of days ago:

      Farming industries will match the Government’s funding of $9.9 million over three years with $8.7m of their own money in the latest round of Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) projects to improve agriculture.

      Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the 31 new SFF projects ranged from water-quality issues to climate change.

      “The one common factor is they will deliver real economic and environmental benefits to New Zealand’s primary industries,” Guy said. “They are driven from the grassroots and will make a real difference to regional communities.”

      Guy seems more focused on the “real economic and environmental benefits” to industry, than on the long term issues of sustainability and livable environments for Kiwis in general.

      • weka 2.1.1

        Quite agree karol.

        “projects to improve agriculture”

        Therein lies the problem. Agriculture in the context of the global economy is inherently unsustainable. It doesn’t matter how much you tinker with nitrogen levels or if you put dairy cows in sheds, the whole thing will always degrade the environment and require fossil fuel inputs. It’s going to get worse too, because as population increases the kind of unsustainable agriculture we have been doing pre-dairy boom that could have lasted quite some time, will simply be inadequate.

        ‘Improving’ agriculture is about manipulating the environment and the perception of the environment in order to keep making money. While there will be good people using those funds to do some interesting things, the whole thing is based on premises that don’t fit any meaningful definition of sustainability. And as you mention karol, it’s mostly about economic sustainablity, not environmental, and it’s for the benefit of the industry.

        Fortunately we do have real models and practices of sustainable farming, and in NZ there are people making good headway with these. At the point that the industrial farming model falls over due to pollution, drought, AGW etc, I expect the people with 2 or 3 decades of actual sustainable farming practice will be able and willing to step up and share what works.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        Guy seems more focused on the “real economic and environmental benefits” to industry, than on the long term issues of sustainability and livable environments for Kiwis in general.

        That would be true of National in general and probably some in Labour.

  3. “The argument is that the coal is needed in the short term to aid the development of renewables, as a replacement for their nuclear power industry, which is being wound down.”

    We will hear a lot of this type of argument as desperation takes hold and the profits slip. To me it smacks of “to save the village we must destroy the village”. I also think it is a lie, in that the coal is not used to aid the development of renewables at all but rather, to continue the machine and the generation of profits.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      In other words by fritzing around for several decades doing nothing, we’ve let the safe window of opportunity to change to renewables slip by.

      The fuckers who sowed confusion and doubt over this for so long – will one day be identified and dealt with.

      For me personally what hurts the most is this – that the extraordinary forest and alpine landscapes of NZ – places I have spent so much time in, places where the colours and textures, the unique and complex web of ancient life – all this stands to be lost forever.

      And while I can intellectually understand the perils and import of climate change on the whole of humanity – the threat to this taonga makes me angry and bitter.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        Yep I agree with that Red – I’ve been portering up the Heaphy and what landscapes and ecosytems, what life!!! It fills the heart and soul – if we could get the movers and shakers up there as in drop them off and let them survive (acceptable losses included) perhaps they would see our world differently, in some small ways through our eyes, with our wonder – but one thing those fuckers don’t have is empathy, they can’t walk in anyone elses shoes or see from their point of view – they are absolutely and totally selfish – so no, it is up to us to try and get as many people as possible out there to see the wonder of our country, our land, our place.

        • RedLogix

          I’ve been portering up the Heaphy and what landscapes and ecosytems, what life!!! It fills the heart and soul

          You very fortunate bastard marty. I hope that one night we’ll finish up sharing a quiet and remote hut.

      • weka 3.1.2

        “And while I can intellectually understand the perils and import of climate change on the whole of humanity – the threat to this taonga makes me angry and bitter.”

        Completely with you there on that one, and what marty says about heart and soul.

    • weka 3.2

      “The argument is that the coal is needed in the short term to aid the development of renewables, as a replacement for their nuclear power industry, which is being wound down.”

      Susan Krumdiek was talking to Kim Hill last weekend, and she made the point that we need to stop using coal and then focus on renewables, but we are doing it the wrong way round: focussing on renewables with the idea that we will stop using fossil fuels. Only that’s not happening – renewables are increasing, and fossil fuel use is not decreasing, which is why we just need to stop using them now.

  4. Jenny 4

    Coal is the number 1 global cause of climate change. The word’s pre eminent climate scientist late of NASA James Hansen made the determination that if we can’t stop coal, it is all over for the climate.

    While a lot of the debate here has been about what China is doing. We can’t do much about that. But we can do something here. And what we do here could have an influence beyond our borders, maybe even in China. As Professor Gluckman says on the government website:

    “The collective wisdom of the scientific community is that action is needed now….

    “New Zealand is a small emitter by world standards – only emitting some 0.2% of global green house gases…..

    our impact will be symbolic, moral, and political”

    Sir Peter Gluckman Chief Science adviser to the Prime Minister.

    In the same vein as the country’s top science advisor Greenpeace puts it this way, “We must think globally, and act locally.”

    The open cast coal mine planned by Bathurst Resources on the Denniston Plateau is set to be the biggest expansion in coal mining in this country’s history.

    If we are ever to set a moral symbolic and political example for the world that Professor Gluckman calls for, then there can be no quarter given. The question of the Bathurst Coal Mine at Denniston can not be ignored, or excused, or bargained away, – it must be stopped!

    • bad12 4.1

      i wonder how many down the ‘Coast’ saw the latest weather ‘event’ as the Easter message of what coal extraction will likely bring them in terms of climate change…

      • Jenny 4.1.1

        “i wonder how many down the ‘Coast’ saw the latest weather ‘event’ as the Easter message of what coal extraction will likely bring them in terms of climate change…”

        A very good question

        And a question that I think that a lot of Coasters must be asking themselves.

        It would be pretty hard to ignore. In one of the most ironic dramatic events several buses transporting Stockton Coal Mine employees were reportedly knocked over by the high winds.

        Luckily no one was hurt, but I wonder, after this brush with extreme weather, what these workers views on climate change and coal mining are?

        In the wake of the devastation wreaked on the West Coast you would think that this would be something our so called “investigative journalists” would be seeking to determine.

        I wonder what these workers views on climate change and coal mining are?

        Regional fire commander Brendan Nelly said several buses were blown over as they attempted to transport workers home from Stockton Mine, … because of high winds

  5. Sanctuary 5

    The trouble is no one seems to be able to come up with CO2 reduction solutions that are politically feasible in a democratic society. For example, over at hipster HQ that is Publicaddress, all the combined IQs of the best and brightest of Grey Lynn and Pt Chev could recently come up with to address global warming was to punish the lower sorts for liking a bi-annual week in Bali or Brizzy by making the airfares so eye-wateringly expensive that no one can afford an overseas holiday. Hipsters abhor package deals and can afford and prefer much more authentic, longer, higher quality and expensive holidays and therefore the hoi pilloi can go jump. Chardonnay socialist and Green Presbyterian solutions to global warming more often than not have a worrying streak of distainful middle class puritanism when it comes to global warming. Yet for all the hot air expended, aircraft contribute only 9% of the CO2 produced by the transport sector, with 77% coming from cars and trucks.

    But parking the shroud waving defeatism and obvious class warfare of the hipster elite response, politically it just would never happen. The tourism sector, the airlines, and last but by no means least the general public voters would never, ever allow it.

    Waiting for the revolution may be fatal for the planet so we have to use the system we have. I long ago came to the conclusion global warming will only be tackled when corporations can make money out of doing so and the politicians whose campaigns they will fund can promise they won’t reduce the standard of living by making it possible for them to do so. For example, coal produces up to half of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions via thermal power stations and home heating. Whether we like or not, replacing that sort of capacity with hydro, solar and wind is not feasible. Therefore, political logic tells us that large corporations employing lots of people to build nuclear power plants as well as wind and solar is the only realistic short to medium term way for large countries to both maintain current energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions. But a Green would rather choke on his or hers homemade organic breakfast granola mix than accept that.

    The second biggest emitter is transport. The left should not be telling a resentful Joe and Jane Sixpack that they need to pay more for petrol and that their SUV is a symbol of gauche they are. Rather, the left ought to be promoting a vision of public transport, walking, cycling, trains, electric cars and coastal shipping for the future. Instead of implying lower economic activity we should be pushing the extra jobs created locally by re-invigorating the other arms of the transport sector.

    • karol 5.1

      The solutions need to be major, and defeatism is no solution. Nuclear power is no longer seen as a solution by large sections of the public, since the Japan earthquake. As indicated in my post above, Germany is now phasing out nuclear power. This is due to the public having lost confidence in it.

      The counter to corporate power, is not to embrace it, but to enhance the power of the people. Increasing numbers of people are coming to see the importance of better public transport.

      NZ has a good base of renewables, and this can be built on as a positive for the environment, and for NZ independence.

      • Jenny 5.1.1

        “The counter to corporate power, is not to embrace it, but to enhance the power of the people.

        The first step Karol will be making a change in perception. This needs symbolic action by our political leaders that will signal that this is a pressing issue.

        Like the planned XL pipeline in America. Leadership on Bathurst Resources planned open cast coal mine in Denniston will set the agenda.

        Ask yourself karol; Why would people make changes in their own lives when they can see that the government and leaders of industry do not take climate change seriously and in fact are planning to oversee a huge increase in our green house gas emissions?

        Climate change needs to become an election issue.

        The Labour Party need to come out and say that on taking the treasury benches they will stop this project.

        The Green Party need to come out and say that they will not be letting Labour off the hook on this issue.

        If neither take a stand on Denniston it will signal that neither take climate change seriously. That business as usual will continue into the foreseeable future.

        “The solutions need to be major, and defeatism is no solution.”

        (I could not have said it better myself)

        But this will require concrete actions around concrete issues.

    • Sacha 5.2

      Where would the working class be without you, Tom.

    • Jenny 5.3

      “…aircraft contribute only 9% of the CO2 produced by the transport sector, with 77% coming from cars and trucks.”

      It would be good to see an even finer breakdown between private cars and trucks, for instance if intercity freight was moved to rail would this make a difference?
      (In the ’70s even into the early ’80s government regulation stipulated that intercity freight go by rail.)

      “The left should not be telling a resentful Joe and Jane Sixpack that they need to pay more for petrol and that their SUV is a symbol of gauche they are. Rather, the left ought to be promoting a vision of public transport, walking, cycling, trains, electric cars and coastal shipping for the future”


      One of the best Left website for promoting this Left vision is Fare Free New Zealand, who advocate that the $billions set aside for environmentally destructive and expensive motorway construction be ploughed into providing free public transport. This is a quick easy fix, providing immediate measurable results. Fare Free New Zealand give many well researched real world examples of how this simple reform works. Overseas experience has shown that where this was done commuters flooded public transport leaving their cars at home. Private cars became for private use, ie trips to the beach, holidays, recreation. All commuting was done on public transport.

      “…coal produces up to half of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions via thermal power stations and home heating. Whether we like or not, replacing that sort of capacity with hydro, solar and wind is not feasible”

      This assumption is seriously debateable as any simple internet search will show you.

      One of the most reputable studies of the feasibility of removing not just coal but all fossil fuels from our economy and global society comes from Scientific American.

      A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables

      Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here’s how

      Scientific American October 26, 2009

      Mark Jacobson the author of the scientific study published in Scientific American, above, showed how the world could be powered by renewables. Jacobson has done it again publishing a report on how to make the State of New York, fossil fuel free.


      This time rather than demonstrating how the whole world could go to renewables. Jacobson has laid out a detailed plan for switching to renewables for the state of New York. For which he says:

      “……at least we now know that it’s technically and economically feasible. Whether it actually happens depends on political will.”

      Mark Jacobsen

      In energy generation New Zealand is already 70% part way there. For us, the change would be much easier than in state of New York which relies heavily on coal fired power stations.

      There are no real technical barriers, just as in New York all that is missing is the political will.

  6. Jenny 6

    “…..all that is missing is the political will.”

    In New Zealand you can see the same sort of Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee collusion between Labour and National over climate change that we saw between the Democrats and Republicans in the US presidential elections.

    Both Labour and National support deep sea oil drilling.[i]

    Both Labour and National support the opening of new coal mines.[ii]

    Both Labour and National supported the $130 million bail out of Solid Energy[iii]

    Both Labour and National MPs banded together in the wake of the Tacloban disaster to shout down Russell Norman who tried to read out in parliament Yeb Sano’s plea to the world to cut back on C02 pollution.[iv]

    According to James Hansen the problem of climate change “would be solvable”[v] if we phased out coal production and stopped the search for unconventional oil and gas. Hansen particularly mentioned Arctic and deep sea oil drilling both of which, Arctic oil exploration[vi] and deep sea oil drilling[vii] have been met with protest in this country.

    But both Labour and Natonal are deaf to the majority over the TPPA , Just as both Labour and National are deaf to the majority of the population who want the government to do more on climate change.[viii]

    What ever the reason for this collusion between Labour and National,
    it is not democracy. No wonder people seem to have lost faith in our democracy and are not voting in record numbers.[ix]

    [i] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10822510
    “Labour says views on mining close to Govt’s”
    David Parker was Energy Minister during the last Labour Government and said about $20 million was spent on seismic surveys to supply to big oil companies and entice them to New Zealand.

    [ii] Both Labour and National support the Denniston open cast coal mine, the second biggest open cast coal mine to be ever excavated here.

    [iii] Heavily criticised by Green Party MP Gareth Hughes who said the money to bail out Solid Energy would have been better spent on a “just transition” for the coal workers “to jobs that don’t fry the planet.”

    [iv] http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/arseholes-before-world.html
    The Labour and National MPs enraged bellowing was so deafening that Meteria Turei who was sitting right beside Russell Norman, said that she could not hear what he was saying. Leading her to ask the speaker to make a ruling for them to stop.

    [v] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM5-recP7-E#t=2656 34:00 minutes
    “The problem would be solvable If we would phase out coal emissions, which are almost entirely at power plants, and if we would leave the unconventional fossil fuels in the ground. Because the amount of conventional oil and gas is finite and of course if you keep going after it in the deepest ocean and the Arctic and the Antartic and things you could cause a problem. But if we would not do that the problem would be solvable. But it would mean phasing out coal and no unconventional fossil fuels. That’s not happening. On the contrary we are doing exactly the opposite. We are allowing and encouraging and subsidising fossil fuel companies to go after every fossil fuel they can find. Including the unconventional ones.”

    [vi] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10787694
    “A man has been arrested after seven Greenpeace protesters, including Hollywood star Lucy Lawless, clambered onto an Arctic-bound oil drilling vessel and scaled its 53-metre tower at Port Taranaki this morning.”

    [vii] http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9435423/Thousands-protest-deep-sea-oil-drilling
    “An estimated 700 gathered at Raglan’s Wainamu Beach to protest deep sea oil drilling and seabed mining as part of the nationwide Banners on the Beach campaign”

    [viii] “People want more action on climate change”
    64.4 per cent wanting Parliament to do mor
    60.6 per cent wanting the Prime Minister to do more and
    62.9 per cent saying government officials should do more.

    The news isn’t good for Prime Minister John Key, with 15.4 per cent saying he’s doing the right amount, 26.1 per cent saying he should do more, and 34.5 per cent saying he should do much more. Just 2.7 per cent want him to do less.

    Horizon August 10, 2012

    [ix] http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/election-2011/6044562/Turnout-abysmal-for-this-years-vote
    “Voter turn out abysmal”

  7. Jenny 7

    Back into moderation again, I see.

    The Centre Left boom lowers again.

    [lprent: You do realise that not everything is about you and we don’t bother wasting too much time persecuting you – right? There are a number of automatic traps for spambot behaviour that spot anything suspicious and add to the moderation queue for a human to pass/reject.

    After the first accepted comment, it is usually pretty damn obvious when people get moderated. If I do it, I like to make it memorable…

    Please don’t bother wasting our time explaining this to you again. ]

    • karol 7.1

      My understanding is that comments with a lot of links, especially raw links, will go into auto-moderation. It’s a spam protection mechanism.

      • Jenny 7.1.1

        Oh the irony! Criticised for not putting in enough citations, and into moderation for putting in too many.

        • karol

          Yes. The auto-moderation is a lesser of evils – spam is an on-going issue/struggle. And automoderation doesn’t discriminate on the basis of the political views expressed by the commenter.

          I have an idea it’s the using of a lot of raw links that triggers auto-moderation, and not use of code for embedding links.

          • lprent

            Yep, there is a auto-catch for more than (?) 10 links in a comment. The reason for that is an older style of spam bot that leaves comments that try to dump a pile of links on the site. All comments with lots of links get inspected by a human.

            We’re getting better at killing spam. Layered defenses against them mean that I’m mostly seeing humans in the spam queue these days. A pleasant change from December.

    • Te Reo Putake 7.2

      • Jenny 7.2.1

        “Well don’t worry Basil, provided you can remember the things that matter to you.”

        • Te Reo Putake

          Ha! Very good, Jenny.

          • Jenny

            Back at you TRP. I’m curious, who do you identify with in this farce, Sybil, Basil, or Polly?
            This is actually quite a good parable/parallel of the climate ignorer position. The ignorers are like Basil Fawlty who knows it is his and Sybil’s wedding anniversary but chooses to pretend not to know. Far from being a martyr Sybil decides to act in the face of Basil’s feigned ignorance, which leads to Basil’s farcical and painful efforts to try and recover the situation.

            I wonder; If “The Left” (Labour and the Greens) do a coalition deal that allows the mining of the Denniston Plateau to go ahead, and then grass roots activists on the ground go ahead with their plans to mobilise to blockade and stop it, will Labour and the Greens be like Basil Fawlty scrambling to recover the situation?

            But seriously where does the refusal to address climate change, particularly on the Left, come from?

            I can understand as carol says that poverty and inequality must be the main issues the Left should concentrate on, but I think it is more than that. I think many on the Left quail at the sheer enormity and horror and particularly the seeming intractability of the problem. And as a result have decided to leave it in the too hard basket.

            Environmentalists are split.

            “Nothing can be done!”

            Believe it or not, many environmentalists believe this.

            Scientists tell us that something could be done – but it will take a global mobilisation of humanity analogous and even exceeding the global human mobilisation that fought the Second World War.

            There seems to be no sign of that happening, so QED nothing can be done.

            The two leading protagonists in the evironmental movement debating doing nothing or fighting back are George Monbiot and Paul Kingsnorth. Their on going disagreement has been widely reported. Though I don’t agree with everything Monbiot says, in my opinion Kingsnorth is a complete and total self centred coward and treacherous defeatist, (of course Monbiot is too polite to actually say that). In many of the treatises by Paul Kingsnorth are open attacks on Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben labeling them liars and misleaders.
            (shades of lprent)


            • karol

              I’m not sure whether you are aligning me with those who say “nothing can be done” about climate change.

              I vote Green. I will continue not to support mining on the Denniston Plateau.

              TRP’s point was a response to your comment about being in moderation, and not about being a climate denier.

  8. Jenny 8

    No particular aspersion was implied.

    More a general muse on the subject of climate change ignoring on the Left.

    More on Kingsnorth:


    Paul Kingsnorth vs.George Monbiot:


    And of course we have our various incarnations of Kingsworth and Monbiot in this country.

    Pick a side

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  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    6 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago