Fact: Nats cut wages last time they were in power

Written By: - Date published: 6:12 am, July 29th, 2008 - 34 comments
Categories: national, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

For anyone who still doesn’t want to believe that National cut incomes for most Kiwis last time they were in power (and would do so again). Here’s something I came across in an incomes report from 1998:

The median income earner was 6% poorer in after-inflation after 7 years of National government. That didn’t happen by accident – it happened because National refused to increase the minimum wage, slashed benefits and superannaution, and attacked and weakened workers’ ability to organise through unions to win pay increases.

John Key said he “would love to see wages drop“. He has already announced a workplace policy that will undermine workers and their unions, leading to below inflation wage rises. He has refused to commit to lifting the minimum wage. Using the same tools as they did in the 1990s, National would make wages drop. Will you vote for lower wages?

34 comments on “Fact: Nats cut wages last time they were in power ”

  1. How about forgetting the term “worker” and call them what they are; human beings who should not be working their arses off for a boss but be part of a community that supports them as they support that community. Boss/Worker, forget it. Those terms have had their time. If we are not careful we will go back to a more awful description.

    How about Feudal lord/Peasant.

    Last Friday something happened which of course did not make the mainstream media, Something so horrifying it is almost beyond comprehension. The National Australia Bank wrote off 90% of its US conduit loans.

    According to John Steward the NAB CEO the US housing market is in a “meltdown”.

    A couple of weeks ago Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, the two biggest Mortgage providers of the US almost collapsed. They own $ 5 trillion worth of Mortgages but they are leveraged for almost $ 50 Trillion. There is no way these two giants can be bailed out any more. This is mayhem like you wouldn’t believe. It is bank runs and collapses, corporate meltdowns and job losses beyond imagination. It is the total collapse of the US and with it, the world economy. The end of Jobs, bosses and workers.

    Thanks to the Federal Reserve of NY’s absolutely criminal behaviour over the last 20 years we and our children are going into the most horrifying depression this world has ever seen. Think I’m joking? Fearmongering? Read the link, do your own research and order the seeds you think you are going to need and start a veggie patch.

    My father in law is 82 and had a comfortable sum in shares. He lost half of it, took the rest out and has started his second veggie patch and I didn’t tell him anything. If he can figure it out via the internet than so can you.

    Latest news: NAB has announced John Stewart to set aside an additional provision for credit risk. An additional provision of AU$830 million. That was the part where the leapt dove into the sleepy-eyed market’s midriff. An extra credit provision tells us all that there may be more subprime losses to come.

    Welcome to the real world and I’m sorry to be the messenger.

  2. Did I disappear into purgatory again?

  3. rjs131 3

    When did labour reverse those benefits cuts?

  4. monkey-boy 4

    “Will you vote for lower wages?”

    As far as I can see we have been doing so every time we have endorsed ‘WFF’.

  5. mike 5

    “Will you vote for lower wages?’

    Gotta love these one liners the union are gearing up to foist on their loyal but naive subjects.

    Will you vote for less Nanny State and more take home pay?

  6. ants 6

    What a load of BS – how can they “cut” wages when they don’t pay them in the first place.

    You are an idiot.

    IrishBill says: you offer nothing but abuse. Take a week off.

  7. Daveski 7

    A couple of points SP

    Where are the figures for Labour’s last nine years?

    Second why are the figures inflation adjusted when the successes you’ve lauded about Labour’s last nine have never been inflation adjusted?

  8. Jeremy Eade 8

    “How about forgetting the term “worker’ and call them what they are; human beings who should not be working their arses off for a boss but be part of a community that supports them as they support that community. Boss/Worker, forget it. Those terms have had their time.”

    Yep,we need citizens to start contemplating their position in the workplace and how that environment can be improved and what benefits should be taken into account when we revisit labour laws.

    When we talk about labourmarket flexibility we have to consider the level of instability this brings to the individual citizen and wether the gains of labour mobility will be recognised by the majority of the workforce at any stage in their lifetime.

    We need more purposeful, goal orientated business strategy than this shakey idea that extreme personal wealth creates a natural and measurable bump in the incomes of all workplace participants. When the Walton family and the like start giving a shit about their employees and stop building themselves spare mansion space maybe I’ll change my mind.

    …and the whole left wing/right wing , liberal/conservative measure has been abused and shat on for so many decades now maybe it’s time to abandon that measure and start talking about realtime business strategy to lift the standard of living of our people, measurable strategy given decent and vigourous debate regardless of it’s messenger. Keep crunching the numbers folks, it’s the language of business.

  9. higherstandard 9

    IB

    A one week ban to Ants for telling the truth …. bizarre.

    IrishBill says: It’s not bizarre HS, it’s simple. Abuse one of us. Take a ban.

  10. Tane 10

    HS. Ants isn’t “telling the truth”, he’s just being abusive and deliberately misreprenting SP’s argument (which is set out quite clearly in the post). IB might be a bit liberal with the banning stick, but people are expected to actually put forward proper arguments here rather than simply abusing their opponents.

  11. Bill 11

    Seems I’m ahead of the game! Unemployed already. Seeds in already. Now, if only I could get off that damn grid before the ‘lecy stops;o)

    Skiting aside. I’d like to think that in retrospect a lot of the issues consuming our thoughts will be seen as much flogging of a dead or dying horse.

    Taking on board the travellerev’s scenario, the question still remains that apart from eating veg, what the fuck you gonna do when money no longer acts as a vehicle for inclusion and participation in society : when the market has to all intent purposes ‘withered on the vine’?

  12. Matthew Pilott 12

    Bill – I’m setting up this island somewhere, not sure you’ve heard about it…

  13. Bill 13

    Count me in. Guess I won’t have to steal a boat since property will be worthless? Just give me coordinates.

    Hang on. Your island? That make you a head honcho?

  14. To their shame, Labour has not reversed the benefit cuts – however they have lifted the real median income by 32% thanks to a full employment policy and a minimum wage that is up from $7.70 to $12 an hour.

  15. Daveski 15

    SP asking what may be a dumb question but by “real incomes” do you mean inflation adjusted?

  16. Tane 16

    travellerev,

    I don’t see why you wouldn’t use the terms ‘workers’ and ’employers’. We still live in a capitalist economy, and these are accurate terms to describe the dominant economic relationship.

    Talk of feudal lords and peasants is not only inaccurate, it makes you sound like a raving loon. And for what?

  17. Daveski. Yes. In economics we talk about real and nominal values – nominal is the numbers on the pieces of paper, real is in consistent value over time, ie inflation-adjusted.

  18. Travellev. it’s the fundamental dichotomy of the capitialist society we live in – you are a worker or a capitialist. The so-called middle class (and nearly all of us here are of that class) are still workers, just well off ones with maybe some capitial investments.

  19. Bill 19

    Disagree with your fundamental dichotomy there. There are capitalists. There are coordinators/managers/commissars…call them what you will. And there are workers.

    The middle tier keep the whole shebang ticking along to the benefit of the capitalist and are really quite well rewarded for their effort.

    Miss them out and you overlook a crucial element of capitalism.

  20. Bill 20

    Matthew.

    Due to your lack of speedy response, I’ll assume you are another closet dictator in waiting. So I’ll be hanging out on this here island. Thanks all the same.

  21. Bill. Yeah, you’re quite right – I forgot to mention the mikes of this world. Tane’s got a youtube link you might like.

  22. Matthew Pilott 22

    Sorry, tending to the middle classes Bill. Na, I won’t be a dictator, the only real rule is we have to keep the libertarians out. They’ll want a piece of the (collective) action once their island self-implodes.

  23. Bill 23

    Won’t the ‘righties’ have their own little individual islands of various ‘ones’?

    BTW. Why oh why oh why are right wing individualists referred to as ‘libertarians’ here? They aren’t! Libertarianism has a long left tradition and although ‘righties’ might want to hi-jack it, I’m reckoning they shouldn’t be encouraged by others adopting the term to refer to them.

    Anyway.

  24. Tane 24

    Bill, agreed. They don’t believe in liberty, they believe in property.

    They’re propertarians if anything.

  25. Bill. no man is an island

  26. Daveski 26

    Thanks SP

    Certainly the economic environment has been completely different but I do acknowledge that there has been considerable increase at the lower level.

    That’s not to say that median incomes wouldn’t have increased under a National Government given the economic conditions over the past 9 years.

    I think the problem that Labour has is that the increases at the minimum and lower levels have been eroded by the increases in food, petrol etc. The polls certainly support the view that Labour has gained much credit for the increases.

  27. “at the minimum and lower levels have been eroded by the increases in food, petrol etc”

    – be careful because a lot of people say this kind of thing forgetting that “increases in food, petrol etc” are accounted for when you adjust for inflation. People are better off, after you take out the extra money they have to pay for increases in prices in food and petrol and everything else.

    Here’s how inflation adjustment works. The consumer price index, measures inflation in prices for retail goods and services. Stats asks 17,000 families to record everything they spend money on every quarter, from that Stats works out what % of income the typical family spends on every kind of good a service. Then the price of those goods and services is calculated by stats workers physically going out and recording the prices (they even take into account discounts and the % of people who use them). From the prices they record and the spending information they have they can work out changes in the overall price of good and services over time. In 2007 the CPI was 1020, the index base is June 2006. That means a $1000 size slice of that typical family spend in 2006, cost 1020 in 2007, it had cost $832 in 1999.

    So, now I get the income data. Again, Stats has asked 17,000 households to record their incomes and calculated the median income (50% of incomes are higher, 50 % are lower than the median) for each year. In 1999, the median was $320, in 2007, it was $519. Now, I need to adjust for inflation. A dollar in 1999 bought more than a dollar in 2007 – $832 in 1999 bought the same as $1020 in 2007, so I divide $320 by 832 and times it by 1020 to turn 1999 dollars into 2007 dollars. That $320 in 1999 was able to buy as much as $392 in 2007. The median income in 2007 was $519, 32% higher than $392, the median income in 1999 expressed in 2007 dollars.

    Two other facts: benefits are inflation-adjusted so inflation can’t lower benefits in inflation-adjusted terms. The minimum wage has been increased faster than inflation under Labour. That means it has actually been lower income people who have seen the fastest % increase in incomes under Labour, having gone backwards while the rich got richer under National.

  28. links: income change by income decile 1988-2001, 2001-2007
    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2419

    and minimum wage, inflation adjusted http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=906

  29. ropata 29

    Check out the “new capitalist pyramid” for a representation of the REAL workers in the modern world

  30. Phil 30

    Props to you for taking the time to spell that out Steve.

    One small error in this;
    “Stats asks 17,000 families to record everything they spend money on every quarter, from that Stats works out what % of income the typical family spends on every kind of good a service.”

    The relative weights of items priced as part of the CPI comes from the Household Economic Survey – which is run once every three years, and collects data from a larger number of households. The CPI is reweighted on the same cyclical process, so they don’t need to collect a great deal of expenditure data in between.

    The one you are thinking of in that respect might be SoFIE.

  31. Tane 31

    Cheers ropata, very cool.

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    1 week ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
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    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
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  • The no-vision thing
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    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
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  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
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    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
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    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
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  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
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    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on cutting the sick leave of vulnerable workers
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    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Move: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
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    1 week ago
  • In Search Of Unity.
    Kotahitanga: New Zealand’s future belongs to those who do not fear a nation carved out of unity and solidarity, and are willing to trust the carvers. Some New Zealanders will be required to step up, and others, perhaps for the first time in their lives, will be expected to step ...
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 7-June-2024
    Welcome to another Friday roundup! Here are some recent links and stories that caught our eye, perfectly timed for your watercooler discussions and weekend reading. As always feel free to share more in the comments. Our header image this week is by Patrick Reynolds, and shows Te Komititanga from above. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 7
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Did we boil the oceans by cutting pollution?
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024
    Open access notables Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment: Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect ...
    1 week ago
  • Fragments
    The best observation I’ve read this week about the deep, profound harm Trump is doingTrump has hurled threats and smears at witnesses, jurors and the judge (including his family)... [he] has tried to intimidate witnesses and delegitimize the New York courts as corrupt. In continuing to incite his mob (that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • March for Nature
    Do do do do do do do doDo do do do do doDi di di di di di di di di di diNature enter me…In 2018 the Labour lead government banned new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa. A change welcomed by those who care deeply for our environment and ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 6
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 2
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    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • National breaks another health promise
    National has broken another manifesto health promise, apparently to save only $550,000. It will now train an additional 25 med students next year rather than the 50 it promised. This comes on top of the delays caused by National’s coalition partners in pushing ahead with the Waikato Medical School and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago

  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
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    7 days ago
  • Government to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “Natural gas is critical to keeping our lights on ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and Malaysia to intensify connections
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    1 week ago
  • Ending contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua
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    1 week ago
  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
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    1 week ago
  • Faster consenting for flood protection projects in Hawke's Bay
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    1 week ago
  • Judge Craig Coxhead and Nathan Milner newest Māori Land Court appointments
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    1 week ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade
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    1 week ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade and cooperation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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