Govt’s ACC spin working

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, December 5th, 2008 - 32 comments
Categories: Media, national/act government, spin - Tags:

We’ve covered the National/ACT government’s latest ACC beat-up extensively already. IB spelled out rather well here the techniques being used by the government to undermine ACC in order to create a sense of crisis and soften up the public for privatisation.

And it pains me to say it, but it’s working. And it’s working well.

Colin Espiner’s latest post is so close to the mark of what National would’ve wanted in response, it’s almost satirical. A quick summary of the post… “This ACC stuff is confusing, and it’s all seems to add up to something dodgy. Now the cost to taxpayers are going up… Maybe the private sector would do a better job after all.”

It’s just incredible isn’t it? Colin’s a smart guy, and you’d hope journalists could see through this stuff. But it’s not easy, and it goes to show how well National does spin. Just look at the results.

32 comments on “Govt’s ACC spin working”

  1. gingercrush 1

    No what its shown is how awful the Labour-led government handled ACC as clearly evidenced by the blowing out of ACC accounts.

  2. ginger. the Labour government had no control over either the financial crisus or the invstment decisions of the ACC fund. How exacty was it meant to stop ACC losing money from its reserves and, so, needing more cash from other spurces to keep providing full service?

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    SP, I recommend you read the previous ACC posts here at the Standard, where various spurious arguments, from the financial crisis being to blame, to the spectre of privatisation, are fairly considerably debunked. Otherwise, if you have read those arguments and failed to respond to them, it just looks like you’re repeating a line that you know isn’t sustainable.

    It simply isn’t true that the financial crisis or poor investment decisions are responsible for the massive funding shortfalls projected in the earners and non-earners accounts. They have a minor effect, probably around 20% of the total.

  4. Tim. the ACC lost $600million from its funds.. it’s not like that money was just sittig round doing nothing.. that shortfall needs to be made up. as you point out, its not the only cause of the shortfalls, the others -higher compensation costs – have been explained to – how will privatisation solve any of them without cutting cover?

  5. gingercrush 5

    Thanks TE I suck at arguing so I would have ended up making up silly large post that lacks any relevancy.

    Anyway, sure there is spin. But one wouldn’t be able to spin ACC as much if Labour had better hold on the issue. Its not like Labour never used spin. The idea that finally the books were sound enough for tax cuts in the final budget before the election struck me very much as spin. How better to do tax cuts when treasury has advised them they can now. Even though treasury has always said there is/was room for tax cuts. Government and political parties exists primarily because of spin.

    Just as the media largely ignored spin working from the Labour-led government, so will they now that there is a National-led government.

  6. “Colin’s a smart guy”

    Not really, hes just a mouth-piece for National Party spin like the other Espiner.

  7. Greg 7

    Here’s a crazy idea. Maybe…….. just maybe this actually is an example of why the private sector would do a better job? Maybe its not spin at all but merely the truth

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    SP, nobody in National is arguing privatisation of the scheme. Read the posts, particularly at http://www.thestandard.org.nz/spinbusting-the-anchor-story/#comment-108781 , http://www.thestandard.org.nz/spinbusting-the-anchor-story/#comment-108787 , http://www.thestandard.org.nz/spinbusting-the-anchor-story/#comment-108793 , and http://www.thestandard.org.nz/spinbusting-the-anchor-story/#comment-108834 for starters.

    As I’ve said several times SP it really is a mix of mischief and ignorance, the claim that National might “privatise” ACC. The only account that could feasibly be opened for competition and/or privatised is the Workers Account, which constitutes 15% of claims and 10% of claims liabilities. It is fully-funded, so it isn’t a liability on the taxpayer, and doesn’t cross-subsidise other accounts.

    The issues with ACC in the other accounts are two-fold: the move to fully-funded accounts (which are vital to ensure that future costs of current injuries aren’t passed on to future generations) has meant a steady increase in costs and levies paid; and whether the inevitable increase in costs is sustainable (i.e. whether citizens are prepared to pay for such a gold-plated scheme when its true costs are attributed rather than passed on to future generations, or whether they would be happier with reduced cover). The latter is the crux of the debate that needs to be had around ACC.

    Labour’s performance in ACC was just woeful. They deliberately came up with irrational arguments about privatisation as you have here, knowing that the non-earners, the earners, and the motor vehicle accounts, which represent the vast majority of claims and costs, just can’t be privatised and National has never pledged to do so. They did so to detract from the proper debate about whether ACC coverage in the gold-plated scheme that we have today is actually affordable. Instead of allowing the proper debate to be held, successive Labour ministers have delayed the transition to full-funding of accounts (dragging the liability and costs out to future generations).

    They then hid the impact of those cost increases before the election. Instead of painting the true picture about rising costs for levy-payers and tax-payers alike, Labour cynically went around the country promising “lower levies” for ACC and “better coverage”, knowing that the only way to do so was to deliberately under-fund the scheme. Labour then had the temerity to claim that only they would protect ACC. They didn’t protect it SP. They ripped the carpet out from underneath it.

    Debates will need to be had on whether economic efficiencies can be gained from opening the Work account to competition. The other accounts need to move to full funding. Debate needs to be had in that environment whether the level of coverage in a fully-funded environment is sustainable, and the public need certainty about what coverage they can expect from the system.

  9. MikeE 9

    Could it possibly be working, because … shock, horror, it isn’t spin?

  10. Tane 10

    Merrill Lynch itself described ‘opening up the work account to competition’ as privatisation. They recognised that moving the functions of ACC to the private sector is in fact privatisation of the scheme.

  11. Quoth the Raven 11

    Colin’s a smart guy

    That’s open to argument. I don’t read his blog anymore and I implore others to do the same. I think he is totally incapable of critical thinking and does absolutely no research. The argument he had with Idiot/Savant about security of energy supply is a case in point as it demonstrated that Colin had done absolutely no research and was just spouting National party lines. That is exactly what he is doing again. All throughout the election his blog entries would go something like this “I followed Key around all day today he is a nice guy.” Then there was his the Maori party will never go into coalition with National thing where he had to eat his own words literally. I think it showed that he didn’t have any grasp of the situation. He would be better suited to writing about celebrities not politicians.

  12. ghostwhowalks 12

    This bit was interesting from Espiner

    ..But for my money (lots of it – well over $1000 a year in levies plus the $200-odd for a motor vehicle.

    Well over a $1000 a year in levyies seems to indicate hes on $90-110,000 pa

  13. ghostwhowalks 13

    From the IRD website the earners levy has been gradually increasing since 2003 when it was 1.2%. The 1.3% in 2006 and then raised in April 2008 to 1.4%

    So in reality Labour has been responsible in raising the amount to meet increase in Costs and claims from an aging population

    And it seems a small increase would have been due next year or the year after

    The financial meltdown has thrown the investments out of kilter but that should only be a temporary measure not to scream the sky has fallen

  14. Lew 14

    Tim: You still haven’t taken up my challenge. I presume, then, that you concur with my (and Merrill Lynch’s, and plenty of others’) assessment that the workers account will end up being privatised despite National’s insistence that it won’t. That being so, upon what basis would you presume to claim that the other accounts won’t be similarly treated once the workers account has gone that way? As I’ve said elsewhere (and you’ve also neglected to engage with that) people don’t conceive of ACC as separate accounts – they conceive of it as an overall scheme.

    L

  15. Lew 15

    GWW: $100k a year as the political editor for the country’s third-largest circulation daily really seems to underscore the oft-made point that journalists, even if you frequently disagree with them, are terribly underpaid.

    L

  16. sweeetdisorder 16

    Lew

    underpaid by whom? They are paid market rates. If you think they are worth more, you pay them then. Typical socialists, always think they are worth more. If you were, you would be earning that. The fact you are not, suggests you are earning what is correct for the market place.

  17. Lew 17

    SD: Ah, the capitalist’s Nuremberg Defence – `we’re just paying market rates’. I concede that journalism in NZ isn’t quite the sweatshops of Southeast Asia, but I’m making a normative, not a descriptive statement. I’m not a socialist (typical reactionaries, calling anyone with whom they might disagree a socialist) – but I work in the media (analysis, not editorial) and I know the work these guys do and the importance of the public information service the media provide. They have a lot of responsibility for not very much money, and that’s dangerous.

    L

  18. Nickc 18

    Question: What do you think is undermining ACC more: The 2.5billion dollars worth of undeclared debt or a few press conferences and media releases from the National Party?

  19. Tim Ellis 19

    Lew wrote:

    Tim: You still haven’t taken up my challenge. I presume, then, that you concur with my (and Merrill Lynch’s, and plenty of others’) assessment that the workers account will end up being privatised despite National’s insistence that it won’t.

    Lew if we go back to the 1998 reforms, the workers account was opened to competition. A number of players entered the market. @work was set up by the government, effectively as the default insurer. This would be a new state asset. National has made it clear that it won’t sell state assets. I suspect that if National did choose to open the Work account up to competition, it would follow the same path. Many employers would opt for separate insurance cover, with a minimum state-sanctioned level of coverage for all workers. I don’t agree that this amounts to “privatisation”, since privatisation involves the sale of a state asset. I don’t mean to play with semantics, but I don’t believe that work insurance in a competitive environment does amount to privatisation. That aside, yes clearly National envisages in a competitive environment, many work accidents would be covered by private insurers. If you want to call that privatisation, then fine.

    That being so, upon what basis would you presume to claim that the other accounts won’t be similarly treated once the workers account has gone that way?

    Quite simply, privatisation would involve the sale of an account to a private entity. I just don’t see it possible that the Earners’ Account, the non-Earners’, and the Motor Vehicle account could be opened up to a competitive insurance market. With the Earners’ account, the contracts for insurance cover would be between individual workers and an insurance company. It’s almost impossible to guarantee universal cover through such a system. Employers with 500 staff can do it–but it just isn’t viable for individual workers. It isn’t comparable with the fire and general insurance market, because there isn’t compulsory cover. It’s even less likely with non-Earners (who don’t pay the premiums in the first place), and the Motor Vehicle Account, where levies are collected through vehicle registration and fuel excise. How would you map fuel excise payments by individual motorists with their insurance levies? It’s just not possible, in my view.

    National has made it clear that it will maintain cover, in a no-fault, universal system.

    There are three core aspects of ACC’s operations. Funding through levies, claims management, and treatment. With the exception of the Work account, there just isn’t a suitable alternative levy payment structure for the other accounts.

    Claims management in other accounts, I suppose could be partly tendered out, but there is no benefit to individual claimants by being able to choose to claim through Claims Management Company X, versus ACC, for individual claimants.

    Treatment provision already uses a range of public and private sector entities to deliver treatment: if you smash your knee playing rugby, you are likely to receive treatment from the local hospital, a private hospital for the knee operation, and private physiotherapists for rehabilitation. There is an element of efficiency that a monopoly ACC provider has with bulk-buying power, but this would not be significantly reduced if merely the Work Account was carved out of the system, especially if health insurers formed a key part of the treatment provision for work accidents.

    As I’ve said elsewhere (and you’ve also neglected to engage with that) people don’t conceive of ACC as separate accounts – they conceive of it as an overall scheme.

    I agree that the ACC scheme is complex to many people, and the only experience that the vast majority of New Zealanders have with the system is when they personally suffer an accident. As I see it, the key elements of the accident compensation scheme are levies paid by a range of sources according to where the accident takes place and where the liability for the accident lies, entitlements determined by the State, no-fault and universal coverage. I just don’t see a publicly-owned monopoly of work cover as fundamental to ensuring that those core elements are provided.

  20. Lew 20

    Tim:

    National has made it clear that it won’t sell state assets

    In the first term. Come off it. This more or less nukes your whole line of argument.

    I don’t believe that work insurance in a competitive environment does amount to privatisation.

    You STILL haven’t addressed my six-point schema. Until you do you’re not credible on this point. You try to accuse me of playing semantics, but I’m not; if you’d even read all the threads you link to above you’d realise that.

    I just don’t see it possible that the Earners’ Account, the non-Earners’, and the Motor Vehicle account could be opened up to a competitive insurance market.

    Why on earth not? Because they wouldn’t want to participate? Get off the proverbial grass.

    National has made it clear that it will maintain cover, in a no-fault, universal system.

    But they haven’t demonstrated how they intend to do this in a competitive environment, I accept that they will mandate minimum levels of cover. But will they force insurers to insure all comers? Will they cap premiums so insurers can’t price undesirables out of the market? If not, retaining universal cover would necessitate an insurer of last resort, who got everyone the private cherry-pickers didn’t want. That’s my point – it’d quickly become moribund and then the only rational thing to do would be to sell it off. Nobody could blame them for doing so.

    L

  21. Lew 21

    NickC: False dichotomy. One being bad doesn’t make the other any less bad; this isn’t about scoring partisan points. Both the previous and current government are in the wrong. The question is – what do do about it?

    L

  22. Tim Ellis 22

    You STILL haven’t addressed my six-point schema. Until you do you’re not credible on this point. You try to accuse me of playing semantics, but I’m not; if you’d even read all the threads you link to above you’d realise that.

    No, Lew, I wasn’t accusing you of playing semantics. I qualified that I wasn’t playing semantics, in case it looked as if I was by my definition of “privatisation”. I didn’t intend not to address your six-point schema. It was a while back, I didn’t recognise it as a challenge to be addressed, and if you could put it again I’ll happily deal with it.

    Why on earth not? Because they wouldn’t want to participate? Get off the proverbial grass.

    No, because in my view there is a clear distinction between the contractual relationships between employers seeking cover for 10, 20, 50, or 500 workers, where there is an incentive to shop around and seek the best deal for mandated cover, and what is possible in the other accounts. Non-earners don’t pay levies. There are no competitive pressures. Earners pay levies, and might shop around, but the systems you would have to put in place to guarantee universal cover in my view make it too complex to put in place. Levies from motor vehicle users are even more difficult to channel to individual insurers to both guarantee universal cover and form viable contractual relationships with levy-payers.

    But they haven’t demonstrated how they intend to do this in a competitive environment, I accept that they will mandate minimum levels of cover. But will they force insurers to insure all comers? Will they cap premiums so insurers can’t price undesirables out of the market? If not, retaining universal cover would necessitate an insurer of last resort, who got everyone the private cherry-pickers didn’t want.

    On the first point, of course they haven’t demonstrated it yet because they haven’t even considered whether to proceed with a competitive scheme for the Work Account, and if so, what the design of that scheme might be. If we take the 1998 scheme as a guide, however, individual employers could contract with private insurers. Those who didn’t paid levies to a default state-owned insurer, @work.

    As for cherry-picking and “pricing out undesirables”, the nature of actuarial risk profiling within the current Work Account means that those with higher risk already pay higher levies. Forestry companies pay more in levies to insure forestry workers than banks do to insure clerical folk like me. I’m not an actuary, but right now in the present scheme, low-risk employers shouldn’t be cross-subsidising high-risk employers. The cherry-picking argument just doesn’t seem to understand what actuarial risk involves.

    In my view the “insurer of last resort” with a default insurer a la @work is less likely to be about insuring expensive, high-risk industries (who pay the higher levies anyway), but insuring much smaller employers that don’t have the time to shop around for accident insurance. Yes, I agree there would need to be a default insurer. I don’t see a problem with that insurer being state-owned.

  23. Lew 23

    Tim:

    No, Lew, I wasn’t accusing you of playing semantics. I qualified that I wasn’t playing semantics, in case it looked as if I was by my definition of “privatisation’.

    I therefore withdraw and apologise.

    I didn’t intend not to address your six-point schema. It was a while back, I didn’t recognise it as a challenge to be addressed, and if you could put it again I’ll happily deal with it.

    It’s six months but still nobody’s actually made any sort of case as to why it wouldn’t be so. As I imply to Nickc above, it’s not a matter of ideology – I’m not committed to it being true, but I am convinced of its validity, so if anyone can prove it invalid I’ll be grateful. The two pertinent links are in http://www.thestandard.org.nz/spinbusting-the-anchor-story/#comment-108829

    As to the distinctions between accounts, I think you’re a bit narrow-minded about the opportunities insurers will create for themselves given half a chance.

    Non-earners don’t pay levies. There are no competitive pressures.

    They don’t pay levies but levies of some sort can be paid on their behalf, and profiling, declarations, etc. enable risk management between clients. This can be privatised too – just because the insured themselves aren’t paying for cover doesn’t mean that, under a universal system, their cover is not being paid for.

    Earners pay levies, and might shop around, but the systems you would have to put in place to guarantee universal cover in my view make it too complex to put in place.

    Here’s an interesting but. It’s too complicated, so it’ll never happen. Give over.

    Levies from motor vehicle users are even more difficult to channel to individual insurers to both guarantee universal cover and form viable contractual relationships with levy-payers.

    You’d think no other country in the world would have mandatory driver insurance, if it’s that hard. But most of the civilised ones do, and I can tell you from experience – they tend to be a damned sight more expensive and less comprehensive than ACC.

    On the first point, of course they haven’t demonstrated it yet because they haven’t even considered whether to proceed with a competitive scheme for the Work Account, and if so, what the design of that scheme might be.

    The word `publicly’ could stand to be inserted here but your point stands. In my view it’s incumbent upon them to give at least some hints as to how it’s done before doing it. However the electorate thinks otherwise.

    As for cherry-picking and “pricing out undesirables’, the nature of actuarial risk profiling within the current Work Account means that those with higher risk already pay higher levies. Forestry companies pay more in levies to insure forestry workers than banks do to insure clerical folk like me.

    Quite right, they pay higher levies – but not higher enough for their risk. I’m not an actuary risk expert either, but under practically all systems of which I’m aware, high volumes of low-risk workers cross-subsidise low volumes of high-risk workers. This is especially true in NZ’s primary-led economy where low-risk occupations like yours and mine (I work in a fucking office tower too, though it wasn’t always so) are reliant upon those who work in dangerous occupations like forestry, dairy, fisheries and so on for our way of life. You can argue for those industries to carry the full cost of their liability if you like – but beware of parallels with the emissions trading scheme moral hazard problem.

    In my view the “insurer of last resort’ with a default insurer a la @work is less likely to be about insuring expensive, high-risk industries (who pay the higher levies anyway), but insuring much smaller employers that don’t have the time to shop around for accident insurance.

    In my view, this demonstrates a blissfully naïve view of insurance. Come on, it strains credibility.

    L

  24. Draco T Bastard 24

    Greg
    December 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Here’s a crazy idea. Maybe .. just maybe this actually is an example of why the private sector would do a better job? Maybe its not spin at all but merely the truth

    You’re right Greg – that is a crazy idea. We’ve seen just what privatisation can do over the last 20 years and the end result is that it costs far more.

    [lprent: gotta get that blockquote working across the browsers…]

  25. Tim Ellis 25

    Lew,

    It took a while but I finally found the links, with the six points. I don’t have a lot of commentary on them for the reason that I agree that there are some valid arguments there, but I simply do not agree with the premise that opening the Work account up to competition will see other accounts follow suit. I just do not believe that this move is, as you describe it, a “trojan horse” for privatisation across other areas.

    They don’t pay levies but levies of some sort can be paid on their behalf, and profiling, declarations, etc. enable risk management between clients. This can be privatised too – just because the insured themselves aren’t paying for cover doesn’t mean that, under a universal system, their cover is not being paid for.

    Yes, that is possible. Claims management could be privatised and be made competitive. But it is logistically difficult to do. Further to that, despite many of the claims of the Left, there simply isn’t a privatisation zeal from this National government. National has pledged not to sell any assets in its first term. As much as John Key might think it makes good economic sense to sell assets (or as others have termed it, he wants to make his friends richer), he knows that the public antipathy towards asset sales means that selling assets destroys political capital.

    If there were moves to privatise state assets, then it certainly wouldn’t be the Earners’ Account, or the Non-Earners’ Account, or the Motor Vehicle Account. He’d sell Genesis. Or Kiwirail. Or Kiwibank. You know, things that are already traded in a competitive market and provided by the private sector. He wouldn’t come up with a complex scheme to unbundle the diverse funding strands of a complex accident compensation regime to deliver it.

    You’d think no other country in the world would have mandatory driver insurance, if it’s that hard. But most of the civilised ones do, and I can tell you from experience – they tend to be a damned sight more expensive and less comprehensive than ACC.

    I don’t know of any other regimes that have compulsory personal injury insurance as driver insurance. I am familiar with the European Green Card, which is third party vehicle insurance. It isn’t personal injury cover.

    Quite right, they pay higher levies – but not higher enough for their risk. I’m not an actuary risk expert either, but under practically all systems of which I’m aware, high volumes of low-risk workers cross-subsidise low volumes of high-risk workers.

    There isn’t widespread denials of insurance cover in New Zealand as far as I’m aware, or pricing people out of the market. Nor was there evidence of this taking place in the competitive scheme in 1998. We already have defacto opt-out provisions through the Accredited Employer Scheme, where large companies can assume some of the risk themselves for lower premiums.

  26. Lew 26

    Tim: I simply do not agree with the premise that opening the Work account up to competition will see other accounts follow suit.

    You still haven’t really explained upon what grounds you believe

    I just do not believe […]

    This is what it always boils down to – a matter of belief. I’m not appealing to belief, I’m appealing to what we know about the insurance industry, economic theory and the actions of NZ governments elected on a mandate for change.

    As much as John Key might think it makes good economic sense to sell assets (or as others have termed it, he wants to make his friends richer), he knows that the public antipathy towards asset sales means that selling assets destroys political capital.

    And here you’ve hit on the nub of the `secret agenda’ argument you so commonly deride. With this statement you tacitly agree that National’s job in government is to change the public discourse about privatisation from `greed’ to `efficiency’, and once they do so there will be no electoral barrier to wholesale privatisation of state assets. Thatcher and Reagan and perhaps Clark’s greatest achievements were in moving the political centre, and Key’s National party would be fools to look to a short-term Lange/Douglas-like agenda – they’re looking to a long-term agenda of strategic change and ACC is shaping up to be their banner project.

    I don’t know of any other regimes that have compulsory personal injury insurance as driver insurance.

    I’m referring mostly to liability insurance, which is what ACC sort-of provides.

    There isn’t widespread denials of insurance cover in New Zealand as far as I’m aware, or pricing people out of the market.

    You can’t simply draw parallels between property insurance and accident insurance; there’s a qualitative difference because one protects stuff and one protects life and health. However, even in property insurance we see that the bottom of the market effectively opts out, not taking even third-party vehicle insurance. That’s how markets work – by settling at an equilibrium point where participants can maximise their profits, some people are almost always excluded. Normatively speaking, exclusion may be acceptable in property insurance where the adverse outcome is debt or bankruptcy, but not in private accident insurance where the outcome could be poor or incomplete medical care, ongoing lack of support for injury or disability, or premature death.

    L

  27. Only the left could find a way of blaming Labour’s $2+Billion screwup on National.

    Have you learned nothing? The public are sick of this tactic. What is wrong with “we messed up, sorry?” The public are far more likely to forgive if you front up and fess and far less likely if you deny, dodge and blameshift.

    Frankly I would love it if National privatised ACC, it might run efficiently and actually provide 100% cover if they did, but I doubt they will because they are so centrist, mores the pity.

  28. Lew 28

    Madeleine: To whom do you address your `you’?

    L

  29. Paul Robeson 29

    So the Sell New Zealand Made campaign has started again?

  30. NickC 30

    Lew:

    “False dichotomy. One being bad doesn’t make the other any less bad”

    I understand how it could be seen that way however my question is very legitimate in the context of this post, which effectivly seeks to blame the undermining of ACC confidence of government spin and completely ignores the fact that the previous government ran up 2.5 billion in debt. So i was trying to put this so called spin into perspective.

    “The question is – what do do about it?”

    That should be the question, I agree however this post is just so bad that it completely evades that question and seeks to merely accuse National of a smear campaign with the goal to undermine ACC. That ACC should never be privitized/opened up to competition is a premise of this post, not something it is trying to argue.

    That just shows how arrogantly the left is behaving on this matter, not prepared to accept any blame, only to attack.

  31. Rodel 31

    Espiner ‘smart’ ?
    That’s like one of his own fabrications.Shame on you Standard!

  32. Rob 32

    This Email on another Blog shows why you should never let a Trade unionist make Financial predictions . Talk about incompetence.
    n July 2008 the chair of ACC, Mr Ross Wilson claimed that ACC was in “great shape’ and was “on track to become self-funding by 2014′.
    Here we are just a few months later and the story is completely different. So what the blazes has been going on sat ACC?

    Was Mr Wilson:

    A) Insane?
    B) Stupid?
    C) Lying?
    D) On drugs?
    E) Wasn’t taking his pills that day?
    F) Telling his masters what they wanted to hear?
    G) “I’m sorry but I have been misquoted’
    H) “When said self funding what I actually meant was .’

    [lprent: Oh hell. Rob has more than served out his two month ban. Lets hope he has rehabilitated himself and isn’t going to piss me off with unfounded attacks against this site again. ]

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago