Managing Expectations – the NZ Housing crisis and Labour’s response.

Written By: - Date published: 6:15 am, October 6th, 2023 - 42 comments
Categories: election 2023, elections, housing, labour, national - Tags: , , , ,

Originally published on Nick Kelly’s blog

Watching the 2023 election campaign in New Zealand, one of Labour’s challenges appears to be that it has failed to manage voters’ expectations over the last six years.

Recalling the election campaign in 2017, Jacinda Ardern gave people hope that politics could be different. Moreover, the most significant social problems facing the country could be overcome by electing a government that promotes kindness and relentless positivity.

In early 2018 I wrote a post about the politics of hope, calling it a powerful and dangerous tool. In this blog post, I said the following:

In 2023, many in New Zealand have lost hope. While the political and economic situation is arguably better in many ways than in other parts of the world, the difference in New Zealand is that people feel let down. And as I wrote in 2018, the results of people feeling this way can be devastating.

http://nickkelly.blog/2018/04/01/hope-powerful-but-dangerous-tool/

When NZ Labour won its historic majority in 2020, I wrote the following:

The coming term will not be an easy one for Labour, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rumble on and the world plunges into the worst financial crisis in decades. On Saturday Labour were rewarded for their handling of the crisis so far, but the hard part is yet to come. On the one hand, they need to rebuild the NZ economy at a time when international tourism is dead and export markets are volatile. But even prior to this the New Zealand economy was unbalanced and in a precarious state. Its over-reliance on dairy exports has made it vulnerable if anything happens to this market and resulted in over-intensive dairy farming which has harmed the environment – not a good look for a country that brands itself as clean and green. It also faces growing inequality with significant growth in homelessness and poverty in recent years.

http://nickkelly.blog/2020/10/19/nz-election-2020-labour-win-is-a-watershed-moment-in-the-countrys-history/

This has indeed been a difficult term in government, and all the challenges described above came to be. Whilst this was never going to be an easy time to govern, after six years in power, three of which with a massive parliamentary majority, hard questions need to be asked about whether NZ Labour lived up to voter’s expectations.

There are two areas where the Labour-led government in New Zealand could have done a better job of managing expectations. One is Housing, and the second is the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This post will focus on housing, and the next one on COVID.

Prior to the 2020 election, I wrote the following regarding the NZ Government’s handling of the housing crisis:

It is easy for both Labour and the Green Party’s to say they could not achieve all they wanted in their first term in government because of a difficult coalition partner. But this can only go so far. There are certain policy areas where the current Labour-led government have simply not yet delivered. At the beginning of 2019, Jacinda Ardern announced that it would be the year of delivery. Yet in policy areas such as decreasing homelessness, or the now ill-fated Kiwibuild program to build houses to combat the NZ Housing Crisis – delivery simply has not happened. Yes, these are difficult policy areas, but they are also policy areas where Labour took a strong stance in opposition.

http://nickkelly.blog/2020/08/09/jacinda-arderns-labour-government-style-over-substance-or-a-guiding-light-for-progressive-politics/

The reality was and is that addressing the housing crisis was never going to be quick. A problem over three decades in the making was never going to be fixed within one parliamentary term. NZ lacks skilled construction workers due to apprenticeship programmes being cut in the 1990s. Since selling off the Ministry of Works in 1994, NZ has been reliant on large international companies for major public works, including major housing projects. These international firms have no sense of obligation to New Zealand and are price setters.

Even if the above were not issues, there still needs to be planning consents, environmental impact reports and other processes which means housing developments take time.

The problem with Kiwibuild was not only the slow pace at which progress was made but also that as a policy programme, it did not on its own mean thousands of low-income people could afford housing. It addressed a supply issue, but not related issues such as lifting people’s incomes and lowering deposit rates for mortgages.

In 2017 Labour and Green Party voters in New Zealand believed that Kiwi Build would tackle the housing crisis. The then opposition underestimated the challenge a mass building programme such as this would take. This does not mean it was the wrong policy, but that Jacinda Ardern and the Labour frontbench over-promised and under-delivered. Had they not done so, Labour’s vote may not have risen to a level where entering government was viable. But long term, this has now contributed to the challenges Labour are facing in this election.

The National Party’s track record on housing is abysmal. Nobody expects the National Party in power to do anything other than allow the wealthy few to own more and more property. In this way, National and the Right are much better at expectation management. They win not by exciting voters and giving hope, but through many voters becoming depressed to the point where they disengage.

The housing crisis is not unique to New Zealand as I wrote about back in 2018. Governments in English-speaking democracies in particular struggle with this complex problem, that has no single fix. Instead, it will take significant policy changes, but more importantly changes to public attitudes on home ownership, regulation of the rental market and in-fill housing. It takes a strong government to achieve such a change within the limits of parliamentary democracy. Until this happens, expect governments to keep falling at the ballot for inaction.

42 comments on “Managing Expectations – the NZ Housing crisis and Labour’s response. ”

  1. lprent 1

    Reformatted using the block editor.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Labour's fatal error was not providing Aotearoa with a recovery plan post-pandemic. I pointed that out often onsite here at the time and the chickens have since come to roost.

    They also never explained why they couldn't duplicate the effort and results achieved by the first Labour govt re building ample houses. Inability to learn from experience became their most distinguishing characteristic!

    Still, Labour did manage to establish a track record as place-holders for National, so it's not as if they were a total bunch of losers. Neolib solidarity has become their primary legacy. Hipkins trying to both signal consensus with Luxon while simulating a brand differential ought to teach bright youngsters about the democracy sham.

    • Ad 2.1

      No the failure in housing goes back to 2017 and 2018.

      It's pretty evident that even with a national health pandemic, the public patience for massive state intervention no longer exists outside of a very very tight duration.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Fair enough. If they had made an effort to communicate with the people instead of taking refuge in sloganeering I wouldn't feel so critical.

        They seem to have no idea about authenticity. If they really were in it for the people, as their billboard implies, they’d explain stuff using realism instead of bs…

    • mikesh 2.2

      Labour's fatal error was not providing Aotearoa with a recovery plan post-pandemic. I pointed that out often onsite here at the time and the chickens have since come to roost.

      I thought they followed the advice of Ashley Bloomfield and the Health Dept..

      • Dennis Frank 2.2.1

        That was critical earlier & I remain a supporter of Ardern on that, but she failed to message the people in the aftermath due to having no exit strategy to inform them.

        • Chris 2.2.1.1

          And no provision to protect jobs after the mandates were lifted. Communicating the mandates were temporary wasn't the greatest, either, but leaving people without their job even after the mandates were lifted was a crucial mistake.

        • mikesh 2.2.1.2

          The exit strategy, after omicron struck, seemed to be to get everyone vaccinated, and then to return to normal. What “exit strategy” would one expect?

          Lack of an exit strategy would seem to be a “straw man” argument.

  3. Ad 3

    The endless bloated speeches and promises from Minister of Housing Phil Twyford were also deeply unhelpful.

    Also forming a new implementation house construction ministry from scratch and different from Kainga Ora, with a leader of the organisation that plainly failed from the start, was also unhelpful.

    Also the Minister of Finance superheating the economy with tens of billions of stimulus causing a speculative spike, while at the same time changing the tax depreciation for landlords who would purchase and operate rentals, was unhelpful.

    Also failing to admit that the government generated no mechanism for Kainga Ora and NZTA to work faster on masterplanning and building large-lot areas wasn't helpful.

    Morgan Godferey has made a parallel point recently that the capacity of the state to deliver has shrunk massively, but the government COVID response showed clearly that if the state wanted to intervene at scale and alter society, it had both the power and the will to do so. Which when it came to addressing any other crisis wasn't true. Let alone helpful.

    Does anyone still remember when housing was the main crisis, when now we also have crises in health, education, crime, and water? It is so hard to list the litany of failures in this government from where they started in 2017.

    Twyford failed in housing but Ardern was the source of the failure from the beginning.

    • KJT 3.1

      "Crises" in health, education, water and housing date back to decades before this Government. Covid simply bought it to a head.

      Unrealistic to expect it all to be "fixed" in six years.

      However the discounting of wealth and capital gains taxes is one of several spectacular "own goals".

      As is the reluctance to come out strongly to support policies that rebuild our society and infrastructure, and the increase in Government share of the economy that is required.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        "Unrealistic" is the theme of the post: the Labour-led government failed to convince that its promises were realistic. I don't think anyone will dispute that even in Labour, on October 15th.

        They did not have a coherent policy delivery platform and 100 Day Plan as part of their 2017 campaign. Too many people with fat policy ideas and no executive experience.

        Government response to COVID showed that you really can take people through a massive societal change and come out the other end. Arguably their success in it gave a template to do more in other policy areas. Hence Ardern as Smeagol hoarding her golden pile of political capital.

        Labour really did implement massive changes which we will only evaluate in many years to come, and really did rebuild major parts of our society. Only in specific months did it need to increase the total Government share of the economy.

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          Too many people with fat policy ideas and no executive experience.

          It is specifically was and is having no executive experience in government, because I consider that private enterprise executive experience counts as a complete and large negative in getting things done in government. I don't think that anyone who has worked almost entirely in the private sector (ie like me) has any previous competence at making anything happen government (which I have observed for decades).

          The nearest we got to to it recently was the Key government. But this was the government who managed to do 9 years of doing absolutely no positive policies (building motorways with ensuring any extra user funds to maintain them against truck damage doesn't count as positive in my view) , but allowed previous problems to expand exponentially.

          If National goes over the line into government – then having a dearth of competent governmental executive experience is exactly the same position they will be in.

          National has the worst of the Key governments ministers – the most experienced are Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee – both of whom are worse than useless. There are a number of the most ineffectual Key junior ministers and parliament secretaries imaginable who are available.

          Paul Goldsmith (believe it or not) is probably the best of them.

          Certainly more competent than Mark Mitchell or Todd McLay – which is an extremely low bar.

          • Ad 3.1.1.1.1

            I don't want to imagine the next government yet.

            Not all can be attributed to lack of experience one way or the other.

            Prime Minister Ardern played to her historic strengths in public speaking, media fronting, and international affairs, so she got away without private sector experience. In specific fields she was outstanding.

            The smoothest transitions under the current government from relevant public service to Ministerial level must surely be Ginny Anderson and Ayesha Verrall. They have had command of their portfolios from the get-go.

            Even a deep academic experience in a narrow field like tax means Deborah Russell could have performed better given her specific background.

            Andrew Little took on major executive fields in Defence, intelligence and security and get some big purchases delivered, big successful reforms, and major alliances set up. His massive signal move to merge all health into one will be a massive legacy. So he confounds lack of relevant experience simply with sound competence at task delivery and cross-sector diplomacy.

            The minister that also confounds the need for any major public or private sector experience however must surely be Megan Woods, who without much big leadership experience managed to take on more and more, and do so with strong policy ambition and without significant mistake.

            Just to argue against myself for a moment.

            • lprent 3.1.1.1.1.1

              You notice that these were all people from professions outside the private sector management. They have less to unlearn.

              I was never surprised about Andrew Little or Megan Woods. Both had worked in roles that required immense amounts of non-private political/managerial roles.

              The particular problem that I see is that a the direction of a government and competence at achieving it is pushed by its previous experience of pushing those things. So the 1984, 2008 and 2017 elections were notable for political abilities but limited competent senior experience in government. And it showed. The governments all drifted through lack of expertise.

              Rodger Douglas provided the main expertise in 1984-1990 and there were a series of mistakes etc etc

              • Ad

                Most state agencies have been made as close-to identical with a business as possible. That was a part of the State Sector Act and Crown Entities Act, including appointing board members, forming reasonable SOIs, investment proposals, shareholder expectations, and the like. That was the point of New Public Management in both theory and practise. And engage with staff only through Departmental Chief Executives.

                So most Ministerial work so far as I can tell would have corporate relevance if it were in a major company.

          • adam 3.1.1.1.2

            Paul Goldsmith (believe it or not) is probably the best of them.

            That statement made me rethink my aversion to smokable cocaine as a solution to help the total and complete hopeless.

        • Belladonna 3.1.1.2

          "They did not have a coherent policy delivery platform and 100 Day Plan as part of their 2017 campaign."

          In reality, this was because, until Ardern took over 6 weeks before election day, there was no possibility that Labour would be forming the next government.

          I still feel that Kiwibuilt was a political stick to beat the National government with, rather than a fully worked out plan from a party expecting to deliver on it. An electioneering slogan, rather than a policy.

          • Ad 3.1.1.2.1

            Oh come on, you either prepare to run the government or you don't.

            • Belladonna 3.1.1.2.1.1

              That's the point. They weren't prepared to run a government…. because they didn't think they had a hope of being elected.

          • mikesh 3.1.1.2.2

            The original kiwibuild plan was probably a good one, but they probably underestimated the time it would take to execute such a plan.

            • Belladonna 3.1.1.2.2.1

              Not only the time, but also the cost, number of tradies required, and bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. It wasn't a costed plan – more an election promise, that they were, no doubt, horrified to be expected to deliver on.

              Aspirational goals are all well and good, but don't present them as hard targets (unless you want your Minister to be the target for the outrage of broken promises).

              What I would have liked to have seen (long after Kiwibuild had gone the way of the dodo), is the government purchasing motels at book price during the Covid lockdowns – instead of paying the owners ridiculous prices to house the homeless. They could then have re-developed these under Kainga Ora (once lockdown was past) into multi-story public housing (some for families, some for singles, some for people with complex needs). Virtually all of the motels were in high-traffic areas (so good public transport), and already zoned as high-density accommodation.

              Sensitive development, bringing the community along with them – rather than the hell-holes which some of the motels turned into (cf Rotorua and Tiny Deane's security company)

              An opportunity wasted.

  4. pat 4

    The Labour (led) government of 2017 discovered (if they didnt understand already) that the housing bubble was the basis of our economy and was consequently off limits to be 'repaired' even should the tools be available to do so….tinkering was all that was available to them.

    Nothing has changed

    • Dennis Frank 4.1

      I like it – the neolib wimp theory of politics, political scientists take note! yessmiley

      • pat 4.1.1

        Not a lot to like…and its practice rather than theory.

        The difficulty is getting from here to there, especially as a bit player trapped in the current paradigm….and understanding the consequences of attempting to swim against the tide.

    • mikesh 4.2

      The housing "bubble" if it was a bubble, is yet to burst. The recent increase in prices was due to circumstances brought about by the pandemic. I understand that prices are now back to pre-pandemic levels.

      • arkie 4.2.1

        Your understanding is wrong:

        The latest figures from the OneRoof-Valocity House Index show the nationwide average property value is, at $958,000, 23.9% ($185,000) higher than it was in March 2020, just before Covid-19 struck.

        https://www.oneroof.co.nz/news/oneroof-house-price-report-may-2023-43471

      • Drowsy M. Kram 4.2.2

        I understand that prices are now back to pre-pandemic levels.

        No, although house prices have been dropping – which is not the right direction.

        House asking prices dropping $10k per month on average – report
        [3 Oct 2023]

        • Nic the NZer 4.2.2.1

          I think this chart is nominal values. This means that the earlier prices might need to be inflation adjusted to make comparable house prices (or your more or less just comparing inflation, not house price changes). This is why the majority of the left of that chart is quite flat.

          There is a similar house price index here, and you can see it has somewhat different shape.

          https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/key-statistics/housing

          As Nick mentioned the price of housing in NZ is a 30 year saga, and some of the biggest increases in house prices began circa 2000.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 4.2.2.1.1

            The chart @4.2.2 covers 2007 onwards.

            I might be misinterpreting, but in the RBNZ link, isn't that a graph of the House Price Index (HPI) (annual % change), rather than actual prices?

            Yes, there were some big % increases between 2002 and 2007, but the HPI graph indicates the largest % increases (June – December 2021) occurred during the pandemic.

            Between March 2020 and March 2023 (when that graph ends), the area above zero (indicating increasing house prices) in considerably greater than the area below zero – the HPI (annual % change) doesn't turn negative until around August 2022, so the time spent in negative territory since then isn't enough to correct/offset the larger % increases up to August 2022.

            It's going to take quite a few more months of negative % changes to lower house prices back to pre-COVID levels, but there are already moves afoot to reverse the current partial correction.

            As I said, I could easily have this wrong, in which case my apologies.

            • Nic the NZer 4.2.2.1.1.1

              The value of housing stock chart is similar enough to the house price index. The point your making with either chart is correct, and prices have fallen only as far as 2021 levels at this stage and even with the elevated inflation rate after the pandemic this brings the equivalent level back by only a few months.

              But its important to understand that any chart of nominal levels should likely be understood to have an implicit exponential series underlying it as well as the actual series your examining. The left of your chart is always going to be the flat part of an exponential curve, and if your comparing 2004 and 2021 and 2009 and 2022 these increases and decreases are all close (while in your chart they don't appear equivalent at all).

        • mikesh 4.2.2.2

          No, although house prices have been dropping – which is not the right direction.

          "The right" being an obvious pun.

  5. Binders full of Women 5

    The best housing policy is the Greens Progressive Ownership- best of both worlds. But not gonna vote for them cos I am stupid (white). I used to love them and cast my first ever vote for the Rev Ray Galvin in the old Greens about 1987.

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    Kiwibuild was a mess of a policy – overly complicated and captured by neo-liberal middle class objectives as to what affordable housing was. So many rules and complications and an over-inflated sense of what working class could afford. Not uncommon from both politicians and highly paid CEO's to underestimate the struggle that others face.

    If they wanted affordable housing for purchase then as I said at the time – retain ownership of the land by the state in perpetuity and just have people buy the house.

    If they needed to transition the baby boomers away from their 3 and 4 bedroom homes build small units close to amenities and do a swap – brand new units were not dissimilar in price to old 3-4 bedroom homes.

    Lastly build more state housing with a long term view articulated to make up for years of immigration and lack of maintaining volumes as population increased.

    I have not met anyone who can actually articulate Kiwibuild in simple terms. Ordinary people just don't wish to dig into the detail of it.

    I actually think they have done a reasonable job building more actual state houses. If that was their main policy they would now likely be in a position of strength.

    Kiwibuild was the neo-liberal capitalist solution that no-one needed.

    • mikesh 6.1

      If they wanted affordable housing for purchase then as I said at the time – retain ownership of the land by the state in perpetuity and just have people buy the house.

      That would entail buying land back from its private owners. The government would not have had sufficient cash to do that, though one possibility may have been to issue bonds in lieu of cash. Another approach may have been to pass legislation to allow only the government the right to buy and sell land; anyone then wishing to sell a property would have to sell the land component to the government while they sold the house to the buyer.

      I have not met anyone who can actually articulate Kiwibuild in simple terms. Ordinary people just don't wish to dig into the detail of it.

      The plan, in simple terms, was to build some houses, sell them, and use the proceeds to build more, continuing the process until 100,000 had been built.

  7. barry 7

    Kiwibuild may not have delivered so many houses by itself, but it created an environment of house building. Often a subdivision would have a small proportion of the houses as kiwibuild houses, which helped the developer get funding. Sometimes a developer could take a risk with kiwibuild as a backup option if their houses didn't sell.

    It also encouraged builders to take on apprentices, thus growing the industry.

    Has anybody crunched the numbers? How many does the number of houses built under Labour compared with the last government? How many new builders did we train?

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    We all knew this government meant redundancies - lots of them. National highlighted they’d be taking a scalpel to government departments, cutting them to the bone. ACT fantasized about going deeper.Thousands losing their jobs in a sector that won’t be hiring any time soon. I could make a joke here ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • Tough choices on climate change for new government
    Slowly but inexorably, the country is getting to the point where it is going to have to make some tough choices about actually lowering greenhouse gas emissions rather than planting or buying its way out of them. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, at the weekend, removed any last hope that climate ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 day ago
  • That was Then, This is Now #31 – Urgent for me, but not for thee?
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.That was then…“In Parliament today, Labour was pushed to justify their use of urgency to rush through a Bill to get rid of a public veto on Māori wards, and they couldn’t,” National’s Local ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Rattus Supermarketicus: Countdown Reopens
    So my infamously rat-infested local supermarket was finally able to re-open today, after spending a good two and a half weeks closed. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/510363/countdown-dunedin-south-reopens-after-rat-infestation I went in for a look this evening, having heard that they were offering chocolates earlier in the day. I was disappointed. No chocolates. ...
    2 days ago
  • Clearly still no adults in this Chaos Cabinet, aiming to sell Aotearoa off to the highest bidders…
    Grant Roberston has left the Labour team in Parliament, Efeso Collins tragically died at the outset of what was surely to be a stellar career as an MP… a heavy result last year, losses and a tragedy to start this year. That overall sense of tragedy is not limited ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 days ago
  • Productivity Commission gone tomorrow, Māori Health Authority gone in June – so what should we do...
    The Productivity Commission will cease operations tomorrow, to make way for the new Ministry for Regulation. On the same day, the Waitangi Tribunal will begin an urgent inquiry into the government’s proposal to disestablish the Māori Health Authority. But legislation passed under urgency by Parliament will result in the authority being ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    2 days ago
  • QUESTIONNAIRE NEW ZEALAND
    So you want to be a member of this exciting new government, eh? Good thinking! There’s obviously no future in journalism. We’re not just hiring any old comms person though. We want someone with the right attitude and MOJO. So grab a pen and fill out this questionnaire will you? ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • Another secret OIA “consultation”
    When the previous government decided in 2018 to review the OIA, the Ministry of Justice decided to do the entire thing in secret, planning a "targeted consultation" with a secret, hand-picked group of lawyers, bloggers and commentators. Because obviously, wider civil society has no interest in the operation of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Puff! And before you can get through a packet of 20, Parliament will have stubbed out parts of Labo...
    Buzz from the Beehive Health dominated the government’s announcements over the past 24 hour or so, at the same time as Parliament was debating legislation to abolish the Maori Health Authority and repeal parts of the previous government’s planned changes to regulate smoked tobacco. Health Minister Shane Reti brandished a ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    2 days ago
  • Journalism in New Zealand Is Collapsing
    Hi,I was not intending to send out a Webworm today, and I hate that I am having to write about this.After nearly 35 years of broadcasting, the TV newsroom in New Zealand that was my home for about a decade is set to close in June.Some of my closest and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 days ago
  • A revolting breach of Te Tiriti
    In 2019, the Waitangi Tribunal released a preliminary report in the Wai 2575 inquiry, finding pervasive inequities in the New Zealand health system which systematically disadvantaged Māori, in breach of Ti Tiriti O Waitangi. It recommended the creation of an independent Māori Health Authority as one way of remedying these ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Bishop wants house prices to halve vs income
    TL;DR: Housing, Infrastructure and RMA Reform minister Minister Chris Bishop gave the new Government’s most important and ambitious speech of its first 100 days yesterday, pledging to flood cities with land for homes and help give councils new revenue to pay for the water and transport infrastructure needed to build ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Lyin' Luxon
    All we want is a touch of truthnot cue-card words for the polling booththis ballhead man and his MacDonalds wisdomselling soap or a new tax systemSo begin the lyrics for the new single, Lyin’ Luxon (and his tobacco goons)”, from Darren Watson - released just this morning. You can check ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Albo gives Luxon a big invite
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon gets his first big foreign affairs opportunity next week when he travels to Melbourne for the 50th Anniversary of Australia’s partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has invited the heads of all ten members for a special summit. ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • Of Mining Interests and the West Coast-Tasman Result: Look at the Split Vote
    The various New Zealand election donations have been disclosed, and one Jonathan Milne has noticed the role of mining interests in backing an independent candidate on the West Coast: https://newsroom.co.nz/2024/02/23/big-coal-company-bought-west-coast-election-campaign/ The article goes on to suggest that the independent candidate’s performance – garnering some 5903 votes – was key ...
    3 days ago
  • At a glance – Is Greenland gaining or losing ice?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    3 days ago
  • Dark money has entered the New Zealand electoral scene at unprecedented levels
    Radio NZ’s Farah Hancock has analysed the Electoral Commission returns of money paid to influence the 2023 NZ General Election. Her article $2m surge in election campaign spending by third-party groups (RNZ) shows that as well as the huge donations-directly-to-the-parties imbalance, previously reported, a large amount of untraceable dark money ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    3 days ago
  • I remember better days
    The school property system is BORDERING ON CRISIS according to the Prime Minister and his Education Minister.Same old crisis panic button. God only knows what they’ll press when they get a real one.The self-serving agenda here is pretty transparent: Find ourselves an out for not delivering what people expect us ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • No, it isn’t a surprise – the government is disestablishing the Māori Health Authority (just a...
    Latest from the Beehive The mainstream news media have been grimly auguring this news for  the past few days under headings such as… Axing Māori Health Authority before hearing ‘disrespectful’ — expert (One News); Coalition Government to forge ahead with repeal of smokefree laws, Māori Health Authority this week ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • BRYCE EDWARDS: NZ elections are being Americanised with “dark money” flowing into campaign grou...
    Bryce Edwards writes –  Elections in the United States are dominated by big money. But what isn’t commonly understood is that most of it is raised and spent, not by the political parties and candidates for office, but by special interest groups who run their own election campaigns to ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • More dishonesty from Costello
    When Cancer Minister Casey Costello was caught lying to the media and to Parliament about whether or not she had requested advice on cutting tobacco excise tax to benefit the cancer industry, her explanation was to blame "confusion arising from my understanding of the differentiation between seeking specific advice and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL: Child poverty – complex or simple?
    Question: Do you understand how the child poverty statistics are derived? Clearly some people do not. Last week the latest child poverty statistics were all over the media. But there are a number of misunderstandings that need addressing. Like this one from NewstalkZB’s John MacDonald who wrote: Living in households ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER: Tougher love
    Mark Mitchell’s gang laws will separate the liberal sheep from the authoritarian goats Chris Trotter writes – THE INTENSIFYING POLITICAL CONTROVERSY over the Coalition Government’s policy on gangs promises to be one of those sheep-from-goats moments. While the Left will veer instinctively towards the sociological, the Right ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Bernard's Top 10 @ 10 am 'pick 'n' mix' for Feb 27
    A mega-documentary about the influence of China’s Communist Party in our political system that remains stuck inside Stuff’s editorial system. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāHere’s my top ten links to news, papers and reports elsewhere as at 10 am on Tuesday February 27:Today’s must-read: Whatever happened to Stuff Circuit’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The day our infrastructure deficits came home to roost
    Ugly moments of infrastructure deficit truth are popping up all over, including the revelation that Wellington’s train service will be disrupted for up to 15 years. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: National and Labour are bickering over who is to blame for ‘mismanagement’ of infrastructure spending on rail and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • It’s March Madness Time again
    We may still be in February but yesterday marked the start of March Madness, typically the busiest time of the year for transport of all modes. That’s due to a number of factors, such as: The summer holiday period is over meaning All schools and now University’s being ...
    3 days ago
  • What do you think about Christopher Luxon?
    As some of you might know Darren Watson's new track "Lyin' Luxon" will be out tomorrow.I'm going to write about that subject today so if there's anything you'd like to say about Luxon, his government, policies, his partners and investors, or what he's doing to our country then please feel ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • A TV Hero Goes Down the Wormhole
    Note: This story includes feedback from a central character in this story — I’ve included that at the end in its entirety.Hi,When I started Webworm four years ago, it seemed like a novelty to write about people getting sucked into beliefs like QAnon. As Kiwi lingerie makers opened their third ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Are food influencers wrong about climate change?
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). The food industry is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. So how are our diets causing disaster? Some people ...
    3 days ago
  • Funding announced for landfill improvements and farmers – but the headline grabber is news of a cr...
    Buzz from the Beehive The government has been dishing out sums of money in much the same way as the Ardern-Hipkins government has done. Four historic landfill sites will benefit from the granting of $6.6 million to clean up old landfill sites And the coalition Government is  providing support for ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • Yes, voters supported the scrapping of the Māori Health Authority – but Stuff reminds us of the W...
    Reinforcing the credence of an article posted here last week, Stuff yet again has been promoting the notion that “The Treaty” should over-ride the country’s democratic governance arrangements. In the article published on Point of Order under the headline Media chiefs struggle to understand democracy, Graham Adams noted that New ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • Executive summaries
    Here in the seaside village, we have people of all callings.We have butchers, bakers, candlestick makers. We have panelbeaters, librarians and sailors.We have novelists, poets and the guy who wrote Six Months in A Leaky Boat.And of course, we have executives. It is, you assume, for such people—our executives, living in ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • An anti-constitutional government
    Aotearoa has a lot of problems at the moment: climate change, housing, water, rich people refusing to pay their way. So of course the government has decided to crack down on gangs, as a distraction from all of the above. Their proposals violate the freedoms of expression and association, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • ROGER PARTRIDGE: Has the Supreme Court lost its way?
      Roger Partridge writes –  With age comes wisdom – or so it is said. Yet exceptions abound. A notable reflection from leading lawyer Jack Hodder on the Supreme Court’s 20th anniversary suggests the Court is ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • BRIAN EASTON: Do we take Regulatory Impact Statements seriously?
    The Sorry Story of Earthquake-Prone Buildings * Brian Easton writes – The Treasury requires that when new or amended legislation is proposed, a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) be provided – ‘a high-level summary of the problem being addressed, the options and their associated costs and benefits, the consultation undertaken, and the ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's Top 10 @ 10 am 'pick 'n' mix'
    Here’s my top ten links to news, papers and reports elsewhere as at 10 am on Monday February 26:Today’s must-read: How one miner’s political donation changed an electorate result. Newsroom Jonathan MilneLocal scoop: Car dealers cash in on EV subsidies for ‘company cars’ RNZ Eloise GibsonOverseas scoop: Meta pushed ahead ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • February-24 AT Board Meeting
    Tomorrow the AT board have their first meeting of the year. it will also be the first meeting for new chair Richard Leggat. You can watch the open session on this Teams link with the meeting due to start at 10am. As usual, I’ve taken a look through the reports ...
    4 days ago
  • Mark Mitchell – Mercenary Man.
    Before Mark Mitchell was known for not being able to keep to the official party line on police numbers. Even further back, before Mitchell’s brainfart that he could stop the gangs by making them wear makeup over their tattoos. Back before he was even an MP, Mark Mitchell was a ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Will the RBNZ upset NZ Inc's applecart?
    After contemplating the inflationary pressures of the first 100 days of the new Government, the RBNZ may decide it needs to hike on Wednesday. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Te Pūtea Matua, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, could shock our political economy with a rate hike this Wednesday ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Shane Jones’ fast track is not what the Nats’ base wants to hear about
    If anybody stole the show at National’s Blue Greens Forum at the weekend at Waitangi, it was Environment Minister Penny Simmonds. When she said she had re-directed millions from staff training in Wellington to local conservation boards in the regions, she was greeted with widespread applause. She had hit the ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Ending Free Prescriptions and Elections Having Consequences
    So National won the 2023 election, and since then has set about doing exactly what it’d say it’d do – screwing over poor people and workers. One of their more spiteful election promises, the restoration of fees on prescription medicines, has yet to pass, but there is little doubt they’ll ...
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #08
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, Feb 18, 2024 thru Sat, Feb 24, 2024. Story of the week “In the tropical eastern Atlantic, it’s four months ahead of pace—it’s looking like it’s already June out ...
    5 days ago
  • Slow train of accountability for Cameron Slater
    It’s an adage, almost a cliche: ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’, but genuinely, that has to be one’s response to news this last week: That dirty PR attack blogger Cameron Slater has (finally) been judged in the High Court to have defamed Auckland businessman Matt Blomfield. Further, that Slater’s false ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    5 days ago
  • Not political in the slightest
    In one way it was phenomenally dull, in another fascinating. He had never met people with such certainty before. Jews and Catholics were less. Irish ugly, Chinese and Aborigines not even human. They did not think such things. They knew them.The Narrow Road to The Deep North Richard Flanagan Wellington ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER: Democracy denied
    Political Intervention From Above: From the early-1970s on, lobbying firms and think-tanks have grown like Topsy all across the capitalist world. Had the progressive middle-class not drawn its teeth and clipped its claws, an angry working-class might have risen to meet the Robber Baron’s challenge as it did in the 1890s, ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Aotearoa Divided.
    Hey, hey, heyThere's no need to panicThis is just how it isYour pulse is fast and franticAnd it feels like you'll explodePanic isn’t the right word, although sometimes I feel a bit that way when I think about things. Despair is probably more accurate. And sadness. Those are the things ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to Feb 23
    Luxon says Kiwis need to face the ‘brutal facts of our reality’, but the evidence shows our financial position is nowhere near as troubling as in 1991 and even if it were, the advice of the ‘financial grown-ups’ of the world is to avoid pointless austerity measures. Photo: Lynn Grieveson ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Hell of a week
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Friday: Week in review, quiz style1. What did the Atlas Network do in Aotearoa this week?a. Got a tobacco whistleblower firedb. Got Michael Bassett to ghost-write legislation c. Planted Kompromat on John Campbell d. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Media chiefs struggle to understand democracy
    Graham Adams writes — Listening to Sinead Boucher speak last week at a parliamentary hearing on the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill, it was easy to be captivated momentarily by her rhetoric about democracies requiring a strong and free media. Addressing the select committee MPs, she said: “A strong, ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    7 days ago
  • Do We Take Regulatory Impact Statements Seriously?
    The Sorry Story of Earthquake-Prone Buildings.The Treasury requires that when new or amended legislation is proposed, a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) be provided – ‘a high-level summary of the problem being addressed, the options and their associated costs and benefits, the consultation undertaken, and the proposed arrangements for implementation and ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • Enjoy your weekend in the best little country on the planet in a fragile state under new management
    1. What did the Atlas Network do in Aotearoa this week?a. Got a tobacco whistleblower firedb. Got Michael Bassett to ghost-write legislation c. Planted Kompromat on John Campbell d. Sent Cameron Slater flowerse. None of the above2. According to our one-liner Prime Minister the state of the nation is what?a. Fickle  b. Fragile c. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago

  • Government congratulates JPs on centenary
    Associate Minister of Justice Nicole McKee has extended her congratulations to the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations on its centenary this year. The occasion is being celebrated at the Federation’s annual AGM and Conference, which opens in Wellington today.  “Justices of the Peace (JPs) play a vital role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Government going after gangs’ guns with FPOs
    The Government is continuing its work to restore law and order, announcing new measures that will enable police to crack down on gangs through Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs).  “Firearms are being illegally used by gangs to intimidate, to commit violent crime in support of their profit making, and to initiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Open ocean salmon farm a win for the economy
    The final approval of New Zealand King Salmon’s Blue Endeavour open ocean aquaculture project is a significant step for New Zealand’s aquaculture, and a win for the economy, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones says.  “Blue Endeavour will be the first open ocean aquaculture salmon farm in New Zealand. It’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • NZ – UAE trade agreement consultation begins
    Following a meeting with UAE Trade Minister Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, Trade Minister Todd McClay has launched public consultation for a trade agreement between New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).   “The UAE is a top-20 export market for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Minister thanks Public Service Commissioner
    Public Service Minister Nicola Willis has thanked retiring Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes for his 43 years of service. Mr Hughes retires today, after serving eight years as Public Service Commissioner.  “Peter Hughes is an outstanding public servant who has served many governments, regardless of their political leaning, with professionalism and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Tourism data shows determination of sector
    New tourism data out today shows the continued importance of tourism to the New Zealand economy as tourism steps up to become our second-biggest export earner, Tourism Minister Matt Doocey says. “The Tourism Satellite Account shows how strongly tourism rebounded post-pandemic with total tourism expenditure in New Zealand of $37.7b ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Housing Minister thanks outgoing Kāinga Ora Chair
    Housing Minister Chris Bishop has today thanked outgoing Kāinga Ora – Homes & Communities Chair Vui Mark Gosche for his many years of public service. “Mr Gosche tendered his resignation as Chair yesterday evening. He will remain a member of the Board until the end of March,” says Housing Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • New sanctions package against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced a new package of sanctions as part of the ongoing international sanction response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.   The new sanctions are:   Implementation of the G7-plus price cap on Russian-origin oil; making explicit the prohibition on exporting restricted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Travel bans on extremist Israeli settlers
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced travel bans on a number of extremist Israeli settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.   “New Zealand is seriously concerned by the significant increase in extremist violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinian populations in recent months. This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • NZ designates entirety of Hamas as terrorist entity
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced today the designation of Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist entity.   “The terrorist attacks by Hamas in October 2023 were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them,” Mr Luxon says.    Following these attacks, then Prime Minister Chris Hipkins commissioned advice from officials about designating the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government announces independent review of forestry ETS costs
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay has today announced an independent review into the forestry component of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Register to ensure it is efficient and cost-effective. “Up and down the country forestry owners have been raising concerns about the excessive costs that have been imposed upon them by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Access barriers to PET-CT scans removed
    New Zealanders now have the same access to PET-CT scans no matter where they live, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora has approved funding an updated national set of criteria that will allow for about 1,000 more PET-CT scans a year to be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines’ alliance extended
    Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey announced today that the Government has extended Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines’ strategic alliance for another five years. “Reauthorising this strategic partnership means that passengers flying in and out of New Zealand will continue to have access to a wide range of flights and destinations,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system reforms need further action
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says the latest report into New Zealand’s health reforms shows a few benefits, but overall once again demonstrates a lack of leadership by the previous Labour government.  The Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) report released today was commissioned by the previous government to provide an independent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Parallel assessment means new medicines assessed sooner
    Pharmac is changing its process so it can assess a funding application at the same time Medsafe is assessing the application for regulatory approval. This means that medicines will be able to be considered for funding sooner in New Zealand. “Access to medicines is a crucial part of many Kiwis’ ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Smokefree Amendment Bill Introduced
    The Government has today introduced an Amendment Bill that will repeal three parts of the previous Government’s planned changes to regulate smoked tobacco. “The Coalition Government is committed to the Smokefree 2025 goal, but we are taking a different regulatory approach to reducing smoking rates and the harm from smoking,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Targeted support for young people
    Recently allocated Ministry of Youth Development funding will support more than 6700 young people to receive targeted youth development support to remain in education or transition to further training or employment and improve their wellbeing, Youth Minister Matt Doocey says.  Funding of $10.69 million will be allocated to 34 community-based ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Reshaping the health system to bring Māori health closer to home
    Legislation that will disestablish the Māori Health Authority will be introduced in Parliament today, heralding the start of a new vision for Māori health says Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti.  “We have said we will bring healthcare for all New Zealanders closer to the home and closer to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce
    Acknowledgements Good morning. Can I start by acknowledging Simon and the team at the Chamber. Thanks for the invitation to be here today. Introduction In October last year New Zealanders voted for change. The Coalition government was elected with a clear mandate to rebuild the economy and reduce the cost ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ welcomes Australia and Brazil to agreements
    New Zealand has welcomed Australia to the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG) and Australia and Brazil to the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA) Minister for Trade Todd McClay says.  As the current chair of ITAG and GTAGA, Minister McClay hosted the signing ceremony and issued the Abu Dhabi Joint ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Inquiry announced into school property
    The Government will conduct a Ministerial Inquiry to address problems with the school property system where the scope of property works planned was unrealistic and unaffordable. “The coalition Government has inherited a school property system bordering on crisis,” Education Minister Erica Stanford says. “There have been a number of cost escalations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Chair for Guardians of NZ Superannuation
    Company director and investor John Williamson has been appointed as the new Chair of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the Crown entity that oversees the NZ Super Fund and the Elevate NZ Venture Capital Fund, Finance Minister Nicola Willis announced today.  Mr Williamson will take up his new position ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Northland open for business as critical works to repair SH1 Brynderwyn Hills begin
    The Government is encouraging New Zealanders to support, visit, and explore Northland, as the closure and detour of SH1 at the Bryderwyn Hills begins, and critical repair work by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) gets underway, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Many regions across the country suffered extensive and devastating ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government backs police to crackdown on gangs
    The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell.  “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase. At the same time, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Northland’s new Kāeo Bridge officially open
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed the official opening of the new State Highway 10 (SH10) Kāeo Bridge, which will improve safety and traffic flow for people heading to and from the Far North. “This is an important piece of infrastructure for the Northland region that will help members of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government grants $6.6 million to clean up old landfill sites
    The Government has granted $6.6 million to clean up four historic New Zealand landfill and dump sites vulnerable to extreme weather events and coastal erosion. At the BlueGreens Forum in Paihia today Environment Minister Penny Simmonds said that the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund grants will go towards fixing former landfills ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Dry weather triggers extra support for farmers and growers across the top of the South Island
    The coalition Government is providing support for farmers and growers as dry conditions worsen across the top of the South Island. “Conditions on the ground across the Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts are now extremely dry and likely to get worse in the coming months,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Trade Minister heads to Abu Dhabi for key WTO negotiations
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