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Marama Davidson – This is what a real Government looks like

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, May 20th, 2018 - 103 comments
Categories: greens, marama davidson, Politics - Tags:

Great speech from Marama Davidson this week on the budget.

The video is here:

Reprinted from the Green Party website.

Let me reassure the members of the Opposition that this is not a dream, there is nothing wrong with their television sets, and the red pill won’t do anything, because this is reality, and this is what a real government looks like.

A government with purpose. A government which takes positive action. A government which is united, focused, and getting things done.

This Budget begins the process of rebuilding our public services. Restoring our health and education systems. Putting in place the foundations for our future. And importantly putting in place the foundations for a Green future.

But I can see why some of the Members opposite are confused.

You see, a real government builds houses and shelters the homeless. National stuffed around as rents and house prices exploded.

A real government funds hospitals to deliver the best healthcare in the world to our people. National blew smoke rings while mould grew in the walls of Middlemore Hospital, the hospital where three of my babies were born.

A real government funds frontline family violence services to ensure victims of domestic violence can get help when they need it. National stood by while Relationships Aotearoa folded, Shakti Wellington had to beg for funding and Christchurch lost its only Rape Crisis centre.

A real government gives our kids the best start in life and a world-class education. National closed 24 schools in Christchurch and gave their principals colour-coded name tags to break the news to them.

A real government thinks the justice system is for delivering justice, not feeding Māori and Pasifika men and women to the private prison industry.

This is what we campaigned for: a real government. A government that takes action rather than kicking the tyres. A government that builds, not a government that shuts things down.

Sometimes people ask why the Green Party didn’t go into coalition with National. Why we don’t just focus on the environmental stuff.

But National would never have put an expiry date on oil and gas exploration. They would never have stopped subsiding massive irrigation schemes. They would never have delivered a Budget like this.

Being Green means understanding how our social and economic systems fuel the destruction of our environment. National see the symptoms but pretend there’s no disease.

They want to clean up local beaches but ignore where the litter comes from. They want to take a walk-run along a pretty river but ignore why they can’t swim in it. They can’t see the forest for the trees. We in the Green Party, on the other hand, love the forest and the trees.

This Budget contains the largest ever allocation for Green projects. That’s something we’re pretty proud of. After 21 years in opposition we are now delivering in Government.

Our Green Investment Fund will inspire homegrown solutions to climate change.

DoC’s largest ever funding increase since 2002 will go a long way to reverse National’s cuts and save thousands of our precious plants and wildlife.

We’re also supporting our farmers to use land and water in a way that will protect those living systems for generations to come with a big boost in funding to the sustainable farming fund.

We are getting the ball rolling on setting up a new dedicated agent for domestic and sexual violence – an issue this Government takes extremely seriously.

And we are helping out families on low incomes to get their homes warm and dry with insulation that will stop kids getting sick from the cold and damp.

The environment doesn’t sit in a box on a shelf. Mama nature is all around us. She affects our lives, and our actions affect her, every minute of the day. Mama nature binds our universe together, folks.

The issues facing our environment – our water and air and native species, trees and birds and fish and frogs – are all connected to the issues facing our society – poverty and homelessness, low wages and high rents, the mental health crisis, violence and discrimination. They all have their roots in an economic system which isn’t broken, no – it’s working exactly as intended, siphoning off the wealth we all create into the hands of a few people who missed kindy the day we were taught to share.

This Budget is all about sharing. We are looking at the largest redistribution of wealth since the Mother of All Budgets, but more Robin Hood than Ruth Richardson – helping those who need it the most. That’s what a real government does.

That’s why we are so proud to be voting for a budget that shifts 58,000 children and their whānau out of poverty.

A budget that delivers the largest ever increase in funding for health, education and housing.

A budget that funds an extra 1,300 teachers to help our children.

The social issues so dear to the heart of many of us in the Greens are central to this budget.

When National were in government, they were so focused on their surplus that they ignored the massive moral deficit they were creating. Families living in cars. Kids going to school hungry. Nurses and midwives and care workers underpaid and overworked. Toxic rivers, dying kauri and dead dolphins.

But this is a real government and this is a very good first Budget. Is it perfect? It’s a great start. And we have to start somewhere, and set a strong foundation for all the amazing things this government is going to achieve. Today we are turning the waka around and pointing it in a new and better direction.

I look at how far we have already come, and I am so proud to be part of this government. We have ensured that every rental will be warm, dry and well ventilated. We have a massive plan to fix Auckland’s transport issues by supporting light rail, bus lanes, cycleways and cars, too. We have delivered real justice and aroha to the families of the Pike 29.

And I get really excited when I think about everything else we will do. Green policies like including a rent-to-own scheme in KiwiBuild, so everyone has a shot at owning their own home. More services for mental health, drug and alcohol addiction. Overhauling our broken welfare system so it focuses on helping people, not reading their Tinder profiles.

And policies Labour and New Zealand First bring to the table, like free doctors’ visits for under-14s, increasing the minimum wage to $20 an hour and planting one billion trees. They can see the forest too.

This government will transform Aotearoa into the country we know it can be. A country where all kids grow up in warm, dry homes in healthy, vibrant cities and towns, where they can swim in the local river and drink water from the tap without getting sick. A country where everyone who works has a decent income and a good life, and where paid employment is not the only kind of work we acknowledge and value. A country which honours and does more than just honour te Tiriti o Waitangi as our founding document. A country which leads the world in tackling the global problems of climate change, inequality and injustice.

That’s what a real government does. This is why we’re here.

We’re not just managing things until the next election: we are governing for the next century, planning for the world our mokopuna will inherit: one built on love and community and kaitiakitanga.

We are making decisions that will have real impacts for real people. Parents who can spend more time with their bubs after they’re born. People struggling to pay the power bill in winter. Victims of domestic violence who need somewhere to stay or someone to talk to.

Our Pasifika whanaunga who are facing rising seas – rising because of our choices, our actions, our impact on the environment.

This government is going to transform our country. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have friends, Mr Speaker. And we in the Greens are so proud to stand with our friends in Labour and New Zealand First and vote for this Budget.

I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved in only a few months. Just wait and see what we will deliver for New Zealanders over this whole term.

103 comments on “Marama Davidson – This is what a real Government looks like ”

  1. patricia bremner 1

    That is a brilliant speech, and sums up nicely why the Greens will be such a valuable part of the Coalition. It also confirms why the Green party chose Marama Davidson. She is an excellent messenger and Leader.

  2. If the Greens are in Government it’s real, if not it’s unreal? Seems trite and divisive to me. Shaw is more realistic about MMP.

    “Sometimes people ask why the Green Party didn’t go into coalition with National. Why we don’t just focus on the environmental stuff.”

    They have scored more on environmental rather than social:

    Environmental $454.5m:

    Conservation funding – $181m
    Home insulation – $142.5 million
    Green Investment Fund – $100m
    Sustainable Farming Fund – $15m
    Climate Commission – $11m
    Overseer farm management tool – $5m
    Social $155.1m:

    Midwifery services – $103.6m
    Expansion of Household Economic Survey – $20m
    Te reo teaching – $12.5m
    Youth mental health services – $10m
    Sexual abuse services – $7.5m
    Welfare system review – $1.5m
    Total: $610m

    Shaw’s main focus is on environmental issues, and I think similar can be said of the other Green ministers, Julie Anne Genter and Eugenie Sage. I think that is reflected in the environmental balance here.

    The social wins are important enough midwifery appears to be facing a crisis, and while relatively very modest the boost for youth mental health and for sexual abuse services are very worthwhile.

    The welfare system review, something Turei championed, seems like a typical big party Claytons sort of pittance. Peters got significantly more ($4.8m) for tax breaks for good looking race horses.

    A good start for the Greens in Government, but they will need to keep working hard on getting their share.

    Davidson’s arrogant real versus villain approach may please some of the Green base but it is not likely to help widening their support.

    Some Green achievements in Government are promising, but Davidson’s rhetoric is likely to have limited appeal.

    • solkta 2.1

      The budget is an overall package and can’t be reduced to different components for each party. Most of the other party’s initiatives, such as housing and education and health, overlap with Green policy. The details of these might not be exactly how the Greens would have done it but the general thrust is common.

      You will never understand the Green Party while you continue to think in such a reductionist way.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        There’s been a lot of talk about how much of the budget overlaps with National policy – the budget has probably been more strongly criticised from the left than from the right.

        Claiming Green overlaps with Labour and NZF as good but separating National as totally evil just doesn’t make sense.

        MMP is designed for all parties predominantly working together democratically for the greater good, not trying to divide parliament in approximately half,

        You will never understand MMP democracy while you continue to think in such a divisive way.

        • solkta

          Claiming Green overlaps with Labour and NZF as good but separating National as totally evil just doesn’t make sense.

          Well you obviously need to listen to the speech again. You could try using the pause button at intervals to give you time to think about what she is saying.

          • Pete George

            Being Green means understanding how our social and economic systems fuel the destruction of our environment. National see the symptoms but pretend there’s no disease.

            This Budget contains the largest ever allocation for Green projects. That’s something we’re pretty proud of.

            When National were in government, they were so focused on their surplus that they ignored the massive moral deficit they were creating. Families living in cars. Kids going to school hungry. Nurses and midwives and care workers underpaid and overworked. Toxic rivers, dying kauri and dead dolphins. </blockquote.
            Some fair points in there. National deserve some criticism for failures.

            But this is a real government and this is a very good first Budget. Is it perfect? It’s a great start. And we have to start somewhere, and set a strong foundation for all the amazing things this government is going to achieve.

            It was able to be a reasonably good albeit cautious budget due to the surpluses available in large part thanks to the last Government. There is money available to address serious problems.

            However Labour, NZF and Greens talked up a number of crises, in housing, health, education, inequality, but did little but incremental spending, with a promise they would address the crises in the next year or two, or if they get elected again in 2020.

            This is a risky approach politically, and also socially if the crises are as bad as had been claimed.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Nice attempt to spread National Party lies. The “surpluses” were paid for by neglect of critical services and infrastructure, bordering on malfeasance.

              Hence the “crises” you mention. Have it both ways, you cannot.

              • If that’s the case then Greens are supporting continued neglect of critical services and infrastructure, not to mention poverty, especially of those who don’t have dependent children who have missed out completely in the budget.

                Is that malfeasance?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  No, it’s a strawman delivered by a dullard.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Looks more like a strawman to me.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  The Greens want to spend more in the Budget than Labour does, that much is true. But they are helping a coalition of two other parties govern, and must reach consensus with them on how that’s done- so most forms of additional revenue are out thanks to Labour’s campaign promise and NZF’s insistence, and the Greens need to make a serious case to Labour that the promised exceptions to the Budget Responsibility Rules apply enough here to start taking on some additional debt as an investment to bigger returns in future budgets. Labour has thus far not moved as much as we’d like.

                  I think it’s disingenuous to paint “not being able to spend as much as we’d like to undo the neglect of the last government due to the concerns of our partners in Government” as “continuing neglect of critical services and infrastructure.” The ownership for that neglect is still firmly on the previous government for now- we expect them to undo the majority of that damage before the end of their first term given their campaigns all emphasized it, so maybe at that point it starts being on the government if they’ve prioritized other things over undoing that damage.

                  There is several billions of dollars of room in terms of spending, depending on how you run the numbers, before we approach the arbitrary percentage limit of GDP on spending- the rule that most of us think is by far the stupidest of the BRRs and should be stripped out as economically illiterate.

                  The advantage of having potential allies in Parliament is that you can work together. The disadvantage of working together is that you have to compromise. This budget represents an acceptable compromise given our relative sizes in Parliament. That we endorse it as good enough to vote for and with several wins in it, not all from our own parties, doesn’t mean that we think it’s perfect by any means.

        • Stuart Munro

          The Gnats are totally evil.

          Their principle strategy has been to lie their arses off instead of governing. That’s not acceptable under our form of government, and but for the corruption of Carter most National ministers including Key would have been obliged to resign. They lied to parliament, and to us, their employers. That’s quite evil enough.

          • Pete George

            The country survived for nine years and is in a relatively healthy state economically (meaning the current Government can afford to spend more) so must have been governed reasonably competently by National. They didn’t do enough on on some serious issues for sure, but they didn’t do nothing.

            Are you happy for the current Government to continue in much the same way and defer addressing what they claimed were crises?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              The country survived

              Surviving a National government, unless you’re a river or a homeless person or human rights or the rule of law. Have you got shit in the walls of your brain or something?

              • As shitty livered as ever – can’t be much fun being so bitter and bitchy no matter who’s in Government.

                At least I’ve given Ed a bit of a break from your lame stalking.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Don’t change the subject Peter.

                  • jcuknz

                    OAB as pointless as ever in their attacks..
                    One can admire and envy their writing ability but rarely the message.
                    Pete.s comment shows good humor completely missing in OAB’s comments while describing OAB perfectly.

                    Sadly The Standard writers started the vile attacks on National and its MPs during the last government but now it continues in reverse on KB.
                    Maybe the reverse is true but I do not go back that far. But the senseless attacks dismay me and I love the threads [ normally on The Standard] where issues are discussed with and from knowledge, not just repeated mud slinging.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      You could have attempted a rebuttal of the points I made: that National’s so-called “surpluses” were a symptom of dishonesty and neglect, that “survival” is a poor benchmark for success, and that Peter is trying to change the subject (not to mention distorting the facts, as Muttonbird shows at 2.3).

                      Instead, you chose to talk about me. But you don’t like “mudslinging” 🙄

                • dv

                  OAB has made a fair point Pete.

              • greywarshark

                Hit that shit more than a little bit!

            • Stuart Munro

              A lot of people survived the Holocaust – doesn’t make it good.

              See the hole in your argument?

              • Ffloyd

                Excellent response. And Pete G is quite right. NZ did survive. That is testimony to the resilience of New Zealanders. Under the coalition we can thrive not just survive.

              • greywarshark

                His ‘whole’ argument indeed – RW like Pete George and the usual suspects here have all debased their sharp intelligence and perception to the extent that we get the tired old dregs of others’ slogans.

            • solkta

              Perhaps you could share with us what circumstances you might expect that would have lead to the country not “surviving”? Would this be akin to what is happening in Syria?

            • mary_a

              Peter George (
              “The country survived for nine years and is in a relatively healthy state economically …”

              Really? So why weren’t the funds invested in social infrastructure, instead of running it down to the core?

              National left the country in a socially and morally bankrupt state.

              Marama’s Davidson’t speech was brilliant, cutting to the root of government’s reason for being. That is to serve the people.

            • lprent

              Not exactly survived well. You can hardly walk on Auckland without tripping over someone bedding or begging on the street.

              The paucity of new small companies coming through exporting is pretty damn noticeable.

              Auckland grew by about 300k people over 9 years, largely through migration. However National effectively did all major infrastructure investments in provincial areas while effectively dropping the transport investment in Auckland well below its contributions. Needless to say we now have major transport, water, sewerage and housing issues.

              National did what it always does. It gouged out profit without looking for increasing the overall wealth of the country long term.

              Frankly they are useless at government.

              • alwyn

                “You can hardly walk on Auckland without tripping over someone bedding”.
                That is not really surprising is it?
                At 31 December, 2017 the number of people on the waiting list for State or Social Housing was 6182. At that time the current CoL had been in office for about two and a half months. After 3 more months, at the end of March. 2018, the number had risen to a record 7,890. That was about a 27% increase in a mere 3 months. They were also on the waiting list for a record 64 days.
                It is hardly surprising that there are now a lot more homeless people in the streets is it? It is also not surprising that the current CoL didn’t release these numbers until the middle of May. Can’t they get rid of the idiot Minister Twyford and at least put someone who is at least partly competent into the job?

                • David Mac

                  If I was on the cusp of being eligible for a state house I would consider a new incoming government that makes claims like ‘We’ll stop selling State Houses’ and ‘We’ll build heaps of new ones’ as a trigger to get myself on the waiting list. I don’t think this will be all of the growth in demand but a contributing factor.

                  • David Mac

                    We may see a similar result at Work and Income with changes to their culture, needy coming out of the woodwork.

                    • greywarshark

                      You can say that again, and I’ll do it for you.

                      Frankly they are useless at government.

                • Gabby

                  How many on the waiting list are sleeping in doorways wally?

                  • alwyn

                    I am sure there are some of them, at least in the emergency social housing group. I have no idea what it is though. They don’t seem to be nearly as common in Wellington, at least in the places I visit.

                    You seem to have an opinion on the matter though wally.
                    What is your estimate? While you are about it what is the source of the opinion?

                • jcuknz

                  My son visiting from the states commented that he thought he had seen some homeless on the streets of Dunedin … something which he had never seen before in Dunedin though frequently in the states … So could be it is not just Auckland but all over which Labour with its bleating “Nine years [etc]” [as from a cracked record] has done little or nothing to solve*. [and was a similar theme from National previously … a meaningless political theme common to both sides]
                  *There are things like mini-budgets which Labour could have had ready after nine years in opposition but no they are simply starting from scratch

                  • solkta

                    No you can’t create mini-budgets while in opposition. You just don’t have the resources until you control ministries. But winning the election is not all that is needed. Staff need to be employed and offices moved into etc before actually getting on with the task. You seem to be another one who believes in magic wands.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Not sure he understands how opposition funding works. He has however swallowed hook, line, and sinker the National party meme that Labour supposedly were not ready for government.

                  • Muttonbird

                    When did you become a Kiwi, jc? Just asking because most of us have contributed to this country from birth.

            • KJT

              Satire, or ignorance?

        • Incognito

          Claiming Green overlaps with Labour and NZF as good but separating National as totally evil just doesn’t make sense.

          Pete, you seem to lack imagination but luckily there are visual tools to help people like you:


        • dukeofurl

          “MMP is designed for all parties predominantly working together democratically for the greater good”
          Thats ridiculous. Its still a Westminster system, get your majority and then mostly exclude ( certainly for budget items) the other parties. national ran that way with some small concessions for the greens -1 or 2 in 9 years, but cant be replicated as ACT is too small and national is all the rest

          MMP is only changing the way the people elect the MPs, its wasnt expected to change the way parliament it self works, remembering there always has been some times that were bi-partisan.

          Yes national will play at splitting the greens off.
          1) because they are only confidence and supply so are free to vote on other things
          2) The number work for nationals advanatge
          3) They can play at being green after 9 years of something they only talked about but were inactive: Blue-green

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.2

        solkta to Pete George:
        “You will never understand the Green Party”

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      If the Greens are in Government it’s real, if not it’s unreal?

      That isn’t what she said. She said that this government was a real government because it was doing what governments should do whereas National ignored all the stuff that governments should do to give tax cuts to the rich.

    • Muttonbird 2.3

      Change home insulation from environmental to social where it should be and it is an even split of achievements which is exactly what they claim to be.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.1

        Well spotted. Peter’s propaganda fail.

        • Muttonbird

          It’s clearly listed on the Green Party website under social policy and does not appear anywhere under environmental policy.


          This displays Pete George’s total lack of research in the compilation of his list. It also shows dishonesty, but then it’s Pete George and dishonesty is his bread and butter.

          So his entire morning’s work here is based on a lie but I guess if he apologises and retracts we can all let it go…

          • Pete George

            Home insulation policies may well target better living conditions for a part of the population, but the wider purpose has been environmental/energy conservation.

            Metiria Turei: “Warm Up New Zealand is a model programme on how to provide clean, green energy solutions, and keep New Zealand families safe and warm at home.”

            Going back further:

            Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Heat Smart insulation programme, which the Greens negotiated first with the Labour, then with the National Government.

            So far, it is an unmitigated success, with over 50,000 homes getting much needed insulation over the last fiscal year.

            I want to pass the big kudos to Jeanette Fitzsimons, who had the foresight to establish EECA via her member’s bill in 2000, and who then helped them painstakingly set up a robust insulation programme with a well tested oversight system.

            I also want to pass some kudos to John Key, who had the courage to ressurect the programme…

            This insulation programme is a winner. The Greens have campaigned for years on the economic, social and environmental benefits of such a programme, and recognise it as a key plank in any Green New Deal as it is addressing both the climate crisis and the economic crisis at the same time.


            Note: “recognise it as a key plank in any Green New Deal as it is addressing both the climate crisis and the economic crisis at the same time”.

            I took advantage of an insulation subsidy and it certainly wasn’t for social reasons, it was for energy conservation.

            Greens may be trying to make it out now as a social policy but I think it has always primarily been an environmental policy with social benefits for some.

            Will you apologise and retract the dishonesty allegation?

            • Muttonbird

              Pete, you’ve been caught lying again and now you are trying to tell the Greens what their own policy intent is, and you are even charging them being dishonest for apparently changing their minds about what the intent of the policy is.

              You not being remotely a Greenie I’m certain the primary reason for you taking advantage of the insulation subsidy was to reduce power costs. This is a social reason.

              Please admit your dishonesty and make a note of amendment removing ‘Home insulation – $142.5 million’ from your list of the Greens’ environmental achievements and place it under their social achievements as per the Green party website.

              • It began as more of an environmental policy. You’re effectively saying that Jeannette Fitzsimon and Russel Norman were lying framing it as an environmental policy.

                People who took/take advantage of the insulation subsidies were/are those who could afford the couple of thousand or so dollars required. It wasn’t targeted at people in or near the poverty line.

                It’s a middle/upper class subsidy. Call that a social subsidy if you like.

                • Incognito

                  To be social, or to be environmental? An impossible choice.

                  • Sacha

                    I know, right. Imagine saying “to provide clean, green energy solutions, and keep New Zealand families safe and warm at home” in the same sentence.

                    • Incognito

                      I tried typing it and my PG-Spellchecker went berserk and the screen went all beige!

                      Heads, I win; tails, you lose. An impossible choice.

                    • Sacha

                      You need the authoritative ‘PG-Tips’ app. Always the right bland non-answer and a bikkie on the side. A safe gift for any great-aunt.

                • David Mac

                  It is targeted at improving the living standards of the tail-end. For a landlord to receive a full subsidy the tenants are required to provide their WINZ provided Community Card details.

                  Insulated or not has little bearing on the sale price of a property. In some suburbs they escalate at the rate of an insulation job each month.

                • Muttonbird

                  I have not said any such thing effectively or otherwise. The only one lying here is you, and it is testament to your character that you cannot bring yourself to acknowledge your mistake, deliberate or not, which has been laid bare for all to see.

                  You are a pathetic old man.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              trying to make it out now

              Yes, they were trying to make it out as a social policy in 2012, too.

              So was National in 2009.

              Better luck next smear.

              • dukeofurl

                Hes conveniently forgotten the bipartisan legislation passed in the last parliament for extending paid parental leave- MMP in action.

                It passed despite opposition from national who then finally exercised the financial veto to stop it becoming law.
                National then passed their own similar PPL a year later

                Then there’s the Kermadec Sanctuary which national introduced – Key made a big speech at the UN.
                It had bi partisan support across the house, mainly the Greens but there were issues with fishing rights.
                national let the legislation gather piles of dust as the maori party warned of a ‘papal veto’ if it went any further.

            • Robert Guyton

              Yer average donkey would be hoofs to the sky after a flaying like that, but Pete’s made of sterner stuff – he’s at the little donkey that could!

              • Muttonbird

                His attack at post number 2 was to insinuate the Greens fail at social policy but win at environmental policy so they might as well give up on social policy and concentrate on forming a Blue-Green coalition.

                But when it was pointed out that he lied in his assumptions (not even having the decency of reading the Green Party website), he doubled down in that way of his, searching for the flimsiest evidence to support his initial lie.

                This is not the work of a decent human being. It is, as you say, the work of a donkey.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Excellent speech, passionate, forthright, and entirely lacking in beige weasel words. There’s a lesson here for someone I’m sure.

  4. Kay 4

    Yet she’s having to maintain a fair degree of diplomacy there isn’t she? I’m sure Marama would like to publicly be way more critical about what is a glaringly obvious deliberate delay in fixing aspects of the Welfare system that don’t need to be part of a review, and often won’t even cost money. I get the feeling it’s a case of be grateful for the accomplishments (and good ones they are), but don’t rock the boat.

    “We are making decisions that have real impact for real people.”

    Yes, slow steps. The fact a review of WINZ is even on the cards is a big deal compared with where we’d be now if the other crowd had got back in. We’re not naive to think the rates will be raised, but 9 month on with no sign of a culture change and a Minister with a track record of hating beneficiaries, is there any reason to be hopeful on that particular topic?

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Ministers dont run departments like WINZ or even Treasury !. And even different
      WINZ offices can have different ‘cultures’
      NZ has a system of public service independence, ministers can only affect broad policies and spending often only by legislation or picking a new chief executive.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1

        That’s the theory.

        In practice, not so much.

        Other recent examples of ministerial malfeasance are rife, from Key’s unminuted Skycity jack-up meetings, via McCully’s Saudi bribe, and every OIA request you can think of.

      • Kay 4.1.2

        Aside from the small fact it’s been glaringly obvious for some years now public service ‘independence’ has become a bit of an oxymoron in certain areas, if it is indeed the case that Ministers can only affect broad policy, and the broad policy is to treat beneficiaries as human beings, then what’s stopping her from telling the CEO to instruct all offices to bring back dedicated case managers for sick/disabled claimants?

        Better still, just appoint a new CEO. Nothing will ever change until he’s gone anyway.

        Just whom, exactly, does the buck stop with?

  5. mac1 5

    What the last government left behind.

    40,000 homeless or poorly housed.


    And at the same time, the Census reveals 185,445 unoccupied houses in New Zealand.


    In the time of the Liberal Government, Minister of Lands, John Mckenzie, freed up land for settlement by the simple imposition of a land tax which was big enough to make land aggregation without working the land too large a tax burden, but small enough to be of little concern for a working farmer.

    “Between 1892 and 1911, the Crown offered 3.4 million ha of land for settlement, subdivided into 33,000 holdings. This included 209 estates totalling 486,000 ha bought for a total of £6 million (about $1 billion today) and subdivided into 4800 holdings. The prices offered were mostly generous, and provisions for compulsory purchase were used just 13 times.” https://nzhistory.govt.nz/cheviot-estate-taken-over-by-government

    What one real government did in our past.

    Is such a simple and creative solution possible for land-banked ghost houses and sections?

    • alwyn 5.1

      “What the last government left behind.”.
      Are you truly confident about these numbers you are quoting?
      Did you not notice that the numbers you are quoting are from the 2013 Census. They are FIVE years ago. That can’t possibly be considered as being something the last Government just “left behind”.
      We probably won’t get anything more accurate. I notice that Mr Shaw and his Statistics Department seem to have stopped telling us anything about how the most recent Census has been going. The last numbers I saw in a statement seemed to be missing about a million people. Has anyone seen any updates on progress or have they simply decided that it is all too hard?

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.1

        It’s part of a pattern Alwyn.

        Like the Mycoplasma MPI have allowed to become endemic – just another Gnat own goal among the many others.

        • alwyn

          “Like the Mycoplasma MPI “.
          Are you really trying to say that that disease was in New Zealand right back in 2013? If not what are you really claiming?

          • Stuart Munro

            I am claiming nothing Alwyn – I’m merely referring to the gross incompetence nurtured in the shade of the Key kleptocracy, and the massive costs thereof, which inevitably eclipse the cheeseparing savings we hear so much about.

            This is typical of the mismanagement that we can find everywhere the neo-liberal paws went – from the wreck of Solid Energy to Novopay. It’s a pattern. H.Sapiens are on the whole relatively good at pattern recognition – except the Gnats of course, who are at pains to stress their inability to anticipate consequences, in the forlorn hope of escaping responsibility.

            • alwyn

              What a lovely word. That is what the former female co-leader of the Green Party indulged in isn’t it?
              Any idea whether she has paid the money back yet? Or been prosecuted of course.

              “wreck of Solid Energy”. I thought you were a Green Party supporter? Weren’t you someone who would have been calling for Solid Energy to be closed down. After all they were, horror of horrors, involved in (whisper) coal mining. That is the most evil industry in the world isn’t it?
              Surely you didn’t want them to keep operating?

              Novopay. I haven’t heard that name for years. It obviously must be operating reasonably well if it doesn’t feature in the news any more. Mr Joyce must have done a good job as Minister.
              That was chosen by the Clark Government wasn’t it. Why did they sign off on it in the first place if it wasn’t any good at the start?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Are you going to be caught out in many more lies today?

                Prime Minister John Key has defended his ministers who signed off the Novopay system, despite them knowing there were nearly 150 software defects.

                • alwyn

                  So both sides screwed up. Why am I not surprised?
                  Labour bought the product in the first place.
                  Then National, stuck with a lemon put it into production even though it was still faulty.
                  Par for the course I would say.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Good thing they didn’t buy a “product” then, isn’t it, lying Alwyn. You’re pathetic.

              • Muttonbird

                I think you have to be in government or a position of power to be kleptocratic. Turei was not at the time of her so called offending.

                Solid energy was another massive screw up by National and particularly Bingles. The Nats do love to take something publicly owned and destroy it or sell it for the benefit of their mates.

                Novopay has been in the news just last week, dipshit – a report saying there is a “high risk of another service failure from 2020”, and will have to be replaced or rewritten before 2020 because of the dated software it uses. EPL is now spending another $26million on it because of National ineptitude at doing anything remotely right.


              • Stuart Munro

                What a lovely word. That is what the former female co-leader of the Green Party indulged in isn’t it?”

                Uh, no.

                As you know perfectly well, kleptocracy involves an abuse of the power entrusted to you by the populace – it is an appropriation by the reigning political elite, which Metiria was not part of. It is therefore both a political and an equitable wrong. We know of course that you embrace the dark side but are you really such an admirer of crime? Apparently so!

                I’d’ve preferred that Solid Energy was not destroyed by the gross incompetence of Bill English – it was a public asset, the kind of thing a responsible minister would have been concerned to protect. I thought you were a rightwinger – don’t you want governments meeting commercial standards of propriety? Failure is not an acceptable operating standard.

                Novopay continues to disappoint, notwithstanding your lack of contact with the education sector.

                • alwyn

                  “kleptocracy involves an abuse of the power entrusted to you by the populace”.
                  Well so it does. I should have checked the proper meaning before responding.
                  I guess, since Turei was never in a position of power she was only guilty of fraud then. Oh well. Has she paid back the proceeds of that fraud, and has she been prosecuted yet?

                  “I’d’ve preferred that Solid Energy was not destroyed”.
                  Please make up your mind. Do you or do you not want coal mining stopped? It’s a very simple question although I imagine if you say you wish Solid Energy was still operating you will be defrocked or defenestrated or deflowered by the Green Party. How do they punish heretics? Is it like Gloriavale?

                  “Novopay continues to disappoint, notwithstanding your lack of contact”
                  I really fail to see what my having to do with the current Education Sector could possibly have to do with Novopay.

                  “Failure is not an acceptable operating standard.”
                  Oh dear. I can expect calls for Twyford’s head to appear under your name then. That man seems to be a permanent disaster. Everything he touches turns into failure.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Fraud requires mens rea – Metiria merely sought to feed her child.

                    ““I’d’ve preferred that Solid Energy was not destroyed”.
                    Please make up your mind.”

                    Coal is no worse than petrochemicals. While we should be moving away from both there are appropriate uses for them. But we’re talking about your gibbering incompetent far-right economic minister destroying NZ assets. That’s not a good thing – it tends in fact to debunk your whole cargo-cult-capitalist model. Bill’s mishandling of Solid Energy ought to have warned you what a crap job he’d make of running the country. Disaster capitalism is great for corporate raiders but no way to run a country – that’s how you get capacity loss and falling productivity.

                    You fail to see a lot of things – I guess it’s endemic on the right.

                    It’s a bit premature to be judging Twyford frankly – we suffered the lethargy of the grossly incompetent Key kleptocracy for nine years – including years of Nick’s Myth as housing minister, who Twyford has outperformed already. He’s undertaken a significant change with an extended roll out. It won’t be sufficient to resolve the housing crisis, but coupled with a CGT and controls on speculation, a renewal of housing corp and probably a tiny house initiative it may be enough to turn the corner. Certainly nothing National had in train was going to achieve anything.

                    • alwyn

                      “Fraud requires mens rea – Metiria merely sought to feed her child”.
                      Are you really so stupid as to believe this?
                      If so I fear there is no hope for you.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Not everyone, Alwyn, buys into this shallow victim-blaming approach to welfare that the Right uses to mask its persistent economic failure.

                      NZ’s burgeoning poor should turn that around on our non-performing economic experts. 1 hour a week is not a job. These cheap foreign labourers compete for essential resources and do not advance our people at all. An individual contract lower than the minimum wage should not be possible. And none of the promises of Rogergnomics proved true.

                      You want to talk about fraud? Go after the heavy hitters not the small fry. Or you’re just looking for selective justice.

              • Incognito

                It’s hard to keep up, I know, Alwyn. So, let me reach out to you and offer you a helping hand (Google is your friend):

                https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/356987/novopay-must-be-replaced-or-rewritten-by-2020-report (date 9 May 2018)

                https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/103959281/26m-to-extend-life-of-troubled-novopay-payroll-system-to-2025 (date 17 May 2018)

                Another reason why you may not have heard of Novopay in a while might be that it came under Government control in October 2014 through a new government-owned company called Education Payroll Ltd.

              • cleangreen


                ” Mr Joyce must have done a good job as Minister.”

                Alwyn! now you are spinning crap aren’t you just, Joyce was caught dealing on the side a shady deal with a roading contractor (confirmed by your own mate Matthew hooten) so you say he did a good job?


                ‘He did feather his own nest’ and you say he did a good job for us????

                Try to tell the truth again.

      • Incognito 5.1.2

        Top priority topics for 2018 Census releases

        We aim to publish the first information from the 2018 Census in October 2018. As we are still receiving forms and evaluating the information collected, we will give an update about the progress of the programme by mid-June. We acknowledge this may have an impact on some customers wanting to plan their use of census information.

        We have been working on how we will present the data and what our priorities for release will be.

        Census data, along with other data sources, will be incorporated into topic-based information packages to be released progressively through to the end of 2019.

        Page updated

        30 April 2018 [my emphasis]


        While we’re awaiting up-to-date accurate data we do nothing. In fact, when we have the data they’ll be out-of-date and inaccurate, which means we cannot do anything. Only if data are 100% accurate we can decide what to do, if anything. Modelling, predictions, interim updates, corrections won’t cut it. Have I captured your idiotic stand accurately and correctly, Alwyn? If not, feel free to correct my inaccuracies because I’m paralysed without knowing whether I’m correct or not.

        Edit: in 2013 the “last Government” had been in charge for 5 long years, Alwyn.

        • alwyn

          Thank you.
          I look forward to seeing what they say in June.
          The last thing I saw was back in March. March 30 to be precise.

          ” Have I captured your idiotic stand accurately and correctly”. Of course you haven’t you foolish little twerp. The first mistake was your use of the words “idiotic stand”.
          But then you know that don’t you? Are you some ignorant little git who got a part time job working on a help desk for the Census?
          Obviously the data can never be 100% accurate. If you think it can ever be that you are simply an idiot. Wasting my time explaining why to someone like you who clearly knows very little about Statistics would simply be useless.
          On the other hand we have had, in past Census exercises a typical value for the responses of about 98%. I want to see similar figures for this year and it was that information I have been looking for. If it is markedly down on that I would expect heads to roll, starting with the Minister responsible, Mr James Shaw.

          • Incognito

            Thank you! I now feel so relieved that I inaccurately described your idiotic stand. After all, I’m but a foolish little twerp but you do confuse me with another ignorant little git because I’ve never worked at or for a Census help desk; my people skills are inadequate for such a responsible job.

            I am a statistical idiot, as you correctly assert, but even I know that data can be 100% accurate; it depends on the kind of data you’re talking about. I also know that statistical tools are full of assumptions that need to be met. A 98% completion rate for the 2018 Census is not one of them, but then you know that, don’t you? I also know that in statistics much is about confidence intervals & limits. Thus, I confidently predict that no heads will roll after mid-June.

            That made your head spin, didn’t it?

            • Ad

              Statistics are like a bikini.
              What they show is revealing … but what they hide is essential.

              Helen Clark’s government did little to reign in real estate capitalism.
              Hundreds of thousands got rich off it. Little wrong with that.

              But they could have done a lot more.

              This government will have a shot at curing homelessness, and they’ll make a dent despite over-promising. They won’t cure it. But they are on track to do better than either the Clark or Key administrations.

              • Incognito

                I like your bikini analogy but to me statistics is anything to make sense of data. It is easy enough to see things that are not really there (false positive AKA Type I error) or miss things that are really present (false negative AKA Type II error). The problem with big complex data is that you don’t know what you may have missed, the stuff that remains ‘hidden’. Retrospective analysis (AKA data mining) is common practice with more databases and data repositories becoming available in the public domain.

                I don’t find (historical) comparisons particularly useful and even less so when it simply is about better or worse statements. That doesn’t get us anywhere, does it?

                This Government is really trying to do something about homelessness and the housing crisis at large, I do believe that. Building (many more) houses will address the supply side of the problem(s) but it will not do anything to address the cause(s) of homelessness. For example, why do people and families even live in a home one day and under a bridge or in a car the next? Real-estate capitalism or just capitalism? I think that’s only part of the answer and does, by itself, not provide an obvious solution, does it? So, the Government decides to build more homes, thousands of new homes, and keeps feeding the capitalist beast …

                Lastly, no single person has all the answers or can provide solutions. No single review committee can do this either. Only the Government has the power to pull all information together and come up with sensible proposals that may or may not work. And only the Government can take along the people (not: voters) as this is a social-societal problem that needs a fully-inclusive approach.

                Maybe I should have stopped at the bikini 😉

        • alwyn

          “had been in charge for 5 long years”.
          I have only just seen this addenda to your comment.
          It is wrong of course. Key became PM on 19 November, 2008. The Census was on 5 March , 2013. This isn’t a “5 long years” is it? More like 4 years, three and a half months. But accuracy was never your forte.

          They then ceased to be the Government on 26 October, 2017. That is around 4 years seven and a half months. It was longer from the Census to them leaving office than it was from the Clark Government going out to the Census, wasn’t it?

          Thus if you think that the Census date accurately reflected the real data at the end of the English Government you would logically have to accept that the Census data equally well reflected the situation at the end of the Clark Government. Well do you? After all, if you think one is a reasonable proposition, you cannot, logically, refuse to accept the other.
          Was the Clark Government responsible for 185,000 empty houses?

          • Ad

            Do you or Incognito want to do a proper post on housing trends?

            Duke it out fact to fact.

            Bunches of NGOs have caches and graphs for it to make it reasonably easy for you.

            • Incognito

              TBH, I have very little interest in housing trends as such. I do look forward to data from Census 2018 being released (gradually) and how the Government will respond to these and incorporate the analyses and predictions into its policies. That’s the medium- to long-term stuff; short-term there’s an acute sense of urgency that cannot and should not necessarily wait for Census data or lengthy reports from review committees …

              Arguing about facts is for academics but decisions are made by policy makers and then executed by …

          • Incognito

            Alwyn, Key’s reign felt much longer and that’s what matters, doesn’t it? Moreover, his ascent cast a long dark shadow ahead (e.g. the election campaign and the damn polls, as did the GFC, for which the warning signs were ominous well before it actually hit) so technically it was most definitely “5 long years”, probably close to 6 or longer even (count them as doggie years because some dogs were treated better than some people under 9 years of National), at the time of the Census 2013. In fact, National under John Key got elected 8 Nov 2008, not 19 Nov as you cited incorrectly. Very sloppy of you, Alwyn; you do need to take context into account or you might be accused of spreading misleading data.

            Logic is not my forte either, Alwyn, but then you know that, don’t you? You said @ 5.1:

            Did you not notice that the numbers you are quoting are from the 2013 Census. They are FIVE years ago. That can’t possibly be considered as being something the last Government just “left behind”.

            So, the logical position to take is that the last two censuses (2013 and 2018) indeed largely reflect(ed) on the National-led governments from 2008 to the end of 2017. For example, the huge increase in net immigration numbers will be one of the statistics in the latest Census (it had only just started by the time of the Census 2013). I have no idea how or why you pulled Helen Clark into the picture but I’m sure it is ‘logical’ to you.

            What did you think of Davidson’s speech, Alwyn? That was made of very different stuff than the inaccurate shouty shouty coming from the Leader of the Opposition, don’t you agree?

          • Doogs

            I’m 24 hours on from this comment Alwyn, but I am moved to comment by the complete and abject diddle-fuck that you come out with.

            I could argue with you, but it would be fruitless and frustrating because you are a moving target. You simply spout some strangled view of the point at issue, make some unprovable statement of opinion and then belligerently say – can you? have you? will you? do you? It’s like a child who needles others just because he can, and continues to do so under some fetid belief that it gives him some kind of superiority. Oh, and some twisted pleasure.

            On TS I thoroughly enjoy robust, ordered, thoughtful debate. It’s not always intelligent, it is sometimes thought-provoking, it is often amusing and a lot of the time it is informative. Your interruptions are nothing but speed bumps on the road to enlightenment.

            • alwyn

              That’s nice dear.
              There is nothing in the rules of this blog that forces you to read what I say.
              Why do you bother if it upsets your delicate disposition?
              Just move on. I won’t be upset in the slightest.

      • Mac1 5.1.3

        Alwyn, you go with the figures that are the best available, which were used in an a news article. I don’t believe that the figures for unoccupied housing will have altered much. I’m not concerned with the exact exact figures. That’s not so important as the evident disparity between the numbers of homeless and poorly housed in this country called God’s Own and the number of empty houses.

        The last government left behind a housing crisis.

        The last government did nothing to dissuade foreign capital from being invested in houses here, and allowed the disparity of wealth distribution to widen, whereby people could build or own houses that they underuse, or landbank and capture capital gains from.

        Meanwhile, Alwyn, people live in desperate circumstances.

        I suggest that this has to be fully addressed. This is the government’s intention. At least it will have tried. At best, the last government is shown to be the venal, uncaring, incompetent and socially irresponsible one that it was.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Marama and everybody. We don’t need ‘the best health care system in the world’ – stop this repetition of ‘best’ – we just want adequate that meets the needs of all people so that good service is accessible and timely and effective!

    • Incognito 6.1

      The ‘best health care system in the world’ is one that’s based on prevention and early-diagnosis IMO. In that sense we’re still a long way from being ‘best’. What we have at the moment is better called ‘sick care’ or ‘disease care’ rather. Think of the billions of $$ that could be spent elsewhere if we didn’t have to build so many hospitals, pay for so many people working in the health industry and keeping it afloat, an pay as much as we do for the huge social costs of sickness in general. Think of the better quality of life people would enjoy and the uplift of their general wellbeing. These sorts of things have hardly been addressed in the Budget and apparently we have to wait another year for the Wellbeing Budget …

    • solkta 6.2

      Speak for yourself. I think we should always strive to have the best social and environmental care and responsibility.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1

        “Best is the enemy of good”.


        In other words let’s strive to have a good system, and acknowledge that it can always be improved, rather than rejecting good solutions that aren’t perfect.

  7. Sacha 7

    Davidson’s use of ‘real’ is in response to months of concerted messaging from the Nats about a ‘genuine’ environmental party. Not accidental.

  8. David Mac 8

    Our Greens are the envy of Green Parties the world over. They have more influence in the running of a nation than any of their counter-parts. I think that’s partly because we’re us, Kiwis, and partly because of their recognition that favorable social and environmental outcomes are the same thing.

  9. CHCOff 9

    The Greens were at their most influential against a non-regressive accelerating trend in NZ society on govt. when Rod Donald was the co-leader. That is also their bed rock of support ( which should be prioritised in being solidified rather than taken for granted)

    The prior Labour govt. was holding the line until that point, post ROd Donald it all started to unfurl after (admittedly, the media was probably the ugliest it had been since the lynch mob to remove infrastructure –rightly or wrongly public credit works inclined – nationalist Rob Muldoon near the end).

    A non fake opposition party doesn’t make National look good or seem sensible, AND it doesn’t tear down ‘less’ progressive or ‘radical’ policies/approaches, rather it builds up those approaches as complimentary steps. That doesn’t neccesarily mean what a knee-jerk reaction might think either.

    If Greens can master that, then they might be responsible for fulfilling a smal portion of their ballyhoo in practical alignment to their more visionary charters of ‘post capitalism’, rather than adding to the disaster.

    • cleangreen 9.1

      Yes CHCOff;

      As I did not hear as much solid support anywhere in Davidson’s speach as we often heard with Julie Anne genter had said many times.

      On one occassion I recall Julie Anne solidly spoke out “get the dirty pollutimng trucks off our roads” and bring back all regional rail services again”

      That was like what we often heard Winston peters say at public meetings we attended too.

      Marama Davidson needs to be schooled up on “multi-modal transportation” as she does not refer much to rail other than Auckland’s passenger rail, so she needs to remember rail regional freight next time.

      Multi-modal transport; including rail – that is true “carbon zero policy”

      • solkta 9.1.1

        Oh for fucks sake we’ve been round this one a number of times. Julie Anne talks about transport because she is the Transport Spokesperson. Was there money for regional rail in the budget?

  10. cleangreen 10

    solkta 100% true there.

    Labour are not meeting their promises to save our rail, as before the election they promised in the Gisborne Herald “that they will restore the Gisborne rail if they were elected to Government”.

    They have now broken that promise to the Gisborne.HB people so if they do not restore our rail they will lose votes for sure.

    Meassage to Jacinda and Phil Twyford, “fix our rail” and use jacinda’s magic election words, “lets do this”.

    August 23, 2016 11:17AM


    QUOTE; “THE Labour and Green parties last night committed to re-opening the entire length of the Gisborne to Napier rail line but pointed out that would only happen if the National Party was removed from office.”

    • solkta 10.1

      Fuck your drivel just gets worse. Today is not the end of history nor their term in government.

      So do you admit then that your post above was just a cheap shot at Marama so that you could ride your hobby horse? If there was no regional rail spend in the budget then why would she mention it in a speech about the budget?

    • alwyn 10.2

      “THE Labour and Green parties last night committed to re-opening the entire length of the Gisborne to Napier rail line but pointed out that would only happen if the National Party was removed from office”.
      You poor thing you. Did you really believe them when they said this?
      Actually this quote reminds me of a famous bumper sticker that was popular in the United States in about 1966. It said, in essence.
      “They said if I voted for Goldwater there would be half a million US soldiers in Vietnam inside of a year. Well I did and there are”.
      Just change your quote to something like
      “They said that if I voted National the railway line from Napier to Gisborne would remain closed. Well I did and it is still closed.”

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