web analytics

More Beneficiary Bashing

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 am, August 14th, 2013 - 31 comments
Categories: tax, welfare - Tags:

An interesting study has come out of Victoria University – showing that the Government writes off tax debt much more easily than it does welfare debt.

There was $6 billion of tax debt vs $1 billion of welfare debt, but the welfare debt, interest and penalties were all much less likely to be forgiven – indeed that debt was likely to be deducted from superannuation and estates of the deceased.

In the year to June 2012 IRD wrote off about 50% of penalties and interest – $374 million – as well as 11.6% of core debt – another $435 million.

Ministry of Social Development wrote off $8.7 million or 2.1% of debt. That debt is mostly loans to those who couldn’t afford living costs and welfare overpayments.

More resources were put into retrieving the average $2523 of beneficiary debt than into retrieving the average $14,479 of tax debt.

It may seem odd that we’re doing everything we can to screw money out of those who can’t afford their living costs, while forgiving the debt of those who don’t pay their taxes.  But that’s the philosophy of this Government: beneficiaries are second class citizens and taxpayers are worthy of respect – even if they don’t actually pay their taxes.

While not excusing fraud at either end (no-one should break the union deal of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay), tax fraudsters also get off much easier than welfare fraudsters – despite tax fraud generally being for larger amounts by those who can afford to pay more easily.

It seems we’ve reversed the Biblical maxim that from those who are given plenty much will be expected – and we now expect more from those who’ve been given next to nothing.

31 comments on “More Beneficiary Bashing”

  1. AsleepWhileWalking 1

    It is my understanding that MSD don’t write off debt unless there has been a mistake by the ministry (overpayment/miscalculation that has resulting in the beneficiary accepting the money in good faith). That would be 8.7 million dollars in mistakes.

    They really don’t care that someone is in poverty and can’t afford repayments as stated above.

    I can’t see where you have gotten this idea of Work and Income compassionately releasing people from debt – I’m guessing you assumed they are human (!!).

    • weka 1.1

      Not true. WINZ can and sometimes do write off debt for various reasons not related directly to their own mistakes.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I don’t mind the government being fairly harsh going after beneficiaries, but only if they apply the same measures going after tax cheats.

    I’m in a position where I could likely get away with several hundred or maybe couple of thousand in tax rorts, but I don’t, because that’s dishonest. It makes me feel like a sucker to play by the book when so many others aren’t, and don’t get any penalty for it.

    • weka 2.1

      “I don’t mind the government being fairly harsh going after beneficiaries,”

      This need to be made clear (and it’s not that clear in the post itself). ‘Debt’ with WINZ can be something like getting an advance on one’s benefit to pay for an emergency or dental care. There is no need for the govt to be harsh on beneficiaries in recovering this. In fact it’s better if they are lenient in how it gets paid back. Benefits are deliberately set to be less than one can live on, so it’s fairly normal for beneficiaries to get top ups via advances. These are then deducted out of the benefit weekly payment at an agreed to rate. Where the beneficiary is experiencing hardship, it’s better for the weekly rate to be as low as possible.

      The general public needs to understand that this isn’t an issue about fraud or wrong-doing by the beneficiary. Although those things can happen also, conflating them with debt recovery just feeds the bene bashing memes.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Thanks weka, didn’t know that.

        I agree, that agreed repayments between WINZ and a client should not be considered “debt” in the sense that overpayments/fraud/etc are considered debt. It’s stupid to lump both types of money together.

        • framu 2.1.1.1

          also – not sure if its changed, but …

          usually when the govt is talking benefit fraud the quoted numbers include not only payment errors and loans, but also money that has been in the WINZ budget but was defrauded by people who arent beneficiaries.

    • aerobubble 2.2

      I think you misunderstood. Its wrong for the Minister to argue that its okay to let off a business off tax debt to keep people in work, who might end up on a benefit otherwise, and then to argue that is akin to put people already under the most extreme economic duress who are forced too pay back money that may have been spent, here’s the misunderstanding, on some shoes, or lunch, for a child.
      As if the poorest waste the money they have, or wouldn’t use it very wisely, the burden being so much greater since once in debt its becomes much more onerous to live on the welfare when WINZ is cropping it to recoup debts. You as a citizen can no longer just wander and gather food, fuel, water and start a farm, where you want, and in fact are prohibited from such so that all may reap a bounty of food, fuel, potable water, in return for this transgression on our collective liberty its expected that all be maintain to a minimum of food, housing, education and health. Without the acquiescence of the poor, and all the others who use welfare, or believe in welfare even though have never or will never used it (those who understand basic economics that mass production of food, health care, etc drives prices down for even the richest, so own a reciprocal right to their fellow citizens ), so nobody would have much at all. Its called society, its does exist and our deeply soft fascist government should not be trusted.

  3. One Anonymous Knucklehead 3

    …and more:

    Who’s for government prescribed mandatory mass medication?

  4. tracey 4

    goodness, no srylands on this?

  5. freedom 5

    I realize this is slightly off topic but fraud comes in many forms and the ongoing spin from the government regarding beneficiaries is about as fraudulent as it gets.

    Having recently made that long walk from an empty pantry into a food bank, and under the threat of a looming eviction, I jumped through the protracted collection of new hoops in the WINZ office and am now in receipt of a Job Seeker allowance.

    two things ( three actually)
    one; I am grateful for the assistance

    two: I have had numerous discussions around the abatement assessment being done weekly ( or when income is received) and how it is not equitable with other taxpayers, but mainly focused on the reality that not all lives are carbon copies. To quote the Minister “an individual’s circumstances do matter.” After presenting numerous personal examples where I showed weekly abatement (applied across the board) was fundamentally flawed as a premise, they have agreed to assess my external / occasional income as it relates to the annual benefit income.
    – If this relates to your own situation, talk to your case worker and ask for the abatement assessment to be adjusted accordingly. They can do it, it is my understanding they have just been told not to.

    three: The level at which the abatement claw begins to dig in is NOT $100 per week. It turns out that only applies to Assisted Living (Invalid’s benefit), DPB recipients and undefined special cases that I could not get a clear answer on from either a case worker or the call center staff.

    ALL OTHER UNEMPLOYED PERSONS ARE STILL ON THE OLD LEVEL OF ONLY $80 PER WEEK GROSS, BEFORE LOSING 70 CENTS IN THE DOLLAR ON EVERY DOLLAR ABOVE THE 80 GROSS. That is of course on top of the income tax collected of the total gross .

    Take a basic ten hour per week part time job at minimum wage , now take out the income tax of around $16 and the abatement claw back of $38 and the person has worked ten hours for approximately $8 p/hr net. Add transport/food/clothing and the myriad of miscellaneous expenses that naturally accompany the requirements of having a job and the person is working for maybe four to six bucks an hour. This is daily reality for the thousands of good kiwis out there every day really trying to improve their situation.

    A situation that in the vast majority of cases was not of their own making.

    How does this help New Zealand? Let alone help the 250 thousand people trying to survive in an environment where we get three hundred people applying for a Super Market shelf stacking job.

    No matter how I look at it, all I can do is recall the words of our great leader
    ” I want to see wages drop”

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      How does this help New Zealand?

      It doesn’t but it does help a few people get richer.

      No matter how I look at it, all I can do is recall the words of our great leader
      ” I want to see wages drop”

      QFT

    • NickS 5.2

      ALL OTHER UNEMPLOYED PERSONS ARE STILL ON THE OLD LEVEL OF ONLY $80 PER WEEK GROSS, BEFORE LOSING 70 CENTS IN THE DOLLAR ON EVERY DOLLAR ABOVE THE 80 GROSS. That is of course on top of the income tax collected of the total gross .

      Take a basic ten hour per week part time job at minimum wage , now take out the income tax of around $16 and the abatement claw back of $38 and the person has worked ten hours for approximately $8 p/hr net. Add transport/food/clothing and the myriad of miscellaneous expenses that naturally accompany the requirements of having a job and the person is working for maybe four to six bucks an hour. This is daily reality for the thousands of good kiwis out there every day really trying to improve their situation.

      This.

      There’s no point in picking up a sub 24hr/week job while on the sickness benefit because you end up being penalised for working. Heck there’s an 8 hr/week job I’m looking at and it’s marginal to start with due to being Friday and Saturday nights from 9 until 1am and made even more marginal by secondary tax rates and the abatement of $20.3 + cost of the uniform. Late nights and depression do not fucking mix in the slightest and I’d rather have my weekends free for tramping given it’s very significant positive effects on my mood and sleep patterns. The $70 odd net income, despite being useful, isn’t really worth the 1:30am nights, sleep disruption and subsequent costs stemming from that, such as killing my motivation, low energy, decreased self-maintenance (not significantly enough thankfully) and general disinterest in everything. Along with decreased resistance (Nick fails initiative role) to junk food, turns out feeling depressed leads to nomming on not the best of foods…

      And I’d only be doing it until I was back to being fit enough to work fulltime labouring jobs, which is 3 months roughly from now _if_ my depression doesn’t get in the way. Then again, I usually improve in mood as summer rolls in and without $Douchebag to fuck things up* and WINZ not yet on my back for some reason**. So yeah, fun fun ahead.

      _____________________________________________________
      *purposely isolating a friend with depression is not the smartest idea, it tends to lead to more depression not less depression.
      **partly expect there’s internal, non-public policy concerning depressed individuals to avoid messy suicide-caused bad PR. Doesn’t deal with getting depressed people back into work though it seems, nor making it easy to get counselling. Basically, the more barriers there are, the more difficult it becomes for someone with depression to push themselves through it. Note – mentioning “positive thinking” will result in #CLUEBAT T_T and a frank info-dump of neuronal firing thresholds and what depression does to them.

  6. infused 6

    IRD has been tightened up recently. It’s very hard to get off any debt.

    I’d be quite keen to read the study if anyone has a link?? Curious to see if they are including provisional tax in their calculations which would greatly distort things.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Yes … they used to run tax amnesties which were very helpful to get people who had gotten into difficulties a chance to clean the slate and get back into the system. It was always recognised as an efficient and simple process that ultimately gained more income for the govt. than was ever forgiven.

      In many situations it makes sense to waiver penalties and interest which have often built up due to factors outside the taxpayers control.

      I can’t recall one happening in a while now. They seem to be into punitive taxation again. (Like they always are under a Nat. administration.)

  7. Short Plank 7

    I would suggest one answer to the question posed – why does the IRD forgive debt when fraudulent beneficiaries are pursued – might be that the IRD prefers to avoid costs fighting lawyers and accountants to recover disputed tax while Beneficiaries are rarely in position to fight back at the required bureaucratic levels.

    “It seems we’ve reversed the Biblical maxim that from those who are given plenty much will be expected – and we now expect more from those who’ve been given next to nothing.”

    Seems to me the Biblical maxim actually is the reverse of that: “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” (Mark 4:25)

  8. captain hook 8

    This country and its tory self made rugged individualist denizens are into bullying and hurting the defenceless big time.
    Its all they are good for.

  9. tricledrown 9

    The real statistic is the right are sadistic!
    Kicking the weakest when their down creating a nasty divided society!

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    But that’s the philosophy of this Government: beneficiaries are second class citizens and taxpayers are worthy of respect – especially if they don’t actually pay their taxes.

    FIFY

    While not excusing fraud at either end (no-one should break the union deal of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay), tax fraudsters also get off much easier than welfare fraudsters – despite tax fraud generally being for larger amounts by those who can afford to pay more easily.

    Easy fix: Legislation that fraud results in 1 year in prison for every $100k ($1m = 10 years in prison) and specifically no prison sentence for anything less than $100k. Brings about consistency.

    • Mike S 10.1

      would the legislation be adhered to by the ‘justice’ system. At the moment, as per a few stories here and elsewhere not too long ago, if you are convicted of benefit fraud you are 3 times more likely to be sent to prison than if you are convicted of tax evasion. This despite the fact that benefit fraud is a tiny drop in an ocean compared to tax evasion in terms of $ stolen from taxpayers.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        They stick to the legislation now, the problem is that there’s no consistency. As you say, beneficiaries are more likely to go to jail and they’ll do so for far smaller amounts. This needs to be addressed and the way to do that is to legislate the consistency.

  11. For people in Auckland there will be a protest at Paula Benefit’s public meeting on ‘Getting Waitakere Going” tomorrow (Thurs) at 5-45 pm.

    Waitemata Unite is organising it and put out this press release:

    Interest is building in a protest against the welfare reforms, at Paula Bennett’s Office, 429 Great North Rd, Henderson, at 5.45 pm, Thursday 15 August called by Unite Waitemata.

    Paula Bennett will be addressing a public meeting at 6pm about “Moving Waitakere Forward.”

    “We think the best way for Waitakere to move forward is to remove Paula Bennett from office” said Janet Robin, President of Unite Waitemata, which is a branch of the Unite Union.

    “Unite is a union for low paid workers and beneficiaries,” said Ms Robin.
    “The real purpose of the benefit reforms is to make everybody compete on the labour market for scarce jobs, which will bring down wages. This helps employers increase their falling profits.” said Ms Robin.
    “That’s why workers and beneficiaries need to unite against benefit cuts and wage cuts.”
    “The Government is more interested in corporate welfare than social welfare “, said Ms Robin.
    “WINZ punitive sanctions for such small things as being five minutes late for an appointment, mean that many people are just giving up trying to get a benefit at all, which is what WINZ wants.” she said.
    “The less people on the benefit; the more the government saves money.”

    “The government is focussing on getting the sick and disabled, and single parents, off benefits, because that is where the biggest welfare budget is”, she said.
    “They plan to save more than a billion dollars by taking benefits off single parents and the sick, who are the people who need them the most” she said.

    “With no jobs out there, it is hypocritical and ridiculous to pretend that WINZ really wants to help people get jobs.”

    “If that is really their intention, why doesn’t the government create jobs?” she asked.

    “Paula Bennett’s supposed caring for children suffering from violence is hypocritical when she is prepared to take half a benefit off a beneficiary family for something as trivial as not attending a doctor’s appointment.”

    “This contravenes the United Nations Rights of the child, for the necessities of life; as obviously a child cannot be supported on half a benefit.”

    “The biggest hypocrisy of all is the fact the Paula Bennett was on the DPB, was helped to get a deposit for her first home, and received a Training Incentive Allowance which helped her to study full time at tertiary level and eventually to get the career she now has. Yet she has destroyed all these possibilities for other beneficiaries now.”

    For more information call

    Dave 0272800080
    Keith 09 8369104

    or email
    unitewaitemata@gmail.com

    http://waitemataunite.blogspot.co.nz/2013/08/lets-get-waitakere-moving-without-paula.html

  12. Mary 12

    There’s a bill waiting to be passed that removes the current ability of Work and Income to decide not to recover debt.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2013/0098/latest/DLM5024915.html

    The power to write off debt that’s the result of work and Income’s error remains but the discretion to decide not to recover any other kind of debt is going to be removed.

  13. xtasy 13

    Yes, those figures from that Victoria Uni study reveal it all, it is all just an agenda, to prosecute, to scare, to discriminate, to chase, to minimise, to criminalise and dis-entitle beneficiaries, none else. But there is even more to it, a yet more worrying agenda, followed through under the most abominable, new welfare regime, put into place as supposed “reforms”, also involving outsourcing and privatisation of “services”.

    Yet: Paula Bennett and her tactics, of course thought out by the cabinet, and their advisors, who resorted to UK “experts” (Mansel Aylward, Gordon Waddell, David Beaumont and so forth), who all “hail” the “health benefits of work”, and you know by now what I am talking about, also including mad Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor of MSD and WINZ, who has in presentations for years compared benefit dependence to “drug dependence”, yes for real, the truth is hitting the main news channels now.

    Questions are being asked, finally, on Radio NZ National at Nine to Noon this morning, and during and item on One News tonight, on TVNZ. At last, finally the mainstream media are taking note, learning again, I am sure, from social media, like this great website and forum. See for yourselves, what was reported today, this is just the beginning of the challenge and exposure, and more pressure will be put onto Bennett and the government soon:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/live-stream-one-6pm-video-4927552

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/pressure-doctors-question-unemployed-patients-video-5533560
    (Paula Bennett excusing the pressure put on GPs and other health professionals to put pressure on sick and disabled beneficiaries to look for work!)

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2565599/the-government%27s-shake-up-of-child-protection-laws

    Listen to the very end of that report and interview on RNZ National and Nine to Noon this morning, as in the last few minutes Kathrin Ryan for once asks Paula Bennett that question, whether WINZ are expecting doctors to ask the hard questions on sick beneficiaries, re work and more. She did the usual cop-out, our dear Paula.

    We will hammer away, that the lies of this Minister, the hypocrisy, the self righteousness, the bias, the ill informed “evidence” that “work is good for your health” is nothing but a calculated agenda, financed at least initially, by controversial US health and disability insurer Unum Insurance!

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15188-medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-bps-model-aimed-at-disentiteling-affected-from-welfare-benefits-and-acc-compo/

    • Mary 13.1

      It was interesting on Ninetonoon this morning that the first two items were about bureaucrats creating policies designed to override independent opinions of qualified medical professionals.

      • xtasy 13.1.1

        Mary – I am hoping and praying, that RNZ National and a few others, are slowly wakening up, and are digging into what I have tried to raise awareness about for months. We may perhaps be getting somewhere, it was even mentioned on TVNZ One last night, albeit rather one sided by one doctor and short. But there must eventually be more questions being asked, and it cannot be, that Bennett and Key and their agenda gets realised without scrutiny.

  14. srylands 14

    Most of the posters on this thread are naïve. Three is no difference in the intent of IRD and MSD regarding debt recovery. Read their Statements of Intent (SOIs) and you will find similar debt recovery objectives.

    I can only assume that most of the commentators here have never dealt with IRD. Having been a client of both WINZ and IRD in the last two years, I know who I found scarier. Hint – it wasn’t the smiley woman who administered the welfare checks.

    The reason for the different outcomes is obvious – IRD debts are much bigger. If IRD doesn’t cut a deal the sad guys and gals declare bankruptcy and the Crown gets nothing. WINZ welfare debts are smaller, and critically, they can be recovered through withholding a slice of the welfare checks.

    But both agencies have the same obligations to maximise debt recovery for the Crown.

    So stop seeing evil where none exists. It is ridiculous. You have the whole thing arse about based on a totally unsurprising indicator.

    • richard 14.1

      Never let the facts get in the way of a good story eh?

      You should really do some research before committing pen to paper. Haven’t your econ101 lecturers taught you anything this year?

      More from Dr Mariott:

      New Zealanders take welfare fraud more seriously than tax evasion despite the latter depriving the country of much greater sums of money according to research.

      Dr Lisa Marriott, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, is investigating the differences in prosecution and sentencing outcomes for the two offences, both of which, she says, involve money, are premeditated and have the same victims – the government and society.

      “One is not giving what you should and the other is taking what you shouldn’t.”

      Her analysis of court data on the most serious offending from 2008-2011 shows that 22 per cent of people found guilty of tax offences received a custodial sentence while 60 per cent of benefit fraudsters were imprisoned.

      Dr Marriott’s investigation also shows tax crimes are more costly, with those given custodial sentences committing offences valued at just over $800,000. Benefit fraud averaged $67,000 per offender.

      Benefit fraud cost New Zealand $22 million in 2010, or around $5 for each New Zealander. While it is difficult to get accurate figures for tax evasion, the Tax Justice Network estimates New Zealand missed out on more than $7.4 billion of tax revenue in 2011, or around $1,500 per New Zealander.

      • srylands 14.1.1

        “You should really do some research before committing pen to paper. Haven’t your econ101 lecturers taught you anything this year?”

        Fool. The story is about debt recovery practices, not comparing penalties for fraud and evasion. Most WINZ debt is not a result of fraud.

    • weka 14.2

      “Three is no difference in the intent of IRD and MSD regarding debt recovery. Read their Statements of Intent (SOIs) and you will find similar debt recovery objectives.”

      Well, duh, it’s not like they’re going to put the differences into their SOIs, and we’re talking about application, not intent.

      “WINZ welfare debts are smaller, and critically, they can be recovered through withholding a slice of the welfare checks.”

      How do they recover debt from people that are no longer on a benefit?

      Are you saying that IRD has no ability to recover debt directly from individuals?

    • Tracey 14.3

      Beneficiaries can declare bankruptcy and I don’t know if that affects their ability to get assistance in the future.

      The percentile difference is the main are of interest imo.

Leave a Comment

Show Tags

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Hotel no place for children in care
    ...
    3 days ago
  • Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed
    Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?Sir Humphrey: Nothing.Minister Smith: Nothing?Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare ...
    3 days ago
  • Inflation data shows many New Zealanders are worse off under National
    The latest inflation data from Statistics New Zealand shows that too many New Zealanders are now worse off under the National Government, said Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson “Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is now running at 2.2 per cent, and ...
    4 days ago
  • Another emergency housing grant blow out
      Emergency housing grants data released today show another blow out in spending on putting homeless people up in motels, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    4 days ago
  • Families struggle as hardship grants increase
    The considerable increase in hardship grants shows that more and more Kiwi families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for basic schooling, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    4 days ago
  • More tinkering, no leadership from Nats on immigration
    National’s latest tinkering with the immigration system is another attempt to create the appearance of action without actually doing anything meaningful, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 days ago
  • Suicide figures make for grim reading
    The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “If you do the ...
    6 days ago
  • Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions
    The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour welcomes ...
    6 days ago
  • DHB’s forced to make tough choices
    The Minister of Health today admitted that the country’s District Health Boards were having to spend more than their ring fenced expenditure on Mental Health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “The situation is serious with Capital and Coast ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats break emergency housing pledge – deliver just five more places
    Despite National’s promises of 2,200 emergency housing beds, just 737 were provided in the March Quarter, an increase of only five from six months earlier, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Research underlines need for KiwiBuild
    New research showing the social and fiscal benefits of homeownership underlines the need for a massive government-backed building programme like KiwiBuild, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Social data security review too little, too late
    The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions raised on CERA conflicts
    With the admission that three more former CERA staff members are under suspicion of not appropriately managing conflicts of interest related to the Canterbury rebuild, it’s imperative that CERA’s successor organisation Ōtākaro fronts up to Parliamentary questions, says Labour’s Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
    Labour will build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis there, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Housing in the Hutt ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
    This wonderfully talented man has been claimed by Australia, but how I remember John Clarke is as a young Wellington actor who performed satirical pieces in a show called “Knickers” at Downstage Theatre. The show featured other future luminaries like ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Valedictory Speech
    Te papa pounamu Aotearoa NZ Karanga karanga karanga; Nga tupuna Haere haere haere; Te kahui ora te korowai o tenei whare; E tu e tu ... tutahi tonu Ki a koutou oku hoa mahi ki Te Kawanatanga; Noho mai noho ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
    The fact that the State Services Commission has referred the CERA conflict of interest issue to the Serious Fraud Office is a positive move, but one that raises serious questions about the Government’s oversight of the rebuild, says Labour Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
    Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Free trade backers are simply out of touch
    Are the backers of free trade out of touch with public opinion? This was the question asked when the Chartered Accountants launched their Future of Trade study. I was astonished by the answer in a room of free trade enthusiasts ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • John Clarke aka Fred Dagg will be missed by all Kiwis
    The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I grew up with Fred Dagg and I am ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
    A commitment to full employment and a more transparent process to provide market certainty are the hallmarks of Labour’s proposals for a new approach to monetary policy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s plan for monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt drops ball on Masters Games housing squeeze
    Families currently living in emergency accommodation face being forced out onto the street as motel accommodation in Auckland is filled up by contestants and visitors of the World Masters Games in coming weeks, says Labours social development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • State inquiry for Nga Morehu – The Survivors of State Abuse
    The Prime Minister must show humanitarian leadership and launch an independent inquiry into historic claims of abuse of children who were in State care, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coleman – ‘overwhelmed by disinterest’ and ‘conked out’
    Today’s trenchant criticism of the Government’s health policy by Ian Powell the executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists must trigger action by the Minister, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on Syria
    Like the rest of the world, I have been horrified at the chemical attack on innocent Syrians that led to the deaths of so many men, women and children,” says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “The deliberate attack on civilians as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The hard truth about that soft drink ad
    I am relieved that Pepsi has pulled its ridiculous commercial that obscenely co-opted the #BlackLivesMatter movement. At the very least, it was an awkward failure that tried too hard to be something it could never be. At its worst, it ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 weeks ago
  • Journalism Matters: Interesting the public in the public interest
    Last week I launched two policies to support Kiwi journalism because as Bill Moyers put it, “the quality of democracy and the quality of journalism is deeply intertwined.” Journalism matters because it’s how we discover what’s happening in our world, ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • Homeownership rate hits new low; KiwiBuild needed now
    The homeownership rate has fallen to just 63.1 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand’s newly released Dwelling and Household estimates. That’s down three per cent under National to the lowest level since 1951, confirming the need for Labour’s KiwiBuild ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OECD endorses Labour’s Future of Work approach
    An OECD report released today, highlighting the need for increased support for workers who are made redundant, is a strong endorsement of the direction of Labour’s Future of Work Commission, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “We welcome the OECD’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Government knows diddly squat about health funding
    Asked about the funding of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, the Associate Minister of Health was at sea today on the typhoid outbreak, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “When I asked Nicky Wagner who was responsible for the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nicky Wagner blames disability workers for Govt’s funding failure
    Nicky Wagner displayed disrespect and sheer arrogance when she insulted disability support workers today, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parata in denial over special education crisis
    Hekia Parata has her head buried in the sand when it comes to the pressure that schools are under as they attempt to cope with an increasing number of children with severe behavioural and other learning support needs, says Labour’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Data-for-funding move hits Privacy roadblock
    The Government’s much-criticised grab for private client data from social service organisations has suffered another defeat after the Privacy Commissioner’s damning report, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “This is a defeat for the Government’s plans to force social ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New research shows need for government-led house building
    Research by economist Shamubeel Eaqub shows the need for the government to lead the building of affordable starter homes, as would happen under Labour’s KiwiBuild policy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Kiwis need answers on typhoid outbreak
      The Ministry of Health wasn’t told about the typhoid outbreak until 11 days after three people from the same church were admitted to hospital, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark.   “It is no longer credible for the Minister ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party gets it wrong again on RMA
    The Māori Party is missing the big picture on National’s Resource Management Act reforms by supporting a fundamentally flawed Bill, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party error own goal on GM
    The Maori Party amendment to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill does not achieve what they say it does on genetic modification, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “Their amendment relates to the new powers given to the Minister to over-ride ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Is the Government dragging its feet on typhoid?
    Serious questions have been raised about the Government’s handling of the Auckland typhoid outbreak which has claimed a life, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “It’s tragic that a woman has died and that at least 15 people have ...
    3 weeks ago