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National’s polling hypocrisy

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 pm, October 27th, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: labour, national - Tags:

Having previously led the charge on the Labour polling story, John Key has gone very quiet on the issue now that a former National supporter has blown the whistle on National doing the exact same thing.

Thanks to this former supporter we know that under Bill English’s leadership National told volunteers to say they were from ‘Gallagher Research’ (which appears to have never existed as a registered company) and use fake names as they conducted public polling.*

This practice is understood to have continued for some time and, short of a denial, may well still be happening.

The change in Key’s approach to this issue has been revealing.

On Sunday he was in full man-of-principle mode, thundering that it was ‘a serious matter’ and demanding a full inquiry in the Herald. On Monday The Standard published a guest post from the former supporter criticising the practice, but pointing out National’s gross hypocrisy.

By this morning Key had gone to ground on the issue. Gone was the talk of the inquiry, and when given a free kick by Radio NZ this morning all he had to say was that ‘claiming that your name is Bill when it’s really Rick I would have thought was problematic.’

Now it’s been shunted on to Bill English to front, because frankly he hasn’t got any credibility worth preserving. That’s not helped by the hypocrisy of English demanding openness and transparency from Labour when he’s been doing the exact same thing himself.

I doubt we’ll be hearing any more about Key’s inquiry now. But if we do, we should demand that it also includes a thorough investigation into the National Party’s polling practices, including the role of Gallagher Research and any other front group National has used, past or present, to deceive the voting public. After all, it’s all about openness and transparency, isn’t it?

* A commenter in that thread claims ACT has done the same.

[In case there was any doubt, I don’t support using the names of non-existent companies for polling, though I can understand why a person might not want to give their real name. I’ve worked in call centres and it’s common practice. This looks to me like a case of amateur behaviour from Rick Barker that would have only produced unscientific results anyway. If you’re going to poll just pay UMR to do it for God’s sake.]

44 comments on “National’s polling hypocrisy”

  1. mike 1

    On TV1 tonight Goff stated that this (polling) used to be done by professionals but it’s cheaper for us to it.

    Couldn’t agree more with old 5% there. Makes you wonder why we let these bloody amateurs run the country down for 9 years…

  2. Pat 2

    “…John Key has gone very quiet on the issue…”
    “…By this morning Key had gone to ground on the issue…”

    Yep Key is definately hiding from the issue. Or he is in Asia doing PM stuff. One of the two.

    • Eddie 2.1

      Um, look at his weak comment on RNZ. Russel Norman was going in for the kill, Key basically had nothing to say. A far cry from the thundering denunciations we were hearing on Sunday.

  3. Pat 3

    “…If you’re going to poll just pay UMR to do it for God’s sake…”

    Assuming your party has got the money to pay UMR. Presumably money was the reason why Labour was using volunteers with fake names and a fake company.

    I guess Labour have learnt their lesson and from now on will use volunteers with fake names and a real (albeit non-descript) company.

  4. Ron 4

    It really isn’t an issue, is it? The media do it regularly, other companies do it, political parties do it. By not revealing who they are they get a slightly more uncluttered response, I imagine.(how many double negatives was that?)
    It has BECOME an issue because key waded into it. Idiot.

  5. TightyRighty 5

    If you want to make an issue out of nothing, at least take one lesson from farrar. you need to have at least one piece of believable evidence backed up by a whole lot of spin, then people will believe. this is a lame attempt, i seriously thought you were better than this.

    • Eddie 5.1

      You are sensitive about this aren’t you? It’s not spin, it’s a genuine question. A former National supporter has given us detailed information about National’s polling activities under English. Easy enough for him to deny it.

      I have no interest in defending Labour, I think Barker’s actions were stupid even if hardly worthy of the condemnation we’re hearing in the media. What I am interested in is seeing the same standards apply to National as they demand of Labour.

      • TightyRighty 5.1.1

        not really, as i have said, provide some real proof and i’ll back off. but only seems to be unsubstantiated rumour? give me some more detailed information eddie, i think it’s important, you know, to apply the same standards of reporting as the media do. you don’t want the msm showing you up do you?

        • Eddie 5.1.1.1

          Media use anonymous sources all the time. They also have access to politicians to ask them follow-up questions, unfortunately we don’t. Bill can end the speculation by denying the claims. So far he hasn’t done that, and I don’t think he will.

          • TightyRighty 5.1.1.1.1

            so any allegation, if not denied, is then true? has anyone even asked bill english if this has happened? or is he going to have to trapse over here and answer to innuendo and hearsay? if you don’t have the info, you don’t really have a story.

            • Eddie 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t think you understand what a blog is, or you’re intentionally trying to misunderstand it.

              The claims made here have as much weight as you choose to give them. I wouldn’t convict Bill in a court of law based on a guest post on The Standard, but an enterprising journalist might like to ask him a few questions.

              And it goes without saying that I wouldn’t be putting the claims out there unless I had confidence in the source’s integrity.

            • TightyRighty 5.1.1.1.1.2

              ok, so give me some more information so i can reassure myself that it’s not BS. think of me as the journalist who you think should be asking Bill English the tough questions.

              Eddie, what information or proof do you have to back up your allegation that national has also been as deceptive as labour over the internal polling conducted in ministers offices, and where can the public see such proof?

            • Eddie 5.1.1.1.1.3

              It’s not The Standard‘s policy to reveal our sources.

  6. Sorry it was not a fake company. As long as the word “Limited” was not used no law was broken. And if they said it was the Labour Party then the result would be skewered.

    If the nats want to debate this maybe they could tell us how Curia is being funded.

    • Herodotus 6.1

      Your statement is deflective for the actions. Why cannot someone either say this is what we did and we are NOT ashamed, embarrassed and we will continue to do so, OR this was misleading and we are sorry. Which ever may be applicable.

      • Ari 6.1.1

        Reading the paper this morning, it seems like that’s exactly what the Labour Party is doing.

        • Herodotus 6.1.1.1

          Which paper is this so I can read this on line, I am interested in which direction Labour have taken?
          Thanks Ari

          • Tigger 6.1.1.1.1

            Dom Post today has an editorial slamming the practice as though Labour are the only ones who’ve ever done it (also page 2 piece on Barker).

            Honestly, at least do some damn research, Dom Post!

            • mickysavage 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The reasons are for the protection of the interviewers. I am aware that a few senior public servants are Labour supporters. When they help the party they do not want their identity being made puublic. No doubt the comment was made in that context. Not a good look but not a hanging offence either.

  7. Come on eddie.

    Howls of outrage when the right tried to use the “they did it too” line when Nat MP’s were in the spotlight. Surprised to see you there for stoop to such a tactic.

    What about Barker’s lies to the media? Are there situations where it is OK to lie? I assume this only applies to Labour or left MP’s?

    felix comments yesterday did make me think. Sadly, all that’s happened is that we seem to have reversed sides and roles with equally hypocritical behaviour on both sides. I also think it’s fair to say these exchanges are being played out on the fringes which the general population is largely disinterested.

    It’s sad because the economic challenges we face along with the well documented (at least here!) climate challenges would suggest that now is the perfect time to be having a some serious debates about long term decisions and directions.

    • Eddie 7.1

      Nowhere have I attempted to defend Barker. Read the post, I even explicitly criticise him. I’m just saying that if National wants to get on its high horse and demand transparency from Labour it should be prepared to answer questions about its own polling activities.

      Seriously, sometimes I wonder about the reading comprehension of some of the righties here.

    • Ari 7.2

      “They did it too” isn’t a valid defense, but it is a valid criticism if you admit that your side was wrong to do it as well.

      Right-wing bloggers tend to use “they did it too” as a defense. Eddie is using it as a criticism of National’s attacks on Labour over this. There is a big difference.

  8. To get things into perspective I think the following are really important issues where the current Government is failing us:

    1. Its sabotaging of all of the country’s climate change policies,
    2. Its sabotaging of Auckland’s democracy,
    3. Its destruction of our education system by, for instance, cutting very good programs such as ACE and giving this money to private schools,
    4. Its undermining of workers rights through ACC reform, the 90 day fire at will bill and various other policies.

    The following are not:

    1. The anti smacking referendum,
    2. Whether or not Phil Goff rode a bike when he was younger,
    3. The state of John and Bronagh Key’s relationship,
    4. Whether Labour volunteers conducting a poll used their correct first names or not.

    Perspective would be good.

    • Daveski 8.1

      Mickey

      I’ll disagree with your views on 1-4 but I agree entirely that the debate is no longer on the issues but on matters of perception. I don’t think this is a post election issue either but a trend over many years.

      The dumming down of the media has a role to play as does news and entertainment … or should that be entertainment as news???

      So couldn’t agree more – perspective would be good.

      • Herodotus 8.1.1

        I concur. Yet we get this from Labour. Is this not confirming an earlier post from here “Everyone is doing it…” hundreds of thousands of families…. (see below) If we are to have real issue debates then can we also have committment not to feed us crap. Selwyn Pellet (Posted Bty T Mallard) had 2 interesting posts on issues that I think relate to NZ. yet how many have a grasp of what is being referred to.
        Perhaps there are far too many issues of min thought just junk food topics. How about focusing on real issues ACC, Govt depts spying, ETS & EFA to name a few.
        Trevor Mallard says:
        October 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm
        Piggy – there was substantial change in child poverty through working for families for example where hundreds of thousands of families were lifted over the poverty line.

  9. Ianmac 9

    A few years ago I was polled. The questions seemed to have a bias towards National but I was not sure. So I asked the man who he was working for. He said he didn’t really know. I asked him if it was for National but he hung up. Have wondered though but can’t prove anything.

    • Mac1 9.1

      Ianmac, I too was polled by a National phone canvasser a few years ago. Her first question was whether I knew who the present National MP was. Answer, “Yes”. Another question. “Do you know who the new National candidate is?” Answer. “Have you forgotten who she is?”
      About this time the National canvasser, as she ‘fessed up, and I was told later by her daughter too, twigged that she was talking to an opposing candidate.

      I also know that the Brethren push polled in our electorate in 2005. One of my activists had that experience.

  10. Captain Rehab 10

    Dudes, check out the doco about the 1996 Wellington central election “Campaign”. There’s a scene in it where we actually see this kind of polling taking place with the candidate hovering over the shoulder of the caller. I can’t remember if it’s Labour or National doing it but back then it was hard to tell the difference anyway.

  11. snoozy 11

    what’s this with another bill passed under urgency- this time breaks? Dude we want our democracy back!

    when was the last time we had a general strike? Or the last time if ever the government resorted to urgency to ram this amount of stuff through? Roger Douglas blitzreig tactics. Needs to badly be checked.

  12. I thought you lot had moved on from the ” I know we did but so did they” defense after the electoral thumping last year.

    The real story is the fact that labour is broke and the fact that Barkers immediate response was to lie through his teeth. Another trait that I thought would have been given up on after last year.

    It appears nothing has been absorbed, which is a bit of a pity really because while these feeble attack lines are being hatched you lot have failed (miserably) to do anything for the telecom techs.

    • “They did it too!” has been nearly exclusively the cry of embarrassed kiwibloggers reeling from Key repeating at times almost identically the same things that Farrar has beaten well out of proportion and used to personally attack Clark in a 3 (going on 4) year delusional tanty, starting around the time of Nationals 2005 election loss.

    • Eddie 12.2

      Barnsley, read the post. I’m not defending Barker, I’m asking National to abide by the same standards they’re demanding of Labour.

  13. we know that under Bill English’s leadership National told volunteers to say they were from ‘Gallagher Research’ (which appears to have never existed as a registered company) and use fake names as they conducted public polling.

    1. Wellington City New World isn’t a registered company. So what? That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Maybe it was a partnership. A sole trader. A trading name for the National Party. Something else? The companies register is evidence of company registration and little more.

    2. I can confirm the Gallagher Research story. I polled for National while a student. Paid pretty well. But we weren’t told to use fake names.

  14. RedLogix 14

    Still a total non-story.

    There is nothing wrong with using pseudonyms in a public setting. We do it on blogs all the time.

    There is nothing wrong with using a front name to obscure who is doing the poll, in order to gain a less biased result; this would appear to be almost universal practise. Professional pollers such as Curia or UMR never explain who is really paying them for their work.

    No-one is being materially disadvantaged, there is nothing to criticise or apologise for.

  15. TightyRighty 15

    with respect to redlogix above. I think there is something to apologise for. Eddie has made this up. if he can’t reveal any new information or proof, then this post and the other post are total BS. apologise to the people eddie. show us your standards and you ethics.

  16. TightyRighty 16

    no, but his version differs from “the classic liberals” and eddies, did you read the last line of his comment? it seems that was the crux of eddies and the bs artists posts, that national did exactly the same. I never said national don’t conduct polling under a company name, i see no problem with that, but they never used fake names, and they paid their staff. where is labour on the minimum wages of their “volunteers”?

    The standard has all the info, so just release it.

    edit: just saw that the dom post has an editorial on this issue, not a single mention of accusations of National “doing it too”, they must pay their staff and use real names or, possibly, it would be reported

    • Eddie 16.1

      You’re a bit oversensitive there Tighty. Clearly we can’t reveal our sources, but we wouldn’t have put this out there unless we have reason to believe it is genuine.

      It is not The Standard‘s policy to reveal our sources.

      Graeme has confirmed the polling under the front company Gallagher research occured, but in his case he wasn’t told to use a pseudonym.

      Like I said, this could easily be cleared up with a denial from National.

      • Pascal's bookie 16.1.1

        Dompost also reports that National used the name “Access Market Research” in ’96.

      • TightyRighty 16.1.2

        pathetic. your full of it. you said you had new information. don’t reveal your source, reveal that. but you can’t can you? so i call BS

  17. Selwyn Pellett 17

    It was wrong of Labour to do what they did. I understand why, but dont do it a again.

    The new polictics of this country going forward, I hope will be about genuine integrity. It’s okay to make a mistake but front up on it. We all make mistakes and thats typically not the issue, covering it up is.

    National has almost certainly done the same thing but so what? It was wrong, man up and move on.

    As to the issues facing the country, this must rank as number 780,000,000,001 in order of importance.

    Lets focus on how we can build a better country as we have some serious work ahead of us on that score.

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    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today announced that funding for the COVID-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled, as the first successful funding applications for the initial $1million were revealed. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of COVID-19, and I ...
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    3 days ago
  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
    The Government’s books were better than forecast with a higher GST take as the economy got moving again after lockdown, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the 11 months to the end of May indicate the year end results for tax revenue will be stronger than forecast. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt releases plan to revitalise wool sector
    A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path was unveiled today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The newly-released report - Vision and Action for New Zealand’s Wool Sector - was developed by the Wool Industry Project Action Group ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
    Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding for Whangārei’s infrastructure projects revealed
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package ...
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    4 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
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    4 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
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    5 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
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    5 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
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    5 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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    5 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
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    5 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
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    5 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
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    5 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
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    6 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
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    6 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
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    6 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
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    6 days ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
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    6 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
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    6 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
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    1 week ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
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    1 week ago