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New Zealand – unequal and rising

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, December 7th, 2011 - 62 comments
Categories: equality - Tags: , ,

The OECD has a report out – Divided We Stand – about the widening gap between rich and poor across the western world.

Launching the report in Paris, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said “The social contract is starting to unravel in many countries. This study dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility. Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”

New Zealand stands out: we have the greatest increase in inequality between 1985 and 2008 from a GINI index of 0.27 to 0.33.  This despite inequality declining (slowly) between 2000 and 2008 under the Clark government (our GINI index peaked at 0.34 in 2000).

There are 3 main reasons for growing inequality according to the OECD, and the first two are certainly reflected here – benefits have been slashed, both in amount and in entitlement; and there have been massive tax cuts for the rich.

The third factor was massive increases in income for the most wealthy – there is now a 9:1 ratio between what the richest 10% and the poorest 10% earn across the OECD – 10:1 in New Zealand.  In 1985 this was 6:1 in Aotearoa.

Quite how we’ve done under Key is unclear: obviously there have been more large tax cuts for the rich, but the wealthy have also had a significant decrease in income with the Great Recession, and benefits haven’t been slashed – yet.

At any rate there is significant work to be done to ensure a fair New Zealand where we all get a slice of the wealth.

“There is nothing inevitable about high and growing inequalities,” said Mr Gurría. “Our report clearly indicates that upskilling of the workforce is by far the most powerful instrument to counter rising income inequality. The investment in people must begin in early childhood and be followed through into formal education and work.”

The OECD underlines the need for governments to review their tax systems to ensure that wealthier individuals contribute their fair share of the tax burden. This can be achieved by raising marginal tax rates on the rich but also improving tax compliance, eliminating tax deductions, and reassessing the role of taxes in all forms of property and wealth, the report says.

A higher top tax-rate for the top 2%, increasing compliance and a Capital Gains Tax, along with heavier investment in Early Childhood Education would seem to be pretty much along OECD guidelines then.  Fancy some used Labour policy Mr Key?

[Edit: Since I wrote this last night The Herald and Morning Report have gone big on this – I’ve been scooped!]


62 comments on “New Zealand – unequal and rising”

  1. Yeah, my north of 50 bucks went south for winter and hasn’t returned.

  2. Vivienne 2

    This is not new.

    Reading ‘The Spirit Level’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, in 2009, gives excellent explanation.

    As John Key and his side kick John Banks drive futher into the failed theories of the Chicago School of Economics the divide between those with too much money and those with a pitance will stretch further.

    Gives them someone to whip when it fails, of course.

    Labour needs to speak with those in the group of 1 million who did not vote and find out why.

    When the government changes in 2012 drastic moves will have to occur in the face of what will result from the current crop of repeated idealologues

    • Bunji 2.1

      What’s new is the OECD joining the IMF and pushing against inequality instead of their previous neo-liberal prescriptions. The world is waking up that theories of enrich the rich and everyone will be great don’t work. Why aren’t National?

      Even the Conservatives in Britain had in their 2010 campaign promises to reduce inequality…

      • Afewknowthetruth 2.1.1


        ‘Even the Conservatives in Britain had in their 2010 campaign promises to reduce inequality’

        You should know by now it’s all Orwellian.

        Macaroon and company also promised to be the ‘greenest government ever’

        Just look at what they’ve actually done.

      • Spratwax 2.1.2

        National aren’t waking up because a core of wealthy elite in NZ have a huge influence on National

        party policy and there is currently a race to ‘lock in’ their positions at the top for their future

        generations (not just in NZ either). Best way to do this is secure resources (Public Assets) and get

        systems in place (Charter schools, wipe out unions, cheap labour, no welfare), all at the expense

        of the plebs, before the pack of cards comes tumbling down. Expect to see more use of the Police

        to protect these systems and legislation to enforce this protection.

        • Draco T Bastard


          The actions of the National Government over the last three years have been solely to protect and enhance the position of the already rich while also disenfranchising the poor.

  3. Blue 3

    Rising inequality can’t be that bad. NZ has just voted to increase it further over the next three years.

    • Craig Glen Eden 3.1

      Yeah how smart are we? Not very sadly.

    • uke 3.2

      It’s class war, just one side doesn’t know it, shoots itself in the foot, and then hands the gun to the other side.

      • Jimmy 3.2.1

        I do believe one side didn’t even bother turning up…

        • uke

          Increasingly, I get the sense that most NZers actually don’t care much about their country’s sovereignty. They aren’t really that patriotic – except in matters of sport – and seem quite willing to trade away public ownership and power over their society and economy for consumer baubles and pie-in-the-sky “aspirations”.
          Most, I suspect, wouldn’t really care if their country was “administered” by Canberra, Washington, or Beijing, which may well happen at some stage.
          How it has got to this, I don’t know. We used to be more patriotic, didn’t we? Then again, maybe not. We have never been invaded or warred with our close neighbours, hence don’t really have much fighting spirit when it comes to defending our land. Maori people, on the other hand, have had this experience and hence are much more staunch about self-determination. They know what it’s like to lose.

  4. Roy 4

    Trickle down, which I prefer to call piddle down, doesn’t work and never has worked. Why are we still forced to live with this ridiculous theory?

  5. Karl Sinclair 5

    Taken from a recent TED Talk by Richard Wilkinson:

    ‘We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.’


    To change a phrase from the logical positivie movement, ‘unfortunately we could have had paradise but instead weve recreated the USA’…………

    To put it in context for NZ, is it fair to say that the present NZ Government is increasing the income gap between rich and poor (increase in GST, lower Top Tax rates). The problem, partly, is that the income and type of work is not empowering enough?

    Also Marmot’s Whitehall Study is a longitudinal study that has studied the effects of social status on health. He used as his sample a large number of well educated British Civil Servants – Hence “Whitehall”. A key finding has been the steep gradient in health outcomes that are formed by where you are in the power hierarchy. In short the less control and status you have – the more likely you are to be ill and even die early.


    So to put it bluntly, you are literally fighting for your life when you compete for jobs or even ask for a pay rise or promotion. Do you feel so respectful now of your managers etc etc…I’m starting to view them with allegator eyes………………………………………………………………..

  6. King Kong 6

    “New Zealand had the greatest increase in inequality in the Western World. So what are we going to do to fix it?”

    The one thing I am quite confident about is that no one who spends their days commenting on blog sites has the answer.

    • Karl Sinclair 6.1

      Like you

      • King Kong 6.1.1


        • Karl Sinclair

          Actually, I do get your point….

          Mind you, 5 minutes bloggin is hardly a whole day now is it……you should change your name to Drama Queen…..

          Actions do speak louder than words dont they

          Go well

    • Blighty 6.2

      Actually, there are simple and proven answers.

      One of the last retreats of the Right is to say ‘yup, it’s unfair but that’s the way it is and there’s nothing that can be done about it, and we shouldn’t even discuss how to fix it’

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3

      That’s it is it? Confronted with the evidence that confounds your delusions, that’s the best you can do? Does it feel even a little bit uncomfortable to be confronted with the facts that expose your ignorance? I couldn’t care less one way or the other, I’m quite happy for morons to believe bullshit, since it creates a competitive advantage for me, but don’t you even get the vaguest niggling sense of self-doubt? Better allay it with another blog comment eh?

      • McFlock 6.3.1

        Look on the bright side. If KK klutz says there is an “answer”, then there must be a question worth asking. The point of the post is that inequality is a bad thing and leaves the question “how do we solve the problem of inequality?”
        Therefore, if KK’s comment is relevant to the post (okay, this is a long shot, but is theoretically possible), then one of the more rabid trolls here has come to the conclusion that income inequality is a bad thing. 
        I never thought I’d see the day…

    • vto 6.4

      “The one thing I am quite confident about is that no one who spends their days commenting on blog sites has the answer.”

      Well, given the quality of all your previous ramblings and confidences, I would therefore be confident that the opposite is in fact the case.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.5

      Still working on it but I will have an answer based upon democracy and cooperation. Unlike you who will continue to kiss your masters arse and declare that the rich are special.

  7. johnm 7

    The well-to-do who voted Key back in have pulled the ladder up on less fortunate kiwis:they don’t want to share rather they want more and to have their advantage protected by their man.
    Labour’s policies with Goff had he won would have helped to reduce inequality:
    1.A Capital gains tax though it was too small. I think it should be 50% backdated for 10 years. It’s scandalous our young families can’t afford to buy their first homes due to an overinflated market.We need to completely stop people buying important social assets to make capital gain from on the backs of the wage slaves who pay the mortgage! Banks must be stopped from lending for investment residential properties.
    2. Stop privatization of schools and look after all our children as does Sweden and eliminate child poverty:
    2a. Extend working for families to beneficiaries with children.
    2b. Take GST of food and veges.
    2c. Free health care for children up to 6
    2d. Do something about the substandard housing stock which is cold and damp.
    2e. Don’t privatize essential utilities such as water and power which will then have profit extracted from poorer people so shareholders and CEOs can smoke more cigars.
    2e Don’t sell off our Power company assets.
    Copy Sweden canteens and free food in all schools so all children eat properly. Have a travelling medical service to check up on all children.
    3.Reverse the last tax cut round and increase progressive taxation to levels we had in the 60s
    4.Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This’ll help the working poor.
    5. Don’t privatize ACC
    6. Increase benefit levels.

    This government is following the U$$$$ model. Look what a disaster that unhappy now fascist state is now in:
    46,000,000 Americans existing on food stamps. 50,000 factories exported to Asia whose cheap labour profits Wall Street but leaves Americans homeless in the street. A totally corrupt Financial and Governmental system which worships money not human wellbeing. The American economy has been trashed. You have billionaires like Bloomberg saying the NYPD are his personal army to put down decent respectable mostly young Americans who legitimately protest.

    As Heinberg and AFKTT says all of this is getting worse as the rising tide that lifts all boats,growth is over due to resource depletion . This will make the inequalities in societies even more grotesque.

    As Mana says we need a huge redistributive action in New Zealand a “War on Poverty” otherwise we’re heading to be a little sh@t hole of social division lorded over by the rich and currency speculators with bolt holes in Hawaii under the reign of King Shonkey.

    Those that didn’t vote and if had we could have got rid of National. I know one of them, though he lives here he goes to Asia mostly where friends treat him with respect,while here he’s does not care or identify with NZ at all. When people are put down and marginalised enough they cease to participate in society: they’re too busy getting by day to day.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    There is a natural tendency for psychotic sociopaths to implement policies that benefit psychotic sociopaths. Psychotic sociopaths always over-rate their worth and their contribution organisations and to society, and once they get into positions where they are able to they set up criminal rorts which enable them to ‘loot the till’.

    Once the poor are driven to desperation there is open conflict The French Revolution, the Bolivar movement in South America, The Year of Revolution (1848), The Russian Revolution, The Chinese Civil War …… it just goes on and on.

    After each revolutionary period there is a period of greater equality, after which the cycle starts all over again.

    The most important lesson of history is that the lessons of history are not learned.

    I see that Olympus (camera manufacturer) is the latest organisation to be described as rotten to the core.

    By the way, it has been demonstrated time and time again that the most stable societies are those in which leaders [literally] share food with the lowest members.

    • King Kong 8.1

      I suspect that these stable societies that you refer to also had high rates of death by plague and mammoth wounds.

      • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.1


        I am unaware of the existence of mammoths in Tahiti in the nineteenth century or in the New Guinea highlands in the twentieth century but I bow to your greater knowledge of such things.

        When you refer to high death rates by plague are you referring to what happened shortly after white men arrived in places like America? Or are you using the term metaphorically, as in a ‘plague’ of Europeans wiped out the Caribs and very nearly wiped out the Maori?

      • Spratwax 8.1.2

        It is my understanding that stable societies of chimps did not live in 14th century Europe although they may have been hosts to the fleas which spread the disease. They would not have survived the cold climate of the mammoth habitat.

        Come to think of it- they wouldn’t be stable societies under King Kong!

      • mik e 8.1.3

        Gorillas have a more humane society aye king klutz

    • joe bloggs 8.2

      AFKTT, I just want to correct a popular misconception that your post reinforces:

      Psychopaths are rarely psychotic

      In contrast to people with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, who often lose contact with reality, psychopaths are almost always rational. They are well aware that their ill-advised or illegal actions are wrong in the eyes of society but shrug off these concerns. What’s more, they typically do so in aggressive or violent waqys.

      Psychopathy isn’t a product of Western culture either – it’s present in non-Western cultures as well, including those that have had minimal exposure to media portrayals of the condition.

      I rather suspect that the condition that you are thinking of is sociopathy (characterised by superficial charm, narcissism, and a lack of empathy) rather than the more problematic psychopathy (characterised by sociopathy, plus aggressive and predatory behaviour). To elaborate briefly, poor impulse control combined with inadequate self esteem or lower social standing is enough to create sociopathic behaviour. Whereas, the sociopath response is more grounded in reality of their social standing and past history the psychopath creates greater perceived threats through imagination – hence the greater violence.

      Unfortunately posts like yours serve as reminders that widespread common understandings of mental illness contain as much fiction as fact.

      [lprent: You still have two more days on your ban according to the file. I’ll let this through. ]

      • Afewknowthetruth 8.2.1


        I did not use the term psychopath. I wrote psychotic sociopaths.

        psychotic = disconnected from reality

        sociopath = person with personality disorder manifesting in extreme antisocial attitudes and behaviour.

        = Key, Banks, Dunne etc.

        • mike

          I guess it depends on your interpretation of ‘psychotic’. I myself associate the word with the more severe mental disorders such as those involving hallucinations and bizarre behaviour. Men in white coats coming to take you away territory.

          By ‘disconnected to reality’ I wonder if you mean their beliefs that they are smarter than the rest, that their con-job is impeccable, that they will never get caught, that they can bullshit their way out of anything, don’t care about raping the environment, that when the shit hits the fan they will still emerge winners, etc. These are all classic sociopath/psychopath beliefs. Their pathological self-confidence can be their undoing, but it can also get them a long way. People interpret confidence as competence and sincerity, it also makes them very good liars. (Psychopaths can often pass polygraph tests.)

          A sociopath who makes it in politics is like a kid in a candystore. Also don’t overlook narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), much more serious and nasty than just being a bit narcissistic, and often difficult to distinguish from sociopathy. I think Banks could be a candidate.

          Some believe that a sociopathic politician will often tag team with an NPD politician. It would be child’s play for a sociopathic manipulator to play on the all too obvious vanity/grandiosity/self-importance buttons of an NPD in order to get them to play ball.

          Oh look it’s John Key.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.2.2

        Sociopathy and psychopathy are the same thing although some police jurisdictions in the US are starting to use sociopath to describe serial killers and psychopath for the corporate climber who lies and steals their way to the top.

        • mike

          There’s a lot of different opinions about definitions of sociopath vs psychopath. Everytime I read someone’s attempt they seem quite different. I’m not unsympathetic to the view that there is no meaningful difference, which I’ve heard before.

          One try is that sociopaths are largely a product of upbringing and environment, while psychopaths have an observable, physical, neurological difference to ‘normals’. The former don’t think they are different from normal people other than being smarter and superior, just looking out for number 1, they don’t think they are doing anything ‘wrong’, a very human denial. The later realise at a young age that they are different, still think they are smarter and superior, but don’t kid themselves about their amorality/immorality – they just don’t care.

          Any distinction is probably arbitrary, debatable, and have many shades of grey. So I think it could well come down to personal choice if you find one that you think meaningful or not.

          So I would take issue with the US jurisdictions you mention. I would say a serial killer is more likely to be a psychopath than sociopath (but a sociopath might not be above murder). And the corporate/political climber type could be a sociopath or a psychopath. But I guess a rose is a rose by any other name.

          As an aside, note that Dr Robert Hare, one of the foremost experts on psychopathy, estimates that 1% of the population are psychopaths, and that only about 1 in 20,000 – 30,000 psychopaths will be a serial killer.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Wikipedia to the Rescue

            And after that you should be thoroughly confused 😈

            Throw in this one as well:-

            Regrettably, the current (fourth, revised) edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), published in 2000, only reinforces the confusion between psychopathy and violence. It describes a condition termed antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), which is characterized by a longstanding history of criminal and often physically aggressive behavior, referring to it as synonymous with psychopathy. Yet research demonstrates that measures of psychopathy and ASPD overlap only moderately.

            • mike

              I’ve been researching the subject for the past year so you’ll have to do better than toss the wiki page at me if you want to confuse! From said wiki article, which I feel supports what I said:

              “Psychopathy vs. sociopathy

              Hare writes that the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy may “reflect the user’s views on the origins and determinates of the disorder.” The term sociopathy may be preferred by sociologists that see the causes as due to social factors. The term psychopathy may be preferred by psychologists who see the causes as due to a combination of psychological, genetic, and environmental factors.[99]

              David T. Lykken proposes psychopathy and sociopathy as two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believes psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, he claims sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. Both personality disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.[95]”

              You have hit upon a touchy point about the DSM-IV definition of ASPD in your quote though. It just lumps psychopathy in with ASPD, and the conditions for diagnosis are being seriously questioned by researchers. In particular the condition that there is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years, which disqualifies some who probably shouldn’t be disqualified. Also some claim the DSM-IV definition leans too heavily towards describing criminal behaviour, which neglects many other flavours of psychopath. This is a big area of debate right now. The feeling is that not all psychopaths have ASPD, and not all ASPDs are psychopaths. Or else the definition of ASPD needs to be quite seriously revised. Stay tuned for the DSM-V in 2013. What’s interesting to me is that definitions, understanding, and awareness of psychopathy and it’s impact on society are changing quickly, with some chilling implications.

              So I’ll see you, and raise you: Dr Robert Hare, probably the foremost expert on psychopathy, says it’s actually quite difficult to call psychopathy a mental illness under any meaningful definition of mental illness. He says a biologist might dispassionately call it a valid and often effective adaptation to an organisms environment, albeit a very selfish one. He even hints at calling them a different species!

  9. vto 9

    ffs, what do these people do with their hoardings of wealth? Don’t they get bored playing monopoly? And if they don’t, well it says something about them really. Or do they go on ever-longer and more-extensive overseas holidays? Lordy, how boring.

    In fact, it is becoming clear that obscene wealth is boring. And I suspect that those driving around in lambourghinis and ferraris and top-end trabants are viewed with less impression and more disdain as each day and week currently passes. In the streets of Fendalton, Remmers and that one in Wellington.

    Yet another sign of the moving of the times and sentiments…

    • King Kong 9.1

      I must say that the blokes I saw on Nikki beach, St Tropez earlier in the year who were pouring 500 euro bottles of champagne on scantilly clad hotties didn’t look too bored.

      Unfortunately as I live in impoverished old NZ I could only afford to waste a couple of the 200 euro bottles. This is the real outrage. New Zealanders deserve the right to spray champagne to an international standard.

      • Afewknowthetruth 9.1.1


        From the attitudes you present on this forum we might conclude that you would have very much enjoyed being a slave master on a plantation or part of the administration of a Nazi death camp … such wonderful oportunities to exploit other people and enrich yourself.

      • Spratwax 9.1.2

        Ha ha ! Excellent. But if they got scantily clad hotties for 500 euros, what did you get for 200? A couple of chimps, maybe?

      • Karl Sinclair 9.1.3

        OMG Darrrrlinkkkk your vexations are of concern to me, you poor thing.

        To get you through your peril I will FEDEX immediately one Almas Caviar and a bottle of 1907 Heidsieck champagne.

        Just sprinkle delicately over said hotties and all will be made well again

        Happy quaffing…..

        On On Old Bean…

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.4

        You think an overt status symbol is interesting?

      • mik e 9.1.5

        king kong klueless klutz taking misogyny back to the middle ages

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.6

        So much class, are you sure it wasn’t Lindauer?

        • mik e

          KK to many wet dreams going back to basic instincts Neanderthal or maybe you are the missing link

      • mik e 9.1.7

        KK otherwise known as her-man cain

    • Jimmy 9.2

      Wealth is power, and sadly, power is something some try to obtain and increase.

      • vto 9.2.1

        Yes you’r right jimmy and I’ve always actually said that the pursuit of wealth usually falls away quickly, once on that track, to the pursuit of power and status.

        This very human trait is at the heart of it. It is unstoppable by means of argument. It is only stoppable by means of rules and regs re-setting, or by force.

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      Its not even like they put their wealth to anything useful to society. Most of it just sits in land or in Wall St accounts feeding the parasitic system.

      Certainly fuck all goes on ‘job creation’.

      • Afewknowthetruth 9.3.1


        You forgot all the ‘job creation’ that comes from employing security guards to ensure there is no redistribution of their wealth, all the ‘job creation’ that comes from constructiing amd maiintaining super-yachts so the ultra-wealthy can keep themselves amused (Helen Clark was really keen on that one), and all the ‘job creation’ that comes from cleaning up oil spills because corporations cut maintenance in order to maximise return to shareholders and senior executives. (It would be shameful for a CEO to retire with a package of less than $300 million these days.)

        Then there is all the ‘job creation’ that comes from debt collection, foreclosure of homes, building and maintaining prisons, and building and maintianing hospitals that deal with the casualties of this toxic and dysfunctional system.

        Fortunately Peak Oil is going to bring it all to an end fairly soon.

        Then we will be able return to the days of feudalism, with a lord of the manor exploiting and abusing his serfs.

  10. Anthony 10

    Well we operate under an inherently unstable system that only gives the illusion of stability due to being constantly propped up by ever increasing levels of monetary, environmental and social costs.

    The mythic equilibrium of the free market will never happen, and until we realize that, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer..

  11. What do do about this? Does Mana have the answer? Redistribution?
    Michael Roberts blog argue that this widening gap is a necessary aspect of capitalism and that no capitalist is going to give up on the class war because they are asked nicely by the David Shearers or the 99%. Capitalism has outlived is use-by date and is toxic. Time it was dumped.

    “…The OECD report finds that, in all the major capitalist economies, the rich getting richer just meant that they got further away from the rest of us and it did not matter if you lived in a so-called ‘free market’ Anglo Saxon country, such as the US and the UK, or supposedly in more egalitarian countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany. The pay gap between rich and poor just widened: from five to one in the 1980s to six to one today. In so-called BRICs ( Brazil, Russia, India and China), the ratio is an alarming 50 to one…”


  12. Peter 12

    NACT most likely cannot understand why inequality is an issue. After all this is the natural order of things and the way of the market. In their eyes everyone must strive to be part of the 1% and support those who make it! Simple really.

  13. Glenn 13

    I have 5 children. 3 voted and two couldn’t be bothered. In fact the daughter who didn’t vote isn’t even enrolled to vote at 38 years old..She has never voted.
    The son who didn’t vote has always voted before however in this election he just couldn’t be bothered. “It’ won’t make ant difference it’s only one vote.”
    The daughter is a beneficiery and the son is not on great wages.
    2 of the million non voters that we missed out on.

  14. Qualanqui 14

    Until a cure for greed and stupidity is found the world is just gona keep circling the drain with the greedy killing the stupid and getting stupidly wealthy

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    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago