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On the distribution of income

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, May 20th, 2008 - 57 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: , ,

See that line that says minimum wage? Nearly half of kiwis earn less than that.

Seven months ago, that was me. I was working removing asbestos contaminated glue from the floor of an office building along with half a dozen other guys. Now, asbestos is pretty dangerous stuff, inhaling a single thread of it can give you asbestosis, a deadly respiratory disease. So, we had some crappy old masks and some cheap overalls to wear. The areas we worked in were sealed from the outside world and had big fans in them to keep them at low air pressure, so if a leak developed air would flow in and no asbestos threads could get out. The outside temperature was 25 degrees. Inside it was 40 degrees plus and there was no oxygen, as we scraped potentially deadly forty year old glue off the floor. The sweat would pool in your mask but I was afraid to pull it back.

We were effectively day labourers, employed by a labour hire company that contracted our labour (and took $8 an hour as commission from the company); we would be out of a job on the day that the boss decided there was no more work for us (of course, this actually made us work slower because we didn’t want to work ourselves out of a job).

The men I had been working with had been doing jobs like this for years, decades. ‘At least now’, they told me, “we are getting some decent pay” – $11.25 an hour (as was the minimum wage at the time), just eight years before they would have been getting $7.50 an hour and no Working for Families to help them out.

See that $60,000 bracket? Less than 14% of kiwis have incomes higher than that. I’m now one of them. And do I work harder for this great increase in reward? Well, I have a chair, I have a computer, there’s coffee, and air conditioning, I don’t have the risk of contracting asbestosis, damaging my back, or finding my job has simply disappeared, and I get to sit in meetings for hours just letting the conversation wash over me like fresh air, remembering being hardly able to breath in that mask.

So, no, I don’t think this job is harder, and get I paid three times more. I suspect that for most of the people reading this, your working life is more akin to my nice well-paid office job, than that job sweating in a toxin-laden room. It’s very easy in our lives to forget how much better we have it than most.

Every morning, when I get up, I know that I am fortunate. I know that most kiwis have it tougher than I do, I know that my income is good, I know that I am not treated as a disposable automaton by my employer. So, no, I don’t begrudge a government that wants to take a small part of my income to help out those who, because of the nature of our economic system, have it tougher than me and help look after their families.

57 comments on “On the distribution of income”

  1. stevedore 1

    Ka pai. nice story. Those kind of stats put a lot of pressure on Thursday’s budget to be about something more than vote buying I reckon.

  2. Eight years of a Labour government and “See that line that says minimum wage? Nearly half of kiwis earn less than that.”. That tends to indicate that income transfer is not working as it hasn’t improved overall productivity and therefore income.

    “I get to sit in meetings for hours just letting the conversation wash over me like fresh air”, I would love to know which employer can afford to let you do this. The public service perhaps ?

  3. Dan 3

    I hear that brother. In the 90’s I worked for $8 and hour as a temp gutting fish on the nightshift, grinding lead paint off a brick wall, as a cleaner as a factory hand and moving furniture amongst a whole lot of other shitty jobs. Each time I didn’t know if I had a job the next day or not and each time I was surrounded by people in the same position. I was lucky I didn’t have a family to feed. Others were not. Let me tell you, when you get a whole lot of people who are working their rings out only to fall further and further into poverty and who don’t know where their next paycheck coming from it’s not pretty.

    In one factory I worked in every single worker was a temp. If anyone spoke up about the shit conditions (exposed scorchingly hot surfaces, dangerous chemicals, etc) they were told not to come back. Unemployment was huge and benefits were so low you would virtually work for food. On that particular job workers would regularly end up beating the shit out of each other over trivial things. It was like being in a room with fifty beaten dogs for 12 hours a day. I came off that job with burns all the way up one arm from one of the kilns and a lucky escape from an assault charge. One of my coworkers killed himself.

    Now I’m in the top tax-bracket. I’m no more qualified than I was then – the job market and our society is just that much better. I do not begrudge one cent of the tax I pay.

  4. Cheers, Dan and stevedore.

    Easy to see the fella that’s always had it sweet eh? So shocked that half of people are on $27K and less, and blames Labour, the Government that’s done more for wages than any government in 30 years.

    I tell you what Byran, my workmates didn’t blame Labour, they blamed the cheap-arse bosses, they knew it was thanks to Labour their wages had gone up at all.

    .. I had a few paragraphs for this kind of silly bugger who doesn’t get it but the post was already so long, so here they are now:

    “People are often surprised when they see what the distribution of income actually looks like. Those commentators who have been talking of the middle-class earning the range of $60,000 might be especially interested to see that the real middle class (usually defined as having an income within 30-40% either side of the median) earns between $27,000 and $53,000.

    These are people who have benefited from minimum wage rises, a full-employment policy, Working for Families, and a host of other initiatives. Incomes are up 15% above inflaiton in just eight years under Laobur, that’s after they stagnated and fell for most people in the 1990s. It is shocking for many to realise how low most people’s incomes are (bearing in mind these figures include retirees, beneficiaries, part timers, and those not in the workforce), but is more shocking how low they were before we had a government that worked for them.”

  5. Me 5

    Although to be fair, that original graph is distorted by the 439,683 recipients of NZ super in the 10-20,000 column

    If you are making a point about wages and employment(your post is entitled workers rights), would it not be best to use a table from the census that only includes those in full or part time work, (it is table 12 in the income quickstats publication)

  6. No, because I’m talking about the distribution of income across society, not just one section of it.

    If you only look at the 2.2 million people who are employed you forget the one million who aren’t. they don’t just disappear, they have to buy food, clothing, housing etc too, they have an income to live too… and it’s just as much a policy choice (even more so) what level of income those people have to live on – super levels directly affect nearly 500,000 people, working age benefits another 240,000.

    A change to the minimum wage affects 300,000, plus mayn more on near-minimum wages who get bumped up too.

    My personal story relates the fact that a great number of people on those low incomes are working, working damn hard.

    And look at the median employed income, it’s still $38K, not exactly the 50-70K that many seem to think is middle class now.

  7. erikter 7

    “..they knew it was thanks to Labour their wages had gone up at all.”

    Are you talking about the same people who are about to throw labour out of power? How inconsiderate and ungrateful!

    Advancement in wages have hardly kept up with consumer index price and cost of living. Taking into account the past years of economic bonanza (booming commodity prices, trade liberalisation, tariff reductions, etc.), you have to conclude that this Labour government has not delivered.

    [Man, so much wrong in so few words: Labour has more support than National among people on low incomes, read the Fairfax poll. People on low incomes have seen their incomes increase sharply under Labour thanks to the minimum wage, record low unemployment, Working for Families, and a greatly increased social wage (eg doctor visit subsidies, 20Free). Wages are up 15% above inflation on average. search wages in our archives. Start with this graph. SP]

  8. all_your_base 8

    erikter – I think you’d rightly conclude that they’ve delivered, but there’s still more to do. “About to throw…”? So you’re picking an election when?

  9. Wages have increased beyond inflation fool. In fact they’ve increased so much the National Party seems to think people need some of their work rights removed just to slow things down a bit. Check your facts before you make a comment muppet.

  10. mike 10

    “See that $60,000 bracket? Less than 14% of kiwis have incomes higher than that.”

    But Mickey C said only 5% of workers would ever be taxed in that bracket?

    Gee it sounds like you have a cushy number with the Union SP. I bet my employee’s paying $5 or $6 bucks a week to you are pleased.

    [no you’re wrong there son. Union officials work real hard and I’m not one of them.SP]

  11. Steve: you haven’t really answered either of my questions. Looking at the recent political polls your “ex-workmates” appear to be blaming Labour now 🙂

    I wonder also how your Labour friendly “ex-workmates” would feel if they knew how much faster incomes are rising in the unproductive public service than in the productive private sector: chart labour cost public sector premium

    [I take your use of ” ” to mean you’re implying I’m not telling the truth. Do it again and you won’t be welcome here, in any of your pseudonyms. And if you had looked at recent polls, or, gee, just actually knew anyone on a lower income, you would know they haven’t turned their backs on Labour. SP]

    [lprent: how about learning to link properly – fixed the link so it doesn’t spread all over the screen]

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    “…only 5% of workers would ever be taxed in that bracket?”

    Cite? I only ask ’cause it sounds like a lie.

    The way I remember it he was saying that the top rate would only effect the top 5 percent when passed.

    We’ve never had inflation adjustments to the brackets, IIRC, so while it is an interesting and legitimate point, the idea that it is a uniquely cullenesque failing is dishonest.

  13. r0b 13

    I’m glad you got a mask Steve. I didn’t when my crew spent a day clearing sacks of white asbestos out of an old building scheduled for demolition. The health risks of asbestos were well known, but the foreman just told us to shut up and get on with it. Disposable workers. I’m still angry about it.

  14. jbc 14

    If you only look at the 2.2 million people who are employed you forget the one million who aren’t. they don’t just disappear, they have to buy food, clothing, housing etc too, they have an income to live too

    Then you also include people like me when I was a student in a flatting situation. I had several part time and holiday jobs; some of them quite crappy (spraying gorse comes to mind, although it paid better than the bar jobs). I also had a job that left me with a cough that lingered for years.
    I certainly wasn’t wealthy – but I feel I had more freedom than, say, a family of 5 with a single $60k earner and a mortgage… I was probably happier and under less financial stress than them.

    Knowing that many different types of earners are bundled into the graph above reduces its impact I think. Perhaps household income would be a better choice?

  15. Hey Bryan – I like having a functioning public sector, more police and more nurses. Why don’t you just fu*k off to Somalia if you want small government? I’ll happily put the hat around for your one-way ticket.

    [now, now, let’s be civil. Bryan might think that doctors and police and roading engineers are ‘unproductive’ but that’s not a reason to play the fool too. SP]

  16. Steve: I wasn’t implying you were lying & I have done my share of poorly paid, menial jobs including packing caustic soda & pool chlorine for $8.00/hr.

    I don’t think that “doctors and police and roading engineers are ‘unproductive’ “, I do think that a lot of the 43,000 employed to generate red tape and write reports and attend meetings in the core public service would be doing this country a favor if they joined the migration flood to Australia.

    migration surge to australia accelerates

    [lprent: and again. It isn’t hard to put in a correct anchor, damnit]

  17. Linkwhore.

    [lprent: you’re more boorish than usual today. If fact you’re getting quite tiresome – personal problems?]

    [lprent: ok – i apologize after fixing some long links. Those things look as messy as hell in firefox]

  18. randal 18

    hooton wont get a bonus for not engineering a snap election before the due date…he keeps saying if JOhn Keys were in now…what does he mean by that?

  19. Phil 19

    ” Start with this graph. SP”

    Is that the one where you cocked up the Maths?

    Yeah, I think it is…

    [Tane: The figures in that graph originated from Treasury and have not been refuted. I’m happy to provide you with data as I did for David Farrar.]

  20. When you talk about the public sector you are mostly talking about doctors and teachers and police. There are 250,000+ employees in the public sector. Only 36,000 of them are in the core public sector (which includes Courts, prison guards, customs officials, social workers etc) and, yes, people whose job it is to develop policy and legislation. Because policy and legislation don’t magically happen but we do need them, we need to work out how best to allocate our limited public revenues for the public good, we need to update and revise our laws as the world changes.

    Come join the real world and stop making silly claims like the public service doesn’t do anything.

    (and the migration figures are perfectly consistent with the more cycle – numbers, and especially numbers per capita have been higher at the other two peaks in the cycle over the last 20 years)

  21. erikter 21

    The $11,000 difference between median income and median employed income is an indictment of the social welfare policies pushed for both Labour and National governments.

    Besides the people in real need, the elderly and the disabled, New Zealand has too many bludgers living off the back of the productive sector of the population.

    Reform the welfare system and you see the overall income numbers going up. There is a price to pay though. No pain, no gain.

    Which one of the main political parties will have the guts to do it? None.

  22. Robinsod: Thanks for that suggestion, “Linkwhore” is a great pseudonym, I think I’ll get it put on a T-shirt though I prefer to comment under my real name:-)

    [lprent: I wouldn’t mind if you knew how to put them in correctly. All you have to do is this:-

    <a href=’http://my-bloody-long-link’>The text I want to display</a>

    It isn’t hard]

  23. infused 23

    Low income earners love Labour because they keep dishing out freebies. That’s all there is to it.

  24. living off the back of the productive sector of the population.

    I have a friend who does marketing for British American Tobacco. He’s top tax bracket and his job is to find ways around the legislation and continue to sell death. I have another friend who is staying at home to raise two beautiful clever kids who will one day contribute to society and gets working for families and another friend who works for DIA monitoring internet crime.

    I get the feeling (and correct me if I’m wrong) you would say my first friend is productive and my others are not. Really makes me wonder what kind of a world you want to see.

  25. Draco TB 25

    I do think that a lot of the 43,000 employed to generate red tape and write reports and attend meetings in the core public service

    Those people are essential to the running of the country. If you got rid of them less of the work thats needed to run the country would get done and our country would fall even further behind in the OECD rankings.

    Oh, wait, isn’t that what National’s promising?

  26. infused 26

    In my opinion, if you chose to have kids, that’s your problem. Don’t buy a house if you can’t afford to service it.

  27. But what if you want to sell them for food?

  28. Phil 28

    [Tane: The figures in that graph originated from Treasury and have not been refuted. I’m happy to provide you with data as I did for David Farrar.]

    That would be great if you could – better yet would be a link to the page you got them from
    =)

    Thanks

    [Tane: I received them through the CTU, who were provided them by Mallard’s office along with a bunch of journalists. I’ll email you the data at the email address you’ve supplied.]

  29. infused 29

    Eat them instead 🙂 Tastes like chicken… or so I hear…

  30. DracoTB: “Those people are essential to the running of the country.” Yes but are they really?

    The number of core public servants has increased by 16,000 since 2000 Bloody Long Link One and over the same period productivity growth has declined from 2% to 0% Bloody Long Link Two and tax burden has increased by 20 days Bloody Long Link Three . These core public service employees have been busily generating more compliance costs for those of us in the “real world”.

    [lprent: better. I even finally wrote the section just for you. How to link. I really have to finish the code for the WYSIWG comment editor & intergrate it with the rest of the site]

  31. Phil 31

    There’s a glut on the market after the ‘quake and typhoon.

    For that asset you’d be better to ‘accumulate/hold’ rather than ‘sell’ right now.

  32. ropata 32

    I wonder if Labour Party policies endorsing gambling and prostitution are helping the poorer sections of society? Or are they just broadening the tax base?

  33. erikter 33

    Robinsond, if your friend wants to raise a family and decides to stay home for that purpose that is HIS problem, not mine.

    Do you expect society as a whole to have to pay for individuals’ decisions such this, regardless of the good intentions behind them?

    Why should childless couples or other citizens paying taxes have to prop your friend up with money for his WFF?

    It’s very easy to “sacrifice” yourself, as your friend is doing, knowing then Nanny State is behind you. Efficient is not.

  34. Joker 34

    [Tane: I won’t tolerate veiled threats against the livelihoods of posters. There will not be another warning.]

  35. bill brown 35

    “Why should childless couples or other citizens paying taxes have to prop your friend up with money for his WFF?”

    Because those non-childless couples children – the nation’s future – will be supporting the childless couples in their old age.

    What goes around comes around.

  36. Joker 36

    Apologies Tane

    It was never intended as a threat just a rye observation.

  37. Tane 37

    Fair enough then – I read it as a veiled threat but I’ll take your word for it.

    Steve has taken a very big personal risk by outing himself considering some of the threats we have received from the Kiwiblog Right, so you’ll understand why I have a very low tolerance on this issue.

  38. higherstandard 38

    Tane

    I hope by Kiwiblog right you don’t mean David Farrar I don’t think he’s particularly dangerous or likely to engage in fisticuffs.

    In joker’s defence I read his comment as a joke and not threatening at all

  39. r0b 39

    a rye observation

    Can I get fries with that?

    Sorry – I don’t usually do picky spelling (wry), but that one was cute.

  40. Tane 40

    HS, no, not Farrar. The Kiwiblog Right refers to the culture in the comments section, and in particular some of the more rabid commenters.

  41. higherstandard 41

    Fair enough thought that’s what you meant – although David and SP doing fight for life would be funny as a fit

  42. Joker 42

    r0b

    Sorry about the spelling.

    I Haven’t had a chance to have lunch yet which can get your brain into a bit of a pickle (do you see what I did there)

  43. jbc 43

    Lots of banter, but nobody has a particularly convincing argument why the graph above is not deliberately misleading.

    Steve has tried to answer:

    If you only look at the 2.2 million people who are employed you forget the one million who aren?t. they don?t just disappear, they have to buy food, clothing, housing etc too, they have an income to live too

    I once worked after school in the local fish and chip joint. That would have put me on your graph. However at the time I did not have to buy food, clothing, housing etc.

    Many of those that aren’t employed are dependent on others that are. You’ve rolled in together kids with paper runs or mowing jobs, retirees, students, part-time mums and dads, etc. Then you have left the only suggestion being that all low income earners have crummy dangerous jobs.

    That’s misleading at best.

    [it’s not misleading because it’s about the incomes of all New Zealanders. Incidentally, your Fish n Chip job would put you on this graph and the one that you want that only counts employed people. SP]

  44. Draco TB 44

    16,000 since 2000 Bloody Long Link One and over the same period productivity growth has declined from 2% to 0%

    You will find the same type of administrative positions in large corporations and they do the same things. Write reports, make rules, add red tape that annoys the hell out of those people who actually have to implement it. Do you think these corporations would be paying out large sums to people if they didn’t think it necessary?

    ha, the productivity chart shows a percentage change from year to year. It doesn’t show that productivity has decreased to zero. It shows that there was no change (0%) in the last period, an increase in the period before etc. It also shows that productivity increases over the long term is stable and hovers around 0% change. Exactly what you would expect.

    PS. Do you think you could link the actual data that the blogger used?

  45. jbc 45

    it’s not misleading because it’s about the incomes of all New Zealanders. Incidentally, your Fish n Chip job would put you on this graph and the one that you want that only counts employed people

    If that’s the case then why not use the graph that shows employed people? The post is in the “worker’s rights” category and is framed with examples of terrible employment cases. All of the workers cases mentioned here would be on the employed graph.

    Why, at a time when unemployment is historically low, would you include non-workers on a graph about wages?

    Is this about workers (eg the cases you use to illustrate your point), or about the rate of national super and the DPB?

    I’m all for intelligent argument, but the dots don’t join up between your graph and initial post.

  46. alex 46

    jbc good point.

    It would seem all 15+ year olds are on that graph.

    Someone working part-time is obviously not going to make full-time annual wage.

    ‘Nearly half of kiwis earn less than minimum wage’ to me this comment does not really explain much. Is this a bad thing, a good thing, on par with other countries?

    If this includes part time workers, 15 year olds doing paper runs, unemployed, whatever… I don’t find the graph useful… or am i missing something?

  47. r0b 47

    a bit of a pickle (do you see what I did there)

    tee hee!

  48. jbc 48

    alex, finally some intelligent life!

    You make a good point too. I can’t see what benefit there is comparing the after-school income of my 15 year old self, with my income now as a full-time professional with nearly 20 years of experience.

    At 15 I probably thought 5 dollars an hour for slicing potatoes was pretty good. They gave me some free 20c pieces for the games machines! And I didn’t have a mortgage or any dependents either.

    captcha: “Prentice rescued”.

  49. just looking at incomes of employed people would ignore the fact that there are people without jobs who want to work and their incomes are lower because they can’t find work. It would also ignore the income levels of the nearly three quarters of a million people who get super, DPB, sickness, invalids, or unemployment (those benefits in order of number of popel who get them).

    It’s not such a big deal when you’re looking at one snapshot in time and a very low unemployment period when benefit levels are stable but we’ve done a whole bunch of graphs on incomes and we always use medians and all incomes because otherwise you miss out major effects like changes in employment levels and benefit levels and how those impact on real people.

    You can slice and dice the figures anyway to make them look how you want – like when Farrar tried to pretend incomes went up faster under National but looking solely at the average ordinary time full-time wage – that’s why it’s best to stick with the full picture when the question at hand is ‘what is the distribution of income among kiwis?’

    we don’t have an infinite number of catagories (we do of tags) so I chose the catagory most aligned with the topic.

  50. jbc. Comments like yours make me despair. 300,000 people earn on or about the minimum wage and many of them do have dependents to look after.

    I tried to give you a look into what life is like for the bulk of the population who have incomes around that level and all you can do is talk about when you were a kid peeling potatoes.

    Try to imagine, working for minimum wage in a soulless job for a greedy boss who regards you as disposable. Imagine trying to get by and raise your kids on $25,000 a year. And then, imagine that just 8 years ago, under National you were getting just $14,500 a year, and you know that if they come into power again, there will be no more pay-rises for you, even as inflation eats away at what you do get.

    I wonder if you can.

  51. jbc 51

    You can slice and dice the figures anyway to make them look how you want – like when Farrar tried to pretend incomes went up faster under National but looking solely at the average ordinary time full-time wage – that’s why it’s best to stick with the full picture when the question at hand is ‘what is the distribution of income among kiwis?’

    Well I’m sorry but I think that the figures presented don’t really tell much of a story. There are too many factors included for a savvy person to be able to distill anything useful. Also, if you lump in all the different types of individual income then you can not really talk about supporting dependents – as they might be in the graph too. That’s where household income would be applicable.

    I understand your dilemma of trying to show a broad picture without using too many (complicated) facts and figures – but this could have been done better.

    Incidentally, since you mentioned the numbers came from Treasury I looked over there for the numbers. Didn’t find (no worry), but what I did notice was this:

    Average family gross income: ($)
    – couple with children 92,882

    Wow! If that’s true then it is bloody fantastic. I guess WFF has boosted that number.

  52. alex 52

    Steve,

    “I tried to give you a look into what life is like for the bulk of the population who have incomes around that level and all you can do is talk about when you were a kid peeling potatoes. ”

    “tried” being the operative word, I now see where you’re coming from but this was not obvious from the original post or the graph used to back it up.

    Your lumping everything into one graph, it really makes the graph meaningless.

    “See that line that says minimum wage? Nearly half of kiwis earn less than that.” … again is this bad? is this good? is this on par with other countries? This statement it not useful if you lump everyone on a graph.

    If a solo mum with 3 kids is earning less than minimum wage then that’s bad.

    If a stay-at-home-mum who is supported by her husband earning $150k is earning less than minimum wage, big deal.

    I’m not disagreeing with the spirit of your post, just the graph that doesn’t follow.

  53. jbc 53

    I tried to give you a look into what life is like for the bulk of the population who have incomes around that level and all you can do is talk about when you were a kid peeling potatoes.

    I mean no disrespect to those on low incomes with families, however if you wanted to show the picture of family despair then more carefully chosen facts might do a better job. Quite obviously family incomes are significantly higher than individual incomes.

    I don’t need a lecture on poverty though. I know exactly what it is.

  54. burt 54

    Steve

    Interesting graph, it shows very clearly just how powerful a zero rated tax threshold of circa $20K would be in delivering more money to the pockets of the most needy.

    I think I can see why Dr. Cullen isn’t a fan of a zero rated threshold, that being that if he isn’t taxing low earners he’s not able to play fairy god mother with their own money to buy their support.

    Imagine what a different debate this would be if all tax payers (not just targeted groups which were shown by internal polling to be non Labour voters) below the “minimum wage” threshold were not paying tax so that it could be redistributed to people earning more than them.

  55. burt 55

    Steve

    When I first started working I was earning $109/week and the dole at that time was $90/week. For my extra $19/week I had to pay $9/week on public transport, $1.50 on compulsory union fees and I had to have a completely different wardrobe than if I had been on the dole. If you were thinking I wouldn’t have a lot remaining to save for house then you would be correct.

    At that time people were saying that welfare compared to trainee/apprentice incomes was too high, and/or wages were too low, and that such comfortable welfare provided little incentive to work.

    Would you get out of bed at 6:00am catch a train, a bus and work 8 hours then catch a bus and a train 5 days a week for such a slim margin over the dole while incurring additional costs to do so?

    So how much has really changed? Here on this blog you bang on about the need to lift wages, as I did then and as I do now. It was a Labour govt then, it’s a Labour govt now and still nothing changes.

    Vote for a change, stop being suckered by this “we look after the workers” bullshit from Labour, the Labour pollies look after themselves and the workers get shafted – welcome to Labour govt.

    Why don’t you, Tane and a few other anon bloggers here at the Standard start a new workers party, I’d vote for it if it puts it’s own beliefs into it’s policies and stopped being apologists for a bunch of self serving poll driven redistribution junkies.

  56. expat 56

    Whatever Steve, we’ve all done shit jobs while at university. More fool you for taking on an asbestos job.

    I’ve paid my own way, paid my own student loan back, paid my share of tax – what do I get out of Labour? Fuck all mate, a shit health sytem, no investment in infrastructure for a decade until it starts to fall down, schools being closed, train system being fuckedup, and now a bunch of freakin right on academic socialists telling me I should be thankful for getting screwed.

    I don’t know where you live matey but 60k in Auckland with a mortgage and kids is minimum wage.

    Think about the guys you were labouring with who had to support a family – they dont know that x% wage increas was actually 2/5ths of fuck all real increase given the cost of housing and basic living under labour.

  57. Seano 57

    “So, no, I don’t begrudge a government that wants to take a small part of my income to help out those who, because of the nature of our economic system, have it tougher than me and help look after their families.”

    I disagree on the fact that 39% of my income is “a small part”. I have no children, private health insurance, few if any claims on the State. My direct taxes equate to at least two people on the minimum annual income. How much more do you want? Why is it my problem that people on low incomes feel they have a right to children and a house? I don’t even have a house.

    How if I leave the country? Will that make you feel better?

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  • Foreign Minister announces two diplomatic appointments
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced two diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India and Consul-General to Hong Kong. “As New Zealand recovers from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever. That is ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Recover and rebuild
    We started the week by announcing free apprenticeships to support Kiwis into work and to help get New Zealand moving again - and we ended the week by extending the wage subsidy to 40,000 more businesses, helping to protect businesses and workers alike.  ...
    1 day ago
  • How Budget 2020 is backing businesses
    We’re confident in the ability of Kiwi businesses to succeed in the face of COVID-19, and our Government is committed to doing our bit to enable that success. Kiwi businesses have always been innovative and resilient, and the COVID-19 pandemic has proven this yet again. Many businesses are finding new, creative ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand First confirms its first tranche of candidates
    New Zealand First is pleased to release the names of its first tranche of candidates for the 2020 election. The includes all sitting New Zealand First Members of Parliament except Clayton Mitchell MP who earlier today announced he will not be seeking re-election. In alphabetical order they are: MP ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell not seeking re-election
    Clayton Mitchell MP, New Zealand First List MP based in Tauranga New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell has decided not to seek re-election in this year’s General Election.  “After serious consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to pursue other passions in my life and spend a lot ...
    1 day ago
  • Five new Lockheed Martin Super Hercules aircraft to replace ageing fleet
    Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced that new Lockheed Martin Super Hercules aircraft would replace the outdated and costly 1960s Hercules fleet. The $1.521b project will include a flight simulator for staff training and other supporting infrastructure. "This fleet will ensure the Defence Force can continue to support New Zealand's ...
    1 day ago
  • Greens urge police to rule out armed police patrols following George Floyd’s death
    The Green Party is urging the New Zealand Police to rule out the use of Armed Response Teams, following their recent trial in communities around Aotearoa. ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ First fought for changes to “poorly-targeted” rent dispute policy
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has described Labour's original COVID-19 commercial rent dispute proposal as "poorly targeted". Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced a temporary law change to force commercial landlords and renters to consider COVID-19 in disputes over rent issues, almost two months after the Government first floated the idea.  But ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand First ensures commercial rent dispute clause fairly applied
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First acknowledges that some small businesses have been struggling to meet fixed costs due to the loss of revenue by COVID-19. We also know some businesses are at greater risk of insolvency when they cannot come to a reasonable ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand First disappointed that Section 70 spouses won’t get relief
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First is disappointed that the removal of the spousal deductions has had to be delayed by the Ministry fo Social Development, due to COVID19 workload pressures. “New Zealand First has always stood for fairness when it comes to superannuation ...
    4 days ago
  • Winston Peters receives petition demanding more protection for nurses
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First On the steps of Parliament today the Leader of New Zealand First, Rt Hon Winston Peters received a petition from registered nurse Anna Maria Coervers, requesting an amendment to the Protection for First Responders Bill which will ensure the legislation also include registered ...
    4 days ago
  • Week That Was: Getting our economy moving
    It's been a busy seven days as we start to rebuild New Zealand together. From delivering extra support for small businesses, to investing in our artists and arts organisations, to cutting red tape on home DIY projects, we're rolling out our plan to get the economy and New Zealand moving ...
    4 days ago
  • Winston Peters: If protests condoned ‘why are we not at level 1?’
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says alert level 2 restrictions have to be discussed during today's Cabinet meeting. Thousands gathered across the country, including at Parliament, yesterday for Black Lives Matter marches where social distancing and mass gathering rules were flouted. Mr Peters said the breaching of Alert Level 2 rules at ...
    5 days ago
  • Northland rail work to help create regional jobs
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of State Owned Enterprises KiwiRail’s Northland rail upgrade steps up another gear today and will help Northland recover from the impacts of COVID-19, State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters says. The Government is investing $204.5 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to ...
    5 days ago
  • Green Party statement on the death of George Floyd
    “Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson. ...
    5 days ago
  • Lake Brunner’s Mount Te Kinga to go Predator Free
    Fletcher Tabuteau, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Hon Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation The West Coast forests of Mount Te Kinga at Kotuku Whakaoho/Lake Brunner are the latest predator free project to receive Government funding, announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party welcomes crucial financial support for creatives
    The Green Party says new government support for creatives and artists is a vital lifeline for a sector struggling to survive the COVID crisis. ...
    1 week ago
  • Strongest ever water reforms mean swimmable rivers within a generation
    The Green Party says major freshwater reforms announced today provide the strongest ever protections of our waterways, to help ensure the next generation can swim in the rivers of Aotearoa. ...
    1 week ago
  • Greens work to secure inquiry into Wild West student accommodation sector
    The Green Party has begun the process for a Select Committee inquiry into student accommodation, which has been exposed during COVID-19 as an under-regulated sector that straddles students with unfair debt. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand joins global search for COVID-19 vaccine
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Five things to know
    Budget 2020 is about rebuilding together, supporting jobs, getting business moving and the books back into the black. It’s an integral part of our COVID-19 economic response, and our plan to grow our economy and get New Zealand moving again. Here’s a quick look at the five top things you ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party unveils its candidate list for the 2020 election
    The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition Government approves essential upgrades on Ōhakea Air Base
    The Coalition Government has approved $206 million in essential upgrades at Ōhakea Air Base.  Defence Minister Ron Mark said the money would be spent on improving old infrastructure. He said safety issues would be addressed, as well as upgrades to taxiways, accommodation and fresh, storm and waste water systems. "This ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Attributable to the Rt Hon Winston Peters
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First “I am not persisting with this case just for myself, but for all people who have had their privacy breached. Privacy of information is a cornerstone of our country’s democracy. Without it our society truly faces a bleak future. We now ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
    Hon Tracey Martin, Minister for Children A major increase in funding and availability of support will improve the incomes and reduce the pressure on 14,000 caregivers looking after more than 22,000 children. Children’s Minister Tracey Martin says that caregivers – all those looking after someone else’s children both in and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones moves to protect sawmills
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones has introduced a Bill to Parliament that he says will "force more transparency, integrity and respect" for the domestic wood-processing sector through the registration of log traders and practice standards. The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill had its first reading in ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Great Walks bookings open next week
    This summer presents a great opportunity for New Zealanders to get out into nature with bookings on Great Walks for 2020/21 set to open next week, says Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.  Bookings for the Great Walks will open between 9 and 11 June, excluding Milford and Routeburn tracks which ...
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    18 hours ago
  • Ministerial Diary April 2020
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    1 day ago
  • Govt extends support schemes for businesses
    Extra 40,000 businesses to be eligible for wage subsidy extension Small business cashflow support application period extended The Government is today announcing further support for businesses that continue to be affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, as the broader economy becomes one of the most open in the world following ...
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    1 day ago
  • Five new Super Hercules to join Air Force fleet
    The Coalition Government has confirmed five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft will be purchased to replace the existing fleet, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today.  “Last year, Cabinet selected these aircraft as the preferred option to replace the current Hercules fleet. Procurement of the Super Hercules has been ...
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    1 day ago
  • New public housing sets standard for future
    New public housing that will save tenants money in energy bills, and provide warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes, is setting the standard for the Government’s future public housing programme, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. Dr Woods opened the new Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities complex, which has a ...
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    2 days ago
  • Wairarapa Moana seeks international recognition as vital wetland
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage is celebrating World Environment Day with an announcement of a major step towards Wairarapa Moana being recognised as an internationally significant wetland. “Wairarapa Moana is an ecosystem of 10,000 hectares of wetland and open water that provides a home for indigenous fish, birds and ...
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    2 days ago
  • First Police wing to complete training post lockdown
    A new-look Police graduation ceremony to take account of COVID19 health rules has marked the completion of training for 57 new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash attended this afternoon's ceremony, where officers of Recruit Wing 337 were formally sworn in at the Royal New Zealand Police College without the normal support of ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government makes further inroads on predatory lenders
    Mobile traders and truck shops must adhere to responsible lending requirements Interest rate cap on high-cost loans Lenders prohibited from offering further credit to an applicant who has taken two high-cost loans in the past 90 days The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Kris Faafoi, has signalled an end ...
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    2 days ago
  • New survey shows wage subsidy a “lifeline” for businesses, saved jobs
    94% of firms say wage subsidy had positive impact on cashflow 62% of firms say support helped to manage non-wage costs like rent A survey of business that have received the Government’s wage subsidy show it has played a significant role in saving jobs, and freed up cash flow to ...
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    2 days ago
  • Tax changes support economic recovery
    New legislation introduced to Parliament today will support growth and assist businesses on the road to economic recovery, said Revenue Minister Stuart Nash. “The Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020-21, Feasibility Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Bill proposes that businesses can get tax deductions for ‘feasibility expenditure’ on new investments,” said Mr ...
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    2 days ago
  • $4.6 million financial relief for professional sports
    Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has welcomed the first release of funds from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced as part of Budget 2020. Sport NZ has announced that $4.6 million in funding will go to the Wellington Phoenix, NZ Warriors, Super Rugby teams and the ANZ Premiership ...
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    3 days ago
  • Critical support for strategic tourism assets
    An iconic New Zealand tourism attraction and the country’s 31 Regional Tourism Organisations are the first recipients of support from the $400 million Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, to help position the sector for recovery from COVID-19, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. The plan includes a Strategic Tourism Assets Protection ...
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    3 days ago
  • Supporting Kiwi businesses to resolve commercial rent disputes
    The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. A temporary amendment to the Property Law Act will insert a clause in commercial leases requiring a fair ...
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    3 days ago
  • Prompt payments to SMEs even more urgent
    The Minister for Small Business says new data from Xero highlights the urgency of prompt payment practices to small and medium enterprises as we move into economic recovery. Last month Government ministers wrote to significant private enterprises and the banking industry to request they join efforts by government agencies to ...
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    3 days ago
  • Free period products in schools to combat poverty
    Young people in Waikato will be the first to have free access to period products in schools in another step to support children and young people in poverty,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.  During term 3, the Ministry of Education will begin providing free period products to schools following the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Response to charges in New Plymouth
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash has issued the following statement in response to charges filed against three Police officers this morning in the New Plymouth District Court. “Any incident involving a loss of life in Police custody is taken very seriously. The charges today reflect the gravity of the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt boosts innovation, R&D for economic rebuild
    $196 million for Crown Research Institutes $150 million for R&D loan scheme $33 million for Māori research and development opportunities $12 million for the Nationally Significant Collections and Databases $10 million to help maintain in-house capability at Callaghan Innovation New Zealand’s entrepreneurs, innovators and crown researchers will benefit from a ...
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    3 days ago
  • Temporary changes to NCEA and University Entrance this year
    Further temporary changes to NCEA and University Entrance (UE) will support senior secondary school students whose teaching and learning have been disrupted by COVID-19. “The wellbeing of students and teachers is a priority. As we are all aware, COVID-19 has created massive disruption to the school system, and the Government ...
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    4 days ago
  • Extended terms for the directors of the Racing Industry Transition Agency
    Minister for Racing Winston Peters today announced that the terms for the directors of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) have been extended to 30 June 2021. Due to the COVID-19 crisis the transition period has been extended to ensure that the Racing Industry Bill can complete its progress through ...
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    4 days ago
  • Healthy Homes Standards statement of compliance deadline extended
    The deadline for landlords to include detailed information in their tenancy agreements about how their property meets the Healthy Homes Standards, so tenants can see the home they are renting is compliant, has been extended from 1 July 2020 to 1 December 2020.  The Healthy Homes Standards became law on 1 July 2019. The Standards are ...
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    4 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission board appointments announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little today announced details of further appointments to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. “I am pleased to announce Paula Rose QSO OStJ as Deputy Chief Commissioner for a term of five years commencing on 15 June 2020,” said Andrew Little. “I am also pleased to announce the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Release of initial list of supported training to aid COVID-19 recovery
    The Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) will pay costs of learners of all ages to undertake vocational education and training The fund will target support for areas of study and training that will give learners better employment prospects as New Zealand recovers from COVID-19 Apprentices working in all industries ...
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    4 days ago
  • Emission trading reforms another step to meeting climate targets
    The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will finally start to cut New Zealand’s greenhouse gas pollution as it was originally intended to, because of changes announced today by the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw. The changes include a limit on the total emissions allowed within the ETS, rules to ensure ...
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    5 days ago
  • Queen’s Birthday Honours highlights Pacific leadership capability in Aotearoa
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List provides an abundance of examples that Pacific people’s leadership capability is unquestionable in Aotearoa. “The work and the individuals we acknowledge this year highlights the kind of visionary examples and dedicated community leadership that we need ...
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    5 days ago
  • Govt backing horticulture to succeed
    The Government is backing a new $27 million project aimed at boosting sustainable horticulture production and New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our economy. During and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Applications open for forestry scholarships
    Applications have opened for 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships, which will support more Māori and women to pursue careers in forestry science, says Forestry Minister Shane Jones. “I’m delighted Te Uru Rākau is offering Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships for the third year running. These ...
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    6 days ago
  • Excellent service to nature recognised
    The Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List once again highlights the dedication by many to looking after our native plants and wildlife, including incredible work to restore the populations of critically endangered birds says Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. Anne Richardson of Hororata has been made an Officer of the New ...
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    6 days ago
  • Wetlands and waterways gain from 1BT funding
    The Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones have announced. New, more flexible funding criteria for applications will help up to 10 catchment groups plant ...
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    7 days ago
  • New fund for women now open
    Organisations that support women are invited to apply to a new $1,000,000 fund as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response. “We know women, and organisations that support women, have been affected by COVID-19. This new money will ensure funding for groups that support women and women’s rights,” said Minister for ...
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    7 days ago
  • Govt supports King Country farmers to lift freshwater quality
    Healthier waterways are front and centre in a new project involving more than 300 King Country sheep, beef and dairy farmers. The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “Yesterday ...
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    1 week ago
  • Libraries to help with jobs and community recovery
    A major funding package for libraries will allow them to play a far greater role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19. “Budget 2020 contains over $60 million of funding to protect library services and to protect jobs,” says Internal Affairs ...
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    1 week ago
  • Support for arts and music sector recovery
    A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package in a crucial economic boost to support the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Legislative changes to support the wellbeing of veterans and their families
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has welcomed the First Reading of a Bill that will make legislative changes to further improve the veterans’ support system.  The Veterans’ Support Amendment Bill No 2, which will amend the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, passed First Reading today. The bill addresses a number of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Christ Church Cathedral – Order in Council
    Views sought on Order in Council to help fast track the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Hon Poto Williams, will be seeking public written comment, following Cabinet approving the drafting of an Order in Council aimed at fast-tracking the reinstatement of the ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealanders’ human rights better protected in new Bill
    The law setting out New Zealanders’ basic civil and human rights is today one step towards being strengthened following the first reading of a Bill that requires Parliament to take action if a court says a statute undermines those rights. At present, a senior court can issue a ‘declaration of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Deep concern at Hong Kong national security legislation
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong. “New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government invests in New Zealand’s cultural recovery
    Thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern announced today. “The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda ...
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    1 week ago
  • Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
    Key New Zealand assets will be better protected from being sold to overseas owners in a way contrary to the national interest, with the passage of the Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Bill. The Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament today, also cuts unnecessary red tape to help attract ...
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    1 week ago
  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
    Setting higher health standards at swimming spots Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams Putting controls on higher-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feed lots Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health Ensuring ...
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    1 week ago
  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
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    1 week ago