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Open Mike 20/01/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 20th, 2017 - 100 comments
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100 comments on “Open Mike 20/01/2017”

  1. DH 1

    Some time back I gave a tip about the price National were selling off the state houses in Tauranga for. It wasn’t an opinion or gossip, it was stated in black and white in Housing NZs annual report which was released in November last year. I can’t have been the only person to have noticed it and yet I’ve heard nothing from the media or any politlcal party about it. What’s going on, do the opposition parties think it so trivial they won’t even make a noise over it?

    For those who don’t know. The 1140 Tauranga state houses being sold were independently valued at $364 million as of March 2016. Housing NZ (appear to have) been instructed by Treasury to write down the value of those houses in preparation for their sale. HNZ accordingly wrote off $224 million and earmarked the houses to be sold for around $137 million. That’s an average sale price of $120,000 in a market that today doesn’t have a single house for sale under $320,000.

    Since that revaluation the value of houses in Tauranga has gone up another 10-20% so it’s even worse than it looks. The actual sale price is still being kept under wraps but the HNZ report should have been enough to trigger strong protests.

    Now the issue here is not the sale of state assets, it is the gifting of state assets. Governments might claim a mandate to sell assets but none can claim a mandate to give them away to private interests like they’re doing with the Tauranga deal and plan to do with the sale of 2500 more state houses in ChCh

    I feel pretty aggrieved about the lack of action on this because I’m 100% convinced that the opposition could have halted this asset sale if they’d actively and strongly opposed the huge discounting. It’s no good complaining after the deal is done, National can’t back out of the contract when the ink is dry.

    So what can we expect from the opposition on this ongoing state house looting? Do they really care?

    • saveNZ 1.1

      +1 DH -The blame is 100% National, ACT, United Future and The Maori Party for being in coalition with each other and destroying our assets in particular State houses while selling them cheap to cronies.

      However I also agree that the opposition has been very weak on this. I hear more about Flags, insulation and property prices than actually real action on our assets being stollen from Kiwi’s AND the eviction of the most vulnerable due to this in a time where housing seems to be coming out of politicians mouths daily.

      This seems to be some sort of strategy to have so many disgusting issues going on from the Natz that the opposition gets stretched and weakened on their opposition and there are the trivial distractions like weddings and trite racism/sexism scenarios being played out for weeks on the MSM and non MSM sites….

      • saveNZ 1.1.1

        And the charities (who are already compromised by needing funding from the government) that got side tracked/tricked (who knows) into a ‘market driven’ approach to housing with the unitary plan and spent valuable air time on supporting that approach aka unitary plan, a market driven approach, than the State houses being sold and tenants being evicted right under their noses.

        That’s how the Natz are still in power, by burying the real issues and turning groups that should be fighting against them, to fight against themselves and against the voters or be championing Natz vision of solving housing issues in NZ.

      • DH 1.1.2

        I can’t even begin to speculate there, the relative silence is a mystery to me.

        There’s a decent post on TDB worth reading too;

        http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/12/30/tdb-exclusive-alan-johnson-the-horrific-truth-about-bill-englishs-state-housing-privatisation/

        Interestingly he mentions that private investors may be involved in the Tauranga deal which opens an even bigger can of worms if that’s true.

        • saveNZ 1.1.2.1

          I think it is part of a larger picture of what is going wrong with the opposition and their messaging…. surely it would be a win win scenario to champion NOT privatising government assets, while pointing out that National is destroying State housing for the vulnerable while Natz are pretending a housing crisis doesn’t exist or they have a market solution.

          Pretty easy message for the opposition, Don’t privatise our State Houses!!! I would say that at least 75% of Kiwis would support that.

          But as soon as they get into weakly supporting Natz unitary plan they probably start haemorrhaging support down to 30% who think that is the way to go…. somehow turning a golden opportunity to catch out the government and be popular with Kiwi voters….Somehow they miss it and then turn their housing attentions into a complicated web of supporting unproven market driven Natz speak with unitary plan scenarios…

          In addition unitary plan was a regional solution, again turning non Aucklanders off (as well as Aucklanders who did not agree with them). But selling State houses is happening all over NZ so it was always an issue that was important across NZ.

          Who advises Labour and Greens… they are not doing a good job….. or is it the politicians themselves getting distracted… who knows…

        • Tautoko Mangō Mata 1.1.2.2

          Let’s be fair about this.
          10:19 AM Wednesday Apr 27, 2016
          “Public meeting to address Tauranga’s housing crisis
          Four senior Labour MPs will be in Tauranga today to address the city’s housing crisis.
          Housing spokesman Phil Twyford, plus David Parker, Nanaia Mahuta and Rino Tirikatene are holding a public meeting at the Wesley Centre on 13th Ave at 11am.

          The MPs are keen for anyone with housing concerns in Tauranga to come along and talk about how they are affected and possible solution”
          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11628853

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11672275

          http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1608/S00227/state-house-sell-off-a-kick-in-the-guts.htm

          https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/state-houses-being-sold-below-valuation-%E2%80%94-twyford-ck-192951

          Bill puts ministers above law – Labour – FBC News
          preview-www.fbc.com.fj/world/30821/bill-puts-ministers-above-law—labour

          • DH 1.1.2.2.1

            None of those links are addressing the substance of my post Tautoko Mangō Mata, which is the massive discount on the price of the houses.

            The NBR article of August 2016 had this;

            “On Friday, it was announced that Accessible Properties — which outbid two other companies — would buy 1124 state houses in Tauranga. Neither Accessible Properties nor Housing NZ would put a dollar value on the deal.”

            Well in November 2016 Housing NZ did put a dollar value on the deal, which revealed a mammoth 62% discount, a “buy one house and we’ll give you two for free” deal, and I haven’t heard a peep out of anyone over it.

            • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2.2.1.1

              I’ve commented about Accessible Properties, Idea Services and IHC before.

              I’d strongly recommend interested folk to spend a few hours searching the MSM reports involving this organisation and it’s ”officers”. The Charities Commission is a good start. And the companies register. Because there’s no law that says you can’t be involved in “charitable” housing development AND do private property development too. Is there?

              And it seems that certain folk individuals are, kind of, above reproach…in fact get rewarded with plum positions even when they have already stuffed up.

              DH…you are on the money (pun intended) on this. The whole deal stinks link a dead possum in the sun.

              Disability Funding…there’s GOLD in them there ‘ills.

              • Craig H

                Private development is legal for charities as long as it contributes to the charitable purpose(s) e.g. as a form of fundraising.

                • Graeme

                  Not necessarily, and the entity has to be really careful how and where they do it.

                  The Queenstown Housing Trust fell foul of the Charities Act.

                  http://www.taxcounsel.co.nz/Resources/NZ+Tax+and+Trusts+Case+Notes/Case+Notes+2011/Community+Housing+Trust+Not+Charitable.html

                  • DH

                    That was darned hard to read Graeme, but I think I got the gist of it.

                    It’s hard to see what kind of public benefit Accessible Properties will actually be providing. The deal with social housing is they charge full market rents and the Government pays part of that rent, the amount determined by the needs of the tenant. I’d think it the Govt providing the public benefit there, not the landlord.

                    • Graeme

                      Sorry about that DH, but it’s the only thing I could find that actually explained why the Trust lost it’s charitable status, all the press reports just said the Charities Act needed amendment (which is probably right)

                      That judgement will be having a chilling effect on any entity wanting to get involved in social housing ownership and development in desirable and expensive areas. This may go some way to explaining the difference between the pre sale valuations, which may have been a crock of shit depending on the basis of the valuation, and the offers received.

                      The Queenstown Trust is a bit different with it’s shared ownership model, but there are very valid reasons for that in a Queenstown context. The objective was to provide security for the grantees so living in Queenstown would be sustainable and reduce our horrendous turnover of mid / lower level workers.

                      The objective definition of poverty and associated charitable requirements conflicts with the subjective nature of un-affordability and depravation. The way I see it, if an entity wants to do social housing in Tauranga, under a charitable status, the housing would have to be in in the cheapest possible place, say Kawarau

                    • DH

                      That has nothing to do with the pre-sale valuations or the sale price Graeme.

                      The sale price was all about the fact that no charity has the cash to buy the state houses. They have to borrow the money and the interest cost on 100% borrowed money is about 2.5x the nett yield from rents on a newly purchased investment property. To make it immediately financially viable the charity either needs cash reserves of its own or it needs a (roughly) 60% discount on the price.

                      The problem for National is that a 60% discount completely rebuts every possible argument advanced for selling the houses.

                    • DH

                      Here’s some numbers….

                      Housing NZ housing portfolio in 2015 market value $20,900 million.

                      Housing NZ rental income for 2015/2016 year $1,076 million. That’s a gross yield from rents of 5.15%

                      Expenses for Housing NZ were;

                      Repairs and maintenance $289 million
                      Rates on properties $115 million
                      Water rates $34 million
                      Personnel costs $94 million
                      Other expenses $113 million

                      Total expenses $645 million which leaves a nett rental income of $431 million, a rental yield of 2.06%. Housing NZ charges market rents and the social housing providers will also charge market rents and have similar expenses to Housing NZ.

                      Interest on a loan to buy the housing portfolio would be 5.5-6%, meaning the deal can’t fly unless the price is discounted by a good 60% OR the buyer has substantial cash reserves to tide them over until inflation-driven rent increases improves the cash flow. The would-be buyers don’t have any spare cash.

                  • Craig H

                    The issue there as I read it is that the Queenstown charity was selling the houses and the court was not convinced of that as a charitable purpose.

                    Investing in private development to raise cash for charitable purposes is a different proposition since the purpose is not the property development, it’s to raise money.

                    More generally, Social housing would fall under relief of poverty, which is one of the charitable purposes in the Statute of Elizabeth. Building houses to rent them very cheaply to the impoverished would count, for example.

          • saveNZ 1.1.2.2.2

            It might be more successful if Labour were to package up all the state houses being sold off as an issue they are fighting and publicise it on social media, MSM and non MSM media, rather than do it regionally…. better still work with the Greens and NZ First on it as a joint policy that you all agree on…

            Make it the first thing, crystal clear, and point of difference between Labour and National housing policy!

            • saveNZ 1.1.2.2.2.1

              Not only that they are selling them way under value, ripping off the tax payers as well as enriching cronies buying them up!

              Even the most ardent Natz supporter will be against corruption and poor management!

              Everyone else will be against the State house privatisation in the first place!

            • DH 1.1.2.2.2.2

              I dunno. They were fighting the good fight but until now they were a bit toothless, there really isn’t much the opposition can do to stop asset sales as such. But this isn’t about just asset sales, it’s about selling assets for only a small fraction of their worth and that does give the opposition some teeth.

              What people don’t seem to be grasping is that the Tauranga deal can’t proceed without the massive discount. It may not be possible to stop National selling assets but it should be possible to prevent them giving assets away for nothing. Stopping the discount should therefore logically stop the sale of the state houses. But now it may be too late because the deal has recently been signed and takes effect in April.

              • saveNZ

                I disagree, the opposition could stop asset sales by jointly opposing them and doing a big advertising campaign about what the Natz are up to. The Natz are very concerned with focus groups and the like and they are already close to the wind on the Sky City deal that 95% of people opposed.

                The opposition are not really banging home on the real issues that MOST members of the public are opposed to.

                If Labour, NZ First and Greens are really serious about working together to form a new government and get the Natz out, that is a way to prove they can work together on point issues such as saving state housing state assets, even if they don’t agree on other issues.

  2. Paul 2

    Much debate on the Daily Blog at the moment on the Mt Albert by election.
    Yet hardly any here.

    Are people on this site as concerned as Chris Trotter and Martin Bradbury about the potential for damage caused by the Mt Albert by election?
    Or do you agree with Keith Locke?
    Or do you have a different opinion?

    Martin Bradbury : How Jacinda Arden loses the Mt Albert by-election

    Chris Trotter : In To Win – Responding to Keith Locke’s Post on the Mt Albert By-Election.

    Keith Locke : Mt Albert by-election good opportunity for the Greens

    • Morrissey 2.1

      Sadly, Paul, the preoccupation of some on this site seems to be on recycling black propaganda against dissenters like Julian Assange.

      • Paul 2.1.1

        Our focus should be on changing the government in 2017 to a government that offers a real alternative to neo-liberalism.
        33 years since the Douglas coup d’etat .
        33 years since the working class in New Zealand were represented.
        Time for that to change.

    • Carolyn_nth 2.2

      Bradbury has been attacking the Greens for a year or so. Trotter often attacks Labour. They’ve been stirring up opposition re-the by-election.

      My impression here is that people are not so upset about the Greens standing along side Ardern.

      Myself, as I work for Auckland Council, there are policies about workers public endorsing a political party in elections. So I don’t say a lot about elections, especially with Auckland elections..

    • saveNZ 2.3

      I think Bradbury is right, the Greens should not be contesting the by Election. I was a bit on the fence at first, but if the big picture is to get votes in the General Election and present Labour and Greens as working together, then fighting it out in a by-election where anything other than a Labour victory would help National the most is another type of repeat of Te Tai Tokerau… a hollow victory.

      Natz are not smart people, but their advisors are….

    • Puckish Rogue 2.4

      “What happens if Bill English tells National Party voters that they could damage Labour’s election chances if Jacinda lost and they vote for Julie Anne Genter instead?”

      “What if he was more subtle and says, ‘National could work with the Greens, you should vote for Julie Anne Genter”.”

      This could be a highly amusing election, which candidate is going to court the National voters 🙂

      • Puckish Rogue 2.4.1

        Or is this a double-bluff by Bradbury to get the Greens an electorate seat by giving the National voters the idea to vote for the Greens! 🙂

        • Andre 2.4.1.1

          Nah, all the Nats should vote for Penny. Then neither the Greens nor Labour get the seat.

          • Puckish Rogue 2.4.1.1.1

            That could possibly be the most brilliant thing that could ever happen in NZ politics

            To give you an idea of how good that idea is I would chose that option over John Key not retiring from politics

            This is a thing, I’m going to email Bill Englishs office to help make this a reality…nope on second thought I’m going to take this higher, I’m going to my paymasters (the ones who really run this planet) and see if I can’t ask a favour from them

            Penny for Mt Albert!

            • Robert Guyton 2.4.1.1.1.1

              Paymasters don’t deign to grant favours, Pucky! Just continue doing as you are told.
              *Still hurting from being abandoned by Key, I see. That burn will last a lifetime; how could he have done that to us??? The question of why Key jumped ship is going to provide entertainment for us for a long to to come.

              • Puckish Rogue

                You’d be surprised at what you can exchange ones soul for…

                • Yeah, but you can only do that once, Pucky, and yours went long ago…
                  Worked out the reason for Key’s inglorious departure yet? Love to hear your view.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    After a (much deserved) Christmas break and through deliberation the only reasonable conclusion is that Sir John Key thrives on a challenge and because there was no challenge he couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to run another campaign

                    • You spent your holiday anguishing over Slur John?
                      Figures.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I thought everyone did?

                    • reason

                      I heard yellow belly Key ran away because polls were showing that woman in particular were seeing him in his true colors …. that is a cheating, greedy, liar with a creepy hair fetish …..

                      Places where he has previously worked have a history of going bankrupt or facing some kind of speculative crisis not long after he has left ..

                      Lets hope his wrecker ball ways are confined to the National party and not NZ …..

                      …………………..

                      Personally I think he has a obvious drinking problem…. with a bar in his office, slurred words, liquid lunches, pissed in Parliament and getting to drunk to hammer a nail into soft pine …..or understand simple questions ….

                      He’s a belligerent snarky sneaky drinker as well….Tory to the core

                      Merrill Lynch was known as a piss-heads paradise…. in between all the cheating and derivatives scamming they did on their way to going bankrupt … …. with their company called the ‘blundering herd’.

                      But Bill English will put on the boxing gloves again for Puckish … although he punches like ruth richardson

            • Sacha 2.4.1.1.1.2

              The lizards will surely agree. 🙂

          • Penny Bright 2.4.1.1.2

            Had another senior Grey Power member call me and offer support regarding the need for transparency in spending of public monies on private sector consultants and contractors.

            You may be surprised just how widespread the appeal is for such transparency?

            Penny Bright

            2017 Independent candidate Mt Albert by-election.

      • Psycho Milt 2.4.2

        Bradbury loves to think up cunning plans that aren’t really feasible. It’s one thing for National to ask its supporters to vote for whatsisname who looks like Rimmer or Peter Dunne, it’s quite another to ask them to vote for someone as obviously antipathetic to their interests as Julie-Ann Genter. It would be like Labour asking its supporters to tactical-vote for their local ACT candidate. If National did look at it, they’d probably conclude that most of their supporters in the electorate would file the request under “You must be fucking joking pal” and that the cynicism involved would be so blatant the media would certainly cover it.

        • Wayne 2.4.2.1

          Psycho Milt,

          I am pretty sure you are right on this. While these sorts of games might be beloved by political theorists, in the real world people are not so malleable.

          As you note, it is one thing to encourage supporters to vote for someone they know to be aligned with their own party for the specific purpose of gaining the Treasury benches. But they would balk at this. It goes against their basic political beliefs.

          In fact it would be hugely damaging for National to give this sort of direction, not just among supporters, but more generally. It would effectively be holding our democratic system in contempt. Most people expect political parties to be true to themselves, not play games of this order.

          So I am pretty sure the next MP for Mt Albert will be Jacinda Arden. The only way she won’t be is if National voters spontaneously decide otherwise. They might do so, but it is pretty unlikely. Most people are just not that engaged with politics.

        • Tricledrown 2.4.2.2

          National claim they are keeping their powder dry but Labour are getting time in front of the Voters and headlines.

      • fisiani 2.4.3

        Interesting comment. Mt Albert has thousands of Nat voters and most will turn out and vote. Who will they vote for? Will they plump for the Labour candidate or will they choose to give Labour a bloody nose and elect Genter?

        • Tricledrown 2.4.3.1

          Once a National vote Green once a small percentage will vote green again in the general election.
          Political science 101.

          • Wayne 2.4.3.1.1

            Tricledrown

            This is always a risk with such games.

            It is why it is so hard to win back seats at the next election that have gone to third parties. Many voters will not immediately reverse their votes, since they don’t like to admit they made a mistake.

        • Nick 2.4.3.2

          No one gives a fuck what you think fsiassi

          • Sacha 2.4.3.2.1

            Please stop dissing the guy’s name. Racism is neither cute nor effective. Aren’t his often-pathetic points enough to respond to?

      • Gabby 2.4.4

        It would be extra amusing if nuttyanal voters remember that advice come election time.

    • Penny Bright 2.5

      errr …. why would the good people of Mt Albert vote for their MP someone who is already an MP?

      Both Jacinda Adern and Julie-Anne Genter are already MPs.

      How about a really decisive protest vote against the rorts, ripoffs and corruption, which have helped transform New Zealand into a corrupt, polluted tax haven, and vote into the House the proven anti-corruption (and anti-privatisation) campaigner, who has ‘blown the whistle till her eyeballs bled’ (as it were), persistently and consistently against corruption for the last TEN years?

      I’m not an MP (yet).

      But what better way to help make a fuss about corruption than to vote Independent candidate Penny Bright MP for Mt Albert?

      I’m not a member of ANY political party.

      I’ll ‘hit the ground running’.

      No sitting in the House quietly ‘breathing in through my nose’.

      I’ll be breathing out through my nose.

      FIRE!

      Parliament won’t know what the hell hit it 🙂

      Penny Bright

      Proven ‘anti-privatisation / anti-corruption campaigner’.

      2017 Independent candidate Mt Albert by-election.

    • swordfish 2.6

      Mt Albert

      Ohhhh Bugger !!!

      Having made an initial (and somewhat grumpy) comment on the matter here in late December ( /open-mike-27122016/#comment-1280032 ) , I’ve been working on a post for my Blog entitled Mt Albert Mousetrap. I just knew that if I left it too long someone else would have similar thoughts … and they have … Brads and Trots anticipating most (but not quite all) of my argument.

      Bugger, Bugger Bugger !!!

      As I already wrote in my draft … “In trying to win a relatively trivial battle for their own Party, the Greens are in danger of losing the entire War for the Left.”

      On the one hand, I think – with no candidate – a disproportionate number of Mt Albert Nats will stay home on By-Election day. But I suspect that at least a reasonable minority of the maybe 30-35% of Tories who do get out and vote will be the kind of Party loyalists who are more than prepared to hold their noses and do what’s best for the Nats (vote Genter to embarrass Labour and sew division on the Left). Not necessarily a majority of Nat voters (I agree that for many it will just go too much against the grain) but quite possibly a large minority.

      But perhaps even more importantly – and I don’t think Brads or Trots entirely got to the heart of this (they certainly haven’t spelt it out in any way) – an overwhelming 73% of Green Party-Voters backed Shearer in the Candidate-Vote at the last Election. That was way ahead of the average Labour MP – in the Country as a whole, just 47% of Greens Candidate-Voted Labour.

      Indeed, Shearer was one of those rare Labour MPs whose Candidate-Vote was derived, first and foremost (ie more than half), from non-Labour voters.

      So, in a one-vote By-Election, where voters can’t enjoy the (General Election) luxury of being able to separate out their core political allegiance (as expressed in the Party-Vote) from their favoured personality (Candidate-Vote), it’s reasonable to assume that a significant chunk of that 73% of Greens (5810 voters to be precise) are going to reaffirm their primary political allegiance and chose Genter. All the more so when there is no National candidate to scare them into strategically voting Ardern.

      It’s important to avoid being too alarmist, though. I doubt that Ardern is any great danger of actually losing the seat …

      … But – with a potential majority of 2014 Green-Shearer voters combining forces with a potential large minority of Nats – it’s quite possible Genter will slash Labour’s majority. And in a seat that Farrar has already loudly proclaimed one of “Labour’s” safest (in fact, it’s a Shearer stronghold, not a Labour one. Labour received just 29% f the Party-Vote at the last Election).

      So you can imagine the headlines in a media where senior journalists are often subtlely influenced (to put it generously) by Farrar et al.

      I’ve got a few other points to make … so may still do the post … but it’s a real bugger when someone (in fact 2 geezers) beats you to it, especially after I’d done quite a bit of work on it.

      • Sacha 2.6.1

        All three of you seem to be relying on an assumption that Green voters are less capable of voting tactically in a by-election than Nat ones.

        • swordfish 2.6.1.1

          Yeah, but with no National candidate, most Greens will assume there is no need to vote tactically. For them, it’s between Ardern and their own candidate … so they’ll assume it’s a win-win situation and hence why not vote Genter. And the Greens will presumably be going all out to win. I don’t think we can rely on ordinary Green voters in Mt Albert getting the message that a slashed Labour majority will generate enormous hostility within the Left and dire headlines in the media.

          Greens have certainly strategically voted for the Labour candidate in other recent By Elections (ie those where a Green candidate also stood). But we now find ourselves in a unique situation where there is no National candidate to scare them in Labour’s direction.

          I’m sure plenty of Greens will, indeed, vote Ardern … but I doubt it’ll be anything like the 73% who chose Shearer at the (two-vote) General Election.

  3. Paul 3

    Climate change – Northland hotter, more droughts, floods and erosion

    Projected environmental changes by 2090:

    * 75 more ‘hot days’ a year
    * Up to 3.3C hotter in summer
    * Double the time spent in drought
    * Increased flood risk
    * Coastal erosion
    * Risk of salmonella, dengue fever, Ross River virus
    * Increased biosecurity threat from invasive pests
    * Uneconomic crops, kiwifruit (by 2050)

    Climate Change Projections and
    Implications for Northland

  4. Ethica 4

    Don’t underestimate the star power of Jacinda. A lot of right wingers will vote for her because she is the closest we have to a political celebrity.

  5. Paul 6

    TOP’s Environmental Policy

    Swimmable rivers and lakes, sustainable farming. TOP’s default goal is for swimmable rivers, unless local communities decide otherwise. We want intensification of land use to cease unless the impacts can be offset. TOP will invest in monitoring, research, improving water quality and resolving Treaty claims. This will be paid for by a levy on commercial water users and polluters, paid into regional Nature Investment Funds (NIFs).

    Protect and restore our oceans. TOP will use spatial planning to ensure all ocean users have fair access to the resources in our Exclusive Economic Zone. This would also ensure that at least 10% of all ecosystems is set aside as no-take reserves, with compensation for existing users where appropriate. This process would be funded by a resource rental on all commercial ocean resource users.

    Enhancing our natural assets. TOP will impose a $20 levy on all tourists entering the country. This revenue will be used to improve local infrastructure and placed in an independently managed fund that can be invested with partners to get the best biodiversity return (which may include the Regional Council NIFs).

    Resource Management – Less paperwork, more protection. TOP will ensure that development which delivers no net loss of natural capital can proceed in a timely fashion. Any use of biodiversity offsets will be quality assured. RMA fines will be directed to restoring the damage caused by the breach.

    • bwaghorn 6.1

      the silence around top on this site is deafening , worried they are

      • weka 6.1.1

        I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Eugenie Sage’s blog (Sacha’s link).

        • bwaghorn 6.1.1.1

          ”TOP is promoting tradeable pollution rights, similar to the Emissions Trading Scheme, when there’s little evidence that allowing polluters to trade the right to pollute will improve water quality and a high risk that tradeable pollution rights will make water and land use management more complicated. The Emissions Trading Scheme has greenhouse emissions trending up when we want them going down, so we hardly want its equivalent to prevent nitrates, sediment and other contaminants going into our rivers, oceans, soils and atmosphere.”

          I note she makes no mention that top propose a lowering bar on pollution.
          ets will never work because it’s global so to prone to crooks, but an in house nz one could work as long as scum like key is never in charge of it.
          best case scenario is the greens at least hold their % and top get over the 5% mark , they seem to have a lot in common.

      • mauī 6.1.2

        From the policy announcements so far they seem a bit vague, and I don’t think that’s great if you’re trying to attract voters to you. Case in point was their first policy launched, taxing property owners more. But I can’t tell you how much they will taxed, which is fairly important.

        • weka 6.1.2.1

          They also want to force elderly people with a mortgage-free home and low income to mortgage their house to pay a property tax. That alone would stop me voting for them. Morgan has some good ideas but when he gets to the detail comes across as clueless about what matter. Same with his UBI model which ignores the supplementary benefits that most beneficiaries are dependent on.

    • Sacha 6.2

      Eugenie Sage of the Green party assesses Gareth’s environmental policies: https://blog.greens.org.nz/2017/01/20/tops-environmental-policy-no-threat-to-ours/

  6. Morrissey 7

    A song for the great, soon to be gone for ever, President Hopey-Changey,
    from the people of Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Gaza….

    • Poission 7.1

      Thats not a song it has no passion.

      Or theatre.

      • reason 7.1.1

        And for the younger people with passion

      • Morrissey 7.1.2

        Fair comment. I was going by the title only, and ignored the fact that this is a song with no passion.

        However, when you stop to think about it, it’s entirely appropriate for a president with no passion. He couldn’t even sigh convincingly during his farcical performance on Robben Island….

  7. Alan 8

    another rogue poll from Roy Morgan……..

    • saveNZ 8.1

      Seriously – Labour need to find a good way to differentiate from National. Sale and privatisation of NZ assets like State houses are a good place to start to show the difference in policy!

      They need to shout it from the roof tops…

    • Puckish Rogue 8.2

      In case anyone is wondering, heres the link:

      http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7127-roy-morgan-new-zealand-voting-intention-january-2017-201701201143

      For those short of time, National up and Lab/Green down

      • BM 8.2.1

        But, but John Keys has gone, what’s going on? he’s the only reason people voted National, I don’t understand?

        Lol, there will be so many confused leftwingers.

        • Robert Guyton 8.2.1.1

          His sycophantic followers haven’t realised he’s gone. They can still smell his heavenly perfume in the room. Can’t you.

          • Puckish Rogue 8.2.1.1.1

            I’m thinking of starting up a petition to bring back John and make him be president for life and it doesn’t even bother what party hes leader of, in fact he could take turns being leader of the rest of the parties

            • Robert Guyton 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Wonderful idea, Pucky!
              Let me help: Calling all readers of The Standard. Puckish Rogue is inviting you to sign his petition to Bring Back John Key! Show your support for Pucky, and for “Sir John” by leaving a supportive comment below. With your support, Pucky believes he can Bring Back John!
              (I’ve taken the liberty of signing up James as a matter of course, Pucky)
              Edit: Oh, and fisiani

            • Gabby 8.2.1.1.1.2

              Can Richie be his Vice? As it were

          • mlpc 8.2.1.1.2

            Nah, mate.
            It’s the MoU effect.
            It was a stupid idea from the day it was signed.

        • fisiani 8.2.1.2

          Problem for the Left is that the move from socialism is too late to stop. The TOP party will gobble their votes and then if they get 5% will want to be in government. A 4% drop means a National Government a 5% + vote means a National/TOP government

          • BM 8.2.1.2.1

            I reckon National will come in around 53% at the next election, won’t be any need for coalitions.

            Watch National % start to take off over the next 3-4 months.

        • Puckish Rogue 8.2.1.3

          Its ok once the voters get to know Bill the party vote will drop 🙂

  8. Red 9

    Just to squeeze Robert in beteeen 4 rwnj i also see Uk labour also are doing well (sarc) Jeremy Corbyn’s net approval rating continues to plummet, now hitting -43%. what’s going on why are the dumb ass masses not buying the hard left kool aid

  9. james 10

    Of course the important figure is

    “The NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has increased to 140pts (up 9pts) in January with 63% (up 4.5%) of NZ electors saying NZ is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 23% (down 4.5%) that say NZ is ‘heading in the wrong direction’.”

    Things are good and heading in the right direction. Bill was an architect of this. Why change the government and mess it all up.

    oh – and thats got to hurt with National up with Bill in charge.

  10. james 11

    Oh and MEGA Fail ….

    Another Dotcom promise that fizzed.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11786023

  11. james 12

    A terrible thing is unfolding in Melbourne.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11786021

    Wishing all the best to everybody caught up in this…..

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    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
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    11 hours ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
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    4 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
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    4 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
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    5 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
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    5 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
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    5 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
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    5 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
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    6 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
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    6 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    7 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    7 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    7 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
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    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
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    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago