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Prisons for profit

Written By: - Date published: 5:50 pm, October 28th, 2008 - 49 comments
Categories: crime, national, privatisation - Tags: , ,

National’s announcement that it plans to privatise the prison system says a lot about the party’s underlying values. Say what you like about National’s temporary flip-flops, underneath they haven’t changed a bit.

Whether it’s ACC, privatising assets, drafting electoral law or reforming the Resource Management Act, the National Party stands for entrenching private power at the expense of the public in nearly every sphere of life.

Now, as in the 1990s, National believes that even the sharp end of state power, the prison system, should be wrenched from public control and handed over to private corporations driven by the profit motive.

As a very basic principle for anyone on the Left, the thought of putting money on bodies in a cell and paying stockholders for those bodies is an affront to human dignity. As with the police and the judiciary, coercive power should be the monopoly of democratically accountable public institutions, not private companies.

But even on a more practical level, private prisons simply don’t make sense. Does anyone seriously believe that powerful corporations with a direct profit motive in a high prison population and repeat customers will have an interest in rehabilitation?

The reality is private prisons, like any other outsourced provider, only make money by cutting corners where it really matters. The record of private prisons in the United States is overwhelmingly one of low wages, poor training and prisoner abuse.

In fact, the firm the last National government contracted to run private prisons in NZ was none other than the infamous Wackenhut, which has since changed its name to GEO Group, so damaged is its reputation. Especially for young people, Wackenhut has become a byword for inmate abuse after a series of high profile stories of rape and brutalisation.

The Corrections Corporation of America, another likely bidder for New Zealand’s prison services, has had similar problems resulting from low pay, lack of training and poor treatment of prisoners. PBS recently reported the following story about a CCA facility:

One night in 2004, a major prisoner riot blazed through Crowley. Some of the overwhelmed guards ran away and outside law enforcement had to put down the uprising. A state report later found that the facility was not fully staffed, and didn’t follow fundamental security measures. Inmates were angry over bad food and inappropriate use of force. Low pay contributed to a high staff attrition rate…and in an industry where years on the job can literally teach you how to save lives… newly-hired, inexperienced staff were left to deal with an explosive mix of inmates from three different states.

According to one expert, ‘the problems that were identified in the wake of that riot are typical of the private prison industry and happen over and over again.’

Don’t be fooled into thinking National’s plan to privatise our prison system is in any way “fresh thinking” for a “brighter future”. Like the rest of their programme, National’s corrections policy is the same old ideological formula: remove control from the public sphere so the private sector can profit. Whether it works or even violates fundamental principles of human dignity and democracy is beside the point.

49 comments on “Prisons for profit ”

  1. Sarah 1

    “the National Party stands for entrenching private power at the expense of the public in nearly every sphere of life”

    Please try and spin another one.

  2. theodoresteel 2

    I thought the Nats believed in the efficiency and ability of the private sector, allowing goals to be reached in the most efficient way. Obviously if the contracts go out from the Government they can put terms and conditions on those – dont meet the requirements, lose money. That’s how the private sector ensures standards are met and done so in the most efficient way.

    And I thought that there was generally higher standards of care at private prisons, but maybe I’ve just been reading different prodpaganda – no I cant quote where from because I dont remember.

  3. Tane 3


    Please try and spin another one.

    That’s the fundamental split between left and right Sarah, sorry if you missed it.


    The right usually ignore the international experience and point to the short history of private management at Auckland Central Remand Prison, which Wackenhut’s New Zealand subsidiary used as its sales pitch to enter the New Zealand market. It’s worth noting any perceived benefits came from the type of prisoner held there, the fact the facility was brand new, and the need of the company to look good so it could win more business. I read somewhere they also had a lower staff:prisoner ratio than other prisons, no doubt a sign of things to come.

  4. Lampie 4

    this concept and boot camps, all now failed experiments according to research. Why even bother??

  5. Lampie 5

    I know the answer, it’s the magic wand trick as we are sheep and listen to what we only want to hear.

  6. randal 6

    has new zealand finally gone mad?

  7. Ianmac 7

    Hospitals: Pick the profitable parts of the Public System, contract out to Private Hospitals, leave the tricky stuff to the Public.
    Prisons: Pick out the low risk prisoners from the Public System,contract out to Private, and leave the tough stuff to the Public System.
    Now look at the effect. Public slower more expensive, Private cheaper, more efficient. Simple. Stats to prove it. OK?

  8. Bill 8

    So lets see. 10 days till the election and the Peter’s spin keeps on spinning. So, release your unpopular policies 10 to the dozen and sit back as they slip largely unnoticed under the radar thanks to that large Peters blip on the screen. And the ones that are noticed? Give the Peter’s spinning top a wee birl to take the focus away again or, as a last resort, release another bullshit policy with attendant obtuse sound bites before the first is properly latched on to.

    Duck, dive and bluster for 10 days. Only 10 days to not get pinned. Only 10 days to survive those oh so sharp hooks of NZ’s msm! On day 11, relax and get on with floating NZ Ltd down the swannie. Or so the plans and hopes might be.

  9. the sprout 9

    “Does anyone seriously believe that powerful corporations with a direct profit motive in a high prison population and repeat customers will have an interest in rehabilitation?”

    Exactly. Just another example of National supporters in denial about one of life’s more obvious market failures.

    What’s next I wonder, privatization of the Commerce Commission?

  10. National: Now 98% fact free!

  11. Tane 11

    Sprout, my sources tell me it’s private police and judiciary. Expect to see something like this in the Herald in the next few days:

    National leader John Key is proposing a shake-up in the justice system, with a focus on slashing red tape and bureaucracy.

    In a speech to the Sensible Sentencing Trust today Key slammed Labour’s failure in the police and the judiciary and promised choice and competition for all New Zealanders.

    “As a recent high profile cases of police misconduct have shown, Labour’s police force is failing”, Mr Key told his audience to rapturous applause.

    “When you add the series of bungled and unpopular rulings from the judiciary in recent times it’s clear that people are fed up with the system and are looking for change.

    “National’s plan will provide that change. We don’t believe the government has all the answers, and unlike Labour we’re not ideologically opposed to the private sector playing a role in the provision of justice.

    “With support from our coalition partner ACT we will be introducing choice in the justice market in our first 100 days in office”, Mr Key concluded.

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    “privatization of the Commerce Commission?”

    Not in the first term.

    I understand that Fiji gets a decent wedge for letting the UN deploy it’s military around the world, could be a starter for the SOE model. Make the Defence Forces self funding, bloody slackers, the deadweight costs are immense. It could be a growth area too. There’s no need to limit ourselves to the stupid Fijian UN based model. We may need to make a few technical adjustments. Drop the oaths and citizenship requirements which are relics of a bygone bleggidy blah, they’re are just holding us back.

  13. Now, that’s a beautiful piece of political writing – solid philosophical argument, backed by pragmatism, and conveyed with excellent rhetoric. ka pai, Tane

    You can witness the strength of such argument in the response from the Righties. Sarah, frankly, has nothing, no substantive response at all. While theodore’s argument relies on ignoring, but not refuting, facts in your piece.

  14. Pascal's bookie 14

    The Fire service is a goer as well.

    There was a Roman chappie who had the right stuff. Just have FireCorp show up at the scene with their appliances and make an offer on the property. What could be fairer than that? Sure you’ve got a highly motivated seller, but they’ve still got the choice of saying we don’t want no water let my muthafucka burn.

    Everyone like choices.

  15. Bill 15

    What about the privatisation of Civil Emergency…?…then the Nats can give themselves and their mates all of our tax money as they save us from 3 years of policy induced nation wide catastrophe.

  16. milo 16

    Tane, you are setting up a straw man. The ‘right’ believes in individual rights, personal incentive, relatively free markets and a level enough playing field to allow people to flourish. You constantly and egregiously confuse this idea liberty with a different idea of oligarchy. Now maybe the Nats are oligarchs, and maybe they aren’t, but oligarchs are not the ‘right’.

    And the foundation of our modern health and prosperity is the victory of these individual rights, personal incentives, relatively free markets, and reasonably level playing fields. The evidence is history writ large in every country of the world over the last 300 years.

    Now some of those foundations require ‘left’ thinking. You can’t have a level playing field without a safety net and education and food for the poor, for example. But much of our modern prosperity, if not most, is based on individual liberty above everything else.

    If you don’t believe me, read some history. And please stop deliberately confusing those who believe in liberty and incentive with the oligarchs who seek to create wealth through monopolies. You know better.

  17. Why bother having prisons run privately, gutless judges will just him these pieces of human trash, home detention, like they did with Michael Bensley.

  18. randal 18

    milo …I’m sorry but you confuse a narrow section of contract law with freedom. i.e. anything that stands in the way of making a profit is un free.
    NOne of us are free. when free willy was put back in the sea he died.
    YOu are like those persons on the right who want unfettered legal access to make as much money as possible with no questions asked.
    that is not freedom.

  19. milo 19

    No randal, I believe in freedom to live in accordance with your values, to the extent that is consistent with the common good. I suspect you think the same, but we disagree with what those limits are.

    Let me highlight the difference. Tane is rightly concerned that the coercive power of the state is too awful to be delegated to private contractors. But if the coercive power of the state is so awful, why are bloggers on The Standard is such a rush to extend this awful power further and further.

    Can’t have it both ways – the coercive power of the state should be restricted, or it shouldn’t. I vote for restricting it. And I think National are the best chance of achieving that, given Labour and the Greens penchant for extending the coercive power of the state.

    Vote freedom. Not coercion.

  20. idiotic ak 20

    Totally off topic, but just heard the Slipper on the wireless saying “of course we all know that Helen Clark will do whatever it takes to be the government…..”

    Reminded me of this quote from the SST a wee way back that I had the good sense to snip out;

    “One insider says Key has a pet saying of “whatever it takes” – it is his indication to a caucus member that he just wants something to be done, find a way to do it. But it’s a phrase which has a double-edge.
    In many ways it has been his modus operandi since as a small boy he dreamed of being Prime Minister.”

    Projection stage: check.

    As you were.

  21. DS 21

    >>>Can’t have it both ways – the coercive power of the state should be restricted, or it shouldn’t. I vote for restricting it. <<<

    Mate, if you think Private Enterprise can’t be coercive, you’ve got another thing coming.

  22. milo 22

    DS: Coercive power of the State. And yes, I think one of the great failures of New Zealand governments is the failure to prevent oligolopies
    from exploiting the public … power companies come to mind, and public monopolies like local councils, and the department of internal affairs. They all exert the coercive power of their monopolies/oligopolies to constantly raise prices.

    And what has the Government done about it? Just said “thanks very much” for their slice of the revenue.

  23. ak 23

    (that’d be a “think” DS)

    heck while I’m here, here’s another doozy from that Nice caring man who wants to expand the dole:

    “Key in mid-2002 also revealed to the Sunday Star-Times a tough personal view on welfare. Asked about the topic as National struggled internally with its policy line, Key said there had been “enormous growth in the number of people on the DPB, and where people have been, for want of a better term, breeding for a business”.

    Lovely bloke.

  24. milo 24

    Threadjacking ak? Do you think the coercive power of the state should be reduced or increased?

  25. the sprout 25

    I guess one thing that won’t need further privatizing is the National Party Ltd.

  26. milo 26

    That’s right sprout. Owen Glenn has already bought them.

    Oh, hang on …..

  27. Rex Widerstrom 27

    Let me start by making clear I am no fan of prisons, public or private. Those that we have ought to be a last resort, yet populist “get tough on law’n’order” policies keep (over)stuffing them and expecting inadequate buildings and staff numbers to cope. Thus many of the conditions in prison are solely the fault of politicians, not the jailers.

    So if we step back, take off the ideological blinkers and take a look at the performance of jailers, what do we find? Some are good, some are crap; some are public, some are private.

    Serco (a private prison operator in the UK, does particularly well reintegrating soon-to-be-released and newly-released prisoners back into the community; an average one in maintaining decent conditions in its prisons, in a large part due to overcrowding forced on them by politicians and the judiciary (a problem shared by public prisons).

    They run a private prison in Western Australia – it’s well known to be clean, well-managed and to offer good opportunities for prisoners to learn and be reintegrated. As a result, prisoners apply to be sent there from state run prisons in far greater numbers than the private prison can handle.

    An additional factor is that, as a private entity, Serco can be sued. The Corrections Department, as an arm of the state, cannot. That difference becomes immediately apparent if you deal with either sort of prison – the state prison’s attitude is invariably a polite variation on “Meh, what are you gonna do about it?”.

    Then there’s Wackenhut… enough said.

    Personally, I’m open to anything that might provide prisoners with reasonable conditions while also helping genuinely rehabilitate them and reduce reoffending – and which are effective in containing and ensuring the continued detention of the small percentage of people beyond rehabilitation.

    Whether they’re wearing the uniform of the state of a private company doesn’t worry me (provided prisoners’ rights are well enshrined in statute and protected by an effective watchdog) – it’s results that count.

  28. I think you hit the nail on the head there Rex. Every one wants less crime, but what courts the “laura norder” vote is not good policy. Its beyond me why so many people consider themselves experts is such complex fields.

    If it was just a matter of doing what the sensible sentacing trust says, then how come Joseph Apiro’s prison in f Maricopa County, Arizona has resulted in at best no reduction in crime, at worst and increase. If its as simple as feeding them rancid food, giving them brutal beatings from the guards and keeping them in conditions so bad it harms their health then why isn’t crime plummeting there?

    Not many people would go diving into their engine when their car breaks down, they don’t go building their house themselves, why not, because the car wouldn’t work when they put it back together and the house would probably fall down. Why is prison any different? why the hell do so many people consider them selves such experts on the matter that they see fit to go out making massive campaigns like the sensible sentencing trust.

    It really pains me that objective statistics and scientific research these days are considered just another factor in making these kind of decisions.

    Back too the original point though, I dont see how a privately run prison can be any cheaper than a public one without cutting corners.

    (On a slight side note, does the Sensible Sentancing Trust’s name contain a logical fallacy? In claiming themselves to be “sensible” isnt that like starting off a statement by saying “every body knows that…..”, Is that a logical fallacy or just bad debating?)

  29. Pascal's bookie 29

    (On a slight side note, does the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s name contain a logical fallacy? In claiming themselves to be “sensible’ isnt that like starting off a statement by saying “every body knows that ..’, Is that a logical fallacy or just bad debating?)

    It’s like when someone tells you they oppose unnecessary violence…

  30. fiona 30

    National might also consider introducing the death penalty (surely a logical extension of this ‘lock im up and throw away the key’ mentality), and ‘harvesting’ organs from the executed like they do in China. But to show their ‘compassionate conservatism’, perhaps they wouldn’t charge the family for the bullet?

  31. Lampie 31

    Here National, privatize this *flips the bird*

  32. Chris G 32

    This is a no brainer: Efficiency as is often touted by tories as the reason to privatise, aside.

    If I’m running a private prison – I dont want rehabilitation to occur nor crime to stop because, I’m making money from people ending up in prison, and staying in prison (Being chain gangs for local infrastructure while I get paid for it)
    Theres a thing called incentive, they always bang on about it in Economics (Which the nats know heaps about dont they?) My incentive to make money stems from me ensuring more people are in prison, because a body equals $. Where is the incentive to reduce crime and create better citizens?

    Conclusion: – How is society any better off?
    – That is a repugnant system.

  33. randal 33

    “the panel” today…all agreed that privatising prisons and work for parole is nothing less than the politics of hate.
    i s this what new zealanders have become
    punitive angry people looking for revenge on anybody and everybody
    what does this say about us as a people?

  34. Lew 34

    randal: That’s because they’re all bleeding-heart liberal stooges of the communist state talking on its lap-dog government-owned media.



  35. Rex Widerstrom 35

    Chris G suggests:

    If I’m running a private prison – I dont want rehabilitation to occur nor crime to stop because, I’m making money from people ending up in prison, and staying in prison

    Possibly, if the politicians and bureaucrats who offered you the contracts are shortsighted idiots (and I accept there’s every chance they are).

    But to return to my exmaple of Serco above, the contracts under which they operate specify – at their own instigation – that they’re paid partly on the basis of how many of their previous guests do not return. That’s why they’re so successful at rehabilitation – far more so than state prisons in the same area.

    Of course they receive some money to keep the prisoner locked up for the duarion, or they simply couldn’t afford to do so. But they’re rewarded when they achieve exacrtly what prison is meant to do – stop recidivism.

    If you want to look for people who have a vested interest in keeping the revolving door into prison turning, look no further than politicians, the judiciary they appoint, and the police with whom they’re so cosy.

    Like I said, if “the market” can be manipulated in such a way as to stop people returning to jail, then three cheers for the market.

  36. RedLogix 36


    Possibly, if the politicians and bureaucrats who offered you the contracts are shortsighted idiots (and I accept there’s every chance they are).

    You are definitely the most credible commentator here on this issue, so maybe you can help me on this one. Did National include contract terms rewarding reduced reoffending when they signed up Wackenhut for the ARRP?

  37. Swampy 37

    Corrections is one of the most stuffed up useless government departments there is. Heads should have rolled at the very top a long long time ago. Labour doesn’t really care, the stuff ups have continued as they have in other departments because the minister isn’t any good and the department manages to keep a pretty low profile most of the time.

    Just to give the balance to your statement about what National stands for, the Labour Party stands for clobbering every private entity in the country – they hate the p word.

  38. Swampy 38

    “this concept and boot camps, all now failed experiments according to research. Why even bother??”

    NZ had a much lower youth crime rate when the youth justice system included Borstals and the like. It’s only since the 80s when Labour brought in their pathetic system that youth crime has rocketed.

  39. Rex Widerstrom 39

    RedLogix: I’m sorry, I don’t have a definitive answer to your question. To the best of my recollection, no. But I accept I could be wrong, and they may have tried to do so.

    What I’m far more certain of, however, is that if they had, Wackenhut would not have achieved the objective. They were a bad choice, and National should have known that. Their performance as operators of Australia’s detention centres at Curtin, Port Hedland, Perth, Woomera, Villawood and Maribyrnong was appalling. Detainees don’t undertake hunger strikes, riots, escapes and self-mutilation if they’re properly managed.

    I’d urge everyone – and specially the “prison is a holiday camp” brigade to watch this ABC our Corners documentary on the guards who worked at Woomera and the debilitating effect it’s had on their lives.

    Then think about the fact that detention centres were set up to be more humane than prisons, as no one inside was supposed to be being punished; and that these are the guards – imagine the effect on the detainees / prisoners.

    For those interested, Eye on Wackenhut lists the company’s many failures and alleged corruption, but mainly in the US.

    So as I said earlier, there’s digusting private prison operators and others whose prisons prisoners queue up to transfer to (i.e. Serco). It’s a matter of the politicians and bureaucrats choosing the company offering the best outcomes, which may not be the one offering the cheapest price.

  40. Swampy 40


    “Hospitals: Pick the profitable parts of the Public System, contract out to Private Hospitals, leave the tricky stuff to the Public.
    Prisons: Pick out the low risk prisoners from the Public System,contract out to Private, and leave the tough stuff to the Public System.
    Now look at the effect. Public slower more expensive, Private cheaper, more efficient. Simple. Stats to prove it. OK?”

    Explain why people already go private in the hospital system, it is because they can get treated immediately vs waiting months or years in the public hospital waiting lists. Public hospital care has actually got worse since 1999 even after throwing billions at it which proves Labour doesn’t have a clue.

  41. Swampy 41

    Anyone who claims the police are competent should ask why so many cases involving the Labour Party have been dropped, and why the police continue to refuse to release information relating to the 2005 investigation into Don Brash’s stolen emails.

  42. Swampy 42

    “Why is prison any different? why the hell do so many people consider them selves such experts on the matter that they see fit to go out making massive campaigns like the sensible sentencing trust.”

    The sensible sentencing trust wants the same as any of us and that is less crime. The justice system is a place of last resort that is almost becoming entrenched due to the breakdown of individual responsibility in society. Now, why isn’t there any effort to address that? How about discipline in schools and the youth justice system.

  43. Swampy 43

    “The National Party stands for entrenching private power at the expense of the public in nearly every sphere of life.”

    In your world there is no private interest for the public. There should be no private businesses, private property or anything?

    ‘Cos the problem is, the “public” or “people” have in themselves substantial private interests, like the assets that they own (house, car etc). Many of them run their own private businesses. Private power exists in those entities. Democracy goes hand in hand with a society in which ordinary members of the public hold private interests.

    “Public” in the above statement really means “State” which stands for a monopoly run by the government, not necessarily for the “public” good. If the State has a wish to stamp out private ownership or business then it is definitely not for the public good. When Labour was formed nearly a hundred years ago their key policy was the nationalisation of all land. This policy was unpopular and they eventually dropped it. Maybe they want to bring it back?

  44. “Swampy
    The sensible sentencing trust wants the same as any of us and that is less crime. The justice system is a place of last resort that is almost becoming entrenched due to the breakdown of individual responsibility in society. Now, why isn’t there any effort to address that? How about discipline in schools and the youth justice system.”

    If they really want to do something to help, why do they go about it in such an ideologically tainted fashion?

    Secondly, your ideological taintings are showing now. If you knew anything about the youth justice system you would know it is internationally recognized as one of the best in the world, with much much lower re offending rates than the standard justice system.

  45. Swampy 45

    “As with the police and the judiciary, coercive power should be the monopoly of democratically accountable public institutions, not private companies.”

    Most State run institutions are not democratically accountable as the general public has no say at all in how they are run. Sure, politicians campaign on a few select policies but for the most part the activities of these government departments go on behind closed doors without any public scrutiny. No one seriously believes that such institutions will ever be used for anything other than furthering the political purposes of government ministers.

    We all know that monopolies are bad, they are inefficient and give poor service and that is why any kind of monopoly should be much more accountable and open but the reverse is true of government owned monopolies. No one seriously believes that either the police or corrections are accountable just because they are public sector institutions. You really have to wonder how the police got away with the Louise Nicholas and similar cases for so long when people go around claiming we are the least corrupt country in the Western world (LOL).

    Putting monopoly power into the hands of the state always leads to abuses – in NZ that has included IRD, the police, corrections etc, in part because for political reasons these departments are protected from normal accountability expectations. IRD is a case in point with huge powers that no other department or private entity has. The government fawns over them especially Labour as they are the goose that lays the golden eggs.

  46. “You really have to wonder how the police got away with the Louise Nicholas and similar cases for so long when people go around claiming we are the least corrupt country in the Western world (LOL).”

    Because other countries are more corrupt?

  47. Rex Widerstrom 47


    Good point re the effectiveness of the youth justice system. We’re ahead of the curve there. And in things like diversion. Which makes it all the more inexplicable why our prison system is absolutely falling apart at the seams. No votes in it for either side I guess… spend any money on prison programs and the SST and their ilk will be foaming at the mouth about “expensive computers” even though they’re vital for education (and thus rehabilitation and thus less reoffending).

    On the issue of these “corruption indices” though, I think you’re missing the point. It’s all about how corruption is measured. Sure it’s not possible to bribe most police officers in NZ, so in that sense we have very low corruption. Pity it’s not possible to measure far more subtle indicators of different sorts of corruption – like the fixation many officers get on one suspect to the exclusion of all others, forcing cases through the courts that result either in acquital (but only after emotional and financial stress to the accused and their family) or wrongful conviction. Not corrupt in the way it’s measured by these indices, but a corruption of what is supposedly the “justice” system nonetheless.

    [captcha: “horseback ballet”. It’d have to be on ice before I’d pay to see it :-D)

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    1 day ago
  • Good Employer Awards celebrate food and fibre sector
    The food and fibre sector acknowledged its people and leadership at last night’s 2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, a time to celebrate their passion towards supporting employees by putting their health, welfare and wellbeing first,” Acting Minister of Agriculture Meka Whairiti said. “Award winners were selected from an extraordinary ...
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    1 day ago
  • PM's comments to NATO session
    Kia ora koutou katoa.  It is a rare thing to have New Zealand represented at a NATO Summit. While we have worked together in theatres such as Afghanistan, and have been partners for just on a decade, today represents an important moment for our Pacific nation.   New Zealand is ...
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    1 day ago
  • Veterans Minister announces new focus on mental health for veterans and their whānau
    Te Arataki mō te Hauora Ngākau mō ngā Mōrehu a Tū me ō rātou Whānau, The Veteran, Family and Whānau Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy Framework “We ask a lot of those who serve in the military – and we ask a lot of the families and whānau who support ...
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    2 days ago
  • Minister to advocate for Small Island States
    Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio has been appointed by the United Nations and Commonwealth as Aotearoa New Zealand’s advocacy champion for Small Island States.  “Aotearoa New Zealand as a Pacific country is particularly focused on the interests of Pacific Small Island Developing States in our region.  “This is a ...
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    2 days ago
  • Increased support for households to pay local council rates
    An estimated 100,000 low income households will be eligible for increased support to pay their council rates, with changes to the rates rebate scheme taking effect from 1 July. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced increases to both the maximum value of the rates rebate, and the income threshold ...
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    2 days ago
  • He Oranga Poutama expanded into four new regions
    A long-standing physical activity programme that focuses on outcomes for Maori has been expanded to four new regions with Government investment almost doubled to increase its reach. He Oranga Poutama is managed by a combination of hapū, iwi, hauora and regional providers.   An increase in funding from $1.8 million ...
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    2 days ago
  • Wellington’s rapid transit option progresses to next stage
    The Government is progressing a preferred option for LGWM which will see Wellington’s transport links strengthened with light rail from Wellington Station to Island Bay, a new tunnel through Mt Victoria for public transport, and walking and cycling, and upgrades to improve traffic flow at the Basin Reserve. “Where previous ...
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    2 days ago
  • Keynote remarks: Tech 4 Democracy Summit, Madrid
    To Provost Muniz, to the Organisers at the Instituto de Empresa  buenas tardes and as we would say in New Zealand, kia ora kotou katoa.  To colleagues from the State Department, from Academia, and Civil Society Groups, to all our distinguished guests - kia ora tatou katoa. It’s a pleasure ...
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    2 days ago
  • On June 28, 2022, a meeting took place in Madrid between the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who was visiting Spain to participate in the Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as one ...
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    2 days ago
  • More young Kiwis able to travel and work in Spain
    A six-fold increase in the Aotearoa New Zealand-Spain working holiday scheme gives a huge boost to the number of young people who can live and work in each other’s countries, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Jacinda Ardern and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón made the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme announcement ...
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    2 days ago
  • Supporting local government candidates
    A significant barrier has been removed for people who want to stand in local government elections, with a change to the requirement to publish personal details in election advertising. The Associate Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty has taken the Local Electoral (Advertising) Amendment Bill through its final stages in Parliament ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt passes law to protect consumers in banking and insurance sector
    New financial conduct scheme will ensure customers are treated fairly Banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers to be licensed by the FMA in relation to their general conduct Sales incentives based on volume or value targets like bonuses for selling a certain number of financial products banned The Government ...
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    3 days ago
  • New law paves way for greater supermarket competition
    Legislation that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores paves the way for greater competition in the sector, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said. The new law is the first in a suite of measures the Government is ...
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    3 days ago
  • Vaccine mandate for border and corrections workers to end
    The Government has announced an end to the requirement for border workers and corrections staff to be fully vaccinated. This will come into place from 2 July 2022. 100 per cent of corrections staff in prisons, and as of 23 June 2022 97 per cent of active border workers were ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand's Commonwealth relationships strengthened at CHOGM
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has concluded a visit to Rwanda reaffirming Aotearoa New Zealand’s engagement in the Commonwealth and meeting with key counterparts. “I would like to thank President Kagame and the people of Rwanda for their manaakitanga and expert hosting of this important meeting,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “CHOGM ...
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    3 days ago
  • Emergency monitoring centre opened to keep New Zealand safer
    Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty officially launched the new Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting (MAR) Centre at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) today. The Government has stood up the centre in response to recommendations from the 2018 Ministerial Review following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and 2017 Port Hills fire, ...
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    3 days ago
  • Waikato Expressway speed limit to change to 110km/h
    Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the announcement that a 110km/hr speed limit has been set for the SH1 Waikato Expressway, between Hampton Downs and Tamahere. “The Waikato Expressway is a key transport route for the Waikato region, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of the central North ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government listening to sector on NCEA
    Following feedback from the sector, Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti, today confirmed that new literacy and numeracy | te reo matatini me te pāngarau standards will be aligned with wider NCEA changes. “The education sector has asked for more time to put the literacy and numeracy | te reo ...
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    3 days ago
  • Further Aotearoa New Zealand support for Ukraine
    $4.5 million to provide Ukraine with additional non-lethal equipment and supplies such as medical kit for the Ukrainian Army Deployments extended for New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) intelligence, logistics and liaison officers in the UK, Germany, and Belgium Secondment of a senior New Zealand military officer to support International ...
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    4 days ago
  • Electoral changes will bring greater transparency for voters
    Changes to electoral law announced by Justice Minister Kiri Allan today aim to support participation in parliamentary elections, and improve public trust and confidence in New Zealand’s electoral system. The changes are targeted at increasing transparency around political donations and loans and include requiring the disclosure of: donor identities for ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government invests to minimise gambling harm
    The Labour government has announced a significant investment to prevent and minimise harm caused by gambling. “Gambling harm is a serious public health issue and can have a devastating effect on the wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities. One in five New Zealanders will experience gambling harm in their lives, ...
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    4 days ago
  • More free flu vaccines and a second COVID-19 booster to groups at risk of hospitalisation
    The Government has widened access to free flu vaccines with an extra 800,000 New Zealanders eligible from this Friday, July 1  Children aged 3-12 years and people with serious mental health or addiction needs now eligible for free flu dose. From tomorrow (Tuesday), second COVID-19 booster available six months ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government backs action to drive strong wool growth
    The Government is investing to create new product categories and new international markets for our strong wool and is calling on Kiwi businesses and consumers to get behind the environmentally friendly fibre, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today. Wool Impact is a collaboration between the Government and sheep sector partners ...
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    5 days ago
  • Veterans Minister pays tribute to service and sacrifice at Korean War commemoration
    At today’s commemoration of the start of the Korean War, Veterans Minister Meka Whaitiri has paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of our New Zealand veterans, their families and both nations. “It’s an honour to be with our Korean War veterans at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to commemorate ...
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    6 days ago
  • Matariki projects star in latest round of Tourism Infrastructure Fund
    Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash and Associate Minister of Tourism Peeni Henare announced the sixth round of recipients of the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF), which supports local government to address tourism infrastructure needs. This TIF round will invest $15 million into projects around the country. For the first time, ...
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    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Matariki speech 2022
    Matariki tohu mate, rātou ki a rātou Matariki tohu ora, tātou ki a tātou Tīhei Matariki Matariki – remembering those who have passed Matariki – celebrating the present and future Salutations to Matariki   I want to begin by thanking everyone who is here today, and in particular the Matariki ...
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    1 week ago
  • First Matariki holiday marked across New Zealand and the world
    Oho mai ana te motu i te rangi nei ki te hararei tūmatanui motuhake tuatahi o Aotearoa, Te Rā Aro ki a Matariki, me te hono atu a te Pirīmia a Jacinda Ardern ki ngā mahi whakanui a te motu i tētahi huihuinga mō te Hautapu i te ata nei.    ...
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    1 week ago
  • Minister to attend second United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker will represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the second United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, which runs from 27 June to 1 July. The Conference will take stock of progress and aims to galvanise further action towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, to "conserve and sustainably use ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports innovative dairy sheep sector to scale up
    The Government is boosting its partnership with New Zealand’s dairy sheep sector to help it lift its value and volume, and become an established primary industry, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “Globally, the premium alternative dairy category is growing by about 20 percent a year. With New Zealand food ...
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    1 week ago