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Protest @ WINZ today!

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, February 22nd, 2011 - 88 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, employment, notices, poverty, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

From Sue Bradford:

Aucklanders – the fight back against the worst recommendations in the Rebstock report starts now. Join us – Auckland Against Poverty – in a picket, 2pm today outside Work & Income, Sel Peacock Dr, Henderson.

Sorry for the late notice. I will write more about this after the protest, but for now, the NZ Herald predicts a Bombshell on way for beneficiaries.

Update 7.15pm: I wasn’t going to post anything this evening as I’m rushing around trying to get footage and photos of everything that happened today. The events at the protest have unfortunately very much distracted me from the real issues in the WWG report, on which I have a half written post at home. So first, a brief demo report, and tomorrow I’ll write about the WWG report.

The protest marched from the Henderson WINZ office up to Paul Bennett’s office, where two men climbed a ladder and displayed a banner from the roof. While there was nothing unlawful about their actions (they hadn’t been trespassed), it probably wasn’t unlawful for the police to arrest them when they came down. When they decided to come down, a bunch of protesters surrounded them to protect them from the police. The police shoved through – they actually shoved through Liam & I to get to them, even though we were on the edge pretty much out of the action. While all this was going on, the police started blocking anyone who was filming or taking photographs. I looked up and saw that John Darroch had been detained for taking photos. I walked up with Liam in my arms to challenge them for detaining him. All I did was ask the police officer detaining John if he was arresting him. The cop said he didn’t know but he had been instructed to detain him. I told him it was unlawful for him to detain John if he wasn’t arresting him. Then another cop walked up and starting shoving me. I didn’t fight back at all as both my arms were around Liam in a protective hold. Despite that I got shoved really hard all the way around the back – they had no regard for Liam whatsoever. I was really scared, but Liam & John & I are all ok. While I didn’t fight, I did try to stop them getting me around the back of the building as I was terrified that if they got us around there they would take Liam off me and delete all of John’s photos showing what happened. The police formed a line preventing anyone from getting to us. They had police intentionally blocking anyone with a camera.

The police then had the nerve to tell me I was mistreating my child and they would be referring me to CYFS. Fortunately the photos show everything that happened, and it looks like someone else may have filmed the whole thing through the fence next door, and it was witnessed by many people including Sue Bradford and a senior social worker who has given us his details in case CYFS do show up.

I’m not putting photos up yet as we need to make an action plan and work out how to deal with the whole thing.

I will note that had the police actually arrested John I would not have challenged them – I would have met them at the police station with our lawyer. However I get annoyed at unlawful detentions such as this. Likewise, if the police had trespassed us or asked us to leave the property, we would have. If they’d even tried to push us off the property rather than around the back of the building, I would have co-operated. However I was not going to go round the back with the police where no one could see whatever would happen.

As I understand it, 5 people were arrested, including the two men who climbed on the roof. The police released all without charge. When we were waiting outside the police station, I had two officers walk up to me and ask me for my details as they wanted to refer a complaint to CYFS. I told them if they arrested me I would give them my details but otherwise I had no obligation to. The police officer decided he wouldn’t arrest me, but that they would identify me from the photos and refer me to CYFS. I told them that was fine, as we have plenty of evidence of what really happened. Also, all our photos from earlier that day show Liam was happy and enjoying the radical cheerleaders and all the attention from many different people.

Here are some photos from John Darroch’s Flickr stream, but they don’t include what happened with me.

88 comments on “Protest @ WINZ today!”

  1. Maude 1

    Hi, I am new to this site. I clicked on the news article and as far as I can see the recommendation is for those on benefits to actively seek work? What is wrong with that? What would you prefer they do?

    • Blighty 1.1

      I think you should try reading the next post (/bashing-benes-no-solution-to-joblessness/) about why this is a silly policy.

      The fact is beneficiaries already want to work but the jobs are gone – just adding more work-testing and other pressure won’t create jobs for them to go into, but it will waste taxpayer money, and it will help drive down wages.

    • Kaplan 1.2

      Because it’s like getting hospital waiting lists to drop by just telling everyone to go and get better, rather than actually doing anything about it.
      In that case there needs to be a doctor/surgeon to fix the problem.
      With the unemployment benefit, there needs to be a job for the person to go to.

    • rocky 1.3

      First of all, what jobs exactly are you saying beneficiaries should be seeking?

    • lprent 1.4

      The question is what sanctions are applied to them if there isn’t any work to be had. Since there aren’t jobs out there at present many of them will be unable to get work. You can see this if you look at such things as the steadily rising number of long-term unemployed. They’d work if they could find work..

      Do they dropped from the benefit? Can we send them your address so they can starve on your front lawn?

      From the link.

      And it gets worse: the number of people unemployed for longer than a year was just 2,400 in the middle of 2008 (only 1 in a 1000 workers!). It is a staggering, and heartbreaking, 15,000 today. That’s a 500% increase in two and a half years. That’s John Key’s record on employment.

      • Dilbert 1.4.1

        Sorry Lprent but I can’t help think that your statement is overly emotive.

        The current work test model for those currently receiving the Unemployment benefit (and other work tested benefits) is that they must a) be actively looking for work and b) accept any offers of employment that they receive.

        Now actively seeking work can be as simple as looking though the local papers that you receive or via the public library and keeping a record of any jobs that you applied for, contact employment angencies once a week and asking about any potential job opportunities or visiting the local WINZ office and checking out their work board and having a staff member record your visit (or simply having one of them stamp a hand written note confirming you had come in).

        Actively seeking work doesn’t depend on the number of jobs in the community but rather simply ensures that those who should be looking for work continue to do so. Where is the problem with that?

        • Colonial Viper

          Sorry Lprent but I can’t help think that your statement is overly emotive.

          Yeah its time to get emotive. Key and his Ministers are going to feel the anger from a lot of people this year. He and you can’t possibly think that the NATs are going to make these changes and that people are going to not take it personally and just let it happen. New Zealand Unleashed, my friend.

          Actively seeking work doesn’t depend on the number of jobs in the community but rather simply ensures that those who should be looking for work continue to do so. Where is the problem with that?

          1) Constant rejection demoralises people and lowers their self worth.
          2) How many unemployed are going to be able to afford to buy Wed and Sat papers, as well as have access to the internet, etc?
          3) What is the point of sending people on hopeless wild goose chases? Who does that help? The jobs are not there, they are in Australia. The smarter ones will realise what bullshit this all is of course.

          NZ lost 700 jobs per week in the Dec quarter. Australia gained a thousand jobs a day last year. Do the math on how successfully a Labor Govt manages the economy compared to a National Govt.

          • Lanthanide

            “1) Constant rejection demoralises people and lowers their self worth.”
            Yip, as I’ve said before, my dad was made redundant from a company he’d worked at for 25 years or so. He applied for many similar jobs and has a few interviews for which he’d be completely capable of performing, but because he is over 60 (in excellent health) no one was interested in hiring. Eventually he just gave up.

            • Dilbert

              Unfortunately for those who become unemployed between the ages of 45-60 they’re effectively screwed. Numerous studies have demonstrated that this group are typically the first to be fired/downsized and the last to be re-hired.

              Interestingly the same studies generally showed that this group are one of the most dependable re attendance, generally have a well developed work ethic, and the issues around technology etc are pure myths. Personally if I was hiring today I would be looking very strongly at this group.

            • lprent

              Same happened with my father, but he’d moved around companies to maintain adaptive skill levels. Was unable to get a job at anything because of his age. Eventually setup a home business in a completely unrelated area with my mother and did pretty well at that. It was rather ridiculous as in his areas of expertise he was and still is one of the most skilled people I know of (and I have rather high standards).

              Frankly reading some of the dorkish comments around here from our right residents you get the distinct impression that they spend all of their time talking and never bother to listen to anyone. But that is the nature of right in my opinion – massively out of touch with reality – prefer myths instead.

              • Dilbert

                Based on your last paragraph Lprent I think that perhaps your own political views may be blinkering your opinion slightly, where as what I have found is that statement can equally be applied to both the left and right.

                • lprent

                  I actually don’t have any particular political views on this subject.

                  What I’m pointing out is two practical issues with the proposed policies based on my families experiences over many economic downturns.

                  1. That to try and push people off the welfare system into work presupposes that work is available. At present it largely isn’t so. This especially applies to mothers with pre-school kids. But also applies to may people who live in areas where there is no work (I haven’t noticed WINZ ever being willing to relocate people). And to the more elderly in the workforce.

                    In all likelihood this type of proposal will wind up as being the simple stupid harassment by WINZ that I saw them using on my sister who was on the DPB for a few years in the early 90’s. It is afterall the reason that my niece wrote this post and will presumably be heading to that demo.

                  2. That the only penultimate sanction where people are unable to find work is to withdraw benefits. My question is that of my grandfather who was unemployable through much of the 1930’s – where do we go to starve?

                  I really can’t understand why people are too squeamish to look at the ultimate consequences of the policy decisions that are being made. If these issues are not raised and dealt with during the policy discussion then what you will find is that they happen by default over time.

            • Vicky32

              I am a wee bit younger than your dad, (but not by much!) and I’ve applied for 700+ jobs in the last 2 years. I have had 100+ interviews. I have been told quite often that my age is against me. I don’t know how I would feel if I were a woman on the DPB with a 2 year old child, who had just heard that when her child turns 3 she’s going to have to get on the job-seekers merry-go-round, while at the same time, trying to find affordable child care…The 9-3 jobs tended to be captured by the married ladies, back in my DPB years… as they were the ones who knew people!

              • Roflcopter

                If you’ve been told that your age is against you, then nail the dumb-fucks, coz that’s illegal.

                • M

                  It might be illegal but they still do it and if a person were to take a case the employer would just say that there more suitable candidates for the job.

                  The same applies where women are asked if they have children and what the child care arrangements are or if they don’t have children are they planning to have some. You might challenge an employer at an interview about asking such a question but you will miss out on the job.

                • Vicky32

                  I did try, but the law won’t protect people applying for a job, only those who already have one, or so the HRC woman told me…

          • Dilbert

            CV, I suspect that you are going to be horribly wrong in your belief that the majority of NZ’ers are going to get worked up about changes to the benefit system. I personally think most will in fact welcome the changes to what is perceived by many as an overly bloated system that allows bludgers to sit on their bums doing nothing or simply breding for cash.

            While you (I presume) and I have a different perception of the reality of the welfare system and what its purpose/goals should be I suspect that we are in the minority.

            However as for your points against actively job seeking I would disagree.
            1) Constant rejection demoralises people and lowers their self worth.
            During the time I spent working with unemployed people at Work and Income not one person complain or demonstrated signs that contacting people about jobs was demoralizing. What was key was setting appropriate expectations and goals with I found as a general rule the Work and Income staff were excellent at.

            For some their goal of active job seeking would be to simply review the local free rag that was delivered each delivery day and apply for any appropriate roles, for others it may be a specific number of jobs each between each review period.

            2) How many unemployed are going to be able to afford to buy Wed and Sat papers, as well as have access to the internet, etc?

            No person was ever told that had to go out and spend money on a paid news paper. Goals were set to a level appropriate to a persons resources however even in rural areas like where I was based most people are able to access news papers and internet via local libraries at least once a fortnight.

            3) What is the point of sending people on hopeless wild goose chases? Who does that help? The jobs are not there, they are in Australia. The smarter ones will realise what bullshit this all is of course.

            What I found at Work and Income that exercise provided many points including:
            a) Trying to obtain a job (sometimes it happens )
            b) Get people out into their community and talking to people. Not only for many did it lead to later job opportunities via word of mouth, but for some of those living alone it was one of the few occasions that they did actually intereact with others.
            c) Provide people experience in the job aquiring process (interviewing, cv preparation etc etc).

            While its easy to make Labour = Good vs National = Bad comments you should remember that this problem has generated over the last 30 years by many successive governments both Labour and National. Neither of them have developed a decisive policy on how to do this and I don’t believe either of them ever will because they lack the political will to take the steps that are required to really fix the social situation within this country.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I personally think most will in fact welcome the changes to what is perceived by many as an overly bloated system that allows bludgers to sit on their bums doing nothing or simply breding for cash.

              Well, their perception is actually wrong, most people on benefits actually want to work, but it is bloated and it’s bloated because of all the hoops put in place to keep people off benefits.

              You obviously haven’t for worked there for awhile and it’s not political will but believing in an economic theory that doesn’t work.

            • Colonial Viper

              Dilbert, anything over 2% unemployment is a social disaster in the making. I wish that we could get Governments Red and Blue to recognise that.

              Not sure about the rest of your experiences, but when you have 2500 people applying for 150 mostly minimum wage paying supermarket jobs, you know that something is really wrong.

              As for the welfare system being “bloated”, I guess that the less taxes the rich pay, the less social services we can afford as a country. Key’s own personal tax cuts would have paid for home help for 500 elderly people a week, for instance, old people who have had that help cut.

              • Colonial Viper

                Sorry that’s 50 elderly people a week, we don’t pay home help that poorly thank goodness.

            • M

              ‘CV, I suspect that you are going to be horribly wrong in your belief that the majority of NZ’ers are going to get worked up about changes to the benefit system. I personally think most will in fact welcome the changes to what is perceived by many as an overly bloated system that allows bludgers to sit on their bums doing nothing or simply breding for cash.’

              I for one will get worked up about the changes in the benefit system because it’s arrogance beyond measure to decide who is deserving of a benefit. Hell, people actually getting a subsistence benefit now to be arse shagged even more just so judgemental arseholes can get a frisson of excitement – spare me.

              As has been written many times on this blog people will go for jobs if there are jobs available. As for the hoary old myth that the DPB encourages women to breed is crap, most women in that situation know that another child places even more strain on finances and that welfare payments don’t exactly allow them to be out on the tiles like many people believe.

              Perhaps if the benefit bashers saw the value of the training incentive allowance for women to re-skill for a decent paying job and allowed her children to be settled into school before putting the screws on then we would see the welfare rolls drop. There will always be some women who cannot leave the DPB as they may have special needs children or may be disabled themselves.

              I know someone who works for WINZ and he just rolls his eyes when he hears all this rhetoric because he is not afraid to say that there are not many jobs around and that the best thing mothers can do for their children is to be there for them – I suppose this makes him a heretic.

              • B

                Yup Ive had to go in a few times lately and been told by more than one winz worker that they dont know how they will be able to find jobs for all the sole parents – its just more paperwork and hassle for them but wont make a difference as most sole parents who can find suitable jobs already have them!

          • Tigger

            Agreed CV. There aren’t jobs for these people – so they’re being simply used as scapegoats. Enough of playing nice. These aren’t stats. They’re not ‘cautionary tales’. They’re not pawns for politicians to use. They’re people.

          • the sprout

            agreed CV, well past time to start shoving hard against this government’s bullshit

        • Draco T Bastard

          Now actively seeking work can be as simple as looking though the local papers that you receive or via the public library and keeping a record of any jobs that you applied for, contact employment angencies once a week and asking about any potential job opportunities or visiting the local WINZ office and checking out their work board and having a staff member record your visit (or simply having one of them stamp a hand written note confirming you had come in).

          What you describe is reasonable and nearly everyone on the UB will be doing that anyway. What is asked for is having a record of applying for 5 jobs per day (case manager dependent believe it or not – more reasonable case managers only ask for 1 or 2 per day) and if you don’t have that record your benefit gets cut. Now, considering that there just isn’t that many jobs out there it is, quite simply, impossible to apply for that many jobs per day.

          Where is the problem with that?

          The way that they’re going about it is causing more unnecessary work at WINZ, causing more unnecessary work for employers as they now have to go through even more people who just aren’t suitable (the applicants knew they were unsuitable but applied anyway because they have to) and causing even more rejection. Throw in the fear of having you benefit cut and the stress and added depression is going to add to the suicide rate as well.

          As for having to take a job if it’s offered? Well, my nephew had to go on the UB (he’s a builder so doesn’t have permanent work) and got told that he should take a job offer that paid $20+GST/hour. He proved that he would be losing money taking that job and WINZ merely offered to subsidise his fuel (still wouldn’t have covered costs) which would have been an indirect subsidy to Fletchers (Who, I’m sure, doesn’t actually need one). Thankfully he managed to pull in a contract that paid $63/hour instead but if he hadn’t he had the choice of paying to go work for Fletchers (Actually a sub-contractor of a sub-contractor – massive inefficiency/dead weight loss in the building industry in Auckland) or not having any income.

        • Bob

          And what would those OFFERS of employment be ?
          The people that i know who are looking for work dont get offers because no one is keen to take anyone on . How many rejections do YOU think is acceptable ?
          Thats right . actively seeking work is a bonus when you cant afford , petrol , food , rent ,clothing , schoolfees , doctors , dentists , reg and warrants to name but a few essentials .

      • The Baron 1.4.2

        Great way of greeting a new commenter too, Lynn – especially when they appear to be asking a pretty unbiased “please help me understand” question.

        Christ some of you lot are jerks.

        • lprent

          Seems like valid question to me bearing in mind what they were asking. I answered looking at the end result of the implications of their question, while furnishing a link to the information that they appeared to be missing. What more do you want? That I be nice to them? I’m seldom nice.

          But anyway I prefer to make ‘newbies’* aware that I’m around early rather having to ban them later.

          *BTW: Haven’t checked yet as I’m otherwise occupied, but many people who claim to be ‘newbies’ usually aren’t once I have a look at their history. And I’m always suspicious of ‘newbies’ who manage to get the first comment on a post – it isn’t a usual newbie behavior..

          • The Baron

            I don’t care for nice, though I do expect you to be civil to new participants – particularly in your role of managing the site and encouraging open discussion.

            You however seem to be a jerk, and proud of it. A jerk who aggressively berated her question and now are threatening to ban her too.

            Fine, indulge in conspiracy theories about how new they are (while evidently not wondering what the point of that would be). But if wrong, will you apologise to your commenter for the way you responded? Or will you go back to “tough tit, I’m not nice”, or maybe “my site, my rules”.

            Save your bile for people who deserve it (like me, usually).

            • lprent

              …and now are threatening to ban her too.

              Where exactly did you get that from? Everyone here can be banned. He/she is no different to anyone else.

              …will you apologise to your commenter for the way you responded?

              No. If you were observant you’d have noticed that I usually respond in some form to most new commentators within a short period after their first comment. Frequently when someone starts with habits that that they have picked up on other sites (like statements couched as leading ‘questions’) they will get a quite sarcastic response. It is what I do because it encourages people to read for the site ‘style’ before they write.

              …indulge in conspiracy theories about how new they are…

              When it comes to behavior on this site, I’m always deeply suspicious of behaviors that I have seen before. One of those behaviors is a ‘newbie’ doing the first comment on a post running a line that is the obvious spin for a political party. I have tracked too many one shot newbies to some pretty interesting IP locations in the past. Because we leave the site almost completely open to new commentators, we also watch them for behavior. Are you suggesting that we should change our policies? (and I guess you know the answer to that)

              Now if you can get off your high horse – what exactly did you find to be a issue with my comment? All I pointed out was there is the issue of what ultimate sanctions would be applied to people who were unable (or unwilling) to find work? In the end result there is only one that is available – withdrawing the benefits. If that happens then people will be made homeless and quite possibly starve.

              Dilbert pointed out (very indirectly and without stating it) that this is the current end sanction used. What is your view on that? Can we send them your address as well?

          • Pete

            But anyway I prefer to make ‘newbies’* aware that I’m around early rather having to ban them later.

            Does that mean you don’t want or expect anyone new to be able to hang around?

            It seems very strange to be organising a protest before the report has been released.

            • lprent

              Educating commentators is preferable to having to moderate and ban them. It is preferable to do it earlier than later.

              The most common reason for people to get an early ban from this site is because they see that no-one else is using a particular behavior and start using it. Of course what they usually fail to realize is that people don’t use those behaviors because we don’t like them and they’re identified in the policy as an offense against the site. Most of the commentators won’t respond in the expected ways because we don’t like people continuing flamewars. They will either make comment to draw it to our attention or ignore it trusting that it will be stomped on eventually. A recent example was kultur who is still learning the do’s and don’ts of this sites rules.

              It is generally preferable that people get to interact with someone who can deal with them and who will draw their attention to their behavioral flaws – ie a moderator. Frequently that is me. I usually use exactly the same tactic that they used, but enhance and accentuate it. In this case Maude ‘asked’ a leading question that was designed to elicit a specific response. I asked a even more leading question based on their question that was designed to elicit a specific response.

              Both were valid questions, but effectively they limited and tried to frame the discussion – which is what Maude’s question appeared to be designed to do* and what I reacted to. I also suspect that TR’s reaction was more in response to my re-framing of the debate into a question that he didn’t want to deal with than with the question of responses to a ‘newbie’.

              * That is part of the reason I’m suspicious of origin – now I’ve finished on the ChCh earthquake updates I’ll have a closer look at ‘Maude’. The technique used was more in the line that IrishBill would use than a unsophisticated newbie.

            • Colonial Viper

              It seems very strange to be organising a protest before the report has been released.

              Almost as strange as the PM making food bank and bene bashing comments just before a major welfare reform report is released. Heh.

    • neoleftie 1.5

      I think we all agree in the concept of individual responsibility and for underemployed or unemployed to have or get a ‘skill set’ that gives them a better chance at finding work but if the private or public sector doesn’t provide adequate numbers of jobs then surely you cant blame or punish those who cant find jobs and must rely on the state safety net. Not everyone has the ability or opportunity to climb the modern success ladder.

      • Colonial Viper 1.5.1

        Its hypocrisy for the NATs to have cut night classes and tightened criteria for adult students wanting to go to uni at a time of high unemployment. They are wasting the human resources of this country and essentially telling people that they will not be valued here and to leave.

        • neoleftie

          Basically if you’re not of the elite class or have the ability to become one then you are nothing but a means to there ends and since they control and create their own means we are still nothing to the elites. i hear the drums in the distance sounding.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    So a protest outside normal lunch ours can only mean only bene’s are protesting. What a surprise, if they are motivated enough to protest against a reduction in their handouts, maybe they could be motivated enough to find a job. But no, just yell and shout and do nothing really. So predictable, so stupid.

    • Todd 2.1

      Is that the best argument you can come up with TightyRighty, that people who oppose Nationals slash and burn policies are stupid? I mean honestly, what a completely pathetic argument. Haven’t you been following, the unemployed are trying but there are no jobs. National has failed that campaign promise and many more besides.

      Has the fervent fascism drivel spouted by the “loyal” media coalesced on your skull into a thick impenetrable helmet that not even a sledge hammer could break? Have the eyes been plucked from your skull by a lecherous propaganda mind fuck machine? Have your ears been blocked by so much bigoted rubbish that not even a bulldozer could dig you out?

      When you have no argument, dismissing dissenting opinion by saying it is stupid and ineffectual is really just naïve of the real groundswell against Nationals mismanagement and corruption.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Clever scheme isn’t it Tighty? Keep people poor, hungry and busy so that they leave the NAT’s alone to do more damage.

      No mate, a tide of anger is turning against the Government. Its not just those in Bahrain and Libya who watched Mubarak fall you know.

    • neoleftie 2.3

      oh please ive been unemployed and underemployed and have a swag of letters after my name, motivated and organised but during those time took ages to find a job of any caliber. Well congrats on being a success story and having the opportunity to critique those without or havent shared your success.

    • Akldnut 2.4

      TR you dick – I’ll be there, I just have to organise some cover at work – not just benes at all.

    • bbfloyd 2.5

      “so predictable, so stupid”, another freudian slip.

      • Carol 2.5.1

        I was there today. It’s not a work day for me. I work weekends, and am semi-retired. Not all non-beneficaries work 9-5, Monday to Friday.

  3. Chris73 3

    Seems odd to announce a protest before we even know what the recomendations (and thats all they are at this stage) are…

    • lprent 3.1

      Umm you mean that you’d prefer that the government releases the legislation and then passes it through the house under urgency without taking it to select committee? They have done it a number of times this term with various legislation – for instance most of the auckland super shitty acts passed like that.

      Since that has happened, all ‘recommendations’ are opposed before release because there may be no time afterwards.

      I can see that you’re really not really into the principles of NACT democracy…..

      • Chris73 3.1.1

        Seriously? Don’t you think its more efficient to organise a protest against something when you know the specifics of what it is you’re protesting against?

        So I don’t have a problem with lawful protest just the timing of it

        And for the record some of the recommendations I agree with and some I don’t like making mothers look for work after 14 weeks of giving and making 16-18 year olds live with an adults not such good ideas but making payments based on mkaing kids go to school is a good one

        • Chris73

          Umm after 14 weeks of giving birth and making 16-18 year olds live with adult supervision

        • lprent

          It is more efficient yes. Unless of course the legislation is shoved through under urgency and without public scrutiny. That is th NACT way. Their supporters like you seem to prefer not to discuss abuse of the process*.

          But the recomendations have been well signalled. The tenor is unmistakeable. Why not start at attacking them. After all the NACT politicians are already busy pushing many of them. Or you suggesting that we should wait for our ‘betters’ like your subservient example?

          * like those police who were abusing their powers at that protest. Once I find out who the arsehole was who was pushing around my family members and threatening them they will learn to regret it.

          • Chris73

            Or just an excuse to have a protest?

            • lprent

              By your definition of when it is acceptable to have a protest, I suspect that you’ve just decided that the reasons for most protests are just excuses. As far as I can see your idea is that a protest should only be done after a fait accompli – which seems incredibly inefficient.

              For instance the 40k odd people that marched up Queen Street (including myself) against mining in the schedule 4 conservation estate were merely protesting against a proposal.

              But I suspect that you’re merely using the argument of a dickhead. Sounds like a rationale that Whale would come up with.

              • Chris73

                Not at all (though I support mining in schedule 4 areas)

                The protest against mining in schedule 4 areas is different to protesting against the welfare reforms because (I’m guessing) you lot were against any mining in schedule 4 land whatsoever (so almost a single issue) whereas with the reforms you didn’t know what was going to be released (there might have been some suggestions you actually agree with) but you decided to protest against it anyway

                • lprent

                  Ummm for a starter, I didn’t protest yesterday. I had a heart attack a bit over a week ago, and it is enough of an effort to go down to work and to sit down and code.

                  But we’ve been having John Key and Paula Bennett going and giving hints of what they expect to see in it for weeks. Which since they have had the report for weeks it is a pretty good indicator of its contents. Especially since their emphasis would be on what they considered to be its good points – which were pretty damning themselves, the contents of the report were always going to be worse.

                  I see that Danyl has posted on the actual report, so I’d guess that it has actually been released. Of course his terminology assigns it to the same type of thinking as the rationale at on the Auschwitz gate. I’ll get around to having a look at it this evening after work.

                  BTW: I’m not against mining. I’m just against most mining in NZ because it is not cost-effective if you look at the actual all in costs (including the cleanup and environmental costs) compared to the alternate uses of the land. But I only have a earth sciences degree so what would I know eh?

                  • Chris73

                    But I only have a earth sciences degree so what would I know eh?

                    Good for you however I’m sure the govt has access to a lot more resources and experts to consider this matter as well

                    • lprent

                      Yes they do. However it seems characteristic of this government is that they have a deaf ear for opinions that they don’t want to hear. They ignore contrary opinions informed and uninformed alike. At least until you manage to get some significant protest against their cast iron opinions.

                      Which kind of brings us back to the original point again. To make them listen to any form of common or informed opinion you have to protest early so they have time to correct their mindless decisions that are usually formed from their simplistic prejudices (or rather usually from their polling of their simplistic supporters) rather than using their brains.

  4. Carol 4

    Thanks for notification of this. I went down and added my number to the demo. Of course, on this terrible day, this demo will get little or no media coverage. But there will be plenty of time (and need), for other demos like it in the future. [I’m so sorry for all the people in Christchurch]

    It was a small, largely good natured and spirited demo (I should imagine it was well short of 100 people). 6 people were arrested (5 adults and one baby).

    Sue Bradford led the demo with a megaphone. Some people stood up and made statements, and the radical cheerleaders did some entertaining performances, reworking various songs and raps.

    We walked up to Paula Bennett’s office, where a couple of guys had already climbed onto the roof, with a red banner. On the banner was a quote from John Key – the one in which he said if welfare benefits were cancelled no-one would starve to death.

    There were chants, e.g.:

    “He is rich,
    He is rude,
    We don’t like his attitude”.

    And, “Blame the system, not the victims.”

    Locals will have had their attention drawn to the issue. A lot of traffic went past, with many tooting their horns in support. The police helped to get people’s attention by having several marked cars there, including a couple parked on the road with their multi-coloured roof lights constantly flashing

    When the guys came down off the roof many people huddled around them, and there were tussles between protesters and the police. The police arrested the guys from the roof, plus 3 adults, including a woman carrying a very young baby.

    • Akldnut 4.1

      There were aproximately 60 protestors (me included) and about a dozen “Boys in Blue”
      There were a few of TV cameramen, about a 1/2 dozen private cameras and 1 Policeman taking pictures.

      A good show thats going to be completely sidestepped due to the christchurch eartquake happenings. (Just seen a few pictures of injured Kiwisbeing rescued – absolutely heart renedring)

      I left early, had to go back to work – Rocky was the only one I saw there with a baby.

      • Carol 4.1.1

        I don’t know which cameras were from TV news, but one guy with a video cameraman was being critical of the protesters during the tussle, with comments about the protesteres hurting themselves. A woman carrying a video camera was complaining to someone afterwards about having people “push the camera away”, being jostled etc. She didn’t seem happy with the protesters either. Made me what what sort of coverage the demo would have got on a slow news day.

      • lprent 4.1.2

        Horrible2A (as he is currently designated (at least by me)) 😈 A big boy who enjoys having his gruncle tormenting him….

      • toad 4.1.3

        Yeah, Rocky was one of those arrested – with baby in arms. Presume that’s why we don’t have an update from her yet, but thanks for yours, Carol and Akldnut. Coppers OTT, as usual. The two guys on the roof were arrested, presumably for just being there. I guess the others were arrested for “obstructing” their arrests.

        Had meant to come here earlier to report, but got caught up with Christchurch earthquake stuff.

        • lprent

          Thanks for the update.

          Looks like Liam gets his first experience of the police *sigh*. It is unlikely that rocky did anything that actually warranted an arrest. The experience with the police is that they really don’t have a clue about the current state of the legalities. Hopefully they’ll actually carry a charge through so to court rather than doing their usual and eventually dropping it. Then at least there will be some more case law about what the police are able to do.

          Rocky is amassing some significant case law on her side about the limits to protest. Mostly on appeal to the High Court. Perhaps the police should get her to teach at Porirua 😈

          I wish the police would start to learn the frigging law rather than what they’d want it to be.

          • lprent

            Not arrested. Just cops overstepping way over the mark.

            I’m irate. My sister is going to be really annoyed. I think that some police are about to have a really really hard time. Especially threatening to use social services against my great nephew. I feel like tearing some police a new arsehole.

            • Carol

              So, the cops just wanted to show their muscle? Did they release the others without charge too?

              • lprent

                Not sure. I was somewhat wound up….

                • Carol

                  Yes, I understand. I hope Rocky and baby are OK.

                  • lprent

                    Yes. But police threatening to get cyfs to separate her from Liam because she is protesting at paula bennetts office means that some police are going to live a personal nightmare for the next few years.

                    • Carol

                      Oh. That’s really sick of the police. Glad they’re OK. Her speech was about how mothers & children would be badly affected by the Nat welfare changes – showed concern and caring for children, and not an unsuitability for parenting.

                    • the sprout

                      sounds like police were completely OTT and now they’ve bought themselves a well deserved shit fight they weren’t counting on.
                      good job.

                    • M

                      The threat of CYFS I believe sets a new low standard – there was absolutely no problem until the police started to get heavy.

                      Guess that’s what it takes for some to feel like real men.

                    • the sprout

                      sounds like a pretty extreme, highly undesirable and eminently prosecutable abuse of power to me.

                      i wonder what the minister responsible for CYFS would have to say about using CYFS as a weapon to discourage political protest?

                    • lprent []

                      She may an interested party in several ways. For instance it was her electorate office that was being protested.

        • toad

          As Rocky says, “detained”. Not “arrested”.

          My question is what right do the cops have to do that?

          Nothing I can see in the Summary Offences Act or any other legislation that gives them that power.

          I know you have tested them in that way in the courts before Rocky. Maybe time to do it again!

          I’ve been there too with numerous court cases against the cops over the years. Problem is that they don’t learn, and still follow the dictum:

          My job is to protect the privilege and property of the rich and powerful.

          They need to learn some lessons from the experience of the security forces in the Middle East overt he last couple of weeks.

          • lprent

            From memory, they can detain if they feel that people are in immediate danger. Of course I suspect that the law makers probably didn’t anticipate that the police would create the circumstances to cause that danger.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      As my boyfriend said when I read out your post to him “Well good on them. We shouldn’t focus on the urgent at the expense of the important – that’s how Bob Parker got elected after all”.

  5. SPC 5

    W and I, or is that E and S, cannot adequately work test the extra number of people.

    They cannot cope with the complexity of work testing people who can only accept jobs if there are child care places available – and if available are not free between 3 and 5. Thus anyone with children of this age will effectively get less for part-time work than someone with children over 5 in primary school.

    There is also financing the travel of women on the DPB to interviews – or is to reduce their support for their children that week and of course temporary casual childcare that day.

  6. Carol 6

    TV3 has just shown a clip of the demo with the guys up on the roof.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    A recipe for a vicious society

    You don’t need a clique of overpaid insane “consultants” to recognise that the key to getting people off benefits isn’t repeatedly kicking them in the face with a steel-capped boot, but providing jobs. The number of people on the unemployment benefit fell over the 2000’s as we reached full employment. So did the number of people on the DPB (which is mostly a short-term benefit). As for the sickness benefit, here’s a suggestion: give people the treatment they need so they can work again. But that would cost money; steelcapped boots are cheaper.

    The report seems to be no more nor less than what I expected – a complete attack on the most vulnerable in society.

  8. HC 8

    To Sue Bradford – I am appalled about the treatment you received from the cops! That sounds like harassment, them talking about reporting you to CYFS!

    I do with regret notice that some here do show understanding or even support for the welfare changes that are proposed. Again those ones seem to be people that do not really understand the Social Security Act 1964, the regulations and processes already in place.

    People that are not sick and unemployed do have to actively look for work already and must regularly prove this to their Case Managers. Otherwise their benefits will be cut or stopped. With the few jobs available at present it is absurd to advise job seekers to look harder. I know that WINZ already expects job seekers to make at least 5 applications or enquiries per day!

    So how often are they meant to knock on doors, phone employers, send email or postal applications to the limited number of employers that may at times have some vacancies?

    The real issue is about the planned changes to work test Sickness and Invalid Beneficiaries and Solo Parents. While some will think it is fair that a solo mother or father can start looking for at least part time work once the youngest child is 3 years old, it is absolutely bizarre to expect sick and disabled to look for work. Some Sickness Beneficiaries may be able to work a few hours a week, but often that is not the case.

    Then it is planned to introduce one “job seeker” benefit for ALL, which is going to lead to a total chaos and confusion. Pressure is likely to be put on sick and disabled to look for work, which will in many cases actually have more adverse effects than the working group and government think.

    Creating a new “crown entity” “at arms lenght” also sounds idiotic, because that means that the government more or less “out sources” the responsibilities to an organisation similar to a business like organisation like for instance a “crown research institute” run like a company and business.

    That could lead to rights of beneficiaries or “job seekers” being reduced, because grievances may no longer be dealt with by review authorities and the likes. It sounds like the future beneficiaries will be turned into a large pool of “clients” that are treated like those registered with an employment agency.

    What will be most certain is, that doctors and specialists will get a lot busier with having to be consulted more regularly to prove how sick a person is or is not. Designated doctors are already being used more than ever before, in order to throw people off the Invalid’s Benefit onto the Sickness Benefit, so they can be “work tested”.

    The basic truth is that the government wants to save costs on welfare, and they have targeted the sick and disabled as the core group to implement this (besides the solo parents).

    While the government gives tax cuts benefitting the rich and big earners, it has in return already increased GST that mostly impacts on low income earners – and now it plans to reduce benefits for sick and disabled!

    It is clear as a crystal what is happening. We have a re-distribution of wealth from the bottom to the top. That is what National and ACT stand for, and hence all this is just another means to look after the interests of their strongest, most powerful supporters and lobby groups.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    The other major thrust of welfare reform is to put downward pressure on wages. Desperate people will “work”, aka slave, for any amount when WINZ are standing on them, and people in jobs will hang onto them grimly, oh and then there is 90 day fire at will just in case any one decides to fight back and organise.

    Re the protest: ‘the filth’ have certainly not changed their culture in regards to their political enforcement role and basic sexist bullying, with a dash of revenge and spite for the Bradfords.
    On the latter, no one doubts your courage Sue but you have nothing to prove on that count, so please consider delegating front line duties to younger people. It would be truly awful for some young blue belly to have the satisfaction of injuring you.

  10. Linaka 10

    Well I see most people do not see the implications of this 2011 welfare bill, yes I aggree there should work testing and help for the unemployed who some dont have the skills ,as for the sick and invalids thats another thing people dont understand, I have a spinal problem, which is harmed by any activity, I was on the invalids benefit, in chronic pain, unable to hold a pen sometimes and permanently weak, winz send me to their work accessor doctor who said I have arthritis, this directly conflicts with my specalists opinion, my hands are curled, and this Winz doc say Im cured and that I will be put on the sickness soon this bill will mean more hospital visits with paraplegia a real possiblity for me. and countless others, who are genuinely ill.

    My point is dont believe that document, and read between the lines , individual case managers change the rules to suit themselves and do not make sound judgements on all their clients, In essence they cannot be trusted, my sickness benefit was a direct result of their system, guilty no leg to stand on I cannot agrue with this decision as the medical committee decide my fate without even consulting my doctor or my specailists, this welfare reform has some good points however it is unlikely to help, and the very sick will be forced into something that will directly cause more pain and death.

    • HC 10.1

      Linaka: You are being treated completely unfairly, unreasonably and against legal principles! I know exactly what you are talking about! You have apparently sent to have a so-called second opinion done on your health condition. It appears that this “designated doctor” (working on a kind of “service contract” for WINZ, having to work along their guidelines and paid for it by them) made a completely unreasonable decision. Did you present reports and evidence about your condition from your own doctor or specialist? As I understand it you took the matter to an appeal and to be heard by what is called a Medical Appeal Board. That Board is under the Act also appointed by WINZ staff, and I know for a fact that they do appoint medical and rehab professionals of their preference and that follow their goals and guidelines. Obviously they upheld the decision by WINZ, which will have been made based on a so-called Regional Health Advisor recommendation, which again would be based on the designated doctor’s report and assessment, and later on the decision by the Medicla Appeal Board. This body is often acting against principles of natural justice, is biased and also operates under the statute that has flawed legal provisions. There is no further appeal, which again is against natural justice and the rule of law. You may be able to get more information about this! What you should seriously consider is getting all your paperwork from and to them, the assessments, reports, your submissions and so forth together and talk to a lawyer. There is a chance of addressing this issue by way of Judicial Review, for which civil legal aid can be made available. It is not easy, but this is a chance of exposing the total bias, the unreasonableness, the breaches of legal principles of natural justice, the Human Rights Act and the NZ Bill of Rights Act. A High Court may upon application (see Judicature Act 1982, s 4 and so forth) find their decision being invalid due to being against the law or at least patently unreasonable (which is more or less the same). Do not simply accept this!!!

    • HC 10.2

      Linaka –

      Also check some more info that was some time ago published via ‘Indymedia’, which I know some now find full of trolls and no more interesting, but which is still also used by activists and supporters as a forum.

      Under the following link there is some discussion and information re this issue you have described here:

      I am not sure whether ‘The Standard’ minds this or not, but on page 2 of their website there is more info of interest under the topic “Lively Protest for Beneficiary Rights at Waitakere WINZ”!

      Best wishes!

      • lprent 10.2.1

        The rule runs something like this..

        We like linking – people can evaluate the sources themselves. We don’t like excessive quoting, and especially excessive quotes without links. Worst of all is unattributed quoting where people make it appear to be from themselves. I tend to ban when we see that type of plagiarism – it is easy enough to check on google.

        The ideal is a comment where people say what they think about something. A short relevant quote enough to interest people in hitting the link.

  11. Linaka 11

    To HC– That decision about my sickness benefit was made over a year ago but thank you for understanding the predictament that I am now in , I was told after 3 months that I could have a review, however the stress made my illness spiral, and I was totally insensed, I went to my GP and he says that he cannot agrue with another doctor medical assessment, so I he put me on sickness, he put me sown for 12 months sickness, when I took this to winz they say OH we dont take any notice of that and will send out 3 monthy ones? So now I have more visits to the GP and I have to pay for this too

    However even my GP did not know ,nor did I the full implications of this winz assessment, when I asked for a copy of the winz doctors report, I realised that he baised his medical opinion without any medicial records, and told me he did not need them, I went 42 times to my GP with various symptoms, some life threatening. The only information Winz doctor got was what I gave him, did I forget something that day, I was doped up for the journey of 200k away from my home to even see him, I was foggy, he also said the lumps in my muscles, dont hurt, wrong they do?? and no understanding that I am in alot of pain.
    Example if I say walk around a supermarket for 5 mins then cramps start in my toes, and if I dont rest them, It will move to knees the thighs, the pain is intolerable, and yet if I rest it will abate, so to a point I can control things, few people understand chronic pain. Even doctors. I cant hold things for long and am holding everything with my thumb and forefinger, prolonged using of my hands will result in cramp.

    One part of this whole attack from winz, and I mean attack, was, I was forced to sign a privacy statement, and they told me what to write, (I was very upset and crying, because I was so worried about losing my house and losing the extra money cant afford to go Gp when I want to) she made me sign the form, to get all my medicial records, my GP and Receptionist have had no contact with winz, they did not even get asked for any records.

    I asked winz to explain why I was being reviewed ?case manager said that my condition had changed, what? told them my conditon has not changed, case manager said they had, after more months and I was always polite, I was told the medicial people that looked at my case said you are to be put on sickness, by then I lost the will to fight, recently they laid the blaim back to my GP who stated that the blood clot conditon had resolved but I was never on the invalids for that conditon, I was on for Failed back Syndrome,IBS, leg injury and now I have Fibromyalgia as well.

    I was not complaining about me, Just wanted to say its a degrading experience winz control peoples lives I just wanted to make the world in general understand that Winz or whatever the label they call themselves, are not be trusted, by my example.

    Its too late to ask for review, and only I live in fear that me and for others like me, are not believed and winz make you feel that you are a bug for them to swat. Thanks anyway

  12. Linaka 12

    Err quick question has anyone noticed that the welfare bill has page 8 and page 10 missing, and where can I get them from? Sorry about the long whinge before I get so frustrated lol.???

    • HC 12.1

      Linaka –

      Grim indeed! This is exactly the problem how they get away with their conduct. They simply more or less intimidate people like you by not telling you about your rights. If they did not inform you about your right to a review, then you may have a case to argue.

      They failed in their responsibility, because under valid law you must be advised about every opportunity how to seek redress or a remedy if you do not agree with a decision. The 3-month rule is the standard but can be extended due to such scenarios.

      ALWAYS ask for reports, always ensure that you supply all relevant doc’s (particularly ones supporting your case) are presented. Give them no excuses.

      They breached the rules anyway, as a designated doctor must also access the information or an opinion from your own GP or specialist. He cannot simply make a presumptious assessment on his own in the 10 or 15 minutes he would see you. He MUST have insight in your medical history. His decision that he does not need it is negligent, yes utterly irresponsible and unprofessional. He is one of the totally biased ones!

      But Medical Appeal Board Hearings (appeal option) are often a farce anyway.

      Front up to your doctor and specialist and remind them of their Code of Ethics (of the NZ Medical Profession). The WINZ doctor breached it!

      Consider sueing the WINZ doctor for not seeking specialist advice, which is absolutely essential in such a case.

      I threatened a dentist once with legal action, due to not drilling out all the rot out of a decaying tooth that he claimed had been filled properly. The new dentist gave me his assessment that that other dentist obviously did not do his job. Due to fear of being disciplined or derigestered, he was happy to sign a cheque covering my further needed treatment!

      Do not take any more shit! Get someone to write a claim to that doctor and threaten with negligence, breach of his code and so forth, and he may start worrying about his registration!

      For the recommendation of the WWG see:

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government support for communities impacted by flooding
      Minister of Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare announced today that the Government will contribute $100,000 to the Southland regional Mayoral Relief Fund, to support communities impacted by the recent flooding in Southland.  Mr Henare says this week’s flooding has caused significant disruption to communities in the lower South Island.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • New grants for seismic strengthening of heritage buildings
    Heritage buildings throughout New Zealand will benefit from the $1.1 million in Heritage EQUIP funding grants announced today. “These grants for seismic strengthening projects help private building owners get the advice they need to start building work or to get the work completed,” Grant Robertson says. “Timaru’s Grosvenor Hotel has ...
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    1 week ago
  • Next level results for game development industry
    A new survey has found New Zealand’s game development sector has grown beyond expectations and is on track to becoming a billion dollar industry in 2025, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says. “New Zealand’s interactive media sector grew by 42 per cent in last financial year to $203.4 million, according ...
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    1 week ago
  • More than 70 marae online through PGF
    Te Tii, the lower marae at Waitangi, is among more than 70 marae now connected to broadband internet thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund’s marae connectivity scheme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today. In February 2019, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) allocated $21 million to connect rural towns ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports West Coast connectivity
    The West Coast has had a funding injection of over $1.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika today.  The PGF projects announced are:  $800,000 to Development West Coast for a Grey District Regional Digital Hub ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Agriculture Minister declares adverse event in Southland
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has declared an adverse event for the Southland and Otago regions, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers. “Widespread flooding has resulted in severe disruption, with many people evacuated from their homes and many farms being affected by flood waters. It’s putting pressure on our farmers, ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • PM announces public funeral service for Mike Moore
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a funeral service for former Labour Prime Minister the Rt Hon Mike Moore, ONZ, AO. A public service will be held on Friday 14 February at 2pm at Dilworth School senior campus, 2 Erin Street, Epsom, Auckland. “The service will be a celebration of ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Low unemployment shows economy in good shape
    Today’s news of low unemployment, rising wages and record numbers of Maori in work shows the economy is in good shape and that the Government is delivering better outcomes across New Zealand. “The Coalition Government has overseen a strong economy. Our investments in infrastructure, our focus on lifting wages of ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Opening of Waitangi Museum Te Rau Aroha
    Opening of Waitangi Museum Te Rau Aroha 9.30am, 5 February 2020 [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Good morning, Let us start with important acknowledgements. First, this special day, in remembrance of the 28th Maori Battalion, is also to honour all those men and women who have risked their lives in the service ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Support for crayfish industry after disruptions
    The government has agreed to help crayfish exporters to minimise the impact of trade disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. Between 150 and 180 tonnes of live rock lobster are currently held in New Zealand in pots and tanks, at sea and on land, after export orders were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Rural Communities Minister visits Southland flooding response
    Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor is travelling to Southland today. The region is in a state of local emergency following widespread flooding. “I’m heading down there to support response and recovery efforts and meet with the locals”, he said. “A lot of people have been evacuated from their homes, have suffered ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Māori armed forces honoured at new Waitangi museum
    Te Rau Aroha, a new museum at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, acknowledges the duty and sacrifice of Māori who served in New Zealand’s armed forces, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The museum, whose construction was funded by the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), was officially opened today at ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Recognising more of New Zealand’s Top Scholars
    More top-performing students can now be recognised with one of New Zealand’s most prestigious secondary school awards, in changes announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins today. “Changes to New Zealand Scholarship awards will allow more young people to be acknowledged for their significant academic achievements,” Chris Hipkins said. “Up to ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s 2020 Waitangi speech
    E nga iwi e pae nei ki runga o Waitangi Karanga mai, mihi mai. Nga aitua o te tau kua hipa, koutou e Ta Hek, e Pita, e Piri, e Mike, Koutou Katoa, Harae atu ra. Tenei te Whakarongo atu nei ki nga kupu korero. Kei aku rangatira e hui ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Diplomatic Corps
    ***Check against delivery*** Tēnā koutou katoa. Acknowledgements to the many Heads of Mission gathered this evening. It is good to see so many nations represented here to share in this 180th commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Welcome, especially to those for whom this is your first ...
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    2 weeks ago