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Public Service Reform

Written By: - Date published: 4:30 pm, September 6th, 2018 - 27 comments
Categories: Economy, labour, Privatisation, treasury - Tags:

Apart from the 170 working parties, Wellington is awash with a large rocking boatload of corporate governors of entities from the Walking Authority to the Remuneration Authority to the Electricity Authority to New Zealand On Air. Far be it for me to say whether the whole of New Zealand would be improved if that boat sank and the lot of them drowned. What they do is get in the way of direct democratic accountability to elected Ministers. For a country the size of Melbourne, we have a ridiculously complex state, and this layer of accountablility is largely a complete waste of our taxpayer money and degrades our agency as citizens.

Just a tiny beam of sunlight promises something different.

Way, way back in the late 1980s, most of New Zealand’s public services were pulled from being a single largely unified set of public servants who were accountable through a series of arcane checks and balances to their elected Minister, out into something in which most Departments had chief executives, and many had boards. That was the accountability line: largely remove direct democratic oversight in favour of various levels of corporatisation.

Now, I haven’t said nice things at The Standard about Chris Hipkins, but he is embarking on a major overhaul of the governance structure of the entire public services. Do we really need all these boards? Do they really add more value than what they would have from direct Ministerial oversight? Beyond rolling back New Public Management, can a new reform process form a public service machinery fit for purpose?

The proposed changes are headed straight for that old State Sector Act (1988) and a bunch of others.

Chris Hipkins said recently:

The changes would drive two wider outcomes. On a system wide level, the changes would see the Public Service operate as one, joined up system to tackle the big, complex challenges facing New Zealand. The Public Service would have more capability to wrap multiple services around the needs of citizens.

Under the current model individual departments deliver services that they have sole accountability for. This doesn’t work well when agencies need to be working collectively were citizens often must deal with a number of different agencies on a single issue.”

So the subtext in there is seamless customer service:

There are at least a dozen occasions in everybody’s lives that require major interactions with the government. The birth of a child, moving house, moving jobs, retirement, the death of a close family member are all examples of where having one single contact with government would be much better for citizens.”

Under the changes, the Public Service would be given a range of flexible organisational options to deliver better services and outcomes. Some of those options include:

  • Executive Board of chief executives: this would mean chief executives are jointly responsible for achieving complex government priorities
  • Joint ventures: this would allow the public service to join up people and resources from different agencies to work on common issues
  • One stop shops: bringing related services together at a single point

The Government also proposed to include in legislation the purpose principles, and values of the Public Service. Consultation ends on October 12th, which is fairly quick for a complex topic and shows internally that they know what they want and are going to do it.

A recent speech which outlines his intent is here.

According to Minister Hipkins, they have five levers to achieve intended changes:

  1. Legislation: This includes the State Sector Act, Public Finance Act and Crown Entities Act, which set the basic rules and structure of the system.
  2. Organisational change: This will help drive our policy priorities, for e.g. changing organisational cultures to encourage collaborative behaviours that would help in establishing new agencies if necessary. Recent examples with this government include the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Pike River, Recovery Agency.
  3. Public Finance: This can enhance effectiveness of public services, for e.g. the reform of the Public Finance Act including the wellbeing budget, the commitment for an Independent Fiscal Institution, as well as specific funding decisions.
  4. Expectations and Accountability: these can be used to focus and drive effort on issues like reducing child poverty and Cabinet Committee outcome measures.
  5. The final lever for change is Employment and workforce policy: This is about decisions that help make the public service an attractive employer by building the skills base and paying the living wage and implementing pay equity and fair pay agreements.

I’m not expecting to see the Public Works Department re-form – NZTA is big enough already. And there’s plenty of horizontal integration occurring already in Minister Twyford’s portfolios through simple Ministerial force. There would need to be a root-and-branch of the Public Finance Act to decorproatise this country, and I don’t see appetite for that.

And I am sure we think there are a few time-wasters who sound like the Grand Pooh-Ba from the Mikado, who deigns to serve his Mikado (who is also the Lord High Executioner) suchly:

It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-In-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buck Hounds, Groom of the Back Stairs, Arch Bishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor, all rolled in to one!”

Actually the most lasting cultural change from the late 1980s in the Wellington public service, as far as I can see, is that every Department is rocked by perpetual restructures that ensure that no-one commits to their job because everyone is afraid. There are too many Lord High Executioners; too much make work masquerading as a necessity from corporatised accountability layers.

Apart from slowing the rate of the executioners’ sword, I am hoping that there will be more initiatives such as The Southern Initiative in which horizontal accountability gets cracking into really poor areas of Auckland. I would very much like to hear why Minister Hipkins think this version of reform is more effective than the tightly calibrated set of measures for improving citizens’ lives spelled out by Bill English prior to the last election.

This is a reform process with the potential to clear out a layer or two of make work luvvies, who exist as largely non-value-adding chumps reifying themselves as Wellington’s haute-bourgeoisie experts coming out to feed Saturday morning at Moore Wilsons.

It is up to Minister Hipkins to determine if he is an executioner of waste and privilege, or a middle manager simply replicating himself as middle manager.

27 comments on “Public Service Reform”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Leave my Walking Access Commision alone!

    https://www.walkingaccess.govt.nz/

    • Ad 1.1

      Bless their walking socks.

      • OnceWasTim 1.1.1

        Sorry @Ad. The GWRC with its transport plan has put paid to all that.
        Apparently now-a-days, they’ll need acceptable fashion experiences (going forward) in order to grace the services of a basic transport ‘expereince’ going forward’

        Even the fucking EASIEST of solutions aren;t within the realm of the fuck-witters who’ve a vested interest and who think a Number 18 revirew is enuff.

        ( Sorry Darren – not nearly enuff )

        • OnceWasTim 1.1.1.1

          ew ew ew, I realise you prolly didnt mean to go so low as a local community lebvel.
          But since we have, and in the context of a Kruss Huppkins ruview (going ford),
          Do you think Kruss might find it easier to register is man-chile?
          All that ternal fears; then all that shit once you’ve buried the after-burth (no worries -it’ll go forth………….
          prolly shouldn;t go too much further in the interests of a Jacinda happy-babe

          (although she prolly should get with the programme with mothers in refugee camps that haven’t had as easy as her – even including a partner whose preoccupatiom is first with bubbs, then sea-lie.

          Fuck! Jacinda – what the fuck are you thinking. ( My guess is pragmatism rather than making a difference)

  2. Stunned Mullet 2

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just drop a small nuclear device on Wellington and start over…………the sacrifice of the good people of Wellington would be duly noted and eulogised by the rest of the country.

  3. BM 3

    Who’s behind this public sector restructuring?

    Richie Cunningham is just the spokesperson, any idea who the puppet master is?

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      The Minister of State Services. Scoop has his introduction of the initiative in full here: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1809/S00075/hipkins-consultation-on-public-service-reform-4918.htm

      So “the purpose of today is to outline the changes we are proposing and to launch the start of a conversation with you as key stakeholders and with the public. We need you to help us reshape the Public Service. We want to get this right so it’s really important that you have your say.”

      He demonstrates that he’s a typical Labour minister by failing to include instructions as to how the public can actually do what he suggests.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Probably the most vital design feature to integrate is an integral liaison function to enable collaboration. Break down the old silo mentality, which makes departments independent of each other, and restricts public servants to specific functions.

    Essential to incorporate a mechanism by which both departments and public servants are specifically required to serve the public on the basis of our common interests (instead of just doing as they’re told).

    That requires all to operate according to their conscience, and do their duty by taking responsibility for their actions. That provides autonomy and agency. Enforce accountability to both peers and authority: that will keep everyone on the same page in respect of what is required and will constrain and discipline idiosyncrasy.

    So that’s an outline of how I’d do it if I were minister. Obviously Hipkins will be more timid, unimaginative and will need others to point him in the right direction.

  5. OnceWasTim 5

    Fark! at Ad! I need a while to clutch my pearls and take the entirety of all your post in.
    And I’m wondering whether you’ve been on the blower to Martyn Bradbury. Only because not too many weeks back, I’d thought one of your posts was singing the praises of one of the biggest government bugger’s muddles (MoBIE).

    I need time to cope! blow me down and call me Doris.

    Like you, I am hoping Hipkins’ proposals are more than turd polishing, and not merely based on how much of a hassle it is to register a child and engage with the state.

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    From the govt website: “Under the changes, the Public Service would be given a range of flexible organisational options to deliver better services and outcomes. Some of those options include:

    Executive Board of chief executives: This would mean chief executives are jointly responsible for achieving complex government priorities
    Joint Ventures: This would allow the Public Service to join up people and resources from different agencies to work on common issues
    One stop shops: Bringing related services together at a single point.

    The Government also proposed to include in legislation the purpose, principles and values of the Public Service, Chris Hipkins said. “It’s a simple thing but spelling out the purpose, the principles and values will provide the foundations on which the Public Service operates which I believe will have a unifying effect. It’s about ensuring the Public Service is imbued with a spirit of service, acts with integrity, and fulfils its constitutional role supporting Executive Government.””

    The Exec board concept must be implemented to flex in response to situational demands. One way to design for such flexibility is to recreate the board on an as-needed basis: using only CEOs with the relevant expertise for each major policy initiative, empowering them to incorporate consultants & co-ordinating managers if or when necessary. A similarly effective design could be to use a small permanent executive board for the purpose of the creation of subsidiary task-specific organising groups which could also operate as independent boards reporting to the relevant minister.

    I can’t see any functional difference between the joint venture and one-stop-shop options so it could be the same idea framed differently arriving from different advisory groups prior to the announcement. I agree that such coordinating groups are essential to produce a culture of effective collaboration.

    The quote from the minister shows that his head is in the right place as regards goals and intentions. Let’s hope he also gets a range of helpful suggestions and advice from both civil servants and the public, to facilitate design & implementation.

  7. R.P Mcmurphy 7

    where do I sign up for a job?

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Here’s the essence of current govt expectations for the output of the reform process: “the Act is currently based on a model of a single department delivering, with strong lines of vertical accountability from one Chief Executive to a single Minister. That doesn’t work where we need agencies working collectively, across organisational boundaries, to achieve results for New Zealanders.

    There is also an expectation that public services are more accessible and organised with the citizen at the centre. The Public Service needs to be able to work as an agile and adaptable system in which people and resources are able to move more flexibly across present agency boundaries.”

    All those career public servants who have spent years learning the inadequacies of the current system ought to sit down in a quiet space with pen & paper & draft a list of all the changes they see as essential, based on their personal experience. Then keep it handy to use as basis for a written document submission or word-process it into an electronic file for when govt provides a place to submit it to!

  9. greywarshark 9

    If we stopped bringing over furriners of different colours ato be public servants and executives nd looked to train up our own people it would help leave jobs for NZ when shrinking our public service would start that retreat.

    Then have a look at the laws. Can they be simplified, and then properly monitored.
    Can we get down to half as many say? Health and safety are super tight while the government lets waterways and drinking water be polluted. The safety part pftem crops up after an accident.

    There seem to be rooms full of new law makers like the image. They have to turn out work so they can keep on being paid. Is it a USA practice, I think health and safety crops up in foreign media as well. Practicality rules OK.

  10. Michael 10

    I agree that the State Sector needs reform but Hipkins’ ideas will not achieve it. The PSA will never let a “Labour” government do anything to stop public servants abusing and mistreating the people they are paid to serve.

  11. D'Esterre 11

    “Actually the most lasting cultural change from the late 1980s in the Wellington public service, as far as I can see, is that every Department is rocked by perpetual restructures that ensure that no-one commits to their job because everyone is afraid. There are too many Lord High Executioners…”

    I’m a former public servant. I was only briefly in Wellington; for most of my career, I worked in other parts of NZ.

    In my view, Rogernomics was the worst thing ever to happen to the public service. It might sound corny now, but there was an esprit de corps which had developed over many decades, and redounded to the benefit of all of us. We understood that we were there to serve the public, that we could make a whole-of-working-life career of it if we wished. And that was no bad thing. In the old days, late 19th and early 20th centuries, Catholics could get work in the public service, when they were turned away from other areas of employment.

    The big government departments acted as training grounds for young architects and engineers, along with various trades. The loss of, for instance, the Ministry of Works, has been incalculable from that point of view.

    The constant restructuring is nonsensical: it achieves nothing. Calling in outside consultants to carry out reviews: now there’s make-work for you!

    The old public service wasn’t perfect; no human organisation is. But it was a great deal more efficient and – certainly where I worked – efficacious, than what’s left of it now.

    “… a layer or two of make work luvvies, who exist as largely non-value-adding chumps reifying themselves as Wellington’s haute-bourgeoisie experts coming out to feed Saturday morning at Moore Wilsons.”

    That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? And how accurate is it? The public service in Wellington seems to be dominated by contractors now. Not much opportunity for make-work in such an uncertain environment, I’d have thought.

    I wish Hopkins well with his reform project. But I’m dubious about whether he can undo 30 years of systematic wrecking of the public service.

    • Ad 11.1

      D’Esterre, that “…layer of make-work luvvies …” line was directed at the Directors of the Boards, not at the public servants.

      Public servants are generally awesome.

      And D’Esterre, with regards to your career, thank you for your service to the country.

      • D'Esterre 11.1.1

        Ad: “was directed at the Directors of the Boards, not at the public servants.”

        Pleased to hear it! I’d started looking sideways at the Moore Wilson customers…

        “…thank you for your service to the country.”

        Thanks, Ad. I enjoyed it for the most part. Until Rogernomics happened along.

    • Marcus Morris 11.2

      Couldn’t agree more. Much as I admired David Lange and had a great affection for him, his lasting legacy has been “Tomorrow’s Schools” which has been a disaster in my opinion. Before the “business model” was introduced we had a system that was admired throughout the world and that was producing world leading “out comes”. Education Boards and the Department provided an over-riding umbrella of expertise and assistance that was free and readily available. When the “business model” was introduced “assistance” came from private providers at a cost, many schools, especially in the primary sector, had great difficulty in getting suitable persons into their management structures (not so difficult for secondary schools because they always had a greater degree of autonomy). In the pre “TS” days the Department or local Education Board had the ability to provide assistance and solutions very quickly when a school was having an issue of any nature.

      Possibly the worst aspect was the competition it has created between school for roll numbers. Ridiculous amounts of money is and has been spent on glossy promotional material, often with little actual benefit. This is/was particularly evident in medium sized rural towns where two schools (one the older established identity) competed in a very limited market. Vast amounts of money was spent that could have been utilised so much more effectively in providing educational facilities within the schools themselves.

      • D'Esterre 11.2.1

        Marcus Morris: ““Tomorrow’s Schools” which has been a disaster”

        Couldn’t agree more. It’s turned out to have pretty much nothing to recommend it.

        We’d all have been far better off, had Lange not caught the neolib bug, and Douglas had discovered a religious vocation and entered a closed order, before he made it into Parliament.

    • D'Esterre 11.3

      “Hopkins”

      Of course that should be Hipkins. As I know very well, but was not quick enough to spot the mistake last night.

      Bloody auto-edit….

  12. Tuppence Shrewsbury 12

    Soooooo….. cuts to the public service in the drive for efficiency.

    The colours may change but our rulers remain the same.

    • Ad 12.1

      There’s no signal of cuts at all.
      On the contrary the government is rolling out massive programmes, which of course requires more people to run them.

  13. millsy 13

    Makes a change from “The government’s not that good at doing this, so we will let the private sector do it instead.”.

  14. Steve Bradley 14

    We do want a central and local government which serves the people, And even more, enables the people to serve themselves as much as practicable. This can’t happen in 5 minutes, but the way could be opened to facilitate local citizen power over areas of life where people live.

    Areas such as public spaces, local traffic planning, land use, playgrounds, employment; essential services such as post office, bank, library, gymnasia, social welfare office, health clinics, could benfit from more direct citzen input and control.

    Potential for direct citizen control over automobile noise, liquor retailing, speed limits, cross-walks, public toilets, cleaning streets, bus stops, and so on (imagine!) could repurpose layers of stifling bureaucracy and allow citizens to function like adults in control of their own neighbourhoods.

    If we want communities with less financialised capitalism, more environmental richness, and increased levels of physical and mental health, self-acting comunalism is a good place to develope.

  15. corodale 15

    Yes, good article, good plans, good luck.

    Retreating from technocratic governance-by-finance, back to ecological principles. Using a decentralised-web-chain, to make insights and action possible:

    Would govt then see how welfare, environment, social services, education, housing and military can all combine as a grand solution? Eg. Post-school community-service (social/environmental/military), filling alternative accommodation niches, as a trial of a UBI, linked to the ethos of life-long-education, learning-by-doing and voluntary service.

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    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    6 days ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    6 days ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    1 week ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
    And to think he gave all the potential goodwill away with that moronic, cult-like statement (repeated ad nauseam by many National hardliners) that Key is quite simply “the greatest PM we ever had”… Installation complete: this was nothing ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    National MP and former Conservation Minister Maggie Barry will not seek re-election next year. Good riddance. Because in case anyone has forgotten, barry is a bullying thug who terrorised both public servants and fellow MPs. She is one of the people who makes Parliament a toxic workplace, and our country ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
    The Zero Carbon Bill is back in the House today for its second reading. While this isn't the final stage, its still effectively D-Day for the bill. Because today, at around 5pm, is when we're going to find out if it has a majority, whether National will support it or ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Winston is right
    Winston Peters is in court today, suing a bunch of former Minister and civil servants over their pre-election leak of his superannuation repayment. He's characterised the leak as malicious, and said that it is repugnant that his information was passed on to Ministers to use for political advantage. And he's ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Media impartiality
    Sky's economics editor, Ed Conway has posted a Twitter thread responding to a claim that - as far as I can see - Labour never made:
    Are NHS operation cancellations at an all-time high? That's the impression you might have been left with if you read this story from the ...
    1 week ago
  • Finish what’s on your plate
    Murray Cox Do I have to finish my favourite genome? That’s an often-asked question. Geneticists generally strive to produce high-quality genomes that sequence every last gene, making full use of the state-of-the-art technologies coming on stream. Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Gainful Employment: A Cautionary Tale.
    Transformative Politics: The idea is to turn each recipient into an unwitting accomplice in their own transformation. From interested observer to hyped-up activist, sharing our messages promiscuously with ‘friends’. You’ll be part of an ever-expanding circulatory system, Jennifer, for the ideas that will win us the election.”JENNIFER SKITTERED her chair ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand should not fund bigotry
    Two years ago, the Cook Islands government announced that it was planning to join the civilised world and decriminalise consensual homosexual sex between men. Now, they've reversed their position, and decided to criminalise lesbians into the bargain:Two years ago, in a step welcomed by many people including the gay and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More tyranny in Australia
    The boycott is a fundamental tool of protest. By choosing who we buy from, we can send a message, and hopefully change corporate behaviour. Historically, boycotts have been effective, for example over apartheid in South Africa and Israel, in forcing divestment from Myanmar, and in ending bus segregation in the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Submission for rationality and science against the assaults of pre-modernism and post-modernism
    Jan Rivers spoke at the Abortion Legislation Select Committee in favour of the bill, but in opposition to calls from other submitters to exchange the word ‘woman’ for ‘person’ throughout the bill. Jan is a supporter of the feminist group Speak Up For Women and has recently written an excellent ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • My loyal readership of … Cam girls and Pornbots?
    I checked my traffic stats:I was intrigued by 'monica29' - who was this very dedicated individual?  I clicked on the link, to be greeted with ...Ho, hum.Spreadin' the word, spreadin' the word.  Doesn't matter who hears it, as long as it gets out there. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Worth repeating forever
    There have been three polls since the election was announced, and I will shamelessly steal YouGov / UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells' summary of them:Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% YouGov ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lutte Ouvriere on the explosion in Chile
    The following article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the weekly newspaper of the organisation usually known by the same name in France. When, for the second time this year, Chilean President Piñera announced an increase in the price of Metro tickets from 800 to 830 pesos, students in the high ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Wage theft – I’m fucking over it.
    Today, a worker contacted me asking if she could go to the police over her employer stealing thousands of dollars from her in unpaid wages. The employer also did not pay this worker’s taxes or student loan which amounts to tax fraud. As a workers rights activist, who founded the ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago
  • On The Rebound.
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered, They're Yours: Is there any person more vulnerable than a jilted lover on the rebound? Or, anything more certain than that the charmer, the predator, the glib spinner of lies and promises will seek such broken people out? Yes, of course, he will love every one of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rabbi urges congregation to vote against Corbyn
    Though Jonathan Romain is a fairly high profile Rabbi, writing in several papers and popping up on TV and the radio, this story doesn't seem to have made it to the Guardian yet, so I'll take the unusual step of linking the Stephen Pollard edited Jewish Chronicle:Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • My absurdly optimistic prediction
    There's an election afoot, and that is when noted opinion formers such as myself get to make wild fools of ourselves by pretending we have the faintest idea what will happen.So, here is my absurdly optimistic prediction:Labour - 285Conservative - 262SNP - 53Lib Dems - 20PC - 5Ireland - 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image Credit: Increase Social Media Traffic & Website Traffic I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A mountain of a challenge in banning glyphosate
    Belinda Cridge I was reading my son a story last night. A great tale of derring-do of five mountaineers scaling the Matterhorn for the first time. One in the party had tried six times previously and failed, this was the last attempt before winter closed another season. They tried a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • This government has a problem with secrecy
    As introduced, the Zero Carbon Bill included an expansive secrecy clause, which would have covered virtually all decisions by the Climate Change Commission over our most important policy area. The Ministry for the Environment admitted this was a mistake (or as they put it, an "oversight"), and the select committee ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A small New Zealand songbird that hides food for later use provides insights into cognitive evolutio...
    Rachael Shaw, Victoria University of Wellington When we think about animals storing food, the image that usually comes to mind is a squirrel busily hiding nuts for the winter. We don’t usually think of a small songbird taking down an enormous invertebrate, tearing it into pieces and hiding these titbits ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    4 hours ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    6 days ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    6 days ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    1 week ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today. Almost $20 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Peters discusses Pacific challenges and denuclearisation in Seoul
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, discussed in Seoul today opportunities to work more closely in the Pacific and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Mr Peters and Minister Kang confirmed New Zealand and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development  Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Connecting the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 launched
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence Minister of Defence Ron Mark will today launch the Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 Defence Assessment  during a speech at Te Papa.  The Assessment outlines how Defence will partner with our Pacific Island neighbours and invest in Pacific regional security architecture. The Plan aligns with the Coalition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF funding could transform Gisborne company into “beacon of employment” in two years
    A new Provincial Growth Fund investment could create about 80 new jobs in Gisborne over the next two years, turning a local small business into a “beacon of employment” in the process. Regional Economic Development Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau said the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi funding stream would provide $1.6m ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Two years of progress
    This week, we’re taking action on climate change, expanding trades education – and celebrating two years of progress! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit the Republic of Korea and Japan
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week. “The Republic of Korea and Japan are two of New Zealand’s closest partners in the region with whom we share common values and ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
    Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. "Judge Shaw, who is currently one of the inquiry commissioners, is extremely well qualified for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    57 mins ago
  • Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North
    The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital. The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Bowel Screening hits halfway point
    The roll out of the National Bowel Screening Programme has reached the halfway mark, with 10 out of 20 District Health Boards now part of the programme. MidCentral DHB, which covers Palmerston North, Manawatu and surrounding districts, this week became the latest to DHB to offer free bowel screening to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • More vaccines for meningococcal disease
    The Government welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund a vaccine to protect young people from meningococcal disease from 1 December this year. “Meningococcal disease is a serious threat which people at higher risk should be protected from,” says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter. “The combined pharmaceutical budget was increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Fisheries innovation projects supported
    Groups involved with innovative fisheries research projects are encouraged to apply for government support in the latest funding round from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the SFF Futures funding is designed to be flexible enough to support small or large projects across a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government fixes culturally arranged marriage visa issue
    The Government has fixed an issue affecting how Immigration New Zealand has processed visa applications for culturally arranged marriages, which will now see a consistent process applied which ensures people with legitimate arranged marriages can visit New Zealand while also preventing any rorting of the system. Earlier this year Immigration ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Extension for Royal Commission into Mosque attacks
    The Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques will report back on 30 April 2020 to give it more time to hear submissions and consider information, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Royal Commission was originally scheduled to report back to Government by 10 December 2019. “There has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Terrorism and Trade on agenda as Foreign Minister visits the United States
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities. Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Hoiho get extra support alongside 168 community conservation groups backing nature
    The recently crowned Bird of the Year, the hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, is getting a much needed helping hand alongside more than 168 other community conservation projects announced Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage today. 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand are benefiting from $8 million in government grants, including $500,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New safety measures for modified pistols
    Controls on assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms are to be broadened to include some types of pistols, under changes to a bill currently making its way through Parliament. Police Minister Stuart Nash has tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to the Arms Legislation Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit Singapore and Thailand
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark will travel to Singapore today to conduct a counterpart visit and to co-chair the third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting with his counterpart, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. “Singapore is one of our most important defence partners in the region, and our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Future secured for Salisbury School
    Nelson’s Salisbury School is to be rebuilt, creating a modern and suitable learning environment for students at the residential special school, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The school for girls aged 8-15, in Richmond, was earmarked for closure by National until the process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Resource management reform options released
    The panel undertaking a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act has identified the main issues to be addressed and options for reform and is calling for feedback to inform its final report.  In July the Government announced the comprehensive review of the resource management system, including the RMA - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission established
    An important safety valve has been added to New Zealand’s criminal justice system with the third reading of the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill today. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Racing Industry destined to be on-track
    Racing Minister Winston Peters welcomes the tabling of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) 2019 Annual Report in Parliament today. He says the 2019 Annual Report marks the point when New Zealand’s racing industry’s decline was arrested and a turnaround started. RITA’s 2019 Annual Report recorded an industry net profit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand firefighter support to Queensland
    The New Zealand Government is today sending 21 firefighters to help fight the ongoing catastrophic Australian bushfires. “The fires in Australia are in some of the toughest, most challenging conditions ever,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.  “As of yesterday morning, there were 100 active bushfire-related incidents across Queensland and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supporting all schools to succeed
      More frontline support for schools through a new education agency, as part of a redesigned Ministry of Education More support for principals and school boards including through a new centre of leadership and local leadership advisor roles New independent disputes panels for parents and students Management of school property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reform to support better outcomes for Māori learners and whānau
    The Government’s reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system is a watershed moment in education and an opportunity to create meaningful change for ākonga Māori and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis said today. “Last year through Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, Māori teachers, parents, ākonga, whānau, hapū and iwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Infrastructure pipeline growing
    Infrastructure Minister is welcoming the first of many updated project pipelines from the newly established New Zealand Infrastructure Commission today. The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, has released an expanded pipeline of major capital projects – another crucial step towards delivering better infrastructure outcomes. “The first iteration of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tighter firearms law to further improve safety
    Tougher gun laws designed to improve public safety through firearms prohibition orders are proposed in a new document released for public input. Police Minister Stuart Nash says firearms prohibition orders (FPOs) would give new powers to Police to ensure high-risk individuals come nowhere near firearms. “We have already prohibited the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New TVNZ chair & directors confirmed
    Andy Coupe has been confirmed as TVNZ’s new Board Chair. “Mr Coupe has strong commercial and capital markets experience and TVNZ has benefited from his technical knowledge of business and finance, as well as his extensive governance experience,” the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi said.  Andy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Hutt Road cycle path officially opened
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today officially opened a separated pathway, following the completion of the Kaiwharawhara Stream bridge, which will improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along Hutt Road.  The $6.8m Hutt Road project provides a separated path for cycling and pedestrians, the replacement of informal parking ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Announcement of new Ambassador to Russia
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of career diplomat Si’alei van Toor as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia. “I’m pleased to appoint Ms van Toor to this position. She brings a wealth of experience to the role having previously served as Senior Trade Adviser to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update
    The Treasury’s 2019 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) will be released on Wednesday December 11, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Coalition Government will publish the 2020 Budget Policy Statement at the same time, outlining the priorities for Budget 2020. Further details on arrangements for the release will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Giving a Boost to Kiwi small businesses
    A new initiative to better support small businesses through hands-on mentoring and advice has been launched by the Minister for Small Business. The first event in the Kiwi Business Boost series of regional workshops and online tools has been launched in Wairoa by Stuart Nash. “The Business Boost initiative combines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Nearly three quarters of Rolleston connected to UFB
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