Reaction roundup: Nats’ work rights policy

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 am, July 25th, 2008 - 39 comments
Categories: national, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , , , , ,

Democratic, voluntary organisations of workers:
Finsec: “Within the current framework, many workers have been able to achieve real wage increases like the 5% increase from Westpac our members have been offered this week…These pay rises have come as a result of staff being able to bargain collectively through their own independent union. National’s policies undermining collective bargaining would weaken the ability of workers to achieve real wage rises”

CTU: “National’s policy does not mention how they will lift wages, suggests workers could lose the fourth week of annual leave and have pay for statutory holidays cut, and reduces the democratic right of workers to belong to unions. This is consistent with them opposing all legislation that has improved workers lives over the last 9 years.”

EPMU: “The policy aims to take rights from workers in a new job, undermine collective bargaining, block workers accessing representation on site and undermine annual leave provisions and holiday pay rates…National’s policy shows it has no plans to lift wages in New Zealand. Every point in this policy is an attack on current work rights and every point would put downward pressure on the wages of working New Zealanders.”

NDU: “This policy will keep wages down in the rapidly growing service industries where unionisation and collective bargaining is just starting to recover and deliver improvements for some of the lowest paid workers in the country.’

NZEI: ‘the pay gap is the problem; strengthening people’s ability to collectively bargain is the answer. What in National’s policy is going to strengthen collective bargaining?’

PSA: “John Key says nothing about how National will lift wages as workers face rising fuel and food prices”

Voluntary organisation of employers:
Business NZ: “We have had quite a few pendulum swings in employment policy over the last twenty years. A period of restraint and consolidation along with enhancement of basic rights is likely to be beneficial”

39 comments on “Reaction roundup: Nats’ work rights policy ”

  1. T-rex 1

    That is a very strong statement from Business NZ.

    Great stuff.

    Ha! Captcha: “S. Connerize”. Is that like ‘terminate’?

  2. T-rex 3

    I retract my above. Reading the actual story… sigh.

    They should listen to their own advice.

    That said, I’m not sure what the problem is with allowing independent collective bargaining. It doesn’t say people CAN’T belong to unions, just that they’re allowed to form their own collectives as well. What’s wrong with that?

  3. BeShakey 4

    They seem to be struggling to get much positive comment on their policies. I guess theyre hoping that releasing them a way out from the election will give JK enough time to mesmorise people with his smile so they forget what the Nats policies are.

  4. Joker 5

    Finsec: “Within the current framework, many workers have been able to achieve real wage increases like the 5% increase from Westpac our members have been offered this week These pay rises have come as a result of staff being able to bargain collectively through their own independent union. National’s policies undermining collective bargaining would weaken the ability of workers to achieve real wage rises’

    Turkeys: We think Christmas is a terrible idea

    [Tane: Hey, um, just wondering, do you actually have a rebuttal of Finsec’s analysis, or are you just crowing about the idea of workers taking a pay cut under National’s policies?]

  5. T-rex 6

    It’s not just the smile… have you not seen the Notional Party Hypno-logo?

  6. there’s clearly thought behind this timing and vagueness:

    for one and a half years we’ve basically had no idea what national stands for – ‘change’ and smile and moderate were the memes… now, get out the bad policy quickly and quietly before the glare of the full campaign.. the only policy they want to release then is the tax cuts and probably one surprise spending promise.

  7. T-Rex. Being a union isn’t hard – you need 15 members and you jsut register with the DoL. What allowing collectives to be made when there’s no union involved (ie no organisation of wokers) means that the workers and their reps aren’t involved in deciding what goes into the collective. Instead, the boss bargains with a bargaining agent – paid by the boss, or the boss. The collective that emerges is obviously going to be in the employers’ interests and less beneficial to workers than a boss-union collective. The boss then presents workers with the collective and say take that or take nothing, and can legally refuse to bargain with the union because there is already a collective in place.

    Unions aren’t trying to protect their ‘patch’ by opposing this, they’re trying to protect workers’ bargaining power.

  8. Tane 9

    T-Rex: The problem is you’re accepting the Tories’ framing. Anyone can start a union – it’s simply a group of 15 or more workers who choose to register to bargain collectively. There are heaps of these small unions about under the current law.

    What National is proposing is to allow the boss to create his own collective agreement on lesser conditions and refuse to bargain with his employees’ chosen union. This was done in the 1990s under the ECA and it led to an undermining of collective agreements and a drop in wages.

    Add in other measures like the ability of employers to refuse unions site access and the 90 day no rights policy and you’ll see how the balance of power (and thus the ability to win higher wages) is being tilted hugely in favour of the employer.

    Like all of the right’s rhetoric of choice, the real power lies with the employer, not with the worker.

    Beshakey: The Nats may be hoping people will forget about their policies, but it also gives unions plenty of time to inform their members about what a potential National government would do to their wages.

    I suspect yesterday’s policy release will have galvanised a lot of unionists who had been quietly hoping that John Key would live up to his moderate rhetoric.

  9. T-rex 10

    “and can legally refuse to bargain with the union because there is already a collective in place”

    THAT I was not aware of. That’s f*cked up.

    Aren’t unions predicated on the ability to withdraw labour though? How can that be taken away? I mean how can you actually refuse to bargain with someone?

  10. Tane 11

    T-Rex. You lock out the workforce who remain on the union collective (unpaid) until they submit to your demands. The experience of the 1990s is that workers may hold out for a while, but eventually they need money to feed their families and pay their mortgages etc and have to submit to the non-union collective.

    It may mean a pay increase of 2% rather than 5%, but hey it’s better than being locked out without pay.

  11. T-rex 12

    The same thing could happen anyway though. If you had two unions within a single company (both of 20 people) and one of them was asking for 2% and the other for 5% then the employer could just offer 2%, and wait out the other workers.

    The question is why any of the 2% people would accept only 2%?

    I can’t see how to avoid this without having compulsory union membership of a single union, and that seems somewhat authoritarian.

  12. There are limited legal grounds for strikes.

    But, yes, that raises another point (and something I was looking at the other day) – weakening the bargaining position of unions actually increases strikes and labour/days lost.

  13. Tane 14

    T-Rex. Why would a union deliberately try to undermine the other union onsite with a lower pay deal that meant everyone lost out?

    Sure there can be tension sometimes between unions that share sites, but I’ve never seen anything like you’re suggesting.

    Unions aren’t businesses undercutting each other for market share, they’re democratic workers’ organisations. Workers decide themselves what their pay claims are, elect delegates to the negotiations and have a democratic vote to ratify the final deal.

  14. T-rex 15

    “Why would a union deliberately try to undermine the other union onsite with a lower pay deal that meant everyone lost out?”

    I don’t know – why would a non-union collective try to do the same thing?

    I can’t see how a union and a non-union would be any different to two unions. In either case there is the potential for corruption of the person doing the bargaining.

    “Workers decide themselves what their pay claims are, elect delegates to the negotiations and have a democratic vote to ratify the final deal.”

    Surely that would be equally true of a non-union collective. Or at least, if it wasn’t, it would be because the members chose to use a different arragement.

  15. Tane 16

    Because if it’s a non-union collective written and managed by the boss on a take-it-or-leave-it basis then he has an incentive to undermine wages. That’s why he’s introducing it in the first place.

    No democratic organisation of workers has an incentive to lower their own pay.

  16. Lew 17

    T-Rex: “I don’t know – why would a non-union collective try to do the same thing?”

    Because a non-union collective would likely be headed by a person negotiating on behalf of the employer, not the employees.

    That’s the fundamental issue: it’s divide and rule.

    L

  17. T-Rex. First, I think we’re confusing terminology between collective as a group of people and collective as shorthand for collective agreement. UNder National’s policy, there is no non-union collective organisation, only a non-union collective agreement. There’s not some kind of collective of workers that’s not called a union.

    Parties bargaining for the non-union collective are both paid for by the boss. They work in the interests of the boss – ie. lower pay rises.

    Unions are democratic, voluntary organisation of workers working for their members’ interests. A non-union bargaining agent is not working for the workers, it’s working for the boss.

  18. T-rex 19

    In that case it should be called a non-union non-collective.

    How could anyone accept such a conflict of interests? Why would anyone accept representation by a complete sellout, rather than deciding to abandon the non-collective and form their own.

    What I’m getting at here is – how is what you describe any different to an employer simply refusing to accede to any of a unions demands?

    What is the recourse available to a union that would not be available if a non-union-non-collective was present?

    Is it just a “united we stand” kind of thing? Is the perception that a union is less vulnerable to intimidation?

  19. T-rex 20

    So really, a non-union agreement is just the employer calling all the shots, but with a pretense of objectivity and independence.

    What a complete load of crap. That is even stupider than wanting to build a 4 lane highway from Welly to Auck.

  20. Draco TB 21

    The question is why any of the 2% people would accept only 2%?

    Why would anyone undermine their bargaining position by having multiple collectives in a work place?

  21. T-rex 22

    “Why would anyone undermine their bargaining position by having multiple collectives in a work place?”

    Because they might not believe in the ideals of the people representing them, or they might be looking for different things out of an agreement to the norm, etc etc.

  22. A collective agreement is an employment contract that applies to more than one worker. That’s why it’s called a collective.

    Under the current law. Workers through their union have the exclusive right to bargain for a collective agreement with the boss (the workers must vote to approve the collective).

    National would allow someone else than a union to bargain with the boss for a collective. Who’s that someone else? not the workers, it’s an agent of the boss. Workers are then presented with the choice – sign the collective (eg take a 2% rise, rather than the 4% you would expect from a union collective) or refuse, strike or get locked out.

    It’s not that National is trying to be evil, it just sees minimising costs to business as more important than workers pay and conditions.

  23. T-rex 24

    “Workers are then presented with the choice – sign the collective (eg take a 2% rise, rather than the 4% you would expect from a union collective) or refuse, strike or get locked out.”

    How is that any different to what would happen without a collective though?

    Union says “we demand 4%”, boss says “no, 2%” – neither will budge, and you’ve got the same strike/lockout scenario.

    I think the collective does nothing but allow the boss to pretend to be being more reasonable than they actually are. I can’t understand how anyone could ever argue it had merit.

  24. but, T-Rex, everyone loves choice.

  25. T-rex 26

    yeah – dare to be stupid.

  26. Tane 27

    T-Rex. Certainly union-busting goes on now with the ERA in its current form, but the protections in the law and the ability of unions to organise onsite make such an approach a lot harder.

    Allowing the boss to set up a non-union collective agreement, put together with the other changes National is proposing, will make it a lot easier for bad employers to bust the onsite union and reduce wages.

    That’s what the experience of the 1990s tells us. It’s certainly not a ‘choice’ that’s going to empower any workers. It will only empower bad employers.

  27. monkey-boy 28

    I have to confess I am intrigued. For example, if the employer refuses to negotiate with a non-union collective or such, what it to stop it saying ‘f** it ‘ we will just join/form a recognised union and then you will have to listen to us’?
    Unless the collective bargaining position of the non-union collective is identical to the unionised one, in which case, why have the union?
    I am also conscious that the ECA is about employment contracts. The term ‘contracts’ suggests a negotiable settlement, rather than a situation that is set in stone, does it not?
    I think what National is attempting to do here is to dilute the influence that unionised collective bargaining has in the workplace, not because it is intrinsically opposed to the concept of collective bargaining, but rather because it is a way to drive a wedge into the amount of financial clout and personnel that can be supplied to the Labour Party.
    If this is a case, then what we are witnessing is a three-pronged debate; one on the security of collective bargaining under present law versus a law change. Two, an appeal to the country to consider and debate the influence that unions hold over workplace negototiations for better or for worst. Three; whether the ‘status quo’ is being defended for altruistic reasons by the union movement and Labour, or because it perceives a further threat to its financial bases, which is already creaky.
    To put it mildly, if Keys apparently innocuous changes are embraced by the voter, and coupled with the EFA, if they change their mind, or merely amend it to take in rcent court rulings such as th eone against the EPMU, Labour and the unions will be in serious trouble.
    In short it could finish what the EFA started. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  28. Tane 29

    Lee, employers are opposed to collective bargaining because it means higher wage increases and more say from workers in the operations of the business. National is the party of employers, hence the policy.

    I think your obsession with the EFA is clouding your analysis here. National’s policy has nothing to do with the EFA or party funding – it’s essentially the same policy as Don Brash put out in 2005.

    Moreover, unions contribute only a small proportion of Labour’s funding. They don’t really have a lot of money to throw around, nor the mandate from their membership to spend a lot. Far more comes from business, MPs and wealthy individuals. The strength of the unions in elections is their ability to mobilise workers at election time. No electoral law will change that.

    Anyway Lee, I’ve been wondering for a while – given your pretence of standing for the workers, and given National’s policy will screw over said workers, how can you still support National?

  29. Anita 30

    Can someone with a better union-theory head than me (and without the flu 🙂 check this logic for me…

    The Employer-Worker dynamic is based, in the first instance on good will and the fact that, broadly, productive efficient companies can benefit both. When things go bad though, the dynamic is based in paired mirroring withdrawal rights: a labour withdrawal i.e. the right to strike; and a capital withdrawal i.e. the right to withdraw capital, usually but shutting down or moving overseas.

    We see both in action in New Zealand; on the one hand workers will threaten to stop work to improve wages and conditions (the classic strike), on the other companies will threaten to take their capital overseas, or change business activities, unless wages and conditions are cut (e.g. AirNZ saying they’d ship engineering overseas unless the EPMU could find a way of making services cheaper).

    There are two checks and balances on the withdrawal rights, the first is legislated controls (placing controls on both workers and employers), and the second is the operation of the market – a capital withdrawal is worthless if the workers can all get equivalent work elsewhere quickly, a labour withdrawal is worthless if the employer can hire equivalent staff quickly.

    So… to limit the effect of both controls the employers and workers form collectives. By forming unions or business associations/forums/whatever they can both negotiate with government over the legislative controls and prevent the replacement of capital/labour quickly (e.g. “we’ll all move overseas” or “you won’t be able to find any qualified engineers if the union strikes”).

    At least, in my flu-ridden state that seems right 🙂

    So, allowing non-union collective bargaining weakens the worker collective. While the group can bargain together, without membership of a broader union their threat of labour withdrawal is significantly weakened because they can’t prevent other workers being brought in to replace them. Secondly they have little power to negotiate with government over legislative change. Thirdly, encouraging the existence of groups of non-unionised workers weakens the unions (and through that, those workers) as it makes it easier for employers to replace them if they withdraw labour.

    So National’s proposal skews, against workers, the existing balance between employers and workers paired right to withdraw.

    Does that analysis hang together?

    [Hee – moderated for length I think – can’t be concise when I can’t stop coughing :]

  30. monkey-boy 31

    You see there you go again Tane:
    “Anyway Lee, I’ve been wondering for a while – given your pretence of standing for the workers, and given National’s policy will screw over said workers, how can you still support National?”

    You have a tendency to judge everyone by your own standards. Just because you are so ideologically entrenched that it wouldn’t even occur to you to see any merit in looking at both sides of the argument, you seem to think that nobody else can. I will support whoever I see as the best bet for the future of the country based on the merits of the arguments around the policies, and based on my own experience. Now, about my obsession with the EFA. I believe in discussions on kiwiblog I may have stated positons such as ‘I can’t believe that the unions are actually supporting this’ based on my own observations tht it would, in the wrong hands be a perfect instrument with which to screw the unions if National got in. Now, coupled with a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach to disrupting collective bargaining, if that succeeds, you will see a strike against the ability of the unions to participate in the electoral process, and you may see a waning of membership of unions which may affect say, the EPMU’s abilty to raise the limit of $120,000 it could have as a third party. If it had been allowed to by law.
    So, to be brief, the unions have been screwed already by Labours inept laws and face further of the same if National get their way.
    So I guess I should ask you: given your pretence of standing for the workers, and given Labour’s policy has screwed over said workers, how can you still support Labour?

  31. Quoth the Raven 32

    I don’t think there is much doubt that union membership and hence strength has incresed under this Labour goverment. True the EFA has decreased the amount of money a third party like a uniion can spend but unions can communicate to their members they don’t need to spend loads of cash for full page ads in the Herald.

    I think what National is attempting to do here is to dilute the influence that unionised collective bargaining has in the workplace, not because it is intrinsically opposed to the concept of collective bargaining..

    I think history shows otherwise.

  32. roger nome 33

    Lee – you aren’t too well-read on industrial relations and/or labour economics hey?

    Try slipping across to my blog, and read just the latest four posts.

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/

  33. Sorry roger.. the spam filter has taken a shine to you and your links, but it learns and since i just unspammed you four times hopefully it will stop bocking you.

  34. “Sorry roger.. the spam filter has taken a shine to you and your links”

    Don’t worry Steve.The spam filter is the only thing in the world that can possibly have the hots for the rogered gnomer.

  35. monkey boy 37

    Roger thank you I read your blog this morning and followed some of the links. Noticed Tane regurgitating much of it today as well, here and on kiwiblog, while you were doing your Abbott and Costello act. You should do him for plagiarism. Raven historically I think you are correct about national and collective bargaining, I was basing my comment on the recent policy release, which is like a neutron bomb, which may be designed annihilate the union movement, but leave the rights of collective bargaining intact, but unusable.

  36. monkey boy 38

    ps, Roger, as you are such a fount of knowledge, can you list which countries, apart from NZ, doesn’t use probationary periods in their employment laws? I am really keen to see the company we keep.

  37. Swampy 39

    “Being a union isn’t hard – you need 15 members and you jsut register with the DoL.”

    That is complete rubbish. Unions are required to register as incorporated societies and meet all the legal requirements of that law – which basically means a written constitution that meets certain minimum standards, keeping records and accounts and so on. The bureacracy makes a small union of 15 people rather unlikely.

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    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    4 days ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    6 days ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    7 days ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is the ocean acidifying?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is the ocean acidifying? Acidification of oceans ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000+ on Queen St.
    The largest protest I ever went on was in the mid 90s. There were 10,000 people there that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. An enormous mass of people, chanting together. Stretching block after block, bringing traffic to a halt.But I can’t say that’s the biggest protest I’ve ever been ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
    Hi there,I wanted to put all of Josh Drummond’s Webworm pieces all in one place. I love that he writes for Webworm — and all of these are a good read!David.Why Are So Many “Christians” Hellbent on Being Horrible?Why do so many objectively hideous people declare themselves “Christian”?Meeting the Master ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: On reflection, the six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty this week were:The Government-driven freeze in building new classrooms, local roads and water networks in order to save cash for tax cuts is frustrating communities facing massive population ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The no-vision thing
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
    Hi,One of the things I like the most about Webworm is to be able to break down the media and journalism a little, and go behind the scenes.This is one of those times.Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox from journalist Jonathan Milne, who is managing editor at Newsroom.I don’t ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
    Wrote something over at 1/200 on a familiar theme of mine: The way we frame the economy as a separate, sacred force which must be sacrificed to, the way we talk about criminals as invaders who must be repelled, the constant othering of people on the benefit, people not in ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
    A nice bit of news today: my 4600-word historical fantasy-horror piece, A Voyage Among the Vandals, has been accepted by Phobica Books (https://www.phobicabooks.co.uk/books) for their upcoming Pirate Horror anthology, Shivering Timbers. This one is set in the Mediterranean, during the mid-fifth century AD. Notable for having one of history’s designated ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
    Since the National government came to power, it has been surrounded by allegations of conflicts of interest. Firstly, there's the fast-track law, which concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers, some of whom have received donations from companies whose projects they will be deciding on. Secondly, there's the close ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
    There was no less razzamatazz about the 2024 Budget than about earlier ones. Once again the underlying economic analysis got lost. It deserves more attention.Just to remind you, the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU), is the Treasury’s independent assessment and so can be analysed by other competent economists (although ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
    There are two failings that consistently characterise a National government. One is a lack of imagination, the other is their willingness to look after their mates, no matter what harm it might do to everyone else.This is how we come to have thousands of enormous trucks carving up our roads. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
    In May, we learned that National MP David MacLeod had "forgotten" to declare $178,000 in electoral donations. Filing a donation return which is false in any material particular is a crime, and the Electoral Commission has now referred MacLeod to police, since they're the only people who are allowed to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
    The Kotahitanga Parliament 1897: A Māori Parliament – at least in the guise of a large and representative body dedicated to describing the shape of New Zealand’s future from a Māori perspective – would be a very good idea.THE DEMAND for a “Māori Parliament” needs to be carefully unpicked. Some Pakeha, ...
    1 week ago
  • Cowpats and Colonials.
    Dumbtown, is how my friend Gerard refers to people like ZB listeners - he’s not wrong.Normally on a Friday I start by looking at Mike Hosking’s moronic reckons of the week which he vomits down the throats of his audience like helpless baby birds in a nest, grateful for the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on cutting the sick leave of vulnerable workers
    Should sick leave be part and parcel of the working conditions from Day One on the job, just like every other health and safety provision? Or should access to sick leave be something that only gradually accumulates, depending on how long a worker has been on the payroll? If enacted ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Move: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    So long as we live in a democracy, economic policy can never be anything other than social-democratic.“HEH!”, snorted Laurie, as he waved his debit card over the EFTPOS machine. “Same price as last week. I guess budgets aren’t what they used to be.”“I wouldn’t know,” replied the young barman, wearily, ...
    1 week ago
  • In Search Of Unity.
    Kotahitanga: New Zealand’s future belongs to those who do not fear a nation carved out of unity and solidarity, and are willing to trust the carvers. Some New Zealanders will be required to step up, and others, perhaps for the first time in their lives, will be expected to step ...
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 7-June-2024
    Welcome to another Friday roundup! Here are some recent links and stories that caught our eye, perfectly timed for your watercooler discussions and weekend reading. As always feel free to share more in the comments. Our header image this week is by Patrick Reynolds, and shows Te Komititanga from above. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 7
    As Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, ACT’s Brooke van Velden is fronting proposed changes to sick pay regulations and The Holiday Act. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Did we boil the oceans by cutting pollution?
    Lowering aerosol emissions from shipping has altered clouds, with potentially drastic effects. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: Here’s the top six news items of note in climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, and a discussion above between Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer:New evidence is increasingly pointing at efforts ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024
    Open access notables Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment: Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect ...
    1 week ago
  • Fragments
    The best observation I’ve read this week about the deep, profound harm Trump is doingTrump has hurled threats and smears at witnesses, jurors and the judge (including his family)... [he] has tried to intimidate witnesses and delegitimize the New York courts as corrupt. In continuing to incite his mob (that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • March for Nature
    Do do do do do do do doDo do do do do doDi di di di di di di di di di diNature enter me…In 2018 the Labour lead government banned new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa. A change welcomed by those who care deeply for our environment and ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 6
    The Transport Minister is trying to push through urgent legislation that would allow him to change emissions standards for car imports without approval from Parliament, after only consulting car importers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Just as two major reports showed fossil fuel burning was warming the planet to dangerous levels and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 2
    This is a guest post by reader Grant A, the second of a pair about how to fix Broadway. If you missed the beginning of the show, here’s the link to Act 1 from yesterday. Yesterday, I discussed changing traffic circulation around Broadway in Newmarket. This included implementing a car-free ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • National breaks another health promise
    National has broken another manifesto health promise, apparently to save only $550,000. It will now train an additional 25 med students next year rather than the 50 it promised. This comes on top of the delays caused by National’s coalition partners in pushing ahead with the Waikato Medical School and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago

  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
    Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Andrew Bayly, travels to Singapore today to attend scam and fraud prevention meetings. “Scams are a growing international problem, and we are not immune in New Zealand. Organised criminal networks operate across borders, and we need to work with our Asia-Pacific partners to tackle ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
    People who were displaced by severe weather events in 2022 and 2023 will be supported by the extension of Temporary Accommodation Assistance through to 30 June 2025. Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says the coalition Government is continuing to help to those who were forced out of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “Natural gas is critical to keeping our lights on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and Malaysia to intensify connections
    New Zealand and Malaysia intend to intensify their long-standing, deep connections, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s oldest friends in South-East Asia – and both countries intend to get more out of the relationship," Mr Peters says.   "Our connections already run deep and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ending contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua
    The end of Contracted Emergency Housing (CEH) motels in Rotorua is nearing another milestone as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces it will not renew consents for six of the original 13 motels, Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka says. The government is committed to stop using CEH ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
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