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Rent a crowd

Written By: - Date published: 7:09 am, November 19th, 2010 - 32 comments
Categories: activism, john key - Tags:

I understand the anger that drove some leftie activists to confront John Key in Mana yesterday (though I think that anything that looks like direct aggression against a politician is always a tactical mistake). But Key’s response triggered one of my pet peeves:

Prime Minister confronted by ‘rent a crowd’ in Mana

Prime Minister John Key has been forced to make a strategic retreat from a Porirua shopping mall after being mobbed by a group of trade union and labour activists.

He was out campaigning for National in the Mana by-election, and dismissed his opponents as a “rent a crowd”.

“Rent a crowd” is a deliberate attempt to denigrate the motives of the protesters. The goal is to distract from the fact that Left wing political protests are grass roots events. They consist of people. People who care enough to get up off the sofa and do something to try and change the world. No one pays people to turn up at such protests (well no one has ever paid me!). “Rent a crowd”? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ironically, it is the right wing that needs to literally pay for its “crowds”. When it comes to activists the right is supported by far more money and far fewer warm bodies. It’s supporters would rather write a cheque to an anonymous trust than actually get involved. So if they do try and fake a mass protest, they need to pay well. Like the 2008 “March for Democracy”, $450,000 in advertising costs to get a turnout of 4 to 5,000 people. Let’s call it $100 a head. Now that’s what I call “rent a crowd”.

32 comments on “Rent a crowd”

  1. burt 1

    It was really good that people were able to speak their minds and promote their own views without needing to have a sign showing everyone their full name and residential address.

  2. Bored 2

    Shonkey is missing something: under his watch there is no money left to rent a crowd. You can of course always get NZers to turn out free of charge if you say it is for an audition as Hobbits for the sainted PJ.

  3. Fisiani 3

    All this commotion, fear and loathing in a safe Labour seat. The success of National in constantly winning the hearts and minds of the people is terrifying the Left.

    • r0b 3.1

      What – like Mt Albert? Yeah, that was scary all right. And when all those hearts and minds elected a “Labour Mayor from South Auckland”. Terrifying!

    • Sean 3.2

      From what I can gather, living in the electorate, the crowd was Matt McCarten supporters and they did it for free.

      Beyond that, the fear and loathing these people were expressing would be aimed at a government which has lowered real incomes across the board in New Zealand, and by a shameful 11.5 and 19 percent for Maori and Pacific Islander communities respectively.

    • Colonial Viper 3.3

      Its politics mate! I’m really surprised that you think that its fear when its actually fight! And Labour is simply practicing for the real fight: 2011!!! Which means its gonna be a fight on the street, street by street, group by group, away from the Boardroom drinks that Key and co. is used too.

      And if you think John Key has seen anything yet just wait until we smash National’s margin in Botany. You speak of fear? Do you want to know why John Key is keeping Pansy Wong on? Because the NAT strategists fear the very real possibility of a 10% swing against this unfair and unscrupulous Government, showing up in Botany. 15% if we have anything to do with it.

      • Brett 3.3.1

        Do you consider people who vote for National,the enemy?

        • felix 3.3.1.1

          Yeah sure Brett. We all do. And we want them shot.

          Moron.

          • rich 3.3.1.1.1

            Shooting is a bit lenient. I favour having them buried up to their necks and slowly eaten by ants.

          • Mark 3.3.1.1.2

            Your a perfect example of the nastiness from the left , Felix.
            Im sure your father , if you new who he was would give you a right spanking for saying something like that .

            Who is ” We all ” felix ?

            Is it the whole left wing minority or just a few losers like yourself

            • Jim Nald 3.3.1.1.2.1

              Try harder to improve thy reading and comprehension skills
              Responding to Brett, Felix starts off by saying “Yeah sure”

              or get Tolley to give you a helicopter view

            • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1.2.2

              Your a perfect example of the nastiness from the left , Felix.

              And when the Right dump an extra 20,000 low paid (and mainly ethnic/women) people out of work into the unemployment queues that’s what? Not nastiness but ‘economic rationalism’? ‘Rebalancing the economy’? ‘People who didn’t have sustainable jobs anyways’?

              You are correct, the Left can be nasty and fully admits it, the Right on the other hand are simply sociopathic and waltzes along quite blithely while destroying lives thank you very much.

              • Jim Nald

                What is worse is, under the cover of neutral or progressive language like “rebalancing the economy” and “sustainability”, they stealthily make gains for themselves and their cronies at the cost of pilfering and destroying the lives of many people.

      • smhead 3.3.2

        Colonial Viper sounds remarkably like that Australian union fellow who was briefly Labour’s candidate in Botany last time.

        Okay CV, I will bite. What makes you think that something is happening in Botany that isn’t showing up in any other public polls?

        • Colonial Viper 3.3.2.1

          smh, given recent events even I think that NZ Labour should minimise its involvement with Australian union officials for the time being 😛

    • Redbaron77 3.4

      Not the impression I am receiving outside my own personal silo.

  4. The other example of rent a crowd was the pro smacking march in November 2008 where a cool $500k was spent to get a crowd of 5,000 to protest. The protest took a couple of hours. This works out to $50 an hour per person to walk up Queen Street. Those guys must have a really good union.

  5. Carol 5

    This mode of dismissing sincerely motivated protests, especially by demonstrators on the left wing of politics, is a tired, old and very unoriginal strategy of misdirection and distraction. Key and NZ journos show a total lack of imagination and intellect in using this to undermine a sincerely motivated protest. The “rent-a-mob” slur was around in the UK way back my feminist days in London, and was frequently used in attempts to dismiss anti-Thatcher government and/or left-wing protests.

    In those days, I saw MSM reports on protests/demos I’d been on, that included many of the most prominent women in the local women’s movement. Sometimes there were comments from some Tory politicians making totally incorrect claims about the protestors. I learned at a fairly early age that some journos and pollies can just make sh*t up, if it suits their purpose.

  6. Jeremy Harris 6

    While I take your point the comment to more seemed more cliche, i.e. “those same old activists”, “that rent-a-crowd”, “they’d show up to a protest to stop cancer”, etc…

    IMO I don’t think he really thinks those people were paid to be there…

  7. Jaghut 7

    This post is basically NO U

  8. randal 8

    if they are a rent a mob then the nats rented them to take the heat off the water privatisation bill.

  9. Tanz 9

    Glad I sit on the Right side of the fence, I’d rather waltz than advocate torture….ants indeed.

    • Vicky32 9.1

      Tanz, there’s a good chance that was humour…. (I have a bit Aspergers, I am always failing to get jokes, so I sympathise with you, but still)

      • Tanz 9.1.1

        I am also an Aspergers sufferer, or so I’ve been told.Vicky. Yes,I know it was humour, but thanks.

  10. David 10

    It is interesting the way the right is able to make these assertions as if they are fact and there’s no challenge in the media.
    Activists campaigning are described as ‘rent-a-crowd’ which as R0B rightly points out makes it sound as if they are being paid for their campaign.

    Another similar example is David Farrar’s claim today:
    Also in these “tribal Labour” areas you will have scores and scores of salaried union employees getting out the vote. They have been campaigning fulltime for Labour for weeks – and of course their salaries do not count as part of the $40,000 cap.

    So if a score is 20, he is saying there’s what, 40, 60, 80 salaried union employees working full time on the campaign. This is simply untrue. If there were so many salaried union employees working full time on the campaign then most of the unions in NZ would be shut down as he’s actually describing a huge chunk of the salaried union staff in the country. Farrar is nothing if not smart. He knows it simply cannot be the case that there are “scores and scores” of salaried union employees working full time for the Labour Mana campaign. But he also knows that he can get away with telling untruths like that and it will become an accepted wisdom.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      I’m at the stage where I believe that what the RWNJs say is increasingly irrelevant and that burning up energy addressing their noise is not a great investment. The job of the Left today is to help the many find their voices over the issues which they are facing individually and as a collective today, and to help them express those voices loud and clear – at the ballot box and in many other settings.

      The more vacuous elements of the MSM and the various punditry can, as they say, go take a long walk off a short pier.

    • Jeremy Harris 10.2

      The left can’t ignore the right and vice versa…

      If they do the public starts to ask, “why can’t they answer the oppositions questions..?”

  11. Irascible 11

    I notice that on the comments pages of TV3 & Herald the NACT supporters are resorting to the GOP campaign advice book which says To discredit your opposition simply tell the biggest lie or distortion of a statement about him as possible. Get your mates to repeat it then when your opposition hits you in court argue that by suing the person is admitting the truth of the original lie.”
    There are some really nasty comments about Goff coming through that on a moderated comment site of TV3 that should be questioned by the moderator.
    This is the same strategy that Dipton and the Member for Hawaii are using in the House only being masked with the use of incredibly shonky statistics to blind the ignoratii that are the Press Gallery.

  12. roger nome 13

    rent a crowd? Prebble was using that to describe protests against unpopular right wing reforms in the 1980s. Looks like a chunk of double-speak has been seared into the right-wing lexicon in NZ. I think this form of politiking started with Reagan’s administration. Attack your opponents’ strengths – accusing them of being exactly the opposite of what they are in order to muddy the ideological waters in the public consciousness.

    Orwell forshadowed it – and Key lives it.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
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    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
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    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    2 weeks ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Asking for it …
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    2 weeks ago
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    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
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    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The astroturf party
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How to cheat at university
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    2 weeks ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
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    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
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    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
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    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
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    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago

  • Week That Was: Tackling child poverty
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    7 hours ago
  • New measures for wood processing boost
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    9 hours ago
  • New high tech traps will reduce the need for 1080 poison
    New Zealand First are celebrating the announcement of an investment of $3.5 million into five new trapping devices. These are a range of bait and trap devices, all designed to be left unattended for long periods of time. NZ First conservation spokesperson Jenny Marcroft says that this latest development will ...
    1 day ago
  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    3 days ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    3 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    3 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    4 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    5 days 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 ...
    1 week 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 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
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    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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 ...
    3 weeks ago

  • PGF approves wind turbines funding for Stewart Island
    Stewart Island/Rakiura has been granted $3.16 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to help build two wind turbines, putting the island on a path to sustainable electricity generation, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “Stewart Island is our third largest island, after the North and South Islands, and it is ...
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    12 hours ago
  • NZ economy in good shape amid global headwinds
    A major new report on the global economy shows New Zealand is in good shape amid increased global headwinds. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just released its latest Economic Outlook. It shows the OECD group of economies is forecast to grow between 1.6% and 1.7% across ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Milestone of 1800 new Police officers
    The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters say today’s graduation means 1825 new Police have been deployed all ...
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    1 day ago
  • PM appoints business leaders to APEC Business Advisory Council
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    1 day ago
  • PM speech notes for Trans-Tasman Business Circle
    Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa. Thank you for having me to speak today. To start, I’d like to acknowledge Sharron Lloyd, the General Manager of the Trans–Tasman Business Circle, the partners for this event Westpac’s  David McLean, and Derek McCormack from  AUT, and, of course ...
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    1 day ago
  • Otago Regional Council given deadline for freshwater management plan
    A four-month investigation by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton found that Otago’s freshwater planning system is not fit for purpose to manage the region’s rivers, lakes and aquifers and that the Council has inadequate rules for the taking of water and the discharge of nutrients.   “Existing planning provisions ...
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    1 day ago
  • LGNZ Rural and Provincial Sector Speech
      Introduction Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to speak to an LGNZ meeting since the local elections, and I’m delighted to see the fresh faces of newly elected mayors. To returning mayors here today, as well as chief ...
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    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to attend G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Japan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters departs New Zealand today to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya at the invitation of this year’s G20 President, Japan. “This is the first time New Zealand will attend a G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and we are deeply honoured that it is at ...
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    1 day ago
  • Ambassador to the European Union announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of diplomat Carl Reaich as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the European Union. “The Ambassador to the EU is one of the most important and senior roles in New Zealand’s foreign service, advocating for New Zealand’s interests with the EU institutions,” Mr ...
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    1 day ago
  • New inventions boost Predator Free 2050 effort
        Innovation and technology are behind five new tools to give nature a helping hand by helping eliminate predators, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “The new tools will be trialled in ...
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    2 days ago
  • APEC 2021 Bill passes first reading
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC 2021) Bill in Parliament today. The temporary bill supports New Zealand’s security preparations for hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2021. “APEC is the leading economic and trade forum ...
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    2 days ago
  • Making progress for our kids
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    2 days ago
  • Māori women in business contribute to our economy, whānau and communities
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has released a new report celebrating the contribution of Māori women in business across Aotearoa New Zealand. “Māori women are leaders in our communities, they employ many people and support our economy and our communities,” Julie Anne Genter said. The report, Ngā wāhine kaipakihi: ...
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    2 days ago
  • Two schools on the way for Omokoroa
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    3 days ago
  • Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year
    1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total   They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, ...
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    3 days ago
  • Clamp down on wheel clamping passes third reading
    New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and extortionate fees charged in order to release a vehicle have passed their final stage in Parliament today. The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill has now passed its third reading. “These changes mean $100 will be the maximum wheel clamping ...
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    3 days ago
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
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    3 days ago
  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
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    3 days ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
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    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
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    3 days ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
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    4 days ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
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  • Reform of public service a step closer
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    4 days ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
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  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
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    4 days ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
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    4 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
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  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
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    5 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
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    6 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
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    7 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
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    1 week ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
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  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
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  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
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  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
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  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
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    1 week ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
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  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
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    1 week ago
  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
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  • 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 ...
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