Saudi Arabia and the free trade deal

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, January 6th, 2016 - 113 comments
Categories: david shearer, greens, International, labour, national, Syria - Tags:

Saudi Arabia’s recent behedding of 47 dissidents including a prominent Shiite Cleric has attracted world wide attention.  The behaviour makes a mockery of the appointment of Saudi Arabia to chair an important United Nations Council involved in human rights oversight.  And questions have been asked about the possibility of a secret deal which saw the United Kingdom support Saudi Arabia in consideration of the support being reciprocated.

The Guardian has provided this background article about Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.  The article includes this passage:

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution by Saudi Arabia has sparked condemnation across the Middle East, rose to international prominence during the pro-democracy protests that erupted in the country’s eastern provinces in 2011.

Nimr’s staunch and vocal support of the movement in regions where the Shia have a majority but have frequently complained of marginalisation, saw the 56-year-old cited as the driving force behind the protests while affording him hero status among Saudi’s Shia youth.

To the Sunni kingdom’s ruling elite, however, Nimr had become a high-profile thorn in its side. Inspired by the Arab spring, Saudi Arabia’s mass anti-government protests of 2011 included public speeches by Nimr that urged an end to the Al Saud monarchy and pushed for equality for the state’s Shia community.

According to his supporters, the cleric was careful to avoid calling for violence and eschewed all but peaceful opposition to the government. On one occasion, he urged protesters to resist police bullets using only “the roar of the word”. As his role in the protests became more prominent, he warned the Saudi authorities that if they refused to “stop bloodshed”, the government’s repressive tendencies risked it being overthrown.

The Government’s response has been predictably underwhelming:

Duty minister Chris Finlayson said New Zealand is a long-standing opponent of the death penalty, and executions are always wrong in all cases and any circumstances.

But the government appears to have rejected the Green Party’s calls to have a free trade deal with Saudi Arabia put on hold.

Finlayson insists the government regularly raises human rights issues during diplomatic talks.

At the least the Greens are showing some moral fortitude on the issue:

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has renewed calls for [New Zealand Saudi Arabia free trade] talks to be suspended.

“The executions are appalling and just another example of Saudi Arabia’s terrible record on human rights. The Greens have been calling for a long time for New Zealand to suspend negotiations on the free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia because we don’t think we should be giving preferential treatment to a country that has this kind of record.”

But Labour’s or at least Davis Shearer’s response has shall we say been disappointing:

Labour foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer did not agree with the Greens on the issue.

“Trading links enables us [to] get a foot in the door to talk about human rights issues that we would not otherwise be able to do if we didn’t have those links. I don’t believe it’s necessarily in our interests to take this stance in banning trading talks with either country.”

Promoting free trade so that our ability to discuss human rights violations with trading partners is frankly silly.  And there should be a moral dimension to trade relationships.  If a foreign nation is involved in widespread human rights violations then all forms of pressure, including the suspension of trade agreement negotiations, should be available to try and effect change.

113 comments on “Saudi Arabia and the free trade deal ”

  1. frances cohen 1

    Our trade reps were practically embarking on the plane to Russia when Crimea, by popular vote reunited with Russia.Immediately , the talks were terminated, citing Russia’s breach of international law. In fact, we were obediently taking our orders from the US embassy.
    Same thing here, human rights issues will always be trumped by US/UK foreign policy interests.We have to be in the right club.
    Its absurd for Shearer to think that we can influence Saudi Arabis through free trade deals. Out point would be more publicly and forcefully made by boycott, as it was for Apartheid.
    Apart from their human rights abuses, the Saud’s support and export of wahabbism should be ample reason for withdrawing from trade talks.

    • Chris 1.1

      Perhaps Shearer thinks we can use the TPPA to influence US states’ use of the death penalty, too? Labour is full of total fucking idiots. We’ll never have a proper opposition until the whole fucking lot of them fuck right off.

      • Don't worry. Be happy 1.1.1

        Shearer is certainly “disappointing” on this issue….when has he ever been anything else?

  2. Ad 2

    Pretty hard to see what the Saudis have to offer us that New Zealand doesn’t already get on the open market. So hard to see the rationale for the trade deal push.

    Hard to imagine Shearer taking this line under either a Clark, Lange, or Kirk government. (Back in the day we (insert any ideal)….)

    There’s plenty of countries who execute people we have FTA’s with, including China. Don’t start me on slippery slope arguments here. But as MS says, the rationale from Shearer is just weak.

  3. Macro 3

    I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard David Shearer on the radio this morning. Really and truly – what a wet response! Has NZ Labour lost all its principles?
    This is not a matter of whether or not there is a trade deal to be signed (and if it is it will be a very bad one). This is a matter of taking a stand on human rights.
    Both NZ First, and the Greens get it. Why oh why can’t Labour?

    • National is one side of a coin. And Labour is the other.

      Labour is too scared to take back its principles in case it loses a part of the political spectrum that they do not realize is not actually theirs. National, likewise has moved towards the centre to appeal to moderate New Zealanders, but is a right wing wolf in sheeps clothing.

      I wonder someday’s what would happen if New Zealand First over took Labour as the mainstream centre-left party.

      • red-blooded 3.1.1

        And what do you believe NZ First’s core philosophy to be? I tend to see them as an amorphous blob, congealed around Winston Peters and his over-inflated ego. That doesn’t make them “centre”.

        • Robert Glennie 3.1.1.1

          Putting New Zealand and New Zealanders first.

          It is the first of the 15 Fundamental Principles that the party is supposed to abide by. And it is the only party in Parliament that actively tries to put New Zealand and New Zealanders first.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Both NZ First, and the Greens get it. Why oh why can’t Labour?

      Because Labour is still under the delusion that trade is everything.

  4. savenz 4

    Crucifixion no barrier to trade in NZ!

    Human rights breaches and democracy breaches and funding ISIS from Saudi, no barrier to trade either!
    (or any other neoliberal country, if the US says friend then turn a blind eye, if US says foe, invade or sanction). What happened to an independent foreign policy??

    If Shearer goes with he same ideology – shouldn’t the same have been said for the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, even Palestine – maybe inviting them all to a free trade agreement first and then talking about human rights… Just shows that the politicians know free trade agreements are weapons of control, not about trade at all.

    Most politicians are such hypocrites and the MSM just urges them on in their stupidity!!

    • National and A.C.T. think we are the 53rd State of the U.S.

      Australia is 52nd and Britain is 51st.

      This is why I support New Zealand First. Because I get the impression Labour is National-lite.

      • red-blooded 4.1.1

        Hey, let’s remember that NZ First is based around WP, who was originally a National MP (a member of the cabinet). Sure, he went rogue, but he’s basically a conservative guy. Look at all the anti-immigrant dog-whistling he’s done in his time. And when he was “kingmaker” after the first MMP election, he choose Bolger as king. He’s always vowed that he’d never be in government with the Greens (that’s why they were never included in a coalition under Clark).

        If you want National-lite, you don’t need to look very hard at NZ First to see the blue shining through.

        • Robert Glennie 4.1.1.1

          Labour and National both support free trade deals that do not really benefit New Zealand. Have done for sometime. Thats why Labour cannot bring – and probably will not bring – itself to say NO T.P.P.A.

          And for a supposedly left-wing party, Helen Clarks Labour was surprisingly pro-American in terms of support for its wars.

          • red-blooded 4.1.1.1.1

            Don’t let’s reinvent history here, Robert. Clark was pretty damn resolute on that issue, despite significant pressure from the US and from the opposition here in NZ. She didn’t send fighting forces to Afghanistan, and only got involved in Iraq after it was sanctioned by the UN.

      • Tricledrown 4.1.2

        Winston Peters was all over Condeleza Rice like a rash.

  5. Karen 5

    So that idiot Shearer thinks we can influence Saudi Arabia’s human rights through trade deals. So how has that been working out so far? If anything Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has been getting worse.

    Gordon Campbell has a good post on this.
    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2016/01/06/gordon-campbell-on-our-feeble-response-to-atrocities-in-sa/

    The Green Party have got it right (yet again).

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      NZ are of course Saudi Arabia’s biggest customer! They will tremble at the knees when we simply hint that maybe we might stop buying some oil off them, one day.

    • David H 5.2

      That’s why they have got my vote from labour last election and this one too. Talk about a face palm when hearing Shearer supporting trade deals. what a Fool, you can’t talk to these Megalomaniacs. They are in power and will do what ever they want to stay there.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        And then once there will do anything that they want no matter how many people are against it. Time to end this elected dictatorship.

        • AmaKiwi 5.2.1.1

          And replace it with a Labour elected dictatorship?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1

            I’m talking about changing the political system and not just the psychopaths in government at the moment.

        • yabby 5.2.1.2

          So, a third term democratically elected Govt under a MMP system is a dictatorship.

          What is your preferred method of governance then DTB?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.2.1

            A Participatory Democracy where the people decide on the policies and have a direct say in international agreements. Basically:

            Governance of the people, by the people, for the people.

            Which Representative Democracy clearly isn’t.

  6. adam 6

    David Shearer proves once again the labour party is the party of liberalism. So how is raising human rights issues going there David, any luck? Or just more b.s word games from you and your flock of professional politician’s.

  7. esoteric pineapples 7

    Many is the (often innocent) individual who has been sacrificed for reasons that the state has decided are more important than their life.

  8. Grey Area 8

    I had the strangest experience this morning. I heard Winston Peters being interviewed on RNZ about this issue and I was impressed. As for Shearer – very disappointing from Labour once again.

  9. Dialey 9

    This is precisely why Labour is bleeding to death – no principles, no standing for what is right. For once I have to say I agree with a John Key statement: “Get some balls!” Shearer had the opportunity to show that Labour does actually offer something different from National, but I guess he just wants to be part of the big boys’ club.

  10. David Shearer….

    Just glad he wasn’t still Leader of the Opposition when Labour got the thrash in 2014, because National would have got the majority and their reliance on A.C.T. and United Future would just be for show. He was missing in action in Parliament and everything he said was like firing an ordinary rifle at a tank – the bullets just bounced off.

  11. Naturesong 12

    If Shearer believes that the execution by beheading or crucifixion of innocent (and guilty) people should be no barrier to trade he should put his money where his mouth is.

    Perhaps crucifying himself to show everyone how harmless and insignificant such actions really are?
    To lead by example!

    Or alternatively, he could switch on his brain before advocating that we be complicit in such behaviour.

  12. Sacha 13

    Do we know where Labour stands on saudi sheep bribes?

  13. Wayne 14

    If we had a policy of no free trade deals with nations well known for their use of the death penalty we would not have a free trade deal with China. Which at least for the Greens would be a consistent position. But that history clearly explains Shearer’s position.

    And if commenters don’t like Labour’s position (most of whom opposed TPPA) then the Greens are your natural home.

    I would note that common elements for both Saudi Arabia and China is that neither of them are democracies, they both extensively use the death penalty and both routinely imprison dissidents, even those who simply advocate democracy.

    Nevertheless I support free trade deals with both countries. Countries have to get worse than either of them before calling off negotiations. In the case of Russia they had invaded Crimea and have clearly been directly supporting the civil war in eastern Ukraine.

    I suspect if Russia’a actions were solely confined to Crimea and did not also include eastern Ukraine, the negotiations with Russia would have been resumed by the EU and New Zealand.

    • Naturesong 14.1

      If not trading with Russia is due to its actions in an illegal invasion of Crimea and trying to destabilise Ukraine, why do we still trade with the United States who have a far worse record in both illegal invasions of sovereign countries as well as working to destabilise a slew of countries around the world?

      Why not just tell the truth?
      That we support these policies and the reason we don’t trade with Russia is because the US doesn’t want us to.

      Or be consistent, and pass laws here to kill people convicted of heinous crimes (or just speaking out against the govt) by crucifixion or beheading?

    • Ad 14.2

      I made that point about the death penalty above.

      My question for this government is: why is an NZ-SA FTA in our economic interests?

      Everything we could buy, we can buy on the open market.
      Same for them.

      Good to see you’re not disagreeing with the point of the post, which is:
      free trade deal does not equal better diplomatic capacity to discuss human rights issues

    • marty mars 14.3

      the moral low ground explained – “I would note that common elements for both Saudi Arabia and China is that neither of them are democracies, they both extensively use the death penalty and both routinely imprison dissidents, even those who simply advocate democracy.

      Nevertheless I support free trade deals with both countries.”

    • AmaKiwi 14.4

      “I would note that common elements for both Saudi Arabia and China is that neither of them are democracies.”

      Neither is New Zealand, so Shearer’s stance is logical.

    • mikesh 14.5

      Russia did not invade Crimea.

  14. Wainwright 15

    What a surprise, David Shearer’s still a muppet with no guts who just wants to sit at the big boys table.

  15. Matthew Hooton 16

    The Greens are grandstanding and taking advantage of the silly season. There are no talks to suspend. The NZ-GCC FTA negotiations were completed in 2009. See https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/free-trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements-concluded-but-not-in-force

    • mickysavage 16.1

      If that is the case then why is the Government setting up a sheep farm in the Saudi desert and paying a Saudi businessman millions of dollars?

      • Matthew Hooton 16.1.1

        To try to bribe him to stop opposing the signing of the completed deal.

        • Sacha 16.1.1.1

          So you’re saying they should be talking about suspending signing rather than suspending talks?

          • Matthew Hooton 16.1.1.1.1

            I’m not making a substantial point; just a PR one: that they’ve done the PR equivalent of calling on you and me to rule ourselves out from All Black selection. It’s a legitimate symbolic call, of course. and the media can be relied upon to report it as deeply meaningful. Plus maybe a sensible diplomatic move: there’s no cost to NZ in suspending talks that aren’t happening.

            • Sacha 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Hey at least they haven’t called for an inquiry. 🙂

            • Sacha 16.1.1.1.1.2

              “calling on you and me to rule ourselves out from All Black selection”

              could have been a contender

            • Once was Tim 16.1.1.1.1.3

              “I’m not making a substantial point; just a PR one;”
              Which is what you do best, and pretty much all you think matters.
              Still, I guess it’s what pays your mortgage.
              Is there anywhere i can “Like” you, or better still “Like you a lot” – just for the sake of propping up your career. It’d have to be a really simple click of a mouse btw (that’s “by the way”).
              I mean…. far be it from me to think of you as a superficial Formica fake wood veneer salesman with a vast knowledge of spin, with ideological intent and the pretense of an ability for critical thought .
              Oh Mathew – life could be so much simpler for you, and your ilk.
              But keep it up – please do.
              Class of 87
              Harder they Rise

              …….. all of that, and all the complications you keep pumping.

              Please just refrain from NinetoNoon pig squealing and hissy fits if you can possibly manage it.

  16. Stuart Munro 17

    Personally I think we should trade with regimes we don’t necessarily endorse – but the call for consistency is well made. Russia now is no worse, and probably much better in spite of Putin’s numerous crimes than it was under soviet administration.

    Death penalties are common especially in poorer countries – it is the legitimacy of the process that makes them more or less objectionable – though just as Britain eventually outgrew the spectacle of public hangings, Islamic states might do well to recognise that execution voyeurism is not actually a public good.

  17. Anne 18

    Supporters of the Aparthied regime in South Africa – ie, the Muldoon National government – used to talk about “building bridges” with Sth Africa and influencing them that way. This, despite the fact it hadn’t worked over the previous 25 years. Then 1981 came along and everything started to change. Sth. Africa found itself increasingly isolated from the rest of the world and hey presto… the metaphorical wall came tumbling down. If it can happen in other parts of the world it can happen in Saudi Arabia.

    • Incognito 18.1

      Agreed Anne, anything can happen and, in time, will happen. However, the one SA is no at all like the other SA. The ME is meta-stable, at best, and if the current regime is to fall (on its sword) then all bets are off what might happen in the larger region – it won’t be ‘nice’, it won’t be pleasant for the people that live in the region (!!), and it will take a very long time to get some kind of stability again. Asking, or demanding rather, that SA ceases decapitating criminals convicted under their (!) laws is not as simple as one would like to think. Be careful what you ask for.

      • Sacha 18.1.1

        “Asking, or demanding rather, that SA ceases decapitating criminals convicted under their (!) laws is not as simple as one would like to think.”

        Outwageous.

      • Anne 18.1.2

        Asking, or demanding rather, that SA ceases decapitating criminals convicted under their (!) laws is not as simple as one would like to think. Be careful what you ask for.

        That is, more or less, along the same lines as my comment. But I take your point Incognito. Saudi Arabia is altogether a different scenario to Apartheid Sth. Africa and will require a different set of responses. Trying to talk with them and demanding they change their laws won’t work just as it didn’t in Sth. Africa. They have to be hit in the pocket – or some other ultra sensitive area – and that will be no mean feat.

        • Stuart Munro 18.1.2.1

          KSA are notoriously difficult to deal with – partly culturally, and partly for pragmatic reasons.

          Of their recent actions I expect the bombing of Yemen was less defensible and caused more suffering than the executions.

          The Justice spokesman stated that the Shia cleric (Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr) was executed for sedition and advocating violence. The construction we put on that rather depends on what actions he took or statements he made, but the international Shia community say that he merely condemned the regime. If he had a cellar full of bomb making materials it would be a different story.

          NZ cannot really hit Saudi in the pocket – and our chances of persuading them in the ordinary way have receded with the embarrassingly craven and corrupt way our government has chosen to pursue the phantom trade deal.

          It’s relatively difficult for NZ to make a principled stand on such issues while McCully is publicly fellating Hamood Al Khalaf.

    • Once was Tim 18.2

      David Shearer anyone???
      Maori Party anyone????
      Better to be in the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in eh?
      Fuck principles, its a lot more comfortable (and is usually comes with the benefit of AMEX Gold ….. Platinum even!)

      We can sit around the campfire, or in the tent ENGAGING and spreading sympathetic niceties (even if delivered by Blackwater or similar), whilst young teenagers eat monkeys and snakes walking across entire countries in a war zone to reach refugee camps.
      Then when we do, one of us will be sent to NuZull, and another to Italy – but we can always communicate on Skype eh?
      Nah!!!! Let’s engage in talk shall we? At least it’ll make a few people feel good – and afterall …. that can’t be a bad thing can it?

      /sarc as if u didn’t know

  18. Once was Tim 19

    David Shearer of course believes in
    ……… dialogue (talking is always good – even if it takes decades).
    ……… not hurting other people’s ‘feelings’ (it’s counter-productive). It’s always better to call a committee designed camel a horse
    ……… using private armies if necessary to produce ” a positive outcome ” (going forward)
    ……… when pissing in the wind (preventing one’s self from being covered by the practice of using ‘incremental little squirts’
    ……… feigning a collective interest and a disdain for those ‘hard right/centre right’ agendas by preaching compassionate values and concern for fellow man (whilst strumming on a guitar and singing a toon or two – right up until the time it might involve a severe personal c o s t $ ( I should not judge however – over half the baby boomer generation I grew up with – now that they’ve amassed house/home/yearly trip/etc/etc/etc/2 kuds and a mortgage paid – or very-nearly paid off NOW ekshully think the same. In reality, theyre often ten times worse than their bogoted, small minded parents – who actually had an excuse).
    NEW ….. oops …. “Neo”-Labour.

    I think they’re – (HE) is becoming a little bit desperate.
    “I worked in a war zone dontcha know ….. I know what I’m talking about ergo I have credibility”

    Message to David – PLEASE JUST FUCK OFF or start your own party – you’d have a few colleagues that you could persuade to join you if you serenade them nicely enough – you could even get H1 and H2 to endorse

    • Hami Shearlie 19.1

      Always loathed the vibes I got from the man (Shearer) myself – there was something that just didn’t ring true about him, that living on past laurels thing – everyone said he was a “good guy” – but no-one actually knew much about him – his true colours are out there now – he was on big money working for the UN for far too long – he likes hanging with the wealthy and the Nats – Hey Dave, when you stop your incessant guitar strumming, why don’t you and Stuart Nash toddle off and join Planet Key ? You’ll love it there! Oh, and take Josie “I love Leighton Smith” Pagani with you!

  19. Bill 20

    Maybe Shearer should promote the idea of getting in on dodgy oil sales from ‘The Daesh’, coz…y’know…foot under the table and all that.

    I realise I’m possibly pushing the boat out, but I kind of wonder if…

    Shearer in the 80s? Trade with apartheid S.A? All good?
    Shearer in the 70s? Trade with Pol Pot and the khmer rouge? All good?
    Shearer in the 30s? Trade with Horihito’s Japan? All good?
    Shearer in the 01s. Trade with Chavez’s Venezuela? Hmm…maybe do a sweet deal with Israel instead.

    • Naturesong 20.1

      We could also look at ourselves.

      – New Zealand trade with Indonesia since ages ago …

      • Incognito 20.1.1

        I like this comment! A few other commenters have similarly hinted but it got lost in the ‘noise’.

        Have a look at free trade map of all the FTAs in force, concluded but not in force, and under negotiation.

        I can count quite a few countries (incl. China, USA, Singapore and Indonesia) on these maps that permit the death penalty.

        Of course, if we (I mean our politicians, of course) grow some balls, show some guts, and act oh-so ‘principled’ then we would give all these countries the finger, a bit of political & diplomatic ’road rage’.

        IMO, this is not being principled but just being rigid & dogmatic and simply saying that we’re right and they’re wrong (and we’re always right, aren’t we?). No dialogue or conversation necessary! Problem solved. And if they don’t budge we have other means to ‘convince’ them …

        Now where have I read this before? Was it in Diplomacy 101. No, it might have been in an obscure History Book or something …

        • Naturesong 20.1.1.1

          Of course we would have much greater autonomy to object to human rights abuses if we hadn’t eviscerated our domestic industries in the name of “comparative advantage”*.

          * Our comparative advantage is not that we’re only good at producing primary products, but because we are good at producing primary products, we can easily and cheaply manufacture most of the things we import.

          • Incognito 20.1.1.1.1

            I would turn the argument around and argue that because we have a common interest with the other party we have to deal with each other, like it or not. If we had no interest at stake we would lose negotiating power on economic as well as moral-political issues. I think this is, more or less, what DS was saying, but worded differently, of course*.

            Put differently, if it means nothing to us, economically-politically speaking, and we could walk away any moment, and the other party would obviously know this, we would have much less sway.

            If, in this case, the other party would be desperate enough to give in to our moral-human rights demands I think we have put ourselves on a very slippery slope …

            *NZLP and its MPs should really improve their PR, for want of a better word. The messaging, the framing, the communication is a shambles. It is so bad that very good stuff gets ripped to pieces by the MSM, the National Spin Machine, the RWNJs and people of/on the left, out of frustration with this, start ripping into past and current leaders and MPs, which in turn feeds the MSM, T & C, etc., and the vicious circle is closed. You get the picture.

  20. savenz 21

    Yep, we know the Nats would sell their mother for a $, but seriously do Labour ever want to be elected with their pro crucifixion and pro moral bankruptcy TPP trade deals?

    Grow a brain Labour and get some morals on route! People have now noticed the ‘trickle down’ from trade deals have not worked, due to the type of deals that promote the lowest common denominator at the greatest complexity to the most wealthy, going back to a 19th century, non resident banana republic era.

    Back to international debate on Saudi…

    “Monstrous and irreversible injustice”: Human rights groups, experts condemn repression by Saudi Arabia”

    http://www.salon.com/2016/01/05/monstrous_and_irreversible_injustice_human_rights_groups_experts_condemn_repression_by_saudi_arabia/

  21. savenz 22

    Yep trade deals also don’t seem to be working in the US. for the average American ….

    “Last year, the National Employment Law Project used Bureau of Labor statistics to analyze just what kinds of jobs had been created in the “recovery” following the Great Recession. What they found was what every American looking for work already knows: The jobs that have been created are mainly in the lowest-paying sector of the economy.

    In the NELP’s report “The Low Wage Recovery: Industry Employment and Wages Four Years Into the Recovery,” researchers found that there were now 2.3 million more of the lowest-paying jobs, 700,000 fewer middle-income positions and more than a half million fewer higher-paying jobs.

    And while Yellen and her colleagues, with their Inspector Clouseau magnifying glass, are unable to find inflation, there is plenty of evidence of deflation of the wages Americans are earning. NELP found this past Labor Day that wages in the 800 lowest-paying occupations they surveyed had actually declined by 5.7 percent from 2009 to 2014. Mid-level wage-paying positions saw a 2.6 decline in the real median wage while the best-paying jobs saw a 3 percent slide.

    We are settling into a new feudalism where income disparity and wealth inequality are actually accelerating, and hardwired into the economy. ”

    http://www.salon.com/2016/01/03/the_middle_class_is_just_this_screwed_janet_yellen_declares_victory_while_workers_drown/

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      We are settling into a new feudalism where income disparity and wealth inequality are actually accelerating, and hardwired into the economy.

      QFT

      Back near the beginning of the century I worked on ADSL help desks. After bonuses I was getting close to $50k/year. These days the same job pays $35k and there’s no bonuses.

  22. Doogs 23

    Stop it already!

    I take it that all you people dealing out sand shoe crushers to David Shearer are Labour supporters when it suits you. I suppose that you, too, have had serious overseas experience in difficult countries and war zones.

    Give the man credit for intelligence, experience and understanding. A lot more, I think, than some who comment here. It’s an old analogy, and doesn’t quite fit this situation, but it is always better to have someone inside the tent pissing out that the other way round.

    I like the reasoned comments of Wayne and Matthew Hooton. However, I cannot go along with Anne’s reasoning. The basic premise is entirely different. South Africa was (is) a modern world country and understands how current world political pressures work. Saudi Arabia has basically not left the 10th century, despite its having a veneer of commerce in order to interface for its own advantage with the modern world.

    David Shearer knows how these kind of countries work. Give him credit for at least trying to keep them in the tent.

    • savenz 23.1

      @Doogs – you should be a Nat party or Nat Lite party strategist with your talents!

      We lure the Saudi’s out of their tents with a sheep bribe to try to get them to introduce human rights…

    • Ad 23.2

      Which tent is that?

    • Draco T Bastard 23.3

      Give the man credit for intelligence, experience and understanding.

      Why? He hasn’t shown any.

      I like the reasoned comments of Wayne and Matthew Hooton.

      Of course you do – they both lack anything resembling principles.

    • Grant 23.4

      “I take it that all you people dealing out sand shoe crushers to David Shearer are Labour supporters when it suits you.”

      Why do you make this assumption?

    • Incognito 23.5

      Bravo! A fine comment indeed, but I don’t expect you to get applauded by anybody else, sadly.

  23. savenz 24

    Like many Kiwis most Americans have zero savings and can’t afford to fix their cars…
    In spite of all these ‘amazing’ trade deals that promise so much…. Luckily we can feel good about ourselves because they have not introduced the death penalty yet in NZ.

    “The incredible shrinking middle class: Half the country is either living in poverty or damn near close to it
    New reports indicate two thirds of Americans can no longer afford to fix their cars. Our Congress should be ashamed”

    http://www.salon.com/2015/12/23/american_exceptionalism_has_never_rung_hollower_half_the_country_is_either_living_in_poverty_or_damn_near_close_to_it_partner/

  24. i'm right 25

    LOVE the infighting between labour ‘Right and Left’ on here, gorgeous and delicious to watch and read 🙂 then looking at The Daily Blog and basically seeing that they crave a Corbyn, and anything else will not do….keep up the infighting for 2016 as Goff was the ‘game changer’ then is was Cunliffe and now Little, it’s soooo exciting wondering who is next ‘Game Changer’!!

  25. RedBaronCV 26

    If they have been living in the same tent since the 10th century then it’s pretty clear that dialogues don’t work.
    Anyway I think DS is being a little naive.
    Nact have to keep pressing for the agreement to be signed regardless of what Saudi Arabia does otherwise the sheep farm looks more like a bribe than it already does.
    As usual more interested in CYA for themselves than anything the Saudi’s do.

  26. Michael 27

    What would it cost us if we stopped trading with Saudi Arabia and all the other nasty regimes we depend on for our daily crust? We could then make an informed decision and feel good about ourselves as we run out of whatever it is we crave from our trading partners (it can’t be food, as we export the stuff. Warehouse bling?).

    • Naturesong 27.1

      We have the knowledge and the primary products.

      We could rebuild the industries that used to produce the majority of our domestic products before we decided to destroy them in favour of exporting raw logs and milk powder.
      There’s a load of jobs right there.

    • Incognito 27.2

      No, it’s much more than feeling good about ourselves; we would feel morally infinitely superior! We’d be on cloud nine.

  27. Heads up Greens
    You can’t have economic growth and human rights.
    The system is just not set up for it.
    So best shut the f up, caus all the Kiwi Savers want/need economic growth.

    • Sacha 28.1

      Can’t have a habitable planet and unsustainable ‘growth’.

      • weka 28.1.1

        Can’t have a policy of zero growth or steady state economy and be in government in NZ (not yet anyway). Although if you read the GP policy documents it’s there in less obvious ways.

    • Stuart Munro 28.2

      Economic growth is not a priority for this government – or it would have a CGT, and abhor anticompetitive crony deals.

      Since Bill English will never deliver growth we’d better have clean rivers and a healthy environment.

      • John Shears 28.2.1

        @ Stuart.
        The use of Bill English and Clean rivers and a healthy environment
        in the same sentence is really cute. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

    • Naturesong 28.3

      A business model or economic system that requires human rights abuses in order to sustain it should be dismantled.

  28. i'm right 29

    Ohh Robert Atack, according to your posts we should all be dead by now, the oceans and weather should have consumed us all…but wait, are you not you the man that had ‘peak oil’ and it was the end of civilization as we know it? ahhh Robert, the lowest oil prices since 2009-2010 and let me guess, it’s all coming to an end THIS year, as all your years of doom and gloom have been *cough cough* actually better than your predictions, I smile at your posts, and shake my head lol, OK 2016 IS THE END I guess?, then 2017…2020, 2050, 2150?

    • GregJ 29.1

      Quite a lot of people were wrong (at least in the short-medium term) of the implications for peak oil – including most of the governments in the Middle East. Most focused on potential higher prices but not production, supply and other geopolitical factors.

      However it still has a cost – as an example most of the GCC countries predicated economic growth, infrastructure spending and economic subsidies to their populations (a mechanism used, in part, to put a lid on dissent) for the next 15 years on an oil price of US$110/barrel (minimum price level). As you can imagine the ones that are not flush with cash reserves (everyone except Saudi & Qatar) are now starting to suffer – subsidies are coming off (first on expats but eventually the locals are going to have to pay), a GCC wide sales tax is being seriously proposed, various other taxes are starting to be formulated and the real bogeyman, personal income tax, is now being mentioned (very sotto voce so far but it’s out there warming up in the wings).

      Don’t be fooled – peak oil may not, at the moment, be having the type of impact people imagined, but it is having an impact.

  29. greywarshark 30

    David Shearer must be right – he has been with the UN which is where people with good morals work and who think ethically and soundly. They are looking out for the ordinary people around the world and working to make it a better place. Or do they really just stamp out bush fires – if they can get the funds to fight the fires or provide the boots?

    • Incognito 30.1

      ”They are looking out for the ordinary people around the world and working to make it a better place”

      You don’t have to work for the UN to do your bit to make the World a better place and one of the best places & times to start is in the morning when looking in the mirror.

      • greywarshark 30.1.1

        Incognito
        Perhaps the UN secretariat, financial providers and employees should do just that every morning and run through their achievements for five long minutes. (Look in the mirror, I’m talking about. Also I was looking at the expectations and propaganda we have had about the UN since its inception, so your comment is off centre.

  30. Doogs 31

    The politics of attack are alive and well.

    For some, a reasoned argument is not an option. I respect a thoughtful rebuttal. A slam dunk works for no one.

    I am and always have been a Labour supporter – through thick and thin. I’m also a perspective person who likes the global view, and I’ve been called a fence-sitter because of it.

    Being a nit-picker on blogs does nothing for the cause. Tell our people in power what we want. Stand behind them. Be a force for change. DS may not be absolutely right, but nor might the Greens. The only thing I know for certain is the Natzis are wrong nearly all of the time.

    Have you thought about how many of our NZ enterprises, employing good and faithful NZers would go to the wall if we cut the Saudis out of trade? Maybe David is taking a long view here. I doubt very much if he approves of pre-mediaeval rites and practises. It is always possible to (strongly) encourage businesses to seek other markets and slowly wind down the undesirable trade. Then we are not the losers.

    There are ways and means. There always have been.

    • Wainwright 31.1

      Nit-picking presumes that Shearer’s statement is only a minor problem. It isn’t./ It’s the core of the rot which has been eating away at the Labour Party since 2008.

    • Incognito 31.2

      Agreed, and again well-said. I also doubt that DS would put business interests before human rights but that’s the false dichotomy that seems to be spreading here like a virus – DS never said anything remotely similar, but that’s what he seems to be accused of (among other things).

      It is little wonder then that National’s spin doctors will pounce on this and use it to the advantage of their pay-masters. The irony is almost too strong for words.

    • Draco T Bastard 31.3

      Have you thought about how many of our NZ enterprises, employing good and faithful NZers would go to the wall if we cut the Saudis out of trade?

      If the price to keep those jobs is our ethical principles then the cost is too high.

      • Doogs 31.3.1

        Read the rest of my comment in conjunction with the snippet you have chosen to highlight.

        Methinks you are just too too ethical. High-sounding phrases don’t work when there are other factors involved.

        This is another of my issues – we don’t teach, in schools, the seriously important skill of expanded thinking and metacognition. To be aware of one’s own thought processes in relation to self and others, and to broaden thinking to encompass all aspects of a problem. There is extant far too much tunnel vision and emotive misappropriation of ideas and issues, especially where politics are concerned.

        Now people are going to call me a precious wanker.

        Look, if you are going to comment on something you really do need to have grappled with the idea from a number of perspectives. It’s the only way to approach serious issues which deserve to be treated with caution.

        Charging through something like a Cat D8 while preciously cradling your prejudices is at least counter-productive.

        • Draco T Bastard 31.3.1.1

          Now people are going to call me a precious wanker.

          No, you just seem to be making excuses for selling out our principles.

          Will we lose jobs if we stop importing fro Saudi Arabia? Probably not as we’d be able to get the required oil from elsewhere and we should be on a path that has us stop using oil as fuel in 5 to 10 years which would create jobs.

          There really isn’t any issues that can’t be addressed if we stop trading with Saudi Arabia simply because we don’t buy a hell of a lot from there.

        • Grant 31.3.1.2

          Doogs, you’d be the perfect person to design a recruitment poster for the modern Labour party.

          “Are you a ‘Fencesitter’? Join the party of realpolitik which reflects your values*. We will teach you how to expand your thinking with Metacognition ®. Do you want to change the world?** If not, join us in incrementally improving the status quo over many generations.

          * If you don’t like these values we have others..
          ** Idealists need not apply. There are other parties which would suit you better.

          • greywarshark 31.3.1.2.1

            Grat
            Good sarc.

            • Grant 31.3.1.2.1.1

              Cheers Grey. I was thinking of the choices my politically active daughter was faced with as she became politically aware. She is now 23 yrs old. Throughout her senior years at school she looked at the political landscape in this country and the issues she thought were most pressing and she by-passed the Labour Party with barely a sideways glance on her way to joining Gen Zero which has led on to also becoming an active member of the Green Party. I can’t disagree with her choices or the reasons she made them. She is an intelligent, well educated, compassionate and idealistic but practical young woman of whom I’m extremely proud. The Labour Party would be very lucky to have her as a member. They never will.

              • greywarshark

                Congrats – I don’t know if I have succeeded in raising my children’s consciousness to that level. But they think which is important!

    • John Shears 31.4

      +1 Doogs

  31. One Two 32

    Shearer supports private mercenaries , so naturally the HR violations by SA will appeal to him. I suspect his position is genuine

    The USA was comfortable that SA provided almost every 911 hijacker, as well as alleged funding of that event, yet maintained BAU relations.

  32. Vaughan little 33

    well I was about to take issue with your mangling of shearer’s name before seeing what he’d said about free trade being a foot in the door etc, which was vastly more mangly. door to door salesman logic doesn’t quite rise to the occasion, welshman.

  33. The Chairman 34

    Shearer’s position comes as no surprise.

    Labour took a similar stance on the FTA with China.

    However, it’s interesting to note, China’s human rights record has deteriorated since. Therefore, the position seems flawed.

  34. Tricledrown 35

    Helen Clark’s appointment to the position of UN secretary general.
    Is why Labour has gone soft on human rights

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  • King Mike & Mike King.
    I built a time machine to see you againTo hear your phone callYour voice down the hallThe way we were back thenWe were dancing in the rainOur feet on the pavementYou said I was your second headI knew exactly what you meantIn the country of the blind, or so they ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: MPs own 2.2 houses on average
    Why aren’t politicians taking more action on the housing affordability crisis? The answer might lie in the latest “Register of Pecuniary Interests.” This register contains details of the various financial interests of parliamentarians. It shows that politicians own real estate in significant numbers. The register published on Tuesday contains a ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • How much climate reality can the global financial system take without collapsing?
    Microsoft’s transparency about its failure to meet its own net-zero goals is creditable, but the response to that failure is worrying. It is offering up a set of false solutions, heavily buttressed by baseless optimism. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Here’s the top six news items of note in ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 24-May-2024
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    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • Earning The Huia Feather.
    Still Waiting: Māori land remains in the hands of Non-Māori. The broken promises of the Treaty remain broken. The mana of the tangata whenua languishes under racist neglect. The right to wear the huia feather remains as elusive as ever. Perhaps these three transformations are beyond the power of a ...
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Friday, May 24
    Posters opposing the proposed Fast-Track Approvals legislation were pasted around Wellington last week. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: One of the architects of the RMA and a former National Cabinet Minister, Simon Upton, has criticised the Government’s Fast-Track Approvals bill as potentially disastrous for the environment, arguing just 1% ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to May 24
    There was less sharing of the joy this week than at the Chinese New Year celebrations in February. China’s ambassador to NZ (2nd from right above) has told Luxon that relations between China and New Zealand are now at a ‘critical juncture’ Photo: Getty / Xinhua News AgencyTL;DR: The podcast ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Beijing troubleshooter’s surprise visit
    The importance of New Zealand’s relationship with China was surely demonstrated yesterday with the surprise arrival in the capital of top Chinese foreign policy official Liu Jianchao. The trip was apparently organized a week ago but kept secret. Liu is the Minister of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) International Liaison ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • UK election a foregone conclusion?  That’s why it’s interesting
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    Point of OrderBy xtrdnry
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #21 2021
    Open access notables How much storage do we need in a fully electrified future? A critical review of the assumptions on which this question depends, Marsden et al., Energy Research & Social Science: Our analysis advances the argument that current approaches reproduce interpretations of normality that are, ironically, rooted in ...
    6 days ago
  • Days in the life
    We returned last week from England to London. Two different worlds. A quarter of an hour before dropping off our car, we came to a complete stop on the M25. Just moments before, there had been six lanes of hurtling cars and lorries. Now, everything was at a standstill as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Forget about its name and focus on its objective – this RMA reform bill aims to cut red tape (and ...
    Buzz from the Beehive A triumvirate of ministers – holding the Agriculture, Environment and RMA Reform portfolios – has announced the introduction of legislation “to slash the tangle of red and green tape throttling development in key sectors”, such as farming, mining and other primary industries. The exact name of ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • More National corruption
    In their coalition agreement with NZ First, the National Party agreed to provide $24 million in funding to the charity "I Am Hope / Gumboot Friday". Why were they so eager to do so? Because their chair was a National donor, their CEO was the son of a National MP ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Submit!
    The Social Services and Community Committee has called for submissions on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill. Submissions are due by Wednesday, 3 July 2024, and can be made at the link above. And if you're wondering what to say: section 7AA was enacted because Oranga Tamariki ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Reading the MPS numbers thinking about the fiscal situation
    Michael Reddell writes –  The Reserve Bank doesn’t do independent fiscal forecasts so there is no news in the fiscal numbers in today’s Monetary Policy Statement themselves. The last official Treasury forecasts don’t take account of whatever the government is planning in next week’s Budget, and as the Bank notes ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Charter Schools are a worthwhile addition to our school system – but ACT is mis-selling why they a...
    Rob MacCulloch writes – We know the old saying, “Never trust a politician”, and the Charter School debate is a good example of it. Charter Schools receive public funding, yet “are exempt from most statutory requirements of traditional public schools, including mandates around .. human capital management .. curriculum ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Paranoia On The Left.
    How Do We Silence Them? The ruling obsession of the contemporary Left is that political action undertaken by individuals or groups further to the right than the liberal wings of mainstream conservative parties should not only be condemned, but suppressed.WEB OF CHAOS, a “deep dive into the world of disinformation”, ...
    6 days ago
  • Budget challenges
    Muriel Newman writes –  As the new Government puts the finishing touches to this month’s Budget, they will undoubtedly have had their hands full dealing with the economic mess that Labour created. Not only was Labour a grossly incompetent manager of the economy, but they also set out ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Rishi calls an Election.
    Today the British PM, Rishi Sunak, called a general election for the 4th of July. He spoke of the challenging times and of strong leadership and achievements. It was as if he was talking about someone else, a real leader, rather than he himself or the woeful list of Tory ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Photo of the Day: GNR
    This post marks the return of an old format: Photo of the Day. Recently I was in an apartment in one of those new buildings on Great North Road Grey Lynn at rush hour, perfect day, the view was stunning, so naturally I whipped out my phone: GNR 5pm Turns ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    6 days ago
  • Choosing landlords and the homeless over first home buyers
    The Government may struggle with the political optics of scrapping assistance for first home buyers while also cutting the tax burden on landlords, increasing concerns over the growing generational divide. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government confirmed it will dump first home buyer grants in the Budget next ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Orr’s warning; three years of austerity
    Yesterday, the Reserve Bank confirmed there will be no free card for the economy to get out of jail during the current term of the Government. Regardless of what the Budget next week says, we are in for three years of austerity. Over those three years, we will have to ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • An admirable U-turn
    It doesn’t inspire confidence when politicians change their minds.  But you must give credit when a bad idea is dropped. Last year, we reported on the determination of British PM Rishi Sunak to lead the world in regulating the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. Perhaps he changed his mind after meeting ...
    Point of OrderBy xtrdnry
    6 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Can we really suck up Carbon Dioxide?
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Is carbon dioxide removal - aka "negative emissions" - going to save us from climate change? Or is it just a ...
    7 days ago

  • Government improves mass arrival management
    The Government has strengthened settings for managing a mass arrival, with the passing of the Immigration (Mass Arrivals) Amendment Bill today.  “While we haven’t experienced a mass arrival event in New Zealand, it is an ongoing possibility which would have a significant impact on our immigration and court systems,” Immigration ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Super Fund to get more investment opportunities
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has welcomed the passage of legislation giving the New Zealand Superannuation Fund a wider range of investment opportunities. The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Controlling Interests) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. “The bill removes a section in the original act that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Crown and iwi settle three decades of negotiations
    Three decades of negotiations between iwi and the Crown have been settled today as the Whakatōhea Claims Settlement Bill passes its third reading in Parliament, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “While no settlement can fully compensate for the Crown’s past injustices, this settlement will support the aspirations and prosperity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • New Zealand to support PNG landslide response
    New Zealand will support Papua New Guinea’s response to the devastating landslide in Enga Province, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have announced.   “Ever since learning of the horrendous landslide on Friday, New Zealand has been determined to play our part in assisting Papua New Guinea’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Government to consult on regulation of shooting clubs and ranges
      The Government is consulting New Zealanders on a package of proposals for simple and effective regulation of shooting clubs and ranges, Associate Minister of Justice, Nicole McKee announced today.   “Clubs and ranges are not only important for people learning to operate firearms safely, to practice, and to compete, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Successful New Caledonia repatriation winds up, need for dialogue remains
    Over 300 people have been successfully flown out of New Caledonia in a joint Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) operation.   As of today, seven New Zealand government aircraft flights to Nouméa have assisted around 225 New Zealanders and 145 foreign nationals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Minister to Singapore for defence, technology talks
    Defence and Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Judith Collins departs for Singapore tomorrow for defence and technology summits and meetings. First up is the Asia Tech X Singapore Summit, followed by the Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers Meeting and wrapping up with the Shangri-La Dialogue for Defence Ministers from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major investment in teacher supply through Budget 24
    Over the next four years, Budget 24 will support the training and recruitment of 1,500 teachers into the workforce, Education Minister Erica Stanford announced today. “To raise achievement and develop a world leading education system we’re investing nearly $53 million over four years to attract, train and retain our valued ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Joint statement on the New Zealand – Cook Islands Joint Ministerial Forum – 2024
    1.  New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters; Minister of Health and Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Dr Shane Reti; and Minister for Climate Change Hon Simon Watts hosted Cook Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Hon Tingika Elikana and Minister of Health Hon Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown on 24 May ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Middle East, Africa deployments extended
    The Government has approved two-year extensions for four New Zealand Defence Force deployments to the Middle East and Africa, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “These deployments are long-standing New Zealand commitments, which reflect our ongoing interest in promoting peace and stability, and making active ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change Commission Chair to retire
    The Climate Change Commission Chair, Dr Rod Carr, has confirmed his plans to retire at the end of his term later this year, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “Prior to the election, Dr Carr advised me he would be retiring when his term concluded. Dr Rod Carr has led ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Inaugural Board of Integrity Sport & Recreation Commission announced
    Nine highly respected experts have been appointed to the inaugural board of the new Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission, Sport & Recreation Minister Chris Bishop says. “The Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission is a new independent Crown entity which was established under the Integrity Sport and Recreation Act last year, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • A balanced Foreign Affairs budget
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters confirmed today that Vote Foreign Affairs in Budget 2024 will balance two crucial priorities of the Coalition Government.    While Budget 2024 reflects the constrained fiscal environment, the Government also recognises the critical role MFAT plays in keeping New Zealanders safe and prosperous.    “Consistent with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New social housing places to support families into homes
    New social housing funding in Budget 2024 will ensure the Government can continue supporting more families into warm, dry homes from July 2025, Housing Ministers Chris Bishop and Tama Potaka say. “Earlier this week I was proud to announce that Budget 2024 allocates $140 million to fund 1,500 new social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand’s minerals future
    Introduction Today, we are sharing a red-letter occasion. A Blackball event on hallowed ground. Today  we underscore the importance of our mineral estate. A reminder that our natural resource sector has much to offer.  Such a contribution will not come to pass without investment.  However, more than money is needed. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government sets out vision for minerals future
    Increasing national and regional prosperity, providing the minerals needed for new technology and the clean energy transition, and doubling the value of minerals exports are the bold aims of the Government’s vision for the minerals sector. Resources Minister Shane Jones today launched a draft strategy for the minerals sector in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government progresses Māori wards legislation
    The coalition Government’s legislation to restore the rights of communities to determine whether to introduce Māori wards has passed its first reading in Parliament, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Divisive changes introduced by the previous government denied local communities the ability to determine whether to establish Māori wards.” The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • First RMA amendment Bill introduced to Parliament
    The coalition Government has today introduced legislation to slash the tangle of red and green tape throttling some of New Zealand’s key sectors, including farming, mining and other primary industries. RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop says the Government is committed to  unlocking development and investment while ensuring the environment is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government welcomes EPA decision
    The decision by Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to approve the continued use of hydrogen cyanamide, known as Hi-Cane, has been welcomed by Environment Minister Penny Simmonds and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.  “The EPA decision introduces appropriate environmental safeguards which will allow kiwifruit and other growers to use Hi-Cane responsibly,” Ms ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Employers and Manufacturers Association: Relief for today, hope for tomorrow
    Kia ora, Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou kātoa Tāmaki Herenga Waka, Tāmaki Herenga tangata Ngā mihi ki ngā mana whenua o tēnei rohe Ngāti Whātua ō Ōrākei me nga iwi kātoa kua tae mai. Mauriora. Greetings everyone. Thank you to the EMA for hosting this event. Let me acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government invests in 1,500 more social homes
    The coalition Government is investing in social housing for New Zealanders who are most in need of a warm dry home, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. Budget 2024 will allocate $140 million in new funding for 1,500 new social housing places to be provided by Community Housing Providers (CHPs), not ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • $24 million boost for Gumboot Friday
    Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Coalition Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will improve tenancy laws and help increase the supply of rental properties, has passed its first reading in Parliament says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The Bill proposes much-needed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will remove barriers to increasing private ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Montecassino Commemorative Address, Cassino War Cemetery
    Standing here in Cassino War Cemetery, among the graves looking up at the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino, it is hard to imagine the utter devastation left behind by the battles which ended here in May 1944. Hundreds of thousands of shells and bombs of every description left nothing but piled ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First Reading – Repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    I present a legislative statement on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill Mr. Speaker, I move that the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Social Services and Community Committee to consider the Bill. Thank you, Mr. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First reading of 7AA’s repeal: progress for children
    The Bill to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has had its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the care and safety of children in care, says Minister for Children Karen Chhour.  “When I became the Minister for Children, I made ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • China Business Summit 2024
    Kia ora koutou, good morning, and zao shang hao. Thank you Fran for the opportunity to speak at the 2024 China Business Summit – it’s great to be here today. I’d also like to acknowledge: Simon Bridges - CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Ambassador - Wang ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Assisted depatures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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