Sir Edmund Thomas: “Reducing Inequality” – new ‘Values’

Written By: - Date published: 5:48 pm, November 6th, 2013 - 29 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, democratic participation, economy, political alternatives, Social issues, unemployment, vision - Tags:

Sir Edmund Thomas’s recent Bruce Jesson lecture, “Reducing Inequality: A Strategy for a Cause’ is available online now: abridged version (h/t greywarbler).  He outlines the key elements of “neoliberalism” that have resulted in vast inequalities that are damaging to our society and it’s future.

I particularly like his focus on the need to shift from values led by economics, to those that put people and communities first.  It is from there that economic policies then flow.

(1) Values directed by the economic order

The first damaging feature of neo-liberalism I would identify is the fact that the economic order has been permitted to direct, if not dictate, the values and morality of the community.  But the morality of capitalism is a pagan morality; a morality bounded by the profit motive and the obsession with consumerism and the materialistic values it engenders.  The prime example of this perverted morality exists in the fact that a person’s worth is measured, not by the value of his or her contribution to the well-being of the community, but by their accumulation of personal wealth.

My immediate point, therefore, is simple; naked self-interest (for which it is easy to read greed) is a malign foundation for a healthy society.  The free market should not be permitted to dictate or direct the values of the community.  Rather, the community must determine its own values, and impose those values on the free market.

He mentions some “neoliberal” myths that need to be exposed:

“Trickle down” economics is a prime example.  Other myths I touch upon are:

  • The myth that a progressive tax of the wealthy depresses production and retards economic growth;
  • The myth that the poor have only themselves to blame;
  • The myth that a person’s wealth is due solely to his or her own hard work;
  • The notion that the free market is the most efficient means of allocating the distribution of resources;
  • The claim that privatisation is economically beneficial;
  • The notion that the country’s finances are the household or family’s finances writ large; and
  • The claim that high CEO and senior executive salaries and large bonuses, even if they appear obscenely high, are essential to the operation of the free market.

I have some misgivings on the way Thomas focuses on individualistic human rights, and the way he aims to recast capitalism rather than to replace it.

I take the view that the main vehicle for reducing this extreme inequality and bettering the lot of humankind will be in the area of human rights, more specifically, economic, social and cultural rights; the substantive human rights.  Human rights are basically ego-centric.  As a result, the enforcement of human rights by individuals – or groups of individuals – is compatible with individualism.  The enforcement of human rights is probably now the most productive means of protecting the individual or groups of individuals from the harsh extremes of liberal individualism and capitalism.

He outlines various areas that need to be worked on to produce a more equal, fair and well-functioning society.  One of the key ones he mentions, which I am in agreement with, is that it requires us to be working at a community level, and not to wait for the government to bring about necessary changes.

Economic, social and cultural rights, I suggest, are the key. These substantive rights embrace the right to work, in which I would include the right to a living wage, the right to health care, the right to freedom from poverty and an adequate standard of living, the right to security, the right to free and equal education, the right to a reasonable standard of housing, and the right to a habitable environment.  Such rights must be articulated and pursued with a vigour that is capable of shaking and shifting the political and economic order.  Discussion needs to be more focused and directed to generating sustained pressure from those deprived of their economic, social and cultural rights and those who aspire to achieve a fairer and more equal society.

[…]

In short, what I am suggesting is a focused campaign to promote substantive human rights.  Not being indirectly enforceable in the courts, such rights will not have the force of political and civil rights, but the objective must be to ensure that they possess sufficient force for people to claim that the minimum social, economic and cultural standards they reflect are theirs as of right.  Thus, such rights would have the same natural law underpinnings as political and civil rights.  They would be demanded by those denied those rights with the same vigour and dedication as the community demand their political and civil rights

In spite of my misgivings, I like his statements about the need for a massive struggle from those disadvantaged by the current “neoliberal” order:

Consequently, change will come, if it is to come at all, as a result of the social dissatisfaction and unrest that would follow the more aggressive assertion of economic, social and cultural rights.  With people viewing the various substantive rights, not as matters to be negotiated or compromised in an imperfect and indifferent political system, but as requirements that are theirs as of right, pressure for change would be unyielding.  Just as people will vigorously protest against the suppression or denial of their political and civil rights so they would come to vigorously protest the denial of their substantive rights.

However, it does seem like a harsh and difficult struggle ahead of us.

29 comments on “Sir Edmund Thomas: “Reducing Inequality” – new ‘Values’”

  1. Philgwellington Wellington 1

    Xox
    It has to be a peaceful revolution. Anything less is unrealistic, too little and too late. Where ever I look I can’t see it. Where is the hope?

  2. Ad 2

    This is one seriously brave ex-Supreme Court Judge.

    Not even Lord Cooke of Throndon was this political, and he was the first to enforce the Treaty of Waitangi amongst other innovations.

    Thankyou Grey Warbler for the text you have managed to capture.

    No one should expect Sir Thomas to promote replacing capitalism or any other kind of system. This is a man from deep within the system; he is indeed the Queen’s representative of the entire thing.

    Are there other uncowed judges or ex-judges out there who can speak? We are so lucky to have this man speaking now.

  3. Tracey 3

    Our judiciary are operating as a bulwark to the executive. This would not be the case if we had the us system of appointment of judges. National will have a think tank to address this anomoly

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      More importation of US systems is my guess. Political appointments to the judiciary seem to have worked so well over there.

  4. TightyRighty 4

    Tracey, who made the executive appointments to our a surpreme court? I think you should be careful about hurling accusations at national. It was labour that had us-style appointments. And apart from fatty Elias, they’ve worked reasonable well so national let them continue in their roles

    • lprent 4.1

      …so national let them continue in their roles

      Perhaps you should look at the role to which they were appointed, and in particular how long they are “appointed” for – which is essentially until they decide to stand down.

      There was nothing that National could do. Besides the government has less to do with the appointments than the judges in the other higher courts do. Try over-riding them and find out how far they get. Which is of course why judges have been “appointed” from the court of appeal.

      You should really apply yourself and learn some of the basics of the legal systems in NZ rather than relying on half misunderstood right wing myths.

      • Wayne 4.1.1

        The Law Commission has recently completed a Report on the Courts, which deals with the appointment of Judges in the Higher Courts. It has been accepted by Govt (and I am fairly sure also accepted by the Opposition Parties) which will lead to broader consultation on appointment of Judges.

      • TightyRighty 4.1.2

        just labour that technicality there lprent. tracey made up some bullshit about what she neurotically believes national would do given the opportunity. fact is, they’ve had the opportunity. and did nothing of the sort.

        I know quite a few basics of the legal system in new zealand. national couldn’t override the appointments to the surpreme courrt. never suggested they could. but they could have put stoolies in place when vacancies arose in the surpreme court. they didn’t though did they?

        so before questioning my understanding of how judges are appointed in this country, try comprehend what i’m actually saying.

  5. Macro 5

    There needs to be a wholesale nation wide debate upon this very topic…

    “what’s the economy for anyway?”

    Only after we have consensus on that can we possibly move forward.

    I would sincerely suggest that the economy is NOT about growth… In the past that may have been the case,and in developing countries that may well be the case. However what is it for an economy to be “developed”?

    Is there any need for a developed economy to continue to grow? And is it at all desirable or even possible? J S Mill did not think so, and neither did Adam Smith. Continuous growth defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics for a start, and is only being “achieved” now by a pernicious redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.

    Sir Edmund Thomas has it correct. He will have seen the effects of burgeoning inequality in the courts. The sick society is the society the fails to support its most vunerable, and the more inequality the greater the proportion of those who are vunerable

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      We have to redefine “growth” as being that which focuses on improvements in quality, resilience, inclusiveness, and human wellbeing. Not on unsustainable exponential financialised volumetric and quantitative increases.

      Because in reality all we have been achieving for the last 20 years or so is uneconomic growth. Growth which damages, harms, and increases disparities and inequalities.

      • Macro 5.1.1

        Actually I believe we have to stop talking “growth” completely. The focus needs to shift to what the economy is all about anyway – and that is prosperity. What should now be the focus of all political leaders on the left – and even from the right – is how to achieve prosperity for all. Not just the chosen few. In the past there was a requirement to grow the economy because there was not enough goods for all. But when an economy is developed, there is supposedly enough. That is why there are so many who are incredulous when it is suggested that poverty exists in this country. Surely there is enough? They simply fail to recognise the existence of inequality.

        It is possible to have a sustainable economy that provides prosperity for all in a developed economy, the challenge now is to work towards that goal.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          I’d take it one half step further and say that human well being, achievement and satisfaction has to be the goal, not “prosperity.”

          • Macro 5.1.1.1.1

            I purposely did not define “prosperity” Neither does Tim Jackson in his book “Prosperity without Growth” (recommended reading) But it could well be used for all of the above. Wealth without general well being achievement and satisfaction is hardly prosperity. 🙂

          • Francis 5.1.1.1.2

            I remember learning about an alternative measure to GDP in economics several years ago, one which takes into account things like literacy rates, morality rates, wealth distribution, etc. That’s probably the kinds of measures the world as a whole should be moving onto, rather than just the production of goods and services divided by the total population…

        • Mike S 5.1.1.2

          The actual word ‘economy’ has been hijacked. It really means to economise or arrange things so that we have the most efficient (economic) and sustainable distribution and use of the resources available. Growth is relevant only in how it relates to the economic use of resources.

          I’ve written before in an old thread that under our current system, “there is no room in the market economic model for social relations or responsibility. People and their welfare are not deemed important other than they are producers and consumers. Take any of the free market model calculations or measures and you’ll see none of them have the welfare or stableness of society as part of the equation. The family and their ability to survive are not considered as relevant in terms of inputs into calculations.

          The world is saturated in debt (all money is created as debt) and is going bankrupt. Debt doesn’t even exist in the physical reality, it is just part of a game called economics that we’ve created. Yet the well-being of billions of people is now being compromised due to debt.

          Unfortunately, there is no profit in things that are beneficial to society such as saving lives, peace, sustainability, social responsibility. We live in a society where there are unprecedented levels of wealth, yet there are also unprecedented levels of social failings; increasing levels of violence, self harm amongst kids, drug abuse, mental illness, child abuse, etc. Does that not seem wrong? Activities which are detrimental to society and human kind such as war, illness and disease, financial speculation, greed, etc; are the activities which within our monetary and economic system are rewarded with massive profits. That’s a defective system surely? Poverty shouldn’t exist yet it does and is increasing rapidly. This clearly shows the system is not working.”

          A sustainable economy is impossible under our current monetary and economic system. Our current system is based completely upon exponentially ever increasing consumption. The world has finite resources so exponentially increasing consumption of those resources obviously has to come to a crashing halt at some stage.

          No amount of tinkering will resolve the issues we face. The system needs a complete redesign, which is a hugely difficult task, mainly due to politics and the fact that the very wealthy control the system and are obviously reluctant to change from that which has rewarded them so handsomely and continues to do so.

          Unfortunately, drastic change on a societal level usually only comes about due to some sort of catastrophic event or natural disaster. It could be that a complete financial collapse (which is a mathematical certainty under our current system) will be the thing that forces massive changes.It could happen very soon, or maybe not for a couple of decades or more, but it will happen.

  6. Olwyn 6

    “Human rights are basically ego-centric. As a result, the enforcement of human rights by individuals – or groups of individuals – is compatible with individualism.”

    Karol, I understood this statement as suggesting that a good starting place for change is a promising point on the current conceptual map; that the individualism the neo-libs have cultivated in people might be able to be extended in the direction of substantive human rights. I did not take him to be endorsing individualism as such.

    • karol 6.1

      That’s a good point, Olwyn. I read that paragraph a couple of times because I was troubled by it. I some ways it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of his lecture.

      There’s a couple of places where I stopped to ponder. On the one hand Thomas is advocating all out uncompromising, possibly turbulent, resistance to the current status quo. On the other hand he’s talking of (individualistic) human rights as a buffer against the harshest elements of market capitalism – as the

      most productive means of protecting the individual or groups of individuals from the harsh extremes of liberal individualism and capitalism.

      Then he also seems to contradict that with this:

      The free market should not be permitted to dictate or direct the values of the community. Rather, the community must determine its own values, and impose those values on the free market.

      Which is very much a focus on the collective putting extreme pressure on the “free market”.

      But maybe he is advocating more of a multi-facted struggle as you indicate.

      • Olwyn 6.1.1

        I was at the lecture. Apart from his rejection of neo-liberalism, he seemed rather agnostic about the economic system to be followed, provided it did not dominate community life and values. And he seemed to see substantive human rights as the issue capable of uniting people in a situation where their historic power bases have been lost to them, or greatly weakened.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          Human rights do have a lot of unifying potential. Although, I suspect it’s Thomas’s legal background that gives it strong meaning for him.

          It may not be the term that’s as important as the values that communities agree on for themselves – as he suggests. Maybe focusing on various grass campaigns for more equality and livable communities (housing, income, affordable basic services and resources, etc) would lead to a set of (more abstract) basic values.

          I’m all for not treating “economy” as a leading philosophy.

          • Olwyn 6.1.1.1.1

            Substantive human rights are outlined in a 1948 UN document. Their lack, in common with the lack of civil rights, greatly reduces people’s agency. I think he is also looking at the the way the Civil Rights movement in the US was able to make its presence felt, despite the lack of a recognised power base underpinning it. The idea also transcends the varying interests that can set the left bickering with each other. The more I think about it, the more I am in favour of it.

            • karol 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. I was thinking of the UN on human rights. I’m not sure if everyone on the left is all that keen on the UN. And I do mean that I’m not sure. Need more information on how “human rights” are seen throughout the left.

              • Olwyn

                Whatever the shortcomings of the UN, the document in question outlines a standard that the neo-liberal countries, including New Zealand, are failing to meet. Which gives it a certain authority – it cannot simply be dismissed as the latest harebrained scheme.

  7. Adele 7

    TightyRighty

    Why be ugly about Sian Elias? Methinks you aren’t that tight a righty otherwise you would be wallowing at her feet in awe.

    Sian Elias is the epitome of what the right aspires to represent. She breathes a privileged atmosphere; wears conservative attire; sits at the top table; is at the pinnacle of her profession; has lots of money, and is even married to a captain of industry in Sir Hugh Fletcher.

    Perhaps her being a decent human being is the cause of your puku ache. In which case, poor you, not even an enema shaped like John Key can loosen your particular tightness.

    • TightyRighty 7.1

      Right oh Adele. Whose Sue Kedgley married to again? the great thing about having a strong belief in feminism amongst right wing men as that they can tolerate the diversity of their wife’s opinion from their own and even have a happy home life. you don’t see that on the left now do you? just because you couldn’t tolerate having someone who didn’t slavishly worship the same beliefs beside you for life, doesn’t mean others can’t bigoted much?

      I think Sian Elias was a political appointment by the previous government, US supreme court style, and therefore deserving of scrutiny and a certain cynicism about her judgements. to be fair though, she’s done pretty well at being an upholder of justice in this country.

      and who let tricledown out it’s cage again? just puerile rubbish from that ip address. so because you googled “Sian Elias – Privy Council” you somehow become smarter than me?

      • lprent 7.1.1

        Hey political idiot…

        I think Sian Elias was a political appointment by the previous government

        Stupid and wrong. Go and read up about the formation of the Supreme court. In particular where the judges came from and how the chief was picked

        Jez. You really are a bit of a fuckwit when it comes to just looking stuff up….

  8. tricledrown 8

    +1
    Dame Sian alias has also sat on the privy council.
    Tighty almighty has sat on the privy and left what little brains He has got in the sewer.

  9. Adele 9

    Kiaora Karol,

    I see no ambiguity in Sir Edmund’s rather excellent speech.

    I thought his argument was that human rights (despite being ego-centrically driven) would eviscerate the extremes of individualism and capitalism from the human psyche.

    That human rights are compatible with individualism sets up the dilemma for the typical individualist capitalist. Human rights allows them to function as individualist and as capitalist therefore to argue against human rights is to argue against their own self-interest.

    They may of course think that some are entitled to more human rights than others but as history shows that sort of thinking eventually ends up being garrotted. Which is the substance of his other kōrero. Revolution is inevitable under conditions of extreme disparity. Substantive human rights are in everyone’s best interest.

    How human rights evolve beyond the current understanding is where indigenous peoples intersect with the moralising.

    • karol 9.1

      Thanks, Adele.

      Yes, I can understand the logic of this. I guess in the longer term, I would like to see a term more based in cooperative community values.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bill English must be upfront about his involvement in Barclay scandal
    Bill English’s explanations that he was on the periphery of the long running employment dispute involving Todd Barclay don’t stack up, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister claims to have been a bystander, but we know he was ...
    13 hours ago
  • Labour will not resile from royalties
    Labour believes cleaning up our rivers so that they are clean enough to swim in is the most important freshwater issue for this election, but that it is also fair that a royalty should be charged where public water is ...
    2 days ago
  • With friends like Hone, who needs enemies?
    With less than three months until the election, Hone Harawira has delivered another blow to the Māori Party’s flagship policy of Te Ture Whenua Māori reform and the already unstable MANA-Maori Party alliance, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “On The ...
    2 days ago
  • Shifty Bill jumps the shark
    Bill English's claim today that it has never been established that Todd Barclay's recordings of his staff took place is bizarre and shows a complete lack of honesty and leadership, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  "Todd Barclay told Bill ...
    3 days ago
  • Te Ture Whenua – gone by lunchtime?
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has to front up about yesterday’s mysterious withdrawal of Te Ture Whenua Bill from Parliament’s order paper, says Labour’s Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Has he lost his way and has decided to run ...
    3 days ago
  • Bill English ignorance of law beggars belief
    For Bill English to claim he and others in the National Party didn’t realise the law may have been broken in the Todd Barclay taping scandal is simply not credible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister ...
    4 days ago
  • Government ignored advice on Pacific people’s superannuation
    The Government ignored advice from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples that raising the Superannuation age of eligibility would have a ‘disproportionately high impact’ on Pacific people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Aupito William Sio.   “The Ministry for Pacific ...
    4 days ago
  • Bill English misleads Parliament on Police statement
    Bill English's attempt to restore his damaged credibility over the Todd Barclay affair has backfired after his claim to have "reported" Mr Barclay's actions to Police has proven not to be true, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. ...
    4 days ago
  • Keep it Public
    The Green Party strongly supports the Tertiary Education Unions call to #KeepitPublic Keep what public? Out quality tertiary education system that National is trying to open up to more private for-profit providers with a new law change. The (Tertiary Education ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    4 days ago
  • This ‘technical error’ is hurting big time
    Jonathan Coleman cannot resort to his ongoing litany that the Ministry of Health’s $38 million budget blunder is an error on paper only, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “He might keep saying it’s a ‘technical error’ but the reality ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour to invest in public transport for Greater Christchurch
    Labour will commit $100m in capital investment for public transport in Greater Christchurch, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “As the rebuild progresses, there are huge opportunities for Greater Christchurch, but ...
    5 days ago
  • Green Party will repeal solar tax
    It’s ridiculous for an electricity distribution monopoly to apply a charge on solar panels but worse than that, it’s harming our effort to tackle climate change. Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison last year announced a new solar charge for their ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    5 days ago
  • English fails the character test over Barclay
    Bill English is hoping this scandal will go away, but he is still dodging important questions over his role in covering up for Todd Barclay, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must apologise for Christchurch schools stuff-up
    The Ombudsman’s findings that the Ministry of Education botched the reorganisation of Christchurch schools after the 2011 earthquake are damning for an under-fire National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “The Ombudsman has found the reorganisation of schools in ...
    5 days ago
  • Government’s multinational tax measures weak
    The Government’s proposals to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, by its own admission only recovering one third of the missing money, means hardworking Kiwis will bear more of the tax burden, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “The Government ...
    6 days ago
  • World Refugee Day – we can do our bit
    I’m really proud that yesterday, on World Refugee Day, the Greens launched an ambitious plan to increase the refugee quota to 5000 over the next six years. Of those places, 4,000 will be directly resettled by the government and another ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • PM’s leadership in question over Barclay affair
    The Prime Minister must belatedly show some leadership and compel Todd Barclay to front up to the Police, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Twice today Bill English has been found wanting in this matter. ...
    6 days ago
  • Another memory lapse by Coleman?
    The Minister of Health ‘couldn’t recall’ whether the Director General of Health Chai Chuah offered his resignation over the Budget funding fiasco involving the country’s District Health Boards, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “In the House today Jonathan Coleman ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English needs to come clean over Barclay
    Bill English needs to explain why he failed to be upfront with the public over the actions of Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, following revelations that he knew about the secretly recorded conversations in the MP’s electorate office, says Labour Leader ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister, show some backbone and front up and debate
    Rather than accusing critics of his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill of telling ‘lies’, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell should show some backbone and front up to a debate on the issue, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “Te ...
    7 days ago
  • Equal pay for mental health workers
    Today, mental health workers are filing an equal pay claim through their unions. Mental health support workers do important and difficult work in our communities. But because the workforce is largely female, they are not paid enough. It’s wrong for ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Nats’ HAM-fisted housing crisis denial
    National’s decision to knowingly release a flawed Housing Affordability Measure that underestimates the cost of housing is the latest evidence of their housing crisis denial, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Pike footage builds compelling case for mine re-entry
    New footage of the Pike River Mine deep inside the operation, revealing no fire damage or signs of an inferno, provides a compelling reason to grant the families of Pike River’s victims their wish to re-enter the drift, says Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will get tough on slum boarding houses
    The next Labour-led Government will legislate a Warrant of Fitness based on tough minimum standards to clean out slum boarding houses, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s not acceptable for New Zealanders in the 21st Century to be living ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party tribute to Dame Nganeko Minhinnick
    Haere ngā mate ki tua o paerau; te moenga roa o ngā mātua tupuna. Haere, haere, haere. It was with a huge sense of loss that we learned of the death of Dame Nganeko Minhinnick yesterday. The Green Party acknowledges ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Urgent answers needed on DHB funding
      Jonathan Coleman must come clean and answer questions about what actual funding DHBs received in Budget 2017, says Labour Health Spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treasury puts Māori Land Service on red alert
    A damning Treasury report raises serious questions about the delivery of Te Ururoa Flavell’s proposed Māori Land Service, giving it a ‘red’ rating which indicates major issues with the project, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Treasury’s Interim Major Projects Monitoring ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Economy stalling after nine years of National’s complacency
    The second successive quarterly fall in per person growth shows the need for a fresh approach to give all New Zealanders a fair share in prosperity, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwi kids deserve much more
    All Kiwi kids deserve so much more than the impoverished picture painted by the shameful rankings provided by the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, says Labour’s children spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Zone a precursor to a total nuclear weapon ban
    New Zealand’s nuclear-free zone, legislated by Parliament in 1987, is something we all take pride in. It’s important, however, that we don’t let it thwart its own ultimate purpose – a world free of nuclear weapons. That goal must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • English must confirm we still stand by our principles on UN resolution
    Bill English must tell New Zealand whether we remain in support of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee’s evasive answers to repeated questions on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori party drop the poi on Māori health
    The Māori Party have dropped the poi when it comes to supporting Ngati Whakaue and Māori interests in Bay of Plenty by allowing an iwi owned and operated service Te Hunga Manaaki to be brushed aside in favour of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to invest in Whanganui River infrastructure
    Labour will work in partnership with the Whanganui Council to repair and redevelop the city’s Port precinct in advance of planned economic development and expansion. To enable Whanganui’s plans, Labour will commit $3m in matching funding for repairing the Whanganui ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parihaka: an apology
    An apology only works for healing if it is sincere and if it is accepted. We teach our children to apologise and to be genuine if they want to be forgiven. On Friday, June 9 at Parihaka, the Crown apologised ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Survey shows many international students plan to stay in NZ after study
    Most international students in New Zealand at PTEs (private training establishments) who have a plan for themselves after study intend to stay in New Zealand to work. This shows how low-level education has become a backdoor immigration route under National, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Councils step up as Nats drop the ball on housing crisis
    Phil Goff’s Mayoral Housing Taskforce is another positive example of councils stepping up where National has failed on housing, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    Labour will introduce moderate, sensible reforms to immigration to reduce the pressure on our cities, while ensuring we get the skilled workers our country needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealand is a country built on immigration. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inaction puts Māui dolphins at risk
    Conservation Minister Maggie Barry was at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York last week, trying to convince the world that the New Zealand Government is doing a good job at protecting our marine environment.  Yet last week after ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • National unprepared as immigration runs four times faster than forecast
    National has been caught asleep at the wheel by record immigration that has outstripped Budget forecasts, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • First home buyers shouldn’t carry the can for National’s failed policies
    The introduction of tighter limits on lending to first home buyers would see them paying the price for the National Party’s failure to recognise or fix the housing crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Nine years of denial and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Motel bill blows out as Nats fail to deliver emergency housing
    Minister Amy Adams has admitted at select committee that National has now spent $22m on putting homeless families in motels as it fails to deliver the emergency housing places it promised, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister, how out of touch are you?
    What was going through Jonathan Coleman’s head in the Health Select Committee this morning when he claimed he was unaware that an estimated 533,000 people have missed out on a GP’s visit in the last 12 months due to cost, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Divided we fall
    I’m getting pretty sick of the politics of division in this country.  The latest example was yesterday’s comments from NZ First leader Winston Peters having a good go in the House at driving up fear and loathing towards people of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Electoral Amendment Bill to enhance democracy
    Democracy will be enhanced under Labour’s Private Member’s Bill which will have its First Reading today, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Police underfunded despite rise in crime
    As crime continues to rise dairy owners are scared for their lives and communities reel under a record increase in burglary numbers, it has now been revealed that Police received less than three quarters of their bid in this year’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Road pricing years off, public transport investment needed now
    With road pricing still years away, Labour will step up with investment in public transport to ease Auckland’s congestion woes, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Call to protect Easter Sunday in Auckland
    Auckland’s Labour MPs are backing the community to protect Easter Sunday by retaining current trading restrictions in the city, says Labour MPs Aupito William Sio and Michael Wood.  “The Government’s weak and confusing decision to delegate the decision over Easter ...
    3 weeks ago
  • $2.3 billion shortfall in health
    The funding needed for health to be restored to the level it was seven years ago to keep pace with cost pressures has widened to a massive $2.3 billion, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.  “We used to have a health ...
    3 weeks ago