Standard scoop: Another senior Nat failed to disclose conflicts

Written By: - Date published: 10:39 am, October 28th, 2008 - 31 comments
Categories: corruption, economy, election 2008, john key, national - Tags:

Last month, Key lied when he was asked whether he had more Tranzrail shares, over which he had failed to declare his conflict of interest. On Sunday, it was revealed on The Standard that Key had also held shares in Fletcher Challenge Forests, which was campaigning for the Government to buy the rails off Tranzrail, at the same time as he was using his powers as an MP to gain information on the prospects for that sale. He didn’t reveal that conflict of interest, either. But Key wasn’t the only Nat breaking the rules.

In between 2002 and 2005, Gerry Brownlee asked numerous written and oral questions, and gave numerous speeches about Contact Energy, and about government policy that relates to Contact Energy’s share price. He often criticised policies that would reduce Contact’s profitability – environmental standards, Kyoto, the establishment of the Electricity Commission – and asked questions on specific Contact projects.

Here is an example from 2002 of just one of the instances in which Brownlee used his powers as an MP to obtain information on Contact Energy:

Gerry Brownlee: In the light of that answer, why has Contact Energy put on hold its combined-cycle gas plant planned for Otahuhu [Hansard,8 Oct, 2002]

Here is another from 2003

Gerry Brownlee: Can the Minister confirm that the Government is considering establishing a systems operator who will buy and sell all generated electricity, doing away with the market and destroying all incentives for investment in new generation that we desperately need?

and one more from 2003

Gerry Brownlee: Is the Minister aware that similar comments from the Prime Minister last week wiped millions of dollars off the capital value of Contact Energy; can he tell us whether he has discussed those threats with the Minister for State Owned Enterprises; and can he also tell us how bringing generators to their knees helps the current crisis?

He seems a little upset about the drop in Contact’s share price, doesn’t he? Well he might, because Gerry Brownlee was a Contact shareholder; he had a financial interest in Contact’s performance and share price. In none of the instances I’ve seen where Brownlee refers to Contact or its interests does he reveal he is a shareholder. He first made it public when the Pecuniary Interests Register came into force in 2006. Prior to that, he did not declare his conflict of interest as he was required to do, even as he used his privileges as an MP to obtain information that gave him special information on the value of those shares.

I discovered Brownlee’s shareholding while examining the share registers of eight New Zealand companies. My primary purpose was to ascertain whether John Key had any holdings in those companies (more on those holdings later); I only checked whether Brownlee has a holding in Contact on a whim. So what are the odds that there are not more, undiscovered, conflicts of interest that the Nats have kept secret?

As with the secret agenda tapes, what we are seeing here is almost certainly just a small snapshot of the full picture. Even more concerning than the secret conflicts of interest that have been discovered is the knowledge that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

[Update: Brownlee’s shares disappear in 2006, when he creates a family trust. Presumably, the shares went into the trust. Parliamentary procedure expert Idiot/Savant argues that, while listing an interest in the pecuniary interests register (as Brownlee has done with his trust) removes the need to reveal conflicts of interest under SO166, a conflict arising from assets within a trust that are not named in the register still needs to be revealed. To put it bluntly, if Brownlee stills owns the shares in his family trust, he still needs to reveal the conflict of interest notwithstanding that he has registered his trust.]

31 comments on “Standard scoop: Another senior Nat failed to disclose conflicts”

  1. yl 1

    Great work Steve,

    Keep the crime busting going. It might not be front page stuff but it is more straw on the camels back. (the camel being National, and the straw being more lies and corruption).

  2. NeillR 2

    even as he used his privileges as an MP to obtain information that gave him special information on the value of those shares
    Howso? I haven’t seen a single piece yet which shows anything other than questions being asked in parliament – a public forum, which is televised. So at the same time Brownlee asked the questions they became a matter of public record and as such, the market was fully aware. Do you really have any understanding of markets and disclosure?

  3. Quoth the Raven 3

    If Gerry Brownlee bashing a pensioner didn’t sully National party supporters opinion of him I doubt this will.

  4. Ianmac 4

    Good Stuff Steve.
    NeillR: Should Bill Ralston declare his interest in John Key as his media trainer, when asking questions on public TV?
    Should David Farrar declare his interest in being a National Party blogger, when appearing as an “independent” commentator on TV or Radio?
    Should Gerry or John declare a pecuniary interest when asking questions in Parliament (which is a privileged position which others outside do not have)? This even before any money is made or shares traded which would lift it to greater more serious levels.
    I ask as a non legal non economist person.

  5. NeillR.The standing orders are clear – it doesn’t matter that these statements and questions go on the public record, it is that someone with a financial interest in the company is asking questions without revealing that interest which is the violation of the rules.

  6. vidiot 6

    NeillR – No he (SP) doesn’t.

    If he (Brownlee) was asking questions behind closed doors, he would have a conflict of interest and could be in breech of insider trading rules. However, as you (NeillR) has pointed out, all matters in the chambers are public record, so no wrong doing can be found.

    Now the questions I would like to ask SP is why do you have such a beef with our politicians who are willing to back NZ companies ? Do you not think it’s a good idea to back NZ made ?

    Next you will be assumpting that because Brownlee has shares in Contact, that he can’t argue against the compulsory introduction of CFB’s as the impact of switching over to these will see Contact’s profit’s lowered. Or promoting the electrification of Auckland Rail, as Contact might be the ones powering that.

    [this has nothing to do with insider trading rules. It is about the rules of Parliament. MPs are given privileges, powers of inquiry that ordinary people don’t have, they have to abide by rules on the use of those powers. MPs are allowed to speak on any issue but they must reveal any conflict of interest when they do so. Brownlee and Key have failed to do so. SP]

  7. coge 7

    Good on NZ politicians for investing in local companies. Sure, some of these investments turned out to be complete dogs, but good on the politicians for backing them. I’m reasonably confident that some Labour pollies have adopted the same approach.

  8. NeillR 8

    NeillR: Should Bill Ralston declare his interest in John Key as his media trainer, when asking questions on public TV?
    I suppose he should if Paul Holmes declares his interest in sleeping over at Helen and Peter’s.

  9. Janet 9

    Declaring a conflict of interest when discussing anything you could potentially benefit financially from, is generally an ethical issue, and, increasingly, a legal one. Best advice is always to declare in the interests of transparency and others can judge whether it is relevant or not.

    Notable examples when people don’t declare conflicts of interest when ethically they should, in my opinion, include some writers on a particular well-known weekly magazine, several contributors to the op ed pages of the newspapers, the sacked Hawkes Bay DHB, as well as the MPs already mentioned.

  10. T-rex 10

    Does the moron Brownlee still own those shares Steve? Because if so, I’d say his behaviour earlier this year during the “Power Crisis OMG WTF That Wasn’t”, namely endlessly talking up the degree of peril the country faced, was fairly self serving. No doubt he wanted to make Labour look bad – that’s self servingness that I can accept from the opposition. But did you see how much money Contact made during the high spot prices? Clyde and Roxborough are basically run of river dams – you can’t just shut them down. If power is cheap, contacts profits are lower.

    I’m mostly bitter because someone who is so clearly an ill-informed idiot leveraged his moronic opinions into more airtime than anyone not accused of blowing up a childcare centre should ever receive.

    Good ol’ Gerry. Tirelessly championing the dire times in the electricity industry… well, you know, at least right up until the point that it rained. Durn rain.

    In fact, when it comes right down to it, how the f*ck can a political parties energy spokesperson EVER have shares in a power company without a conflict of interest, especially in a semi-regulated market. What a joke. I now dislike him even more, and I already disliked him quite a lot.

  11. rave 11

    Have these questions been put to Key and Brownlee by Francesca Mold yet?
    I would like to see Key derailed and Brownlee getting a charge up his whatsit.

  12. T-Rex. Impossible to know. He owned the shares in his own name in the 2006 register but in 2007 he had set up a trust and the shares had disappeared (presumably, but not provably, into the trust). for the purposes of the standing order, that’s ok, so it’s not a breach of the rules, but there should be questions about a shareholder in a power company using his power as Opposition Energy spokesperson trying to scare up a power crisis every year.

    captcha: ‘locked recounts’ are vision of New Zealand, post-election?

  13. rave.. Kevin Taylor responded to the Key story, said it was like saying an MP has a conflict of interest if they talk about petrol prices because they own a car. Not true of course. A conflict of interest arises from a special interest that person has, not something everyone has, and Key owned shares in a company campaigning for the Government to undertake a certain action (buy the rails) at the same time as he was asking questions about that action.

  14. NeillR 14

    SP, it’s not a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest would arise if he were a shareholder in a company – let’s say it made wind generated turbines for power consumption and then the government happened to buy those turbines.
    Or if a DHB decided to contract out part of it’s operation and the company that got the contract was run by that MP’s spouse. Or a conflict of interest might arise if someone was looking to gain residency and the MP in question invited the person along and got them to drop a wad of cash into the collection box and later they got given residency. Those are examples of conflicts of interest.

    [no, you just don’t understand the rules. Here is Standing Order 166(1)
    166 Declaration of financial interest
    (1) A member must, before participating in the consideration of any item of business [business means activity of Parliament], declare any financial interest that the member has in that business.
    If Key had a conflict of interest over his Tranzrail shares, and he conceded he did, then Brownlee had one over his Contact shares. SP]

  15. Daveski 15

    I know this is not a Labour site because LP says so and as much as I disagree with LP’s comments (he’s is openly Labour and says so) I respect his comments.

    But this line of attack contrasts vividly with SP’s line on Winston. Moreover, for this to be relevant, it would need to be accompanied by a similar analysis of the left MP’s to prove that this is of consequence.

    To be more constructive, I think the Standard is having a bit of an identity crisis. I understand the intended purpose but posts such as these illustrate it is less a left wing labour forum of like minded people and more of a surrogate pro-Labour site.

    Yes I have read the About pages 🙂

    But SP’s line of attack mean this site is becoming more Labour and less labour.

  16. Tane 16

    Daveski. SP, like the rest of us, opposes a National-led government. While in Auckland he had a look at the share register and found Nat MPs had been engaging in dodgy behaviour. He is now making that behaviour public.

    There’s no identity crisis here, just a bunch of National supporters who don’t like seeing their heroes exposed and, in your case, are desperate for a line.

  17. Danny 17

    “Is the Minister aware that similar comments from the Prime Minister last week wiped millions of dollars off the capital value of Contact Energy; can he tell us whether he has discussed those threats with the Minister for State Owned Enterprises; and can he also tell us how bringing generators to their knees helps the current crisis?”

    If Brownlee said that while he was an undisclosed shareholder, he is an idiot, and he is in trouble. Plain and simple.

    NeillR/Vidiot; this is not about “markets and disclosure”. It is not an accustion concerning securities law at all. It is about “conflicts” and “pecuriary interests” (the latter often needing a consideration of the ‘market price’ when the interest is non-direct, which is not the case here).

    Therefore, it is patently obvious that you are either 1. confused; or 2. politically motivated.

  18. Daveski. I’m a Green voter, always have been. Been a member since 2003. Inactive though.

    and I’m not sure how a post revealing the results of research I have conducted for the Standard on National MP’s conflicts of interest has anything to do with whether this site is broad Left or Labour

  19. Quoth the Raven 19

    There’s no identity crisis here, just a bunch of National supporters who don’t like seeing their heroes exposed and, in your case, are desperate for a line.

    Don’t worry DPF will soon provide them with their scripts.

  20. Daveski 20

    Tane/Sp

    Acknowledged your points although you are assuming I am a National supporter.

    I certainly don’t hero worship the Nats – I’ve been quite open about their public failings.

    Clearly, conflict of interest is a valid line of attack. However, this is far from an open case of corruption and as I’ve noted fails the test of whether this is something that is characteristic of just some MP’s or whether similar straw men could be created about Labour or other left MP’s.

    SP – you have acknowledged your Green status before. My comments are based on perception.

    To me, this looks like the left being desperate for a line given the polls.

    I’m not trolling, not trying to deflect, but it’s the equivalent of the Kiwis saying at least we won the haka against the Kangaroos.

  21. Danny 21

    Vidiot?NeillR,

    … and Brownlee can ask/state whatever he damn pleases about Contact as a shareholder and as a member of Parliament, provided he first discloses that interest.

    Securities law does not come into it unless he 1. becomes an information insider, and 2. acts on that information (disclosure of his interest is irrelevant to that point, and besides, it is not even close to what was suggested). You have both mistakenly (deliberately?) confused the two to create a higher threshold for wrongdoing.

    The test is simple.
    1. a member of Parliament; 2. an interest; 3. that interest not being disclosed; and 4. participation in business related to that interest.

  22. Akldnut 22

    NeillR – Daveski You can put up all the different scenarios and whine as much as you like but that dosn’t change the fact that they’ve both been snapped not conforming to parliamentary rules.

    Daveski you need to look at your third scenario again because
    1. The MP in question did not “get” anyone to drop off a wad of cash, it was a donation.
    2. He acknowledged having a form of dealing “as such” with this guy by passing it on to the next person as the rules state that he should. ( Look he ‘s following the rules and he’s not going to make any money out of it – unlike some dodgey pricks)
    3. The dude was hedging his bets by dropping of a wad of cash to national as well. (or was it a donation?…. mmmmm convenietly ommited again)

  23. Steve:
    He owned the shares in his own name in the 2006 register but in 2007 he had set up a trust and the shares had disappeared (presumably, but not provably, into the trust). for the purposes of the standing order, that’s ok, so it’s not a breach of the rules

    Really? SO 165 includes benefits to trusts in which the MP has an interest in the definition of a financial interest. And while SO 166 allows MPs to avoid declaring an interest already contained in the register, if the register simply lists the trust rather than the shares, then there is arguably still a duty to declare. Which likely makes some of his questions and debating points (particularly over climate change) over the last few years in breach of standing orders as well.

    You should do some more digging into this. The results would be fascinating, and help protect our democracy.

  24. Dancer 24

    Good work here Steve. And for those who are unclear on standing orders – they are the rules that MPs live by – and so are important (it was a breach of the SOs that got Winston sent to the priviliges select committee). This is what Mr Key said about SOs over the earler Tranzrail event on Sunrise (23 September)

    JK: at the time in 2002, when I came into Parliament, there wasn’t a pecuniary interest list to register it on so it didn’t work like that. The correct process for me to have followed was if there was a point at which I asked um, information about a company that I had a shareholding under a standing order, I should’ve declared that and ah, I failed to do that. I was, that was a genuine error on my part.

    Now Mr Brownlee is an experienced politician so he should have known better (so should Mr Key but that’s a different story!)

  25. the sprout 25

    Great stuff. If only we had like, journalists, who could do this stuff too.

  26. Danny 26

    Yes quite.

    Of all people, Mr Brownlee is in absolutely no position to downplay the importance of standing orders or the significance of this apparently egregious breach.

  27. Ianmac 27

    Idiot Savant: Having great respect for your perceptions , I think your input is a great help. How do you think the story should be unfolded.

  28. randal 28

    handed out in free broadsheets every morning at wellington and auckland railway stations

  29. Sarah 29

    I think Steve doesn’t like people having shares in the first place. Oh those filthy capitalists.

    [I own shares. Would a perfect world not have this system of wealth ownership? Sure but that doesn’t make it immoral to own shares in the existing system. SP]

  30. Steve,

    Your checking back some and I’d like know whether other related-to-stock issues have been taken up by the mp.. looking for options.. and if available data or details whether option/s and/or option contract rights issued with any such financial asset/s..? The former could be regular to shareholders, the latter privileged and – in the circumstances you describe – most definitely in need of disclosure..

  31. Ianmac 31

    Jerry Brownlee has answered the Standard’s contention in the Press today.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/0a28824.html?source=nav
    Says that there was never any requirement to declare.

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    Land taxes have – unexpectedly – become a hot policy topic in the run-up to the election. Land taxes were originally suggested by the economist and social reformer Henry George as a fairer alternative to income or business tax. The ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis support a water tax
    The prospect of making farmers and water bottlers pay for their use of public water has been a big issue this election campaign. Irrigation-dependent dairy farmers hate the idea, of course - they're freeloaders who don't want to pay their ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National censors NZTA
    Last month, when the National Party announced ten expensive new roads as the core of its election campaign, the Greater Auckland blog noticed something interesting: the business case for one of them, Whangarei to Wellsford, had disappeared from NZTA's website. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Follow the Leader: Winston Peters – NZ First
      ...
    2 days ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters 3: Education and Justice
    This is the third of a series of blogs from the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).   We have used DPA’s strategic areas of focus, as identified by our members, as a guide to examine key areas of each party’s policies. We ...
    2 days ago
  • Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (ono)
    . . You show me yours, I’ll show you mine… . Perhaps the most ill-considered public statement from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, was his recent (11 September) demand that Labour disclose it’s full tax plan as a pre-condition for ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • The mystery of the Wellsford-Whangarei business case solved
    Exactly a month ago, the National Party announced the biggest element of their transport policy for this election, $10.5 billion on 10 new Roads of National Significance. These are: Wellsford to Whangarei East West Link in Auckland Cambridge to Tirau Piarere ...
    2 days ago
  • Which New Zealand are you voting for?
    I was walking out of a meeting with two fine people the other day, one a National Party supporter and one a Labour Party supporter. The centre-right man reckons his team has lost it, but he sighed, "the economy's going ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Farmers blame absence of Bill English for failure to summon Cow God
    Farmers were deeply disappointed when an incantation meant to summon the Cow God instead summoned Winston Peters. Dairy farmers have spent the better part of today blaming Prime Minister Bill English for their failure to summon the Cow God beneath ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • Trust women to decide: Greens
    The Green party has renewed its calls for abortion law reform, after a woman who was declined a termination considered suicide.    Under the Crimes Act, an abortion must be approved by two licenced specialist doctors.  Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day is now about equal pay for many women
    The fight goes on.   Merinda Jackson. Photo: The Wireless/Max Towle Women wearing suffragist dress gathered outside Wellington’s central library this afternoon. They periodically broke off into small groups and disappeared inside for a few minutes at ...
    3 days ago
  • How WINZ got social housing costs so wrong
    Last year, National bowed to public pressure over homelessness and replaced emergency housing loans - under which the homeless were saddled with odious debt to be put up in price-gouging motels - with a grant. Their initial budget for these ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Narcissistic men are more likely to troll on Facebook – study
    “Aggression, manipulativeness, low agreeableness.” Sound familiar? Illustration: 123RF A new study analysing people’s motivations for trolling has found men are more likely to bully others on Facebook because they’re more narcissistic. Researchers from Brunel and Goldsmiths universities ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change: This is going to cost us
    For the past six months, National have been suppressing Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards, which show that sea level rise and the resulting storm surges threaten $19 billion of coastal property. This government malfeasance isn't just bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National has failed our health system
    Along with a number of other worsening sectors in New Zealand, the public health system has become increasingly degraded under a National led government. The statistics clearly show a complete failure to meet growing demand for services, especially in peak ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day
    Today, September 19th, is Suffrage Day. 124 years ago today, women gained the right to vote in New Zealand. Its one of our greatest achievements as a nation, and yet its not one we publicly mark. That needs to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins and the swamp kauri petrol crisis
    The ruptured fuel pipe that runs to Auckland Airport looks set to cause more chaos as fuel shortages start to impede people trying to fill up at the pump.Already a number of international flights have been diverted or cancelled due ...
    3 days ago
  • Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
    This sort of serious dental fluorosis does not occur in New Zealand A recent issue of the Fluoride Exposed Newsletter gives us the facts about dental fluorosis – a subject very often misrepresented by opponents of community water fluoridation. Ever ...
    3 days ago
  • PT Ridership around New Zealand
    Auckland had a pretty good year for public transport ridership in the last financial year (to the end of June). Overall, compared to the 2016 ridership increased by 5.5 million (7%) to 88.44 million trips, the highest point since 1955. ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution
    Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Chevron’s Amazon Chernobyl Case moves to Canada
    After perpetrating what is probably the worst oil-related catastrophe on Earth - a 20,000 hectare death zone in Ecuador, known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” - the Chevron Corporation has spent two decades and over a billion dollars trying to avoid ...
    3 days ago
  • 5 reasons the car industry needs to change its ways now
    Today the world’s biggest motor show gets underway in Germany. The Frankfurt Motorshow is the moment many of the world’s best known car manufacturers get together for a grand display of vehicles that have been polished so hard it’s a ...
    3 days ago
  • Access Granted: Kat Greenbrook – From insight to action
    Kat Greenbrook (@katgreenbrook) is on a mission to increase the number of data insights actioned as she sees a growing gap between analytics teams and decision makers, stemming from a breakdown in communication.  Kat, through her own company Rogue Penguin, works across ...
    3 days ago
  • When The Country Goes To Town.
    Pretty Ugly, Pretty Quickly: That the demographic and cultural divide between rural and urban New Zealand remains a source of deep unease to farmers cannot be doubted. Equally indisputable, historically-speaking, has been the militant, even violent, character of rural New ...
    3 days ago
  • More on Kiwi Rail De-electrification
    *This is a guest post by Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders KIWIRAIL’S NIMT DECISION EXPOSED IN LEAKED DOCUMENTS Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders1 Leaked documents show that KiwiRail’s decision in December 2016, to ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Limits to growth?
    Mounting concern with housing, transport and diversity issues in Auckland point to a consensus that growth trends are exceeding our ability to readily cope. This is aggravated by reports that portions of our wilderness tourism areas are being hammered by ...
    Briefing PapersBy Charles Crothers
    4 days ago
  • Winston Peters hijacks National’s protest
    There was a lot of anticipation surrounding a farmer’s protest in Morrinsville yesterday, a protest over Labour’s proposed levy of 1 to 2 cents per 1000 litres of water used for irrigation.Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ in particular have been ...
    4 days ago
  • Just when will the fat lady start singing this election?
    Now we’ve entered the last week of the election campaign, Saturday’s finishing post is in sight. Once the polls close at 7pm on that day, no further ballots may be cast.read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Prediction
    There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going to do:NAT – 42%LAB – 39%NZF – 8%GRE – 6%TOP – 2%MAO – 1.5% (With electorate ...
    4 days ago

  • Housing report earns Nats the red card
    National’s failure to acknowledge and fix the housing crisis will be their legacy. Labour will tackle the housing crisis head-on, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 day ago
  • Sluggish growth reflects nine years of drift from National
    Today’s GDP figures reflect an economy that the National Government has allowed to drift along on the basis of growing population rather than improving productivity and adding value, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is important to recognise that ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s campaign of deception an affront to democracy
    Voters this week have a clear choice between Labour’s optimism and honesty, or rewarding National’s campaign of relentless lies, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Day after day National has been deliberately spreading lies about Labour, our intentions and what ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s economy scorecard: D for drift
    New Zealand’s economy is failing the very people it is supposed to uplift, characterised by stalled productivity, exports going backwards and a Government content to let it drift, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Voters have a clear choice ...
    2 days ago
  • Another day – another health crisis
    News today that the emergency department at Waikato has turned 180 patients away is another crisis for the Government and its besieged health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “It’s astonishing that the Government has had to rely on ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on loan sharks
      Labour will take a tough stance on loan sharks and make sure that the Commerce Commission is properly resourced to protect Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Michael Wood.   “People on low incomes must be protected from ...
    2 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass
    National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Freight being shifted off planes as fuel crisis worsens
    Export freight is being shifted off flights because of the Government’s failure to manage the risk of disruption to jet fuel supplies, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson Stuart Nash. “It has been revealed to Labour that non-perishable export freight is ...
    3 days ago
  • Apologise now Jonathan
    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman must apologise for his part in a $2.3 billion shortfall that has contributed to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “All the Minister could say in an interview this morning ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s health report card shows need for new plan
    From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.   “It’s time to invest in the health of ...
    3 days ago
  • Eye clinic wait downright dangerous
    The fact that 9,500 Kiwis are waiting one and a half times longer than they should to get follow-up eye appointments is unacceptable and dangerous, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “These people are entitled to the reassurance that if ...
    3 days ago
  • National has serious questions to answer over Auckland fuel crisis
    Thousands of air travellers looking for answers to Auckland Airport’s fuel crisis should be demanding the National Government come clean over its failure to secure fuel supply for the airport, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “There are serious questions the ...
    4 days ago
  • Come clean on trade before the election
    In the two days before the election, New Zealand MFAT negotiators will attend a negotiations meeting in Japan on the successor to the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now called the TPP-11. The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy but we ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • National unravels on transport
    The release of extraordinary information showing that the East-West link could be the most expensive road in the world, at $327 million per kilometre, shows that National is fiscally reckless and out of ideas on transport, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson ...
    6 days ago
  • Saudi cover-up a perversion of democracy
    The Government has been exposed as dishonest after it was revealed that  they were wrong to claim they paid out $11 million dollars to a Saudi businessmen after legal advice, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Parker.  “OIAs revealed on ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour supporting Te Reo Māori in schools
    Labour will support a future where New Zealanders from every background will have the ability to use Te Reo Māori in everyday conversations, says Labour’s Deputy Leader and Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Labour will commit to a target that ...
    1 week ago
  • Is National planning a secret fuel tax?
    Sources suggest National is considering a secret fuel tax to fund its controversial Roads of National Significance (RONS) programme, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While the Government keeps up its stream of lies about Labour’s tax policy, sources indicate ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity
    Labour’s regional development plan for the West Coast will build on its strengths in engineering and tourism, while delivering a much-needed upgrade to the Buller Hospital, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “Labour’s vision is for a thriving regional New Zealand, ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour committed to fair and progressive tax system
    Labour is committed to a tax system where everyone pays their fair share and where we start to address the imbalances that have fuelled the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. "Today ...
    1 week ago
  • A challenge to Bill English
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Flavell’s fake news an insult to Māori voters
    A desperate Te Ururoa Flavell has resorted to fake news about Labour’s position on his unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s tax cuts reckless and irresponsible
    It is time for Bill English and Steven Joyce to stop the scaremongering and lies, and front up to New Zealanders about the impact of their tax cuts, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Bill English has no credibility on ...
    1 week ago
  • Calculator shows Labour’s Families Package delivers
    Labour has launched a new online calculator that show how much extra families with kids will get from Labour’s Families Package, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Families can go to www.labour.org.nz/calculator and see how much better off they ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s identity through Labour’s media and film policy
    Labour has today launched its media and film policy aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s identity and providing sustainability for the industry, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to invest in parents and babies
    Labour will fund an additional 100 Plunket and Tamariki Ora nurses to increase the help available for vulnerable parents and babies, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “It’s so important that our children get the best start in life. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes and state houses in Hawke’s Bay
    Labour will build a mix of 240 affordable KiwiBuild starter homes for first home buyers and state homes for families in need in Napier and Hastings, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “In 2016, the populations of Napier and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges more for Whānau Ora
    Labour will strengthen the oversight of Whānau Ora and provide an extra $20 million over four years to improve outcomes for whānau and families, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis.    “We’ve created a new position of Whānau Ora Reviewer ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s housing band aid
    Throwing subsidies at an under-supplied housing market is one last desperate bid by National to be seen to do something about the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “First home buyers have been the collateral damage of National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing, families, education and environment top priorities in Labour’s first 100 days
    Labour will take urgent action in its first 100 days in office to expand support for families and students, make rental homes warm and dry, find solutions to the mental health crisis and accelerate efforts to clean up our waterways, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges to unlock funding for Te Hiku sports hub project
    The Labour Government will inject nearly $3 million into the Te Hiku Sports Hub project, to help realise a much-needed health and recreational facility for the Far North, says Labour Deputy Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan to get job seekers into better work
    Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour sets strong target and plan for climate action
    Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are education cuts missing in National’s Fiscal Plan?
    National needs to explain why its plans for cuts to school transport have not been announced in its fiscal plan, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.   “Buried in the Pre-election Budget update is a $5m a year cut to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce must come clean on Health and Education funding
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis is National’s legacy
    Reports of tenants languishing in boarding houses for years because they cannot get a state house is yet more evidence National’s legacy is the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We used to pride ourselves in this country ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour calls for release of report into civil defence flaws
    The National Government must stick by its word given to other political parties and release a technical report before the election addressing critical flaws in New Zealand’s civil defence capability, Labour Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran said today.  “Cross party ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Credibility shot as Government runs out of steam
    New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics, says Labour MP Phil Twyford. “New Zealand had been hoping we’d seen the end of dirty politics, but what ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Steven Joyce must apologise to New Zealand
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and apologise for his patently false and cynical attack on Labour’s Fiscal Plan, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Every respected economic commentator has come out and said that Labour’s Fiscal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English didn’t answer because the Oreti is badly polluted
    Last night Bill English was asked by Paddy Gower in the Leader’s Debate: “Which river did he swim in as a kid, and is it now polluted?” Bill English named the Oreti River, but did not answer whether it is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats put out dodgy numbers – again
    National’s promise to increase the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 is bizarre, given Jonathan Coleman has claimed 200,000 electives are already being performed, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s Award to encourage young people into trades training
    Labour will introduce a $2,000 award for the best pupil in vocational courses in each public secondary school, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We know there’s huge demand for trades workers, particularly in the building sector, where construction ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not another Nick Smith wild goose chase
    Only the election on September 23 can save the country and the RMA from Nick Smith, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and Environment spokesperson David Parker. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government supresses Climate Change report
    The Government has deliberately sat on a critical Climate Change report for 5 months which they must now release, election or no election, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “I want the report released immediately, so that New Zealanders ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Joyce gets it wrong on Labour’s Fiscal Plan
    Labour’s Fiscal Plan is robust, the numbers are correct and we stand by them despite the desperate and disingenuous digging from an out-the-door Finance Minister, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has embarrassed himself. This is a desperate, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Making renting secure and healthy
    Labour will move to make renting a more stable and healthy experience for families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago