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The brand cult of Air New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, April 22nd, 2009 - 38 comments
Categories: employment - Tags:

As someone personally involved at the Air New Zealand cabin crew dispute I can tell you it’s been pretty nasty for everyone involved. But what it’s really brought home for everyone has been the seamless (and slightly creepy) way the airline has used its internal communications to reinforce the brand cult of Air New Zealand.

Don’t get me wrong, I know every large business runs internal PR, it’s part of getting their staff on side so they do their best for the business. But usually it’s no more than a staff newsletter and some hokey team-building once a year.

Air New Zealand takes it to a whole new level. The airline’s 11,000 staff who, like in some weird nation within a nation, are encouraged to think of themselves as “Air New Zealanders”, are emailed weekly CEO messages as well as good news stories about the company and media releases. They run regular training sessions with Orwellian titles like “realise your potential” in which staff are encouraged to identify themselves and their futures in terms of the Air New Zealand brand and they provide staff with a whole separate password coded online world called the korunet with its own forums and newsfeeds. A world that is heavily moderated and censored of course.

Staff are also encouraged to spend their spare time selling the brand to family and friends, to take part in company-organised charity events and to “share their New Zealand” with the company for outside PR purposes. Some of the staff I know have spent countless hours working for free at Air New Zealand events out of a strange mixture of loyalty, fear and ultimately hollow promises of getting ahead.

A large part of this strategy is the creation of Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe as a benevolent messiah figure. He hardly ever gets involved in the airline’s constant industrial disputes and he works the occasional shift with staff to let “his people” know that they are “all Air New Zealanders”.

That’s all very well but what happens when “Air New Zealanders”, such as the Zeal 320 crew, decide to break the faith by asking to be treated equally with other “Air New Zealanders”?

Here’s an internal communication to all Air NZ staff in which Fyfe comments about the dispute:

I have found this week particularly challenging I love Air New Zealand, the brand, the people and what we mean to the country. Therefore, I have found it especially difficult to see the Zeal crew go to such lengths to project themselves as unprofessional, denigrate the uniform, our brand, the koru and the professional standards of the airline.

We want people to step on board our aircraft and have confidence in the crew who they are trusting to get them to their destination safely. Our passengers want to see professionalism, confidence and maturity, and people who are able to show leadership and display the characteristics I describe above in a time of crisis.

Yet some set out this week to destroy that confidence and unfortunately customer confidence is not something you can turn on and off like a tap. It is something that takes a long time to build, can be lost in a flash, and takes a long time to rebuild again. It upsets me that people can be so disrespectful of something that many of you have spent decades creating and I have certainly put my heart and soul into in my six years with Air New Zealand.

So we have been faced with some tough leadership choices this week. I have received emails from a number of you questioning why we are been so tolerant of this behaviour. Here is one such email;

‘Rob, you have had more than 10,000 people bust a gut to resurrect Air New Zealand from the ashes of the demise of Ansett. These people in Zeal are showing complete disrespect not only to these people but the generations they follow who worked tirelessly to build an airline that all New Zealanders can be proud of… Imagine what foreigners must think when they step on a plane this week!!! You and Bruce and the team must be thinking hard about whether the Zeal crew are really fit to be part of the culture you have built, especially when there are so many New Zealanders desperate to wear the uniform and represent the Koru with pride.’

Despite the behaviour of these Zeal crew I still believe that deep down they want to work on Air New Zealand services, want to do a good job and want to convey a professional image, but that the people behind these antics, have lost sight of the ‘bigger picture’.

When I read this I was reminded of the behaviour of Exclusive Brethren leaders encouraging church members to shun those they feel have lost the faith. In fact it seems more like a decree of excommunication than a CEO statement about a pay dispute.

It’s been noticable at the airport how it has had a similar effect, with some other Air New Zealand staff abusing their colleagues for betraying the brand. Ironically some of these staff are likely to have their jobs taken from them by cheaper Zeal employees if the company wins this dispute.

If this kind of deep-immersion, leader as messiah stuff was being undertaken for religious or political reasons it is likely Air New Zealand would be on some kind of security watchlist. But it’s not. It’s being done to make money. So instead we see Rob celebrated on the cover of North and South (whose parent company ACP also publish the Air NZ in flight magazine, KiaOra), winning PR awards and flying to China with Prime Minister John Key.

And we do see it because it’s all emailed to every staff member to constantly remind them of how great Air New Zealand is.

Disclaimer: The author of this guest post is involved in the industrial dispute at Zeal 320.

38 comments on “The brand cult of Air New Zealand”

  1. chris 1

    That ‘internal communication’ is SO well written, it could have come from someone in the AIR NZ PR/HR stable.
    What’s the bet that the writer will forever remain anonymous?

    Like spin-doctoring, the communication does not appear to address the the specific issues that the Zeal 320 people have raised, rather, it presents an adverse point of view and makes THAT the issue.

    Read “Toxic sludge is good for you” for a run-down on how the American PR industry works. I see similarities at work in this AirNZ saga.

    On the other side of the coin, we are talking about a business.
    If I sign the contract, then sticking to that contract cuts both ways.
    When the contract is up for renewal, THEN I can either re-negotiate or leave.
    While we Kiwis are rightfully concerned about ‘doing the right thing’, we cannot treat a business like a wallet of dosh.

    • Ever notice which industries are unionised? Those where the workers have a single employer (Corrections, Education, Health workers) or very few choices of employer (airlines in New Zealand, for example).

      If people are going to vest their time and energy – their lives – in a career, they most definitely WILL push back rather than walk away. Walk away to what?

      The free-flowing grains of salt of the wider competitive labour market rapidly become concrete when the employees have no – or very few – options about who they might work for.

      That’s just how it is.

      Zeal 320 staff are defending their interests just as the airline is defending what it sees as its interests. That’s what happens in such a situation. Better to address it with understanding then pretend it is something it isn’t.

  2. Those who’ve read my posts on other issues may be surprised to find I actually agree with at least some of this post. I had a recent experience – deliberately vague naturally – where I was closely associated with an ANZ manager.

    Whilst exceptionally normal in most respects, said manager demonstrated the religious zealotry (one of my better puns!) described above.

    Cult of personality included.

    Strange indeed.

    One comment in case some of you think I’m about to change over to the dark side … this issue puts Andrew Little in a collision course with his own future. At some stage, he’s got to realise as a potential MP and God/FSM forbid PM, he has a conflict of interest.

  3. keith 3

    Enough is enough! Rob Fyfe is a great leader of our nation’s airline!

  4. Bill 4

    Here’s a happy wee Fyfe ditty from the 30’s for you to be humming next time you get on board.

    http://www.slba.se/journaldigital/REEL_HISTORY/filmfonster_fyffes.htm

    And here is the man himself… sans suit

    http://www.fyffes.com/products/bananas/facts.htm

  5. Steve 5

    If the brand image of Air NZ is so important to them, why have the Zeal crew in the first place? Offer them Air NZ contracts as opposed to ‘contracting to Air NZ and getting shafted in the process?’

  6. Izzy 6

    Haha shot Keith 🙂

  7. Tom Semmens 7

    I know someone who worked for Air New Zealand for a while and said the same thing. As far as Fyfe is concerned, you are part of the religion or you are an enemy of the religion. He apparently conduct ongoing and energetic feuds with, for example, Auckland Airport (apparently he loaths them for things like making him build airport tax into ticket prices) as well as others. My contact tells me people regard Fyfe with exactly the words you used, fear of him and his informers and pride in doing their jobs.

  8. Ron Shaw 8

    ZEAL320 was set up to run the Freedom Air brand. Freedom was a no frills ‘nuts and cola’ airline operating out of provincial centres and was set up with lower paid staff, cheap to run Airbus 320s, no meal service etc.

    The EPMU members were happy to contract with ZEAL320 to fly on Freedom Air at the lower pay rates because it got them jobs at the same as Air NZ staff on the main contract were displaced by the lower paid ZEAL staff. When the Freedom brand was killed Air NZ continued to use the Freedom planes and staff to run short haul Airbus 320 services.

    From the point of view of the main airline’s staff ZEAL320 staff are scabs and are therefore undeserving of support.

    And just because Air NZ Management don’t see why they should break the current contract and give the ZEAL320 scabs an unearned pay rise doesn’t make them the bad guys.

    • Daveo 8.1

      That’s an interesting theory Ron but it doesn’t pan out. First of all the Zeal 320 workers only joined up with the EPMU last year – they were previously with FARSA along with all the other Air NZ flight attendants.

      The vast majority of Zeal 320 workers have also come on after Freedom Air folded. They accepted a job at Air New Zealand in good faith and in many cases only found out months later that they were being employed on significantly lower conditions than everyone else.

      Calling them scabs is a new one mate. I don’t see how it’s scabbinhg to unionise and fight to end the pay disparity that’s putting wage pressure on everyone else. Care to explain? Because that’s a pretty serious charge where I come from.

    • Bill 8.2

      Ron, you the guy who wrote the email that Bobby Banana used in his internal memo?

    • Relic 8.3

      Creep, duplicitous types such as you Ron should not be using workers terminology. This excellent guest post gives a chilling insight. I am going to email head creep Mr Fyfe, and would recommend contacting the labor start web site to add a few hundred more messages to mine. Last time I emailed him when some Service and Food staff were on the receiving end of some Air NZ “love’ I got an abusive email back from him written in the early hours of the morning. Put the pressure on I say, after all the taxpayer does fund this company.

    • BLiP 8.4

      Master Facilitator Positive Coaching Programme? Like fuck!

      Haha! Captcha: clammy normally – be like a Ron Shaw handshake.

    • Laura 8.5

      Ron Shaw, you have missed the mark and clearly have very little understanding of what is REALLY going on. Do your homework!

  9. outofbed 9

    splitter

  10. Daveo 10

    You’ve got to love google. Is this the same Ron Shaw who’s a “human change management” consultant for Great Project Outcomes?

    http://www.greatprojectoutcomes.com/content.aspx?id=124

    All that loose talk about scabs makes a lot of sense all of a sudden. Ron’s no union man, he’s a freelance HR hack for the boss class. And he has the cheek to denigrate these workers, spread lies about them and call them scabs.

    You have to wonder if he has the Air New Zealand account.

  11. BLiP 11

    What a toxic organisation where facts are dismissed and hate stirred up becauuse one section of the “population” has the temerity to request equal treatment

    Its like a microcosm of Aotearoa where the “Air New Zealanders” are the pakeha, the Zeal people are the Maori, and the senior management team is talk-back radio.

    It has tinctures of the 1990’s Social Welfare – oh, sorry, The Christine Rankin Church of WINZ. In addition to the sickly endemic PR, there were several rallies where she appeared on stage before adoring staff from a burst of smoke and lighting dressed ready to take on the universe. And this was a government department – under a National Government, though.

    I wonder if this whole thing is a sign of the times as government takes second place to business. Has anyone else noticed how “unformed” New Zealand is? It seems like every second person is wearing some sort of corporate issued piece of clothing these days.

  12. Stephen 12

    When I read this I was reminded of…the All Blacks branding of the last 5-10 years – I think that the next thing Fyfe will do will be to write an open letter to staff with ink that contains his own blood as a measure of his dedication to the brand.

  13. Rich 13

    You get the same sort of thing most big companies, as well. I think most people with a brain don’t buy into any of it. Mind you, Apple have even managed to extend the cult following to their customers.

    The staff and union just need to undermine stuff from within. We have all these laws that let the company prevent people withdrawing their labour, so they should do what BA staff did and all call in sick on a Friday afternoon. Or “forget” to swipe a passengers boarding pass, so they don’t show as boarded and the plane gets delayed.

    • Bill 13.1

      Or “forget’ to swipe a passengers boarding pass, so they don’t show as boarded and the plane gets delayed.

      Except that hits customers which is never a good strategy, especially if you are seeking their support.

      On the branding front, why not undermine it with a bit of popular culture?

      The company is led by a guy who, on both given and surname, is named after a banana fcs! ( couple of ‘pointer’ links on my previous comment)

      Surely something can be made of that; some traction developed?

      Fyfes banana website even has a kiddie interactive section where kids have drawn up new banana characters including ‘Greedy Banana’ and so on. Is it just me who finds the idea of using one corporate’s brand to undermine another appealing?

  14. Pierre 14

    Hi there,

    Well as Zeal employee here, I’m starting to wander who my boss is. I started in May last year, after applying online on the Air NZ website and doing my interview at the Air NZ head office in town… After a brain wash at the Air NZ training centre about the Air NZ branding, I did feel I was part of the “Air New Zealanders”. It’s only after several months that I started understanding the difference:

    I was actually part of a subsidiary company that was the result of the merging of Air NZ and Freedom Air. Problems started when Air NZ moved the aircrafts from our company into Air NZ… It was all a bit of a legal blur to me, until I realized the management team was on an Air NZ contract, the pilots just moved into Air NZ contracts and now the plains are not part of Zeal anymore… So we end up as a free electron around a mother company that want to keep us as is, as we are their cheapest labour!

    When Rob was challenged about releasing information about the mediations, he simply said “Well I can talk about it since I’m not their boss!”, that’s after giving us a lesson on leadership a couple weeks earlier… I then asked myself: well if he’s not taking any ownership on us… who’s our boss then?

    Our union (EPMU) did a survey and I listed with them my expenses that ended up being more than the average $1,100 I earn a fortnight! I am lucky to have the support of my family from overseas, but most of my colleagues end up having to take a second job to pay their bills and this fatigue state puts us all at risk.

    I have never been so continuously tired since I started this job, and I feel as if I have no private life anymore. The company just cancelled my two weeks leave. They previously approved it earlier this year and I planned a trip to the cook islands, where my partner is from. We are taking the mother with us as she wishes to retire there, and I would have been introduced to the extended family.

    Since industrial action started, Air NZ stopped our staff travel, so we had to book with Pacific Blue, as we cannot even afford flying our own airline!

    This is my part of the story, but I want to make people aware that what we are mostly concerned about is a parity on working conditions as well. Air NZ want to open our 10h minimum rest to any port. This would mean we would operate to Los Angeles, be parked for 10 hours in an hotel by the airport, and operate back to NZ straight after… A real nightmare!

    They want to cancel our staff meal and travel allowance as well. this means on a 10 to 15 hours day job, we would not have a proper meal, but left overs, if any, from what we served to the clients. And everyone knows how much petrol cost, especially if you are not living close to the airport…

    Now comparing our working conditions and salaries to staff that wear the same uniform as us, have their aircraft branded the same and provide the same service on the same routes, but for twice as much and more, and have a dry cleaning allowance on top… Do you understand now why we are not satisfied?

    As you clearly stated in your article, they want to open our working conditions so we can operate on any aircraft on any route (domestic or international), so yes they are trying to create an Air NZ version of Qantas’s Jet connect. The risk is all new hired person will be on our contract and all those years of improvement for better working conditions and salary will be lost. In a sense, we are fighting for the other Air New Zealanders to keep their privileges as well, knowing, sadly, that we’re never going to be treated as equals…

    • Indiana 14.1

      Sounds like you work a pretty stink company, whoever your boss is. What skill sets do you have and are there any other jobs in the market place you can transfer them to? Or is your passion to be a cabin crew? There are other airlines out there, and you can go global. By the way you describe suffering from fatigue, is this the best job for you? Perhaps a lesser stressful job is what you need? I’m not advocating that you should chuck your job in, its just the way you describe life is so miserable at Air NZ and that they are crap company to work for.

  15. Tom Semmens 15

    Pierre, great post! You would think equal pay for equal work was standard in the 21st century, but in the world of Air New Zealand it clearly isn’t. I recently flew to Sydney on an A320, and I was thrilled to see the staff protesting to passengers whilst maintaining a friendly and very professional service. I made sure they knew they had my support and once I explained to fellow passengers around me the nature of your claim, they were supportive to.

    Contrary to what Rob Fyfe thinks, most people are reasonable. Most people undertand the concept of fairness. Most people are NOT willing to be part of the corporate robot. They are more than that – they are thinking citizens and they value a lot of things a lot more than just the Air New Zealand brand. Values like equal pay for equal work, basic fairness and decency in dealing with staff and the justness of what you are trying to achieve. Fyfe might be able to get his mates in the corporate media to regurigate his press releases as “news” but your cause is just, and no amount of work by PR weasels will obscure that fact.

    You guys go for it!

  16. Charles 16

    I’m glad you used the word “cult.”. I worked at Telecom directories a few years ago and there is no better way to describe the way the CEO talked to us than “cultish.”

    His picture sat on the top of the intranet staring at his employees from their desk, communications were always shaped in “family loyalty ” terms and our conferences became painful dedications to our leader. The last one I went to involved over 400 employees beating drums for fifteen minutes chanting the words , “power, performance, pride” over and over again.

  17. Tripod 17

    There is no “team” of “Air New Zealanders”. What kind of team has one player earning $3.1m per annum while the others earn around $30k?

    They talk about people working for Air NZ for decades. That’s true, but they gladly push these people out the door if it suits them. Think of the groundstaff redundancies and pay cuts in the face of threatened outsourcing in 2007. Employees might be loyal to a company, but the reverse is never true, especially in the case of Air NZ. You could easily work for Air NZ for 30 years and earn less than Fyfe does in one year. That shows how much they value you.

    What I found interesting was Air NZ’s claim that other “Air New Zealanders” would be strike breaking. I don’t believe Air NZ employees can strikebreak, they’re not employed by Zeal 320 and they are separate employers.

    All power to the Zeal 320 workers and don’t give in to the divide and conquer tactics. They’re only attacking you so much because they’re scared. You’re not alone in your struggle.

  18. ieuan 18

    Excellent post and the comment from Pierre is very illuminating.

    This is exactly what the Standard does best, digging deeper on these sorts of issues than the MSM does.

    All I can say is I am glad I do not work for a Corporation, I don’t think I could handle all the ‘how great are we’ bullshit from the management.

  19. Tom 19

    Just to throw a thought out there:

    Everyone is moaning about the “cult” of Air NZ, but Zeal crew’s whole reason for industrial action and striking is that you want to be part of the cult……

    hmmmmm

    Why try so hard to be a part of something that you despise so much?

  20. Rich 20

    I do have a possible solution:

    AirNZ is currently majority owned by the people of New Zealand, although like many SOE managers, Rob Fyfe probably regards it as his personal property.

    It could be converted to a worker/customer co-op, half owned by the workers, half by everyone who’s flown on them in the year. Everyone has one share (no matter what their job status or the amount of flying they do). Any profits get distributed at the end of the year to the members, who elect the senior management.

    That would mean it would really be the workers and customers airline, rather than pretending to be.

    (Same applies to most of the SOEs and potentially, current private companies too).

  21. Chris 21

    I’m friends with a girl who works for Zeal, from what i’ve heard the protest and uniform switches were taken quite well by supportive customers.

    This is just counter-spin

  22. ropata 22

    I’ve worked for large corps in the past. The best ones have an empowered and properly remunerated staff. A positive company culture is important but if the executive ACTIONS do not match their platitudes & buzzwords it becomes toxic. For example lavish bonuses to top management while imposing wage freezes on the rank and file.

    This cultish tendency is a typical smokescreen for leadership that is abusing their position and screwing over their subordinates. It is a symptom of our deep social malaise: the monetization of every aspect of existence, including family life and the religious impulse.

    • Jo Botherer 22.1

      Hi Air NZers and other scum, I am the Forum webmistress and it is my job to shut down any negative comment or adverse views on the Korunet forum site called “Discuss Air New Zealand”. Its not a job I enjoy doing as it goes against my freedom of speech upbringing but as I am a lowly contractor it is more than my “jobsworth” to act against the wishes of the communication management above me. Danielle is my immediate boss and is also a contractor and above her is communictions and public relations manager Mike Tod who is only 14 years old going by his photo. I have been forced to censor Forum Post discussions and to report bad attitudes and undermining of company policies to the managers of staff members making these forum postings. The rules of the forums have been carefully written so that by discussing ANYTHING other than sports and hobbies can have you banned or reprimanded or dismissed. Infact like the Air NZ internet and email policies, the forum rules and my surveillance can be used to find dis-engaged staff, to behaviour modify them with reprimands and threats of losing their jobs. Information technology is another great resource to be used as an excuse to get rid of staff cheaply at a time of recession. I hate to do it but I don’t make the rules…Or maybe I do like the sense of power it gives me… to standover longserving loyal staff who are trying criticise, to make a point or ask questions or otherwise undermine the company directives and vision. I’ve only been here a few years but I have ultimate power to whip and beat staff who have far more vital jobs than mine…Bwaah ahh ahh aaaahhh!

  23. Jo Botherer 23

    What I never realised in this job is that there are many “Air New Zealanders” who do not have internet access or even a personal log on. How am I going to shed staff for alleged I.T. policy infringements (as opposed to paying redundancy) if half the staff don’t use IT in a personal sense? I must convince Mine Fuhrer to issue full internet capability to all staff, thereby they are all at risk of accusations of improper use of company facilities. We only allow them 15 mins per day of personal email surfing in break times only and Trademe fully banned. If anyone gets distracted by a call back to a work situation and accidently leave their internet running they are in my target! HaHaHa! They are putty in my hand!

    • Jo Botherer 23.1

      15 minutes internet but only 10 minute breaks. We can discipline the workers on two counts, if using the internet longer than 15 minutes becuase you forgot to shut it off before going back to work, and if thats the case then its obvious to us you had more than 10 mins for your break.

  24. Jo Botherer 24

    Getting back to the Zeal 320 dispute who here agrees its unfair to dress up a group of cabin crew who are paid 23% less in the same AirNZ uniforms, Aircraft owned and operated and registered by Air NZ. Maintained by AirNZ. Piloted by AirNZ crew. if only we had more time all the cabin crew should have been renegotiated to the lower pay rate, all crew to be Zeal. If you thinks its unfair I will not allow you to comment, Your right to free speech will be locked or deleted.

  25. ex airnz ground staff 25

    Im afraid that the mind games will continue from the management of Air nz. The emails to staff from Fyfe were very George Orwell all the time. I often thought that when I worked for the airline. It smacked of double-speak and big brother watching you. Any tall poppies or people who could think for themselves were often passed over for jobs that they were most capable of doing but the management saw them as a threat. All these types of people eventually left and indeed a notebook was found with every staff members name on it and a comment regarding their personalities and how they respond to criticism etc. This was a notebook that one of the middle management had been instructed to supply to the hub. Most disturbing. Fyfe is not someone I have any respect for. He tries to control his staff rather than lead them..

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    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Five things to know
    Budget 2020 is about rebuilding together, supporting jobs, getting business moving and the books back into the black. It’s an integral part of our COVID-19 economic response, and our plan to grow our economy and get New Zealand moving again. Here’s a quick look at the five top things you ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party unveils its candidate list for the 2020 election
    The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition Government approves essential upgrades on Ōhakea Air Base
    The Coalition Government has approved $206 million in essential upgrades at Ōhakea Air Base.  Defence Minister Ron Mark said the money would be spent on improving old infrastructure. He said safety issues would be addressed, as well as upgrades to taxiways, accommodation and fresh, storm and waste water systems. "This ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Attributable to the Rt Hon Winston Peters
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First “I am not persisting with this case just for myself, but for all people who have had their privacy breached. Privacy of information is a cornerstone of our country’s democracy. Without it our society truly faces a bleak future. We now ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones moves to protect sawmills
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones has introduced a Bill to Parliament that he says will "force more transparency, integrity and respect" for the domestic wood-processing sector through the registration of log traders and practice standards. The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill had its first reading in ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Green MP joins international call to cancel developing countries’ debt
    Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is joining over 300 lawmakers from around the world in calling on the big banks and the IMF to forgive the debt of developing countries, in the wake of the COVID crisis. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Ministerial Diary April 2020
    ...
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    13 hours ago
  • Govt extends support schemes for businesses
    Extra 40,000 businesses to be eligible for wage subsidy extension Small business cashflow support application period extended The Government is today announcing further support for businesses that continue to be affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, as the broader economy becomes one of the most open in the world following ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Five new Super Hercules to join Air Force fleet
    The Coalition Government has confirmed five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft will be purchased to replace the existing fleet, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today.  “Last year, Cabinet selected these aircraft as the preferred option to replace the current Hercules fleet. Procurement of the Super Hercules has been ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Wairarapa Moana seeks international recognition as vital wetland
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage is celebrating World Environment Day with an announcement of a major step towards Wairarapa Moana being recognised as an internationally significant wetland. “Wairarapa Moana is an ecosystem of 10,000 hectares of wetland and open water that provides a home for indigenous fish, birds and ...
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    18 hours ago
  • New public housing sets standard for future
    New public housing that will save tenants money in energy bills, and provide warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes, is setting the standard for the Government’s future public housing programme, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. Dr Woods opened the new Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities complex, which has a ...
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    18 hours ago
  • First Police wing to complete training post lockdown
    A new-look Police graduation ceremony to take account of COVID19 health rules has marked the completion of training for 57 new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash attended this afternoon's ceremony, where officers of Recruit Wing 337 were formally sworn in at the Royal New Zealand Police College without the normal support of ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government makes further inroads on predatory lenders
    Mobile traders and truck shops must adhere to responsible lending requirements Interest rate cap on high-cost loans Lenders prohibited from offering further credit to an applicant who has taken two high-cost loans in the past 90 days The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Kris Faafoi, has signalled an end ...
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    2 days ago
  • New survey shows wage subsidy a “lifeline” for businesses, saved jobs
    94% of firms say wage subsidy had positive impact on cashflow 62% of firms say support helped to manage non-wage costs like rent A survey of business that have received the Government’s wage subsidy show it has played a significant role in saving jobs, and freed up cash flow to ...
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    2 days ago
  • Tax changes support economic recovery
    New legislation introduced to Parliament today will support growth and assist businesses on the road to economic recovery, said Revenue Minister Stuart Nash. “The Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020-21, Feasibility Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Bill proposes that businesses can get tax deductions for ‘feasibility expenditure’ on new investments,” said Mr ...
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    2 days ago
  • $4.6 million financial relief for professional sports
    Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has welcomed the first release of funds from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced as part of Budget 2020. Sport NZ has announced that $4.6 million in funding will go to the Wellington Phoenix, NZ Warriors, Super Rugby teams and the ANZ Premiership ...
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    2 days ago
  • Critical support for strategic tourism assets
    An iconic New Zealand tourism attraction and the country’s 31 Regional Tourism Organisations are the first recipients of support from the $400 million Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, to help position the sector for recovery from COVID-19, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. The plan includes a Strategic Tourism Assets Protection ...
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    2 days ago
  • Supporting Kiwi businesses to resolve commercial rent disputes
    The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. A temporary amendment to the Property Law Act will insert a clause in commercial leases requiring a fair ...
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    2 days ago
  • Prompt payments to SMEs even more urgent
    The Minister for Small Business says new data from Xero highlights the urgency of prompt payment practices to small and medium enterprises as we move into economic recovery. Last month Government ministers wrote to significant private enterprises and the banking industry to request they join efforts by government agencies to ...
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    2 days ago
  • Free period products in schools to combat poverty
    Young people in Waikato will be the first to have free access to period products in schools in another step to support children and young people in poverty,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.  During term 3, the Ministry of Education will begin providing free period products to schools following the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Response to charges in New Plymouth
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash has issued the following statement in response to charges filed against three Police officers this morning in the New Plymouth District Court. “Any incident involving a loss of life in Police custody is taken very seriously. The charges today reflect the gravity of the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt boosts innovation, R&D for economic rebuild
    $196 million for Crown Research Institutes $150 million for R&D loan scheme $33 million for Māori research and development opportunities $12 million for the Nationally Significant Collections and Databases $10 million to help maintain in-house capability at Callaghan Innovation New Zealand’s entrepreneurs, innovators and crown researchers will benefit from a ...
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    3 days ago
  • Temporary changes to NCEA and University Entrance this year
    Further temporary changes to NCEA and University Entrance (UE) will support senior secondary school students whose teaching and learning have been disrupted by COVID-19. “The wellbeing of students and teachers is a priority. As we are all aware, COVID-19 has created massive disruption to the school system, and the Government ...
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    3 days ago
  • Extended terms for the directors of the Racing Industry Transition Agency
    Minister for Racing Winston Peters today announced that the terms for the directors of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) have been extended to 30 June 2021. Due to the COVID-19 crisis the transition period has been extended to ensure that the Racing Industry Bill can complete its progress through ...
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    3 days ago
  • Healthy Homes Standards statement of compliance deadline extended
    The deadline for landlords to include detailed information in their tenancy agreements about how their property meets the Healthy Homes Standards, so tenants can see the home they are renting is compliant, has been extended from 1 July 2020 to 1 December 2020.  The Healthy Homes Standards became law on 1 July 2019. The Standards are ...
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    3 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission board appointments announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little today announced details of further appointments to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. “I am pleased to announce Paula Rose QSO OStJ as Deputy Chief Commissioner for a term of five years commencing on 15 June 2020,” said Andrew Little. “I am also pleased to announce the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Release of initial list of supported training to aid COVID-19 recovery
    The Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) will pay costs of learners of all ages to undertake vocational education and training The fund will target support for areas of study and training that will give learners better employment prospects as New Zealand recovers from COVID-19 Apprentices working in all industries ...
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    4 days ago
  • Emission trading reforms another step to meeting climate targets
    The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will finally start to cut New Zealand’s greenhouse gas pollution as it was originally intended to, because of changes announced today by the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw. The changes include a limit on the total emissions allowed within the ETS, rules to ensure ...
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    4 days ago
  • Queen’s Birthday Honours highlights Pacific leadership capability in Aotearoa
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List provides an abundance of examples that Pacific people’s leadership capability is unquestionable in Aotearoa. “The work and the individuals we acknowledge this year highlights the kind of visionary examples and dedicated community leadership that we need ...
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    5 days ago
  • Govt backing horticulture to succeed
    The Government is backing a new $27 million project aimed at boosting sustainable horticulture production and New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our economy. During and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Applications open for forestry scholarships
    Applications have opened for 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships, which will support more Māori and women to pursue careers in forestry science, says Forestry Minister Shane Jones. “I’m delighted Te Uru Rākau is offering Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships for the third year running. These ...
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    5 days ago
  • Excellent service to nature recognised
    The Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List once again highlights the dedication by many to looking after our native plants and wildlife, including incredible work to restore the populations of critically endangered birds says Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. Anne Richardson of Hororata has been made an Officer of the New ...
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    5 days ago
  • Wetlands and waterways gain from 1BT funding
    The Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones have announced. New, more flexible funding criteria for applications will help up to 10 catchment groups plant ...
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    6 days ago
  • New fund for women now open
    Organisations that support women are invited to apply to a new $1,000,000 fund as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response. “We know women, and organisations that support women, have been affected by COVID-19. This new money will ensure funding for groups that support women and women’s rights,” said Minister for ...
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    6 days ago
  • Govt supports King Country farmers to lift freshwater quality
    Healthier waterways are front and centre in a new project involving more than 300 King Country sheep, beef and dairy farmers. The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “Yesterday ...
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    1 week ago
  • Libraries to help with jobs and community recovery
    A major funding package for libraries will allow them to play a far greater role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19. “Budget 2020 contains over $60 million of funding to protect library services and to protect jobs,” says Internal Affairs ...
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    1 week ago
  • Support for arts and music sector recovery
    A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package in a crucial economic boost to support the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Legislative changes to support the wellbeing of veterans and their families
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has welcomed the First Reading of a Bill that will make legislative changes to further improve the veterans’ support system.  The Veterans’ Support Amendment Bill No 2, which will amend the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, passed First Reading today. The bill addresses a number of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Christ Church Cathedral – Order in Council
    Views sought on Order in Council to help fast track the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Hon Poto Williams, will be seeking public written comment, following Cabinet approving the drafting of an Order in Council aimed at fast-tracking the reinstatement of the ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealanders’ human rights better protected in new Bill
    The law setting out New Zealanders’ basic civil and human rights is today one step towards being strengthened following the first reading of a Bill that requires Parliament to take action if a court says a statute undermines those rights. At present, a senior court can issue a ‘declaration of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Deep concern at Hong Kong national security legislation
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong. “New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government invests in New Zealand’s cultural recovery
    Thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern announced today. “The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda ...
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    1 week ago
  • Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
    Key New Zealand assets will be better protected from being sold to overseas owners in a way contrary to the national interest, with the passage of the Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Bill. The Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament today, also cuts unnecessary red tape to help attract ...
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    1 week ago
  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
    Setting higher health standards at swimming spots Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams Putting controls on higher-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feed lots Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health Ensuring ...
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    1 week ago
  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
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    1 week ago
  • New appointments to the Commerce Commission
    The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister and Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, has today announced the appointment of Tristan Gilbertson as the new Telecommunications Commissioner and member of the Commerce Commission. “Mr Gilbertson has considerable experience in the telecommunications industry and a strong reputation amongst his peers,” ...
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    1 week ago