The case for higher wages

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, April 26th, 2017 - 31 comments
Categories: class war, economy, Unions, wages - Tags: , , , ,

In the warm afterglow of the huge wage increase for health care workers the case for addressing NZ’s creaking low-wage economy is getting some recognition:

Bosses need to ‘bite the bullet’ and lift wages

Employers will eventually need to “bite the bullet” and start paying more to their staff following the higher than expected inflation, BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander says.

Inflation in the year ended March was 2.2 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand’s Consumer Price Index, the official measure of inflation. In the March quarter, inflation was 1 per cent. Both the annual and quarterly inflation figures were well above estimates by the Reserve Bank and economists.

Alexander said employers having to pay more to their staff might be especially so in response to the change in migration rules announced last week by Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

Inflation is certainly a factor, as is the insane increases in housing / rental costs that are not adequately captured in the CPI. As to immigration, it has been a factor in keeping wages down, according to Mike Yardley in The Press:

New Zealand’s immigration settings suppressing pay rates

I find myself in the not so familiar position of applauding and admiring some recent flourishes by the the union movement and collective power.

The monumental union-negotiated settlement to significantly boost pay rates for the aged care sector is a stunning victory for basic decency.

The sharper lens of an election year, and the ongoing public unease about growing inequality, would have certainly helped embolden the Government to strike this historic $2 billion settlement, which will substantially transform the pay packets of 55,000 residential care and home support workers.

With crappy pay rates soon becoming consigned to history, rest home operators will no longer have to sponge off third world labour markets by importing vast hordes of generous-hearted Filipinos to staff their facilities.

It is a classic illustration of the folly behind New Zealand’s immigration settings in recent years, which have been crudely and expeditiously cheapened to allow the country to be flooded by third world migrants, who will willingly work for miserable pay.

(I just want to note that I’m unhappy with some of the language / imagery here. I’m in favour of slowing down immigration for a while, but we need to be able to discuss the issue factually, and respectfully.)

Not only has this kept Kiwis frozen out from legitimate jobs and suppressed pay rates, but it has fuelled the downstream impact on housing prices and infrastructure strain.

The Government’s latest tweaks to our immigration settings, whereby “skilled” migrants must earn more than the median wage and “essential skills” work visa holders must leave after three years, are grossly overdue. …

Will the tweaks make a difference? Maybe not, see: Government changes will have “almost no impact” on medium term immigration: ASB. Fran O’Sullivan also explores these topics:

Forget immigration, let’s talk wages

The Government’s latest tweak to its immigration policies does nothing to alleviate the real issue: the urgent need to step up investment in house builds – particularly in Auckland; step up investment in infrastructure and take more steps to move New Zealand to a higher-wage economy where people can actually afford to live in our prime commercial city.

True that.

…But if New Zealand is to evolve as a highly skilled economy it needs to set the bar higher, and pay decent wages which will also spur employers to take initiatives to drive greater movement on the productivity front.

This requires a major reset of the NZ economy – not simply using immigration to spur economic growth, then screwing the taps down when the cost of running things too hot becomes a political negative.

Where Labour is on point is with addressing the “Future of Work”.

If this fosters debate on the skills New Zealand needs to build a strong, innovative and highly developed economy that will be a positive.

OK, so, great to see this new consensus on the need for higher wages. Better late than never I guess. And O’Sullivan is right to note Labour’s “Future of Work” as the way forward. National has nothing to offer except status quo and excuses.

31 comments on “The case for higher wages ”

  1. Antoine 1

    To be fair, ASB does say that the Woodhouse changes may have a more significant impact 3 years out.

    Also, I think pinning all our hopes on Future of Work might be a bit chancy… what in it gives you such confidence?

    A.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Did someone say we should pin “all our hopes” on it? Who was that?

      The fact that Labour is considering it at all means their approach is already infinitely better than National’s. The report itself draws on a wide range of experience and expertise, and covers the issues comprehensively, making a series of practical recommendations, (pages 14 and 15 of the summary).

      You can find both the summary and the full report on Labour’s website. I won’t link to them because they’re pdf documents, which aren’t to everyone’s taste.

      Good on you for being so interested though.

  2. Keith 2

    Q, Since when did a banks chief economist ever care what the proles get paid?

    A, About the time he and his bank realised any upward movement in interest rates in low/stagnant wage economy combined housing bubble could be rather disastrous for both people maxxed out on credit and his bank!

    Anyway wait for one of National’s headless chicken responses such as a “raft of initiatives” designed to make it look like they are doing something, meanwhile doing nothing – gigs!

  3. bwaghorn 3

    ”” migrants must earn more than the median wage ”

    yeah shit wages are only good enough for kiwis,

    • Nic the NZer 3.1

      That was “skilled migrants” the point being to have the program bring in skills rather than cheap labour. Of course half of all workers must earn less than the median wage.

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        Of course half of all workers must earn less than the median wage. [my bold]

        An unfortunate choice of words IMHO.

        • Nic the NZer 3.1.1.1

          Is it? I have another one, how do you feel about,
          “Of course half of all workers must earn more than the median wage.”

  4. Incognito 4

    Good post.

    I tend to get confused when various people talk about “higher wages” as there are a number of different situations possible that all (loosely?) cover the term “higher wages”.

    Obviously, to keep up with CPI and COL existing jobs need to keep pace or people would go backwards – many are slowly sliding backwards anyway but that is a separate story. This is one reason why the minimum wage gets adjusted, for example.

    Then there is the case where people work more or longer hours or aiming for full-time instead of part-time employments. I don’t know whether technically this equals “higher wages”.

    Lastly, there are better-paid jobs that require more and/or higher skills. Such jobs come with higher wages for a number of reasons as well.

    The links between the first two categories are relatively clear for a lay-person but the third one seems to be more on its own. The extreme example is hiring a highly-paid CEO; how does this lead to “higher wages” for the workers on the factory floor or for the cleaners, for example?

    The links (e.g. trickle down, increased job security, etc.) are strenuous, at best, and are much harder to swallow by the Precariat, the people that feel left out because they are left out.

    So, when talking about wages it would help if people would be more upfront about what they mean and how much they rely on economic doctrine, ideological arguments and/or wishful thinking.

    Disclaimer: I have no formal economic background so please keep the economic arguments simple 😉

    • Nic the NZer 4.1

      Higher wages by any reasonable definition is looking at thee equivalent to the hourly wage.

      Of course its possible for this not to change but for many part time employees to get more hours and in this case their income goes up, but their wages didn’t increase. This would be nice but not the same kind of outcome at all.

      Note a related metric, productivity is basically how much a worker earns for a business per hour employed. So when productivity increases ahead of wages then businesses are getting more income but not sharing it with the employees.

  5. Ad 5

    +1000 Anthony

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    Higher wages will ultimately destroy the low income earners as automation will take over quicker, some businesses will no longer be able to compete or will have to reduce the number of employees.

    The real issue is the ever spiraling house/rent prices.

  7. David Mac 7

    For a business operator the wages bill is another on a mountain of variable and fixed overheads. In an economy with inflation starting to bubble the month’s accounts start coming in with letters advising the operator of price increases. Vodafone, the guy that mows the strip of grass out the front and washes the windows, the company that services the fire extinguishers, the AIG insurance cover.

    There are some costs that the operator can keep a lid on, put off to next month. One of those is often the wages bill. I think this situation has much to do with why we have seen workers’ buying power slip away. The gap stretching in inflationary times. Workers are of course receiving letters just like the business owner, their overheads going up: Vodafone, rent, the guy that mows the lawns. For a vibrant and loving society it’s a situation that requires some intervention/action.

    I think the future includes shorter working hours for us all. With the complexity of automation vocations will become more specialised. We will cease to train motor mechanics per se and train automotive steering technicians, automotive braking specialists etc. Hourly rates will start to disappear and the value of out efforts will be more geared to the value we produce. I think many vocations will morph into quite different roles. School curriculums will make way for holograms of a life-like Hone Heke describing the events of the mid 1800’s unfolding on his desk-top. A teacher that once stood infront of the class will then be writing Hone’s script and the responses for his FAQ.

    • infused 7.1

      In my business, costs have all been pretty static, apart from the American services we have to buy overseas (IT Company).

      However, wages have soared over the last 3 years as IT people are in high demand.

      This year, all our costs have gone up. Rent, power slightly + everything else. I suspect you will see everyone lifting costs by year end.

      So I suspect inflation in 2018 to be in to the 3 point range.

  8. greywarshark 8

    The getting of higher wages and better conditions is affected by a mindset that Ganesh Nana has been thinking about.

    He recalls student protests that ended up with a question and answer thus:
    What do we want?…..!
    When do we want it? NOW!

    But that was then. Now is a debatable length of string.
    Now, of course, few of my cohort of friends and acquaintances participate in such vocal activity. But, if we were to do so, I can imagine it might now go something like:
    “What do we want? Affordable housing and no children living in material deprivation. When do we want it? Oh, in the fullness of time, depending on the state of the economic cycle and in line with appropriate prudential criteria, after accounting for revenue growth forecasts and meeting all due considerations contained in the Public Finance Act.”

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/has-fiscal-responsibility-become-a-false-idol

    So it’s sort of trying to drink soup with a fork. Might get a taste before the prongs hit you. But what to do? Get better equipment and service I think, and keep trying new methods. Some get their snouts in the trough, a bit undignified but if you get down and dirty behind a screen, you may come up with gold. There’s brass in muck they say.

  9. Michael 9

    I think pay rates should be linked to firm profitability and the most reliable evidence of that is the chief executive’s remuneration. If there’s enough money to pay the boss more, there’s enough to pay the workers more as well.

    • In Vino 9.1

      Yes – it should be easy to formulate a social equity formula that prevents the greedy taking more than their fair share. Participation shares for all employees, etc etc.

      • infused 9.1.1

        You’d just see companies put money off-shore. Because that idea is stupid.

        I suspect when the company has a bad year, everyone gets a pay cut too?

  10. Policy Parrot 10

    Perhaps the Minimum Wage Act itself is too simplistic.

    In fact, some entry level employees would arguably be not worth $15.75 per hour, but the fact is that the minimum wage is too often the benchmark in terms of the start/basis of employment. It is appalling that people who have worked in the same jobs for 10+ years are still within cooeee of the minimum wage (i.e. 110% or $17.33).

    Why not have a minimum wage structure that allows for smaller increases in the base rate itself, to help employers get people on, but makes sure that once an employee is skilled up (in any job realistically those who have been there 18 months or more are inevitably far more skilled than those starting out) that the employer is passing on some of that productivity increase?

    i.e. MW (first 6 months) – 15.75 p.h.
    (MW +6 months – MW+5%) – 16.54 p.h.
    (MW +18 months – MW+5%^2) – 17.36 p.h.
    (MW +30 months – MW+5%^3) – 18.23 p.h.
    (MW +42 months – MW+5%^4) – 19.14 p.h.
    (MW +56 months – MW+5%^5) – 20.10 p.h.
    This increase applies until 1.3x minimum wage ~ approx. Living Wage.

    There would need to be safeguards as well to avoid casualisation as a response, but you can generally see where I am going with this. If MW increases, all of those corresponding rates increase also.

    • Nic the NZer 10.1

      The minimum wage should be a living wage. Otherwise you are consigning people to long term deprevation in work.

      The real solution is not this kind of measure (which will likely be subverted via turnover) but to introduce a job guarantee. A job guarantee means the govt will employ you at the minimum wage rate, in every case, up to full time. Or you can try your luck in the private sector which could be attractive if that offers more. This creates ‘loose full employment’. In this situation when the private sector needs to compete on wages and conditions they will improve.

      At present we (the country) achieves non full employment as a policy to get low inflation. Its no wonder minimum conditions suffer when we guarantee there will be around 5% unemployment at all times.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1

        It sounds expensive until the penny drops that it removes the need for the dole, and WINZ disappears. Not to mention the value of the work itself.

        • Nic the NZer 10.1.1.1

          Actually expensive makes zero sence for a country, at least in money terms. WINZ could take on the role of organising between people and what they are doing.

    • David Mac 10.2

      The problem with raising the wages of those that struggle to pay the rent is that living costs rise to match. A new rate of $20 per hour quickly buys what $15 per hour used to. I don’t think raising our living standards so that we can all afford a week in Fiji each year is as simple as pumping up minimum wages and benefits.

      Menial minimum pay jobs are on the way out, thank goodness. Automated machines will polish the Pak n’ Save floor at 2am, we’ll push a button to order a Big Mac. I think the key to raising our living standards is through improving our usefulness.

      The way forward is through creating opportunity. The chance for each and every one of us to discover where our unique skill-set lies. I believe we all have them, things we’re better at than other people. Identifying those natural abilities, aligning them with our desires and creating opportunities for all of us to exploit our specialness. Bring measureable value to our society and be paid accordingly.

      Rather that pushing the cost of living up I think the brightest future we can work towards is creating easily assessed opportunities that allow us all to be the best we can be.

      • infused 10.2.1

        Stop speaking sense.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2.2

        How do you plan to redress the effect of household income on education so that children born into poverty can be the best they can be?

        “Paid accordingly”. Are you familiar with the meritocracy paradox?

        • David Mac 10.2.2.1

          Hi OAB. The most influential force in our education are our parents and care givers. The kid that arrives for his first day of school without being read a 1000 books has been ripped off before he starts. Day 1 and behind the 8 ball already. We’ve got parenting issues that need addressing.

          Poverty has become less and less of a hurdle between the poor and fulfilling vocations. Rather than access I think wobbly attitudes and bad habits are the taller hurdles we face.

          Would enticing Mums and Dads to read a couple of Dr Seuss books before lights out each night for a few years really make a difference? I believe so. Regularly reading to a child sets their imagination free.

          Meritocracy paradox? I’m curious enough to go find out.

    • KJT 10.3

      Watch everyone get sacked and replaced with lower paid workers every 6 months. Just like youth rates never increased employment, but simply changed the ages of those employed. No adults in fast food restaurants in Australia. No career progression for the young, either as they lose there jobs at 18

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    But if New Zealand is to evolve as a highly skilled economy it needs to set the bar higher, and pay decent wages which will also spur employers to take initiatives to drive greater movement on the productivity front.

    Which, of course, was what Penal rates, high tariffs, full employment policy and bans on foreign ownership were for. Getting rid of them achieves the exact opposite especially when the immigration flood gates are open allowing in cheap labour.

    OK, so, great to see this new consensus on the need for higher wages. Better late than never I guess.

    There’s a problem with that – our wages are too high. Well, they’re too high at the top end while being too low at the bottom.

    Thing is, we most definitely can’t afford to have everyone with wages at the present top end.

  12. RedBaronCV 12

    I spend my time wondering – as we are moving towards a more automated society – why the Right wing decided to open up immigration so that we have more bodies seeking ever fewer jobs.

    There we were in the sweet spot with the boomers on the way out, so planning for increasing automation, investing in it and ensuring the benefits are spread society wise should have been a given. Opportunity lost by the Nacts.
    And in the long run if we want to save the planet mature democracys with slightly lower than replacement birth rates are the way to go?

    • David Mac 12.1

      I think over the next 20 years the viability of machines over people will reach a tipping point in many fields. Harvesting crops, getting quadriplegics to breakfast, washing buses, clearing hillsides of Pinus Radiata.

      We’re in a bit of a transition period, it’s still only just worthwhile to fly in planeloads of labour to clip asparagus off at the ground. For how many more seasons?

      I hope this transition phase will soon pass. It generates friction between us.

      “Hey mate, you know how it’s virtually impossible to find a place to live in this city? We need you to give notice. You know how all your family and friends live within 30 kms of you? We need you to say ‘goodbye.’ Your government has some very exciting news for you. You are going to live in a Portacom for 3 months, clip asparagus in the middle of nowhere for 6 days a week, dawn to dusk and you will be paid $175 more a week than you are now.”

      “Ahhhh, not really for me bro.”

      “LAZY PARASITE!”

      It’s a ridiculous situation and the sooner stainless steel bots are clipping asparagus and we’re laying tracks for people to pursue fufilling futures the better off we’ll all be.

      • Nic the NZer 12.1.1

        Sounds like a labour camp? Is that whats coming up as the next big policy idea, labour camps?

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    Kia ora, it’s time for another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! Our header image this week shows a foggy day in Auckland town, captured by Patrick Reynolds. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Climate Wrap: A market-led plan for failure

    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items climate news for Aotearoa this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer. A discussion recorded yesterday is in the video above and the audio of that sent onto the podcast feed.The Government released its draft Emissions Reduction ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Tobacco First

    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.

    Waiting In The Wings: For truly, if Trump is America’s un-assassinated Caesar, then J.D. Vance is America’s Octavian, the Republic’s youthful undertaker – and its first Emperor.DONALD TRUMP’S SELECTION of James D. Vance as his running-mate bodes ill for the American republic. A fervent supporter of Viktor Orban, the “illiberal” prime ...
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    5 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    5 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    5 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    5 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    6 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    7 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    1 week ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago

  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

    Sir Don McKinnon will travel to Viet Nam this week as a Special Envoy of the Government, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced.    “It is important that the Government give due recognition to the significant contributions that General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made to New Zealand-Viet Nam relations,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    52 mins ago
  • Grant Illingworth KC appointed as transitional Commissioner to Royal Commission

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says newly appointed Commissioner, Grant Illingworth KC, will help deliver the report for the first phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, due on 28 November 2024.  “I am pleased to announce that Mr Illingworth will commence his appointment as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • NZ to advance relationships with ASEAN partners

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters travels to Laos this week to participate in a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-led Ministerial meetings in Vientiane.    “ASEAN plays an important role in supporting a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Mr Peters says.   “This will be our third visit to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Backing mental health services on the West Coast

    Construction of a new mental health facility at Te Nikau Grey Hospital in Greymouth is today one step closer, Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey says. “This $27 million facility shows this Government is delivering on its promise to boost mental health care and improve front line services,” Mr Doocey says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • NZ support for sustainable Pacific fisheries

    New Zealand is committing nearly $50 million to a package supporting sustainable Pacific fisheries development over the next four years, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This support consisting of a range of initiatives demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to assisting our Pacific partners ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Students’ needs at centre of new charter school adjustments

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says proposed changes to the Education and Training Amendment Bill will ensure charter schools have more flexibility to negotiate employment agreements and are equipped with the right teaching resources. “Cabinet has agreed to progress an amendment which means unions will not be able to initiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Commissioner replaces Health NZ Board

    In response to serious concerns around oversight, overspend and a significant deterioration in financial outlook, the Board of Health New Zealand will be replaced with a Commissioner, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.  “The previous government’s botched health reforms have created significant financial challenges at Health NZ that, without ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will travel to China on Saturday to attend the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting held in Wuhan.  “Attending the Ministerial on Climate Action is an opportunity to advocate for New Zealand climate priorities and engage with our key partners on climate action,” Mr Watts says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
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