The Centrelink fiasco

Written By: - Date published: 11:07 am, January 6th, 2017 - 29 comments
Categories: australian politics, benefits, International, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, welfare, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

I recently followed Asher Woolf on twitter. I understand that is a nom de plumb. She is a Green Activist based in Melbourne, Australia and her profile says that she is a founder of the Cryptoparty. Wikipedia confirms this and states that the Cryptoparty is “a grassroots global endeavour to introduce the basics of practical cryptography such as the Tor anonymity network, key signing parties, disk encryption and virtual private networks to the general public. The project primarily consists of a series of free public workshops.”

She has a prolific twitter presence with 68.5k likes and has sent over 435k tweets.

She has a clear interest in the rights of citizens against the misuse of big data and recent policy changes at Australia’s Centrelink has attracted her attention and subsequently filled my twitter feed. Her activism is impressive to see and I recommend you have a look at her feed. It is a compelling mix of individual tales of terror over the stress caused and scathing comments about the totally inadequate data matching that has occurred and the complete indifference the Government has so far shown to the issue.

The background is that in pursuit of savings of $4.6 billion the conservative Government in Australia has mandated the use of data matching of Centrelink information with that held by the Australian Taxation Office. Screeds of letters have been sent to previous recipients demanding they justify receiving benefits in the past otherwise repayment will be sought.

The data match is crude, embarrassingly so. And there are lots of false positives. Whereas previously 20,000 letters were sent out a year the number is now 20,000 per week.  And the Government concedes that at least 20% of these are unwarranted.

There is a fundamental flaw in the process. It is matching years that an individual earned a benefit with years they paid income tax, dividing the total taxable earnings by 26 and then presuming that this amount was earned each and every fortnight.  If someone received a benefit for a short period that they were entitled to the data match still says there is a problem if the average earnings are over the permitted amount and a demand letter is issued. If no response is forthcoming within a limited time then the person is deemed to owe the debt and further steps are taken.

There are other identified problems.  The system is flagging cases where employer names and other information have inconsistent spelling across records, and is assuming recipients have more than one job and haven’t declared income

And so people are expected to go through their records up to six years ago to rejustify the receipt of a benefit they had already persuaded Centrelink they were entitled to.

The Government concedes that one in five letters of demand is unjustified. It makes you wonder what the actual figure is. To put that into context if the policy is not changed at least 200,000 Australias will be unjustly terrified in the first 12 months because of faulty data mapping.

It has caused consternation to many including those most susceptible to pressure. In an ironic and cruel twist Centrelink has been tweeting responses to complaints expressing suicidal thoughts with the number for the Australian Lifeline, a service which recently had its funding cut by the Government.

And the infrastructure in place to handle responses is inadequate. Waiting times of over two hours for a response from the telephone system have been reported. The website is incapable of handling a proper response to the letters. Huge cues have been reported at offices. The system is not capable of handling the work generated by the letters. And those that either give up or do not respond through ignorance of the claim will be deemed to owe the money.

To make matters even worse the Government with the assistance of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation recently repealed provisions of the Social Security Act which provided a six year time limit for the collection of these debts.  They could be using older and older and more unreliable data.

See what happens when big data meets right wing belligerence?

Meanwhile in other news …

Update: Thanks Draco

29 comments on “The Centrelink fiasco”

  1. Siobhan 1

    Meantime back in NZ

    “Monthly quotas were imposed at the Ministry of Social Development to prosecute beneficiaries, an inquest into the death of a woman accused of benefit fraud has heard.

    “We had to get one prosecution per month. We had to get $30,000 of debt to be recovered per month,” a former MSD investigator told the inquest into the death of Wendy Shoebridge. “Four cases had to be cleared per month.””

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/87347930/Aggressive-prosecution-focus-at-MSD-preceded-womans-death-inquest-told

    A statement from Labour on new policies for the radical improved in the treatment of Beneficiaries of all types would certainly be a step in winning over some votes from ‘The Disenfranchised Class’ and those of us that actually give a damn.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      It’s amazing how many right-wing policies around the world that are inducing suicide and it’s disturbing that they’re not being held to account for them.

      • simbit 1.1.1

        Coroner found one post-disaster suicide in Chch caused by insurance co. belligerence.

      • aerobubble 1.1.2

        Police road speed rules are the cause of increased accidents, people have this persinal tick, damn lifestylers, they cant or wont obey lots of onerous rules, or worse, do, and take their time watching the speedometer. lol. Its a disgrace that people fear phoning police because they dont want their neighbours to become criminalized by the university of crime. Its not just the right wing governing classes, its te media-corporate alliance that want profits and need eyeballs to spin populations to put favored legislator and legislation, aka ttp went too far lol. How can anyone not have noticed, Trump only becomes President if he kept his ugly mug in the tv lens for months on end, and the media manufactured tolerance for him. Sure, the oil industry should be given a chance to retreat as climate change is so obvious, they broke it. It aint left or right, its the nonsense factory that has gotten tied up in all its self serving lying that it has to contort itself backwards upside down inside out to pass off crappy power whose self delusions are so misrepresentative, profit driven, mostly noe to pay off debt addiction with more debt.

        We need a return to freedom, that a life lived reflecting, time with family, income to resource living, etc.

    • Jenny Kirk 1.2

      Siobhan – you cannot expect Labour to announce all its policies yet – because that then gives the govt the ability to say “me too” with its policies.

      However, Labour has an extensive Policy Platform – agreed by the Party members a couple or so years ago – and this does spell out in detail how Labour expects to treat people . It can be found on the Labour website

      https://www.labourparty.org.nz/sites/default/files/New%20Zealand%20%20Labour%20Party%20Policy%20Platform.pdf

      Here is an extract from it – which should reassure you that Labour will be treating people much more differently from the way the neo-lib rightwing govts do.

      5.13 Labour policies across portfolios will generate greater security and fairness with all parts of the community playing their part, and everyone benefitting from a fairer and more cohesive society.
      5.14 Labour recognises that there are New Zealanders whose disability, illness, or age is such that they are not expected to be in paid work, and that these people have a right to dignity and security. People who are temporarily out of the work force should be supported and enabled to re-enter the labour market. We recognise the care of people as work, whether paid or unpaid.

      • Siobhan 1.2.1

        I do truly understand that. And I realise I may come across as a Labour basher at a time when we need a positive and radical change of Government.
        However it is hard to generate any energy around a Political Party when ‘The Vision’ must be hidden from the voters.
        I’m not sure ‘nice words’ are enough. It’s important to treat people with respect, and I acknowledge that Labour is ‘nicer’, but what is actually going to change??
        No one has a very good track record..we’ve only just had an increase in benefits, the 1st real increase in core benefit rates for 44 years. 44 years!!!

        “People who are temporarily out of the work force should be supported and enabled to re-enter the labour market.”…my own memory of the early 2000’s was that this change of focus, ‘enabling’ workers back to work, while sounding very good, was the start of some very dubious policies and attitudes at ‘The Dole Office’.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/415592/Beneficiaries-worse-off-under-Labour-report-reveals

        That article is from 2008, the same year Labour declined to increase the Accommodation supplement. (And worth a read for a nice quote from Judith Collins, expressing concern over growing beneficiary debt)

        • Jenny Kirk 1.2.1.1

          Yes Siobahn – I agree that to outsiders it might look like not much as changed, but there were huge arguments and discussion within the Party for months while that Policy Platform was formulated – because so many of us were fed-up with the rightwing neo-libs lousy attitude towards people.
          And not all of those people are yet gone from Labour, but they are in a much greater minority than ever before, and “times they are a-changin’ ” . We have a new Leader who is gradually getting those changes happening – I just hope he gets sufficient media space to show he’ll be a good NZ-proud Leader and not just one who talks big, but doesn’t deliver.

      • Depends if the policies are a means or an end.

        If they’re an end, announcing early and having them copied is a good thing, because that means you’ve built consensus around your ideas. This is why the Greens provide a fair amount of their policy ahead of time.

        I understand that at least some in Labour do view their policy as a means to getting elected instead, which I would suggest is the wrong way to go about things, as it betrays a level of insincerity to a party’s politics. We should be electing representatives who have goals they want to meet in office, and whose policies are their best idea for reaching those goals. If they somehow achieve all their goals, that’s a good indication it’s their time to retire.

        Besides, if your friends copy your policy you can say “see, our ideas are so good all our coalition partners already want them too” And if your enemies copy your policies, even better, because you can not only claim your ideas are winners with consensus, you can also attack them for being slow and/or bereft of their own ideas. 😉 Really, having your policies copied is only a loss if you think novel policies are what wins elections, which they clearly aren’t. Don’t get me wrong, policy is important, but only wonks like us vote based off it to any large degree.

        Releasing early does potentially give the other side more time to figure out attack lines, but it also projects confidence in your ideas and a consistent vision, which have been two key areas that voters haven’t felt Labour has done well in. The other flipside is that having policies out earlier lets you discuss specifics way earlier and gives the party and the campaign a sense of consistency and vision. Besides, National will just focus-group attack lines on the policies pretty fast anyway, so I don’t think there’s as much advantage to Labour holding their cards close as you seem to imply, and that it is at least a tradeoff, if not an inappropriate strategy for them in this particular election.

        • Craig H 1.2.2.1

          If National implemented the policies in full, sure, but they don’t, they only do the bare minimum, and often not even that.

          • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.2.1.1

            Right, which is an even bigger political win when they’re copying your policy, because they’ve effectively admitted your idea is right, but haven’t taken it far enough to work. It’s much harder to argue against having more of a good thing than to simply insist it won’t work at all.

            Debating whose policies are better works a lot like that old adage about debating idiots on their own terms. Once you’ve conceded the terms of a policy debate to the other side, you’ve already lost.

        • The Chairman 1.2.2.2

          +1, Matthew.

      • The Chairman 1.2.3

        “You cannot expect Labour to announce all its policies yet – because that then gives the govt the ability to say “me too” with its policies.”

        That rationale is illogical.

        The opposition can decide to adopt all or part of Labour’s policy at any given time.

        • Craig H 1.2.3.1

          If National want to keep Labour out by adopting all their policies, so be it, but if they do the bare minimum, or less, that’s annoying, and if they then claim the policies are failures because of that, that could be disastrous for election chances.

          Also, Labour has some potential policies which require government resources to develop, so they can’t exactly release them fully-formed, and need to get elected for those.

          • The Chairman 1.2.3.1.1

            Unable to fully formulate policy outside of Government is extremely problematic for Labour. They lack the trust and confidence required for voters to blindly elect them.

            Vote us into office and we’ll formulate our tax policy once in power won’t resonate well with many voters.

            If National adopt Labour policy and poorly implement it or weaken its effectiveness, it advantages Labour in highlighting their incompetence.

  2. Ethica 2

    This is already happening in NZ as Work and Income centralises its information at its Central Processing Unit in Auckland. Unfortunately, it is full or errors. With Bill English’s Social Investment fund all government agencies are starting to share all information – so Work and Income and IRD are already doing it. Beneficiaries have to consent to such data sharing to get a benefit. What is even more scary is that from next year under Bill’s policy people’s names, addresses and family members’ names and other identifiable personal information will also be shared with more government agencies. NGOs which provide services from the Community Investment fund (our public support money) will have to share the personal data of their clients. There will be a basic consent process but no consent, no public money for the service. So more and more identifiable personal data is going to be being collected and shared across government agencies and NGOs, and available for any spiteful cabinet minister to use against anyone who complains. This is how a government does surveillance on its less powerful citizens.

    • Henry Filth 2.1

      For a look at surveillance, you could do worse than look at China’s “Social Credit” system.

  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    Wow, that an impressive stuff up.

    The good news is that NZers have managed to avoid being subjected to this due to the fact they never qualified in the first place, unless of course they were on Invalids Benefit and shifted over to Australia for a better life. (IB now SLP is the only benefit where this is possible, but I hear the assessments are even tougher than they are here). Hope there is still someone left in Australia to assist our expats.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    *Nom de plume. Literally “name of pen”.

    As for the Centrelink data matching, it’s yet another example of the inevitable consequences of right wing hate speech.

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    I knew it was happening but not so much or so soon. I also understand that they have back loaded details for some birth years. (or is it all?)
    However, we can rest assured it will not flag potential overseas tax haven cheats, tax dodgers except at the very bottom of the pile, dodgy employer tactics or any other right wing policies that cause social distress.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    It has caused consternation to many including those most susceptible to pressure. In an ironic and cruel twist Centrelink has been tweeting responses to complaints expressing suicidal thoughts with the number for the Australian Lifeline, a service which recently had its funding cut by the Government.

    Ah, so that would be another RWNJ government that should be charged with murder.

    And somebody embed this:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C1XKOLTUQAA19o6.jpg

  7. greywarshark 7

    The tags at the top say it all. It would have been unbelievable once, but the oppression of the people becomes more obvious each year. Australia should be a pariah, but in the generic rich man’s stratosphere (and women’s) there is a conformity of minds and what passes as thinking. And in NZ the spending over Christmas is up. All we need to know or think about.

  8. Henry Filth 8

    Big data meets small minds.

    • greywarshark 8.1

      That’s catchy Henery. What does it mean?

      • Henry Filth 8.1.1

        That the people involved have no idea how to make any positive or creative use of the data that they have, but are determined to tinker with it anyway, irrespective of the results.

        Not unlike the recent letter from Westpac NZ to a customer “Dear Asian”.

        Lots of data. Insufficient imagination to use that data.

  9. dukeofurl 9

    Is it so hard for a proper computer matching to match each 26 week period ( strange as I thought the benefits system was weekly like here) to a weekly pay period ?

    It should be even easier as most on benefits wouldnt getting an income at the same time.
    Sounds like Novapay, someone gets a contract to to a historic check and does it in a shortcut way to comply with the broad terms of the deal knowing they will win out in the end as any settlement is political.
    They recently had a disaster with online submissions for their census, which showed even with a big name like IBM the solution provided was amateurish.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      They recently had a disaster with online submissions for their census, which showed even with a big name like IBM the solution provided was amateurish.

      One of those things that I’ve come to learn over the decades is that big names does not automatically equate to quality. In fact, the bigger the organisation can often equate to worse quality as they cut costs and don’t communicate well across departments.

    • Craig H 9.2

      IRD currently only holds monthly data as that’s how often PAYE returns are filed, so can’t break it down beyond that.

      Dividing by 26 is such a lazy, inaccurate kludge, it could only be invented by an Australian…

  10. nzsage 10

    It was an $880K “impulse buy”…the sort of thing we all do, right?

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    Along with a number of other worsening sectors in New Zealand, the public health system has become increasingly degraded under a National led government. The statistics clearly show a complete failure to meet growing demand for services, especially in peak ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day
    Today, September 19th, is Suffrage Day. 124 years ago today, women gained the right to vote in New Zealand. Its one of our greatest achievements as a nation, and yet its not one we publicly mark. That needs to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins and the swamp kauri petrol crisis
    The ruptured fuel pipe that runs to Auckland Airport looks set to cause more chaos as fuel shortages start to impede people trying to fill up at the pump.Already a number of international flights have been diverted or cancelled due ...
    3 days ago
  • Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
    This sort of serious dental fluorosis does not occur in New Zealand A recent issue of the Fluoride Exposed Newsletter gives us the facts about dental fluorosis – a subject very often misrepresented by opponents of community water fluoridation. Ever ...
    3 days ago
  • PT Ridership around New Zealand
    Auckland had a pretty good year for public transport ridership in the last financial year (to the end of June). Overall, compared to the 2016 ridership increased by 5.5 million (7%) to 88.44 million trips, the highest point since 1955. ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution
    Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Chevron’s Amazon Chernobyl Case moves to Canada
    After perpetrating what is probably the worst oil-related catastrophe on Earth - a 20,000 hectare death zone in Ecuador, known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” - the Chevron Corporation has spent two decades and over a billion dollars trying to avoid ...
    3 days ago
  • 5 reasons the car industry needs to change its ways now
    Today the world’s biggest motor show gets underway in Germany. The Frankfurt Motorshow is the moment many of the world’s best known car manufacturers get together for a grand display of vehicles that have been polished so hard it’s a ...
    3 days ago
  • Access Granted: Kat Greenbrook – From insight to action
    Kat Greenbrook (@katgreenbrook) is on a mission to increase the number of data insights actioned as she sees a growing gap between analytics teams and decision makers, stemming from a breakdown in communication.  Kat, through her own company Rogue Penguin, works across ...
    3 days ago
  • When The Country Goes To Town.
    Pretty Ugly, Pretty Quickly: That the demographic and cultural divide between rural and urban New Zealand remains a source of deep unease to farmers cannot be doubted. Equally indisputable, historically-speaking, has been the militant, even violent, character of rural New ...
    3 days ago
  • More on Kiwi Rail De-electrification
    *This is a guest post by Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders KIWIRAIL’S NIMT DECISION EXPOSED IN LEAKED DOCUMENTS Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders1 Leaked documents show that KiwiRail’s decision in December 2016, to ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Limits to growth?
    Mounting concern with housing, transport and diversity issues in Auckland point to a consensus that growth trends are exceeding our ability to readily cope. This is aggravated by reports that portions of our wilderness tourism areas are being hammered by ...
    Briefing PapersBy Charles Crothers
    3 days ago
  • Winston Peters hijacks National’s protest
    There was a lot of anticipation surrounding a farmer’s protest in Morrinsville yesterday, a protest over Labour’s proposed levy of 1 to 2 cents per 1000 litres of water used for irrigation.Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ in particular have been ...
    3 days ago
  • Just when will the fat lady start singing this election?
    Now we’ve entered the last week of the election campaign, Saturday’s finishing post is in sight. Once the polls close at 7pm on that day, no further ballots may be cast.read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • Prediction
    There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going to do:NAT – 42%LAB – 39%NZF – 8%GRE – 6%TOP – 2%MAO – 1.5% (With electorate ...
    4 days ago
  • The evidence says TOP have no hope
      The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan has come out swinging against the polls, which unanimously report his party polling nowhere near the 5% threshold. He basically says they’re fake news because they (mostly) only poll landlines. He predicts TOP will ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • If you support Labour, Green, TOP, Māori, or Mana: Party vote Green
    I wrote this post on Facebook and it’s got a bit of traction so I thought I’d put it here as well. (These thoughts aren’t unique to me: other people are making similar points.) Most people intending to vote Labour, Green, ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • An Alternative to Neoliberalism?
    Are we at a turning point in our politics? I don’t mean whether we have a new government. That is a matter for the voters; the polls say that either they are very volatile or that the polls are very ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • 1969: The “Nearly-But-Not-Quite” Election.
    Labour Nearly Did This: It didn’t really seem possible that Labour could have lost. Its 1969 campaign had broken new ground in terms of media sophistication. Labour’s theme-song “Make Things Happen” had topped the local charts, and its television commercial, ...
    4 days ago
  • Why is Matthew Hooton SO UPSET at efforts to increase voter turnout? (AUDIO)
    Here’s some commentary from PR professional Matthew Hooton, owner of the ‘Exceltium’ PR agency*, on how he sees efforts by New Zealand’s Electoral Commission to increase voter turnout. “I think the way the Electoral Commission has behaved, taking upon itself ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    4 days ago
  • Its going to be a short election night
    Advance voting has really taken off this year, with enormous numbers exercising their right to vote early, parties campaigning specifically for advance votes, and queues at some advance polling booths. As of Sunday, 445,000 people had advance voted - more ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • We need more post-publication peer review
    We often tout peer review as the reason for accepting the veracity of published scientific studies? But how good is it really? Does it ever match the ideal picture people have of it? And what about peer review before and ...
    4 days ago
  • No choice
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    4 days ago
  • Too many cows
    Waikato's dairy farmers - the dirtiest in the country - are protesting in Morrinsville today to defend their "right" to keep pumping their shit into our rivers and their piss into our wells. Meanwhile, to get an idea of how ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Upgrading Takapuna’s heart
    While the beach may be the soul of Takapuna, Hurstmere Road is perhaps it’s commercial heart. Working in Takapuna, it’s a heart I know well (in fact at the time this post is published I’m probably walking along it to ...
    4 days ago
  • Cameras on boats will wreck ‘way of life’ – fisherman
    Push back against plans for surveillance on the high seas.       Fishing boats lined up along Bluff wharf. Photo: The Wireless/John Lake For Bluff cray fisherman Jayce Fisher, working the ocean is a way of ...
    4 days ago
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus... ...
    4 days ago

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