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The end of Ruthenasia

Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, May 21st, 2021 - 61 comments
Categories: Austerity, budget 2021, grant robertson, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, national, same old national, treasury - Tags:

National presented a particularly glum picture in Parliament yesterday.  And it was not only the realisation that Judith Collins is out of her depth.  As I noted the real leader of the opposition right now appears to be David Seymour.  I wonder how long National will tolerate this.

Fiscally the budget ticks the fiscally prudent box.  Debt is now predicted to peak at 48% of GDP compared to a pre-budget forecast of  52.6%.

But the headline was the unwinding of the Ruthenasia reforms in 1991 which have caused so much damage in the last two decades.

Jennifer Curtain from the Public Policy Institute said this:

Finance Minister Grant Robertson opened his budget speech by taking voters old enough to remember back to 1991. This was the year Ruth Richardson’s first budget as finance minister was handed down. She described it as the “Mother of all Budgets” and it is remembered for considerable cuts and fundamental changes to social expenditure in New Zealand.

It was savage for low socioeconomic groups and set the scene for New Zealand cementing itself as a neoliberal leader. Today, many advocacy groups seeking increased social spending argue 1991 was the start of what has become intergenerational poverty and inequality.

Invoking the Mother of all Budgets – before announcing spending increases in benefits, student allowances, Māori health, housing and education, and more money for capital expenditure on hospitals and schools – allowed Grant Robertson to once again align his government with the halcyon days associated with Michael Joseph Savage’s first Labour government.

Certainly it was a budget that will warm the hearts of Labour’s base. Judging by much of the early reaction from the Greens and Māori Party, it might also appeal to those who vote for the cross-benchers. All this while emphasising the importance of ensuring debt did not reach 50 percent of GDP and being fiscally prudent.

The creator of the mother of all budgets called Robertson’s attacks a predictable cheap shot which is funny given she then said this:

My budget was driven by a desire to lift economic growth and to make employment attractive …

Grant Robertson’s budget is overtly driven by politics and the desire to pay off Labour supporters.”

Did she make employment more attractive?  In the short term unemployment increased.  All she managed to do was tip families that were already struggling into abject poverty.

And the Employment Contracts Act which her Government passed managed to destroy wages and work conditions at the same time the benefits were being savaged.

The fifth Labour Government in my view achieved a lot of good.  But they did not have the political nerve to unwind Ruthenasia.  The Brash surge after the Orewa speech made them very risk adverse and the dynamics of coalition politics complicated matters.

Which is why yesterday was so refreshing.

Other highlights were a massive increase in rail investment and a significant spend on climate change, especially the commitment to ringfence revenue from the Emissions Trading Scheme for implementing the forthcoming Emissions Reduction Plan.

Of special note were Labour MPs proudly calling themselves socialists, at least of the social democrat type.

And my local MP got into the swing of things.

All in all the only thing I would say to the Government is well done.  But I think they need to keep working in this area so that they can drive a stake through the heart of Ruthenasia.  Just to be sure.

61 comments on “The end of Ruthenasia ”

  1. Sacha 1

    Nowhere near enough to undo the harm.

    • Sacha 1.1

      A whole lot to undo..

      • Ad 1.1.1

        To respond to Mr Howell, the previous government:

        • built Kiwibank,Kiwisaver and NZSuper which have done more for us than the BNZ ever did

        Currently this government has:

        • Turned NZTA into something far larger than MoWorks ever were
        • saved public housing from destruction
        • renationalised polytechs

        And plan to:

        • renationalise the health system
        • decarbonise the entire economy to net zero emissions

        And clearly the legacy that Clark and Cullen started continues in much stronger for with Ardern and Robertson.

        Legacy is just fine.

        • RedLogix

          Yes. This site is perfect experimental evidence that humans are far more likely to react to negative than positive events – even when the good is far more likely to endure and be of long term benefit.

          It was a light bulb moment, some years back, when I realised I was addicted to pressing the outrage button – but the doomer alarmism I was wallowing in was taking me (and everyone around me) in precisely the wrong direction.

          • GreenBus

            Great honesty RL and a very relevant statement for Kiwi's in general although there is plenty to complain about. Do we dare dream of a brighter future?

            • In Vino

              Certainly not the 'brighter future' that John Key's government lied about.

          • Patricia Bremner

            Bless, and then this positive government came RL, to be honest many of us were spiraling into despair under JK and c/o

            I am soo happy, but they, Jacinda and Grant, admit this is a beginning of a 3+ year effort. More grist to their elbow.

            At nearly 80 I hope I live to see all this enacted.

        • weka

          Build more roads rather than build more houses?

        • Chris

          "And clearly the legacy that Clark and Cullen started continues in much stronger for with Ardern and Robertson."

          Cullen was responsible for introducing stand downs in the late 80s. Clark went on doing to benefits what Bolger/Shipley/Richardson had done before her. Then after that Labour supported Key's further attacks on benefits when Bennett was minister. If you think yesterday's budget was a continuation of the Clark and Cullen legacy then you're attempting to rewrite history.

          • Ad

            Clark and Cullen softened rather than reversed the structural adjustment New Zealand went through.

            The Ardern Robertson government has expanded the role of the state more than we have seen in multiple decades.

            Historians from left and right lenses agree with that.

            • Chris

              That's because most historians from left and right, just like most of the NZ population, didn't understand what axing the special benefit meant, what the 2007 amendment Act did or what a Labour opposition voting in support of a welfare Bill headed by Paula Bennett represented.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                " what the 2007 amendment Act did"

                The 2007 Social Security Amendment Act was soley about war amputees.

                Perhaps you are referring to the Key governments Social Security (New Work Tests, Incentives, and Obligations) Amendment Act 2010.

                • Chris

                  No, this one here.


                  Clark's government was responsible for changing the statutory purpose of social welfare from meeting need to work-testing people, including the disabled and carers of children. She had no respect for the poor.

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    You mean this


                    The purpose of this Act is—

                    (a)to enable the provision of financial and other support as appropriate—

                    (i)to help people to support themselves and their dependants while not in paid employment; and

                    (ii)to help people to find or retain paid employment; and

                    (iii)to help people for whom work may not currently be appropriate because of sickness, injury, disability, or caring responsibilities, to support themselves and their dependants:

                    (b)to enable in certain circumstances the provision of financial support to people to help alleviate hardship:

                    Wheres the kick in the teeth of the poor …

                    • Chris

                      Have a look at the other three quarters of the section, as well as the following section which contains the principles (sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Act), and then play spot the difference with what it replaced, which is this:

                      "An Act to provide for the Payment of Superannuation Benefits and of other Benefits destined to safeguard the People of New Zealand from Disabilities arising from Age, Sickness, Widowhood, Orphanhood, Unemployment, or other Exceptional Conditions; … to provide such other benefits as may be necessary to maintain and promote the Health and General Welfare of the Community"

            • Phillip ure

              The clark years were hell…I was a sole-parent at the time…an uncaring clark stigmatised the poorest..with her definitions of the 'desrerving poor'..and the 'undeserving poor (those in work)'..she did nothing for the poorest..for nine long fucken years..

              And winz treated sole-parent like dirt..

              Also funny how nobody these days notes that bolger was the p.m. when richardson created the underclass ..has he been sanitised in some way..?.he was donkey-doo-deep in that exercise in political cruelty..is it sexism that sees richardson carrying the can all by herself..?

      • Sacha 1.1.2

        I was thinking of this comment from Descendant of Smith yesterday:

        While they have painted this as reversing Ruth's mother of all budgets and correcting the wrongs of that budget they are either stupid, liars, naive or all three.

        Ruth Richardson's changes.

        1. $20-00 per week off – fixed belatedly after Helen Clark's Labour Government put it back on NZS only
        2. Youth rate for under 18 year old's extended to 24 – not fixed
        3. Aligning benefit rates away from 60% of the average wage to CPI increases – not fixed
        4. Compensation for the years of neglect and indebtedness that have occurred as people were forced to apply for advances on their benefit to meet costs that should have come from a decent benefit rate- zilch

        Benefit rates used to be the same as NZS – 3 above was the most damaging of all the changes.

        The least they could do is back-date and give everyone a lump sum or clear their benefit debt so they can receive the full amount that they need to survive.

        NZ Superannuation is $437 per week for a single person. Compare that with the single rate trumpeted in these benefit changes. Long way to go.

        • Foreign Waka

          NZ Super is

          Single, living alone $436.94 abatement if you work above $ 160 pw: $418.09

          = $ 1893.40 (see below – shortfall of $ 1,699.60)

          Both partners qualify (combined) $672.22 if either works above $ 160 pw $634.52 = $ 2913 per month (not working), shortfall (housing taken out for partner $3,593 plus $1209 = $4802) $ 1889.00

          Poverty is defined as households living at below 60% of the national median income. Pensions are just on the cusp of that.


          Summary of cost of living in New Zealand

          • Family of four estimated monthly costs: NZ$6,929
          • Single person estimated monthly costs: NZ$3,593
          • Cost of living in New Zealand is more expensive than in 85% of countries in the World (13 out of 78)


          • Sacha

            Single person benefit rate that Labour are high-fiving themselves for? $315 per week.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              Single, living alone $436.94 abatement if you work above $ 160 pw: $418.09

              NZS isn't income tested unless an underage partner is included – though this current labour government got rid of that cause you know it's fairer they said to make the underage partner get a much lower benefit instead. Someone had a fit of pique over all those mail order 22 year old brides getting NZS when in fact the underage partner is often caring for the older partner or is unwell themselves.

              The S tax rate you refer to is I think the rate paid if you are still paying off a student loan. Nothing to do with income.

              My point is that they haven't fixed anything until benefit rates and NZS are the same again.

              • RedBaronCV

                Benefit rates and NZ super could be aligned but until they are I don't really see any fairness argument around paying a younger partner benefit rates not NZS.

                Basically if you do pay NZS it becomes discrimination on the grounds of marital basis and it favours a group that are likely to be largely male, who have been able to work over a whole lifetime, when wages discriminated in favour of males not to mention super schemes and the like. I don't think the rest of the community has any obligation to pay for a caregiver for this cohort at a better rate than a caregiver for any single person. Plus where there are substantial age gaps it can encourage lifelong benefit dependency for the younger partner.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  You re missing the point. There would be very few cases in this situation – they would be outliers. On the other hand the majority of cases would be as described – near retirement partners who are either ill themselves or caring for an ill older partner.

                  The change unfairly impacts on the working class and Maori who often have lesser life expectancy and don't get NZS for very long anyway if they even reach 65.

                  What you are saying is that because Ruth cut benefits we should now cut these people. That's the wanky fairness argument Labour proffers. It's also the puritan argument.

                  Why oh why would we make low income people poorer except to appease those who will never need it. Consider too the working partner has been supporting two people on a low income leading up to 65. They are unlikely to be in a strong financial position – if they were they wouldn’t qualify.

                  • RedBaronCV

                    No I'm not missing the point. There will be no argument from me that NZS and benefits have a general bias against low paid and Maori because of historic income levels and age expectancy. Nor that Ruth cut benefits.Nor that it is not easy getting a job over 60.

                    But there are single people nearing retirement who are ill and would receive a benefit rather than NZS and have no at home carer on NZS – why should they be discriminated against? Should they be getting super and if not why not? Equally there are single people who are over 65 and ill whose carer would be relying on a lessor income than NZS? Again why are they being discriminated against? And bear in mind that should the ill partner die then the carer loses NZS eligibility and winds up on another benefit.

                    So yes there are overall unfair settings out there but why should there be positive discrimination only towards the one small group who have possibly relied on a traditional version of relationships which is being paid for by others whose situation is even less fortunate?

                    I'd have also phased out NZS for partners under say 50 over a few years – no reason to support them at any level.

            • Foreign waka

              Sacha -That would definitely be below the 60% median income. Any government setting a living allowance that low must have a mandate (?). It is good that it was increased but given the amount you need to actually live not vegetate, it signals that the expectation is, that people either work until they fall into the grave or move in with others to save money. Retirement homes would not take them. Health costs for elderly are higher and not getting treated for any ailment that festers will most likely lead to their dead. So essentially not that far away from the work houses of Victorian England. The underlying thought process seem to prevail.

    • greywarshark 1.2

      Looking at the picture above I thought 'the farmer and his wife' – that's National's way of running NZ. . Looked up – yes both from farms, Ruth became lawyer.

      Jim from Wikipedia:
      Before entering politics, he farmed in the Waikato area and was involved in Federated Farmers, a nationwide agricultural association. Bolger won election to Parliament in 1972, and subsequently served in several portfolios in the Third National Government.

      And Ruth was from a wealthy farming family in Taranaki with past political representation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Richardson
      (This from Wikileaks dossier, see below – CLASSIFIED BY: JOSIAH H. BEEMAN, AMBASSADOR.) She mentored Jenny Shipley also.


      And this from 'Ruthanasia' was interesting:

      The end of Ruthenasia

      Bolger said that his "electoral honeymoon lasted seventeen hours". So he immediately summoned Don McKinnon, Bill Birch and Ruth Richardson to Wellington. The partly state-owned Bank of New Zealand required an immediate injection of capital to avoid insolvency as a result of the poor performance of a NZ$2.8bn loan portfolio in Australia. The bank held 40 per cent of the commercial paper (loans to businesses) in New Zealand.

      How fascinating that Australia looms again in another of our deciding defeats!

  2. Ad 2

    If they can get through all the massive moves they've done in 5 years, we can see the kind of country we'd get from more and more over the remainder of the term and towards 2026.

    It's the last and best performing Labour government in the world.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.1

      It's the last and best performing Labour government in the world.

      Seriously? You have to concede the competition ain't up to much.

    • cricklewood 2.2

      'It's the last and best performing Labour government in the world'

      I'll hold judgement on that, the proof will be in the pudding and so far there has been a real struggle with delivery on the big ticket policies…

      That said if the measure is Covid response and increases to housing values and emergency 'housing' costs then yes would happily give a gold medal…

      • Ad 2.2.1

        It's us and a few of the Scandies left in terms of combining strong state intervention and strong democracy and strong civil rights.

        Those MPs currently proudly reifying the term 'socialist' aren't doing so because they have some deep affiliation to the proletariat. Any reference back to such a definition would make tepid comparison.

        Usefully this government isn't responding to the needs of New Zealand out of some faint historic echo of socialism or Marxism or whatever, but out of practical responses to the size and specificity of the needs that present.

    • greywarshark 2.3

      I hope it's not the last Labour government in the world and I hope you are right about best performing and that it gradually ups its moves and withstands the attacks it will undoubtedly receive. It will have to box clever all the way, as the saying goes.

  3. DukeEll 3

    bit weird NZ governments are taking 20th century approaches to solving 20th century problems when we are 20% into the 21st century.

    Fran O Sullivan column nailed it, why aren't we looking for modern solutions to intergenerational problems

    • Incognito 3.1

      You forgot to nail the link to your comment 🙁

    • lprent 3.2

      …why aren’t we looking for modern solutions to intergenerational problems

      I’m pretty well-read in politics, economics, and history. I don’t know of any ‘modern solutions’ that have been tested and are known to work over decades.

      I prefer not to have the kids in my extended family tested on like guinea pigs as the generations behind mine (like my partner and her friends in the 1990s were) by the complete failure of supply-side economics, trickle down benefits, and neoliberal strategies that failed them.

      What some people like Fran seem to forget is that there are two sides to an economy. There is no point in getting a fast growth rate for companies and people with capital, if the cost in it is that it decreases the opportunities for people to grow the skills to sustain it.

      In NZ you can mark the failure of experiments like Ruthenesia by the diminution in widespread skills inside our population economy, our export of kiwis scarred by the experience, and our need to import grunt labour and skills to replace them.

      The advantage of ’20th century’ solutions is that they are known to work, and where the bugs are with them. It is better to figure out how to diminish the flaws in an existing system that to take the desperation tactic of experimenting with untried systems.

      Does that answer your ‘question’?

      • Rosemary McDonald 3.2.1

        I don’t know of any ‘modern solutions’

        I stumbled across this the other day…I was pretty sure it was a hoax…but no. These techsperts truly believe that this should/could be the next stage human evolution and will, amoungst other benefits, ease or end inequities in health, education etc and mitigate environmental damage.

        I would be interested in your opinion on this.


        It is better to figure out how to diminish the flaws in an existing system that to take the desperation tactic of experimenting with untried systems. Which was exactly my response to the abovelinked.

        • lprent

          A lot of the things in that speculation are coming through.

          For instance this morning at 0900 I was having a morning coffee at home in a video meeting whilst in a 30 minute meeting on the collect project with 5 others in various parts of the UK and US. Same on tuesday morning at 0800 for 30 minutes with a different facet of the same project. For me, this is now routine and allows my project 'team' to be pretty much anywhere. The main constraint is simply timezones and when people sleep.

          In the biological sphere, the two leading (>90% effectiveness in real world studies) vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna in active use against covid-19 are both mRNA vaccines created by assembling the genetic code to get our bodies protein generating protien markers for out immune system to train on. This would have been just too expensive and unreliable to do a decade ago.

          That all being said – trying to predict when and what will be available in even a few years is damn near impossible. You certainly can't plan on it. Only idiots would plan on inflicting it on whole populations unless it was an act of desperation.

          The path that lead to both of these developments started at least 2-3 decades ago. I was using remote work running a software development team in the late 1990s (I went to work once a month – the rest was online). But trying to do that internationally was bloody hard because the latency was really only allowed text – not voice or video. Now I can barely detect latency.

          I seem to remember that the full sequencing of a RNA virus was also pretty recent (doesn't say here). But the first mRNA vaccines were only started being worked on for the MERS virus in 2015.

          However, the development we see now for both of these things wasn't clear back in the late 90s.

          Planning based on possible technologies of policies is a fools game.

          It is like saying currently planning on carbon sequestration to save our butts from climate change in the 1990s – when now in 2021 there still haven’t been a successful large scale test that it works.

          If in the 1960s predicting that fusion energy would power the world in the 21st century – when we still haven’t had a successful large test that last more than seconds.

    • Gabby 3.3

      Well that's laissez faire capitalism out of the reckoning then.

  4. Incognito 4

    Ruth Richardson wanted growth at all cost and decided that beneficiaries needed to pay the price.

    Grant Robertson wanted welfare and wellbeing of beneficiaries at all cost and decided that growth has to pay the price.

    • Sacha 4.1

      Robertson 'at all cost'? Dreaming.

      • Chris 4.1.1

        Totally. The only thing Robertson wants at all cost is political expediency. A bit of spending on welfare benefits suits right now.

    • Stuart Munro 4.2

      A lot of the touted 'growth' over the last few decades has been technical. A focus on productive growth instead of dodgy accounting around real estate and migration stands a good chance of achieving pretty good real results – catchup is always easier than breaking new ground – half the secret of the tiger economies.

      • Foreign Waka 4.2.1

        The paradigm revolves around increased consumption. Naturally its an finite system as we see with the environment being depleted and ruined because of the human race still stuck in the dinosaur mind and not willing to combine and look at a complete different way to conduct society within the resources available. Some just cant get enough, some need to exercise power over others, some are only happy if they have more than they ever need, others are just plain sadistic. This is the god everybody is praying to. Unless we universally change religion, nothing will stop this to play out in a logical conclusion.

        • Stuart Munro

          A lot of truth there – but the transition to a more sustainable paradigm, if conducted intelligently, would also be expressed as 'growth' by the crude tools favoured by economists. Even Robert's eat local initiative would show up as growth, at least until it measurably impacted supermarkets.

    • lprent 4.3

      Ruth Richardson wanted growth at all cost and decided that beneficiaries needed to pay the price.

      It was noticeable that the growth happened a decade later – largely as a result of diminishing some of the most severe edges of austerity under a Labour-led government.

      The beneficiary cuts at a time of Ruthenesia and in its aftermath or significiant economic restructuring caused the whole economy to drop into stagnation with severely limited growth. There was constrained or minimal countervailing infrastructure development so there were limited jobs to move from. The tax cuts to the wealthier weren’t used for anything useful. They just fuelled the initial speculative housing market without causing significiant housing being put in.

      It was a classic case of ideological economic stupidity causing exactly the same effects that it was reputed to prevent. This is a common pattern in political systems throughout history.

      • greywarshark 4.3.1

        Could it have happened if there had been mandatory papers that were published, which required expected outcomes to each revolutionary economic and social action which I think would have reduced if not prevented malformation?

        It seems it was all zealous certainty and choosing the facts to build a lovely path to economic growth and 'prosperity'. As my Dilbert cartoon depicts – hopefuls with glazed eyes after seeing sign saying This Way to Piles of Wealth walking to a cliff.

    • Tricledrown 4.4

      Incognito the 1990s ie Ruthenasia was 9 years of of yo yo growth National gave tax cuts 6 months out from each election growth peaked around elections then for the other 2 1/2 years the economy stagnated or declined over 9 years growth averaged less than 1% under National inflation averaged more than 1% effectively Zero growth with high longterm uunemployment.The 1996 election bribe working for families was in response to even lower wage growth than 1% per annum because of the ECA. My wife's wages were cut by 1/3 because Unions were not allowed to bargain effectively.

      The only reason National got 9 years instead of 6 was because of Winston Peter's and Jim Andertons misogynist bullying with in the Alliance .

      • greywarshark 4.4.1

        Well that is interesting about Jim A and Winston Tricledrown. I noticed myself how uninterested he was to meet his supporters when he visited our town. Seems he was firmly set in his luge sled shooting along his way and others around were 'extras' on the scene.

      • Stuart Munro 4.4.2

        Did not the white butterfly have something to do with it too?

    • woodart 4.5

      growth WONT pay a price. pretty much every dollar that goes into benifits(not counting super here)is spent the next week, in the country, not taken offshore for holiday spending. business in NZ should be thinking clearly about the extra dosh that will be spent from beneficiaries. pretty sad that some on here dont get that.

      • Cricklewood 4.5.1

        Bingo… the best way to stimulate an economy is to put money in the bottom, its nearly all spent often locally and then flows upwards…

        Taxcuts at the top end or freeing up capital always leads in the top end getting richer money flowing into unproductive assets ie housing, overseas holidays or even saved. With the meerest morsel maybe trickling down…

  5. tc 5

    What's not been surprising is the lack of factual analysis in favour of rhetoric and spin in granny.

    Stuff appears to have done a much more even handed job. Not that I follow either in depth.

  6. Tricledrown 6

    The ANZ's chief economist said it was a good budget tackling inequality which needs addressing as the well off have done very well under Covid.

  7. I thought a it bit "rich" for richardson to claim it was a cheap shot to have a go at her infamous words by robertson.

    She said it, did it, and ruined lives of thousands of new zealanders.

    Not once did the natz ever try to rectify the damage, only to promote more misery and hopelessness.

    The natz deliberately dumped us kiwis in ordure and left us there. Wall street trader ethics rule. Ask gordon gecko (shonkey).

    Covid hits and arrogant know all "business leaders" are pleading for tax payer money?

    Ok maybe bolger has a point the nz economy was in a painful place at that time. Every thing else got better but keeping and increasing more misery seems a silly response t t"the mother of all budgets".

  8. coreyjhumm 8

    Labours to some extent abolishing (softly) the economic consensus of the last four decades and the screams from the dogmatic followers of it are hilarious .

    They called labour commies and socialists and attacked labour with every dirty trick in the book for decades when Labour agreed with the economic consensus so when labour ditches the economic consensus, their insults have no impact because they call labour this anyway so people are like "yeah yeah well of course they'd say that , they always say that"

    I sometimes wonder if we didn't have mmp would more have been done to overturn the economic consensus because a lot of the time parties are trying to out center each other so they don't need a king maker, and with all the lefty's splitting into different camps theres been no powerful left wing pressure group inside labour forcing things through and voting on manifesto policies internally

    But then I look around the world and I don't think turning away from neoliberalism would have happened until now regardless of the electoral system because of the growth in the 90s /00s that third way polis were riding high on

    Anyway. These insults are overused and no longer mean anything, so lol to the neolibs and new right… The show's over

    • greywarshark 8.1

      I've read that thought about MMP and it concreting in a status quo making swift changes like Rogernomics unlikely again. And as you say there is a splintering of the left vote particularly with minor parties. (Famous one in France with Le Pen pere, nearly getting in decades ago, because of left vote split amongst 16 tiny parties affecting the main vote.) However if MMP is kept with a high enough threshhold I think 4% would be lowest to go, and others also go for that figure) then it enables better assessment of the weight of each political persuasion.

      But capitalism is so strong, and finding a lovely theory like neolib and reverting to the powerful free market so privateers can reign, any political system is under attack. Especially in our cowtopian world, where we can be cowed by thoughts of nowhere to send our butter. How to insure against that? Heigh ho, the gummint turned round and milked the people.

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    3 days ago
  • Defence Ministers meet in Cambodia
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. “The first face to face meeting of the ADMM-Plus members is an opportunity for me to highlight New Zealand’s position on key regional security matters,” Peeni Henare said.  “In ...
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    3 days ago
  • Pay equity extended to thousands more social workers
    The Government will extend pay equity to all community and iwi organisations who employ social workers and receive funding from the Crown, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti announced today. We expect this will improve the lives of approximately 4,600 social workers. “This extension means thousands more social workers will be ...
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    3 days ago
  • Taskforce set up to protect construction industry from product shortages & delays
    New ‘Critical Materials Taskforce’ will trouble shoot building materials shortages Focus on maximising productivity & cushioning businesses from supply chain risks Successful ‘Plasterboard Taskforce’ reshaped to include broader sector knowledge and expertise Will provide guidance, data and information to support builders, designers and business owners A new Critical Materials Taskforce ...
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    3 days ago
  • Bigger ED, more theatres and more beds in new Whangārei Hospital
    A new emergency department with three times more space will be part of the first stage of a two-stage project to build a new hospital for Whangārei and Northland. The Government has today confirmed funding for stage one of the new hospital – an acute services building and a child-health ...
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    3 days ago
  • Finnish PM to visit New Zealand
    Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, accompanied by Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari and a business delegation will visit New Zealand next week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The two leaders will meet in Auckland. “New Zealand and Finland are natural partners. We share similar approaches ...
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    4 days ago
  • New recreational rules to support hāpuku and bass fisheries
    The daily limits on recreationally caught hāpuku (also known as groper) and bass will be lowered to a total of two per person in some areas, with a new accumulation limit of three per person on multi-day trips. Oceans and Fisheries Minister, David Parker said the rule changes would take ...
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    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature enabling Mātāuranga Māori
    Mātāuranga Māori is at the heart of the latest tranche of Jobs for Nature projects set to promote biodiversity and reduce impacts of climate change on Māori land, Minister of Conservation Poto Williams says. Project work will include the creation of an ecological corridor in Tairāwhiti, protecting 60 hectares of ...
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    4 days ago
  • Supporting resilient shipping infrastructure in Vanuatu
    The Government has announced further support to Vanuatu to assist in constructing climate-resilient wharves as part of the Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Support Project (VISSP). “Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to supporting the economic recovery of our Pacific region in a way that continues to provide growth and supports climate resilience,” ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government welcomes High Court ruling on climate case
    The High Court has today confirmed the legality of the advice provided by the Climate Change Commission (the Commision) to inform New Zealand’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) and the first three emissions budgets.  Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says New Zealanders can have confidence in the Commission and of ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government introduces changes to mining Act with stronger environmental focus
    ·         Crown Minerals Act will no longer actively “promote” prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown-owned minerals ·         Will create more certainty around engagement between industry, iwi and hapū. The Government is proposing changes to modernise the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) to support more environmentally conscious management of resources, says ...
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    4 days ago
  • Speech to Building Nations 2050 conference
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Good morning and thank you, Jack, for the introduction. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Infrastructure New Zealand Chair, Margaret Devlin and all the sponsors and organisers of this event for bringing us together in ‘Building Nations 2050’. I would also like to ...
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    4 days ago
  • Better natural hazard information for home buyers
    Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty has today introduced legislation to empower councils to share better information about natural hazards with the public. The Local Government Official Information Amendment (LGOIMA) Bill will make it easier for Councils to share clear and concise information in Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports. ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes visiting WTO Director General
    The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits New Zealand this week. Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said the WTO was essential to New Zealand as a small export-dependent trading nation.  “New Zealand’s economic security depends on our ability to trade. Our goods exports ...
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    5 days ago
  • Faster, cheaper, better resource management law given first reading
    New laws that will deliver a faster, cheaper, and better resource management system had their first reading in the House today. The Spatial Planning (SP) and the Natural and Built Environment (NBE) Bills, which were introduced last week, will replace the 30-year-old Resource Management Act (RMA). Environment Minister David Parker ...
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    5 days ago
  • Minister Sio to meet new Vanuatu PM
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to Vanuatu today, to meet with the new Government led by Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau and to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the Pacific Community (SPC) Ministerial Conference being hosted in Port Vila. Minister Sio will have a number of bilateral meetings with ...
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    5 days ago
  • Driving ahead with the Clean Car Standard
    Following discussions with vehicle importers, the Government has confirmed the Clean Car Standard will be phased in from 1 December 2022, significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of light vehicles in New Zealand, announced Transport Minister Michael Wood. “Emissions from our light vehicle fleet are the single largest source of ...
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    5 days ago
  • Speech to Constitutional Kōrero conference
    Our Evolving Sense of Nationhood – Me Anga Whakamua Indigenous Futures and New Zealand’s Constitution Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, Tuia te here tangata, Mai i te wheiao ki te ao mārama Ka rongo te pō ka rongo te āo! Tīhei Mauri Ora! Kei ngā miro o te ao ...
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    5 days ago
  • Rental sector changes to regulate residential property managers, clear up meth confusion and ease pr...
    A suite of measures to improve the lives of renters and landlords has been announced by Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods as the Government makes more progress on reform of the rental sector. “Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand and these measures will result in regulated oversight of residential ...
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    5 days ago
  • Further sanctions on the political and economic elites of Russia and Belarus
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced further sanctions on members of the inner circles of governments in Russia and Belarus, as part of the ongoing response to the war in Ukraine. “Aotearoa New Zealand first moved against the powerful and wealthy in Russia with sanctions on political and economic ...
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    6 days ago
  • Another step towards improved supermarket competition
    The Bill to trigger an unprecedented shake-up of the grocery sector and deliver New Zealanders a fairer deal at the checkout and help tackle cost of living pressures is ready for its first reading at Parliament. “The duopoly has now been given plenty of warning. If they fail to adequately ...
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    6 days ago
  • Black Ferns to be celebrated at Parliament
    A public event and celebration will be held on Parliament’s lawn on December 13 to celebrate our Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns. “The Black Ferns’ triumph at Eden Park is one of New Zealand’s greatest sporting moments,” Grant Robertson said. “They are extraordinary athletes, exceptional people and proud New ...
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    6 days ago
  • Autism Guideline released by Ministry
    The release of the latest edition of the Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline – He Waka Huia Takiwātanga Rau has been welcomed by Minister for Disability Issues Poto Williams today. The Guideline provides an opportunity to better understand and communicate best practices for supporting autistic people and their families and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech to Aotearoa Refugee Hui
    Nga mihi nui ki a koutou, Welcome to the Parliament, your Parliament. It is great to see the community here in such numbers, and I am happy to be here with my parliamentary colleagues to listen and take part in the discussions today. I particularly want to acknowledge Ibrahim Omer ...
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    6 days ago
  • Global climate talks underline need for domestic action
    Minister of Climate Change James Shaw marked the end of COP27 negotiations in Egypt by saying it was now crunch time for counties to step up and take urgent action at home. “Even though we have these international negotiations every year, our focus must always be on what we do ...
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    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister visits Ukraine and Poland
    Defence Minister Peeni Henare has visited Ukraine and Poland, holding talks with his Ministerial counterparts. During the talks Minister Henare reaffirmed New Zealand’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian defence against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.   The visit  was a further demonstration of New Zealand’s ongoing support to the people ...
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    1 week ago
  • Stuart Nash to attend OECD meetings
    Small Business Minister Stuart Nash will travel to Paris today to attend small business meetings with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Stuart Nash will chair the OECD’s Digital for SMEs (D4SME) Steering Group meeting and the 4th Roundtable of the OECD D4SME Global Initiative. “The OECD’s Digital ...
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    1 week ago
  • Human Rights Act enhanced to protect religious communities
    The Government will amend the law to make sure religious communities feel safe and welcome in New Zealand. After extensive consultation, with more than 19,000 submissions on six proposals, the Government will make one change to address incitement towards religious communities while asking for further work to be done alongside ...
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    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister meets with UK counterpart and visits NZDF personnel
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare held talks in the UK today with his counterpart, Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace.   The Ministers reiterated the importance of our defence relationship, and reflected on the strong historical and cultural ties between the United Kingdom and New Zealand.   Together, they ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government takes action to reduce gambling harm from pokies
    The Government is announcing today changes to strengthen the requirements in venues which have pokie (gambling) machines to reduce the harm they cause people. “The changes focus on reducing harm caused by pokies, which can affect both those people gambling and their whānau. In short, they would make the ‘host ...
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    1 week ago
  • The Pacific business village comes to Auckland
    The Pacific Business Village (the Village) is now going to set up in the Auckland region, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. The Ministry secured $15.5 million in Budget 2022 to meet community demand volumes for services to support Pacific businesses and Pacific social enterprises across Aotearoa. “The ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government’s health investments making a difference for New Zealanders
    Fewer New Zealanders say cost is a barrier to visiting a GP or getting a prescription. The number of children going hungry has halved over the past decade. Statistics show why the Government has made major investment in mental health. Official statistics released today show the Government’s targeted health investments ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Asia New Zealand Foundation
    Kia koutou, warm pacific greetings.I am delighted we have the opportunity to meet kanohi ki te kanohi and talanoa in-person, I would like to extend my thanks to Adele and her team for organising this event, for us, today; fa’afetai tele lava.  I am also delighted to see some rangatahi ...
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    1 week ago