web analytics

The new economy: Govt as an economic actor

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, December 17th, 2010 - 37 comments
Categories: assets, business, Economy, housing, jobs, public services, sustainability, tax, workers' rights - Tags:

Three government investment decisions in the last couple of weeks have shown the deficiencies in the neoliberal way of doing things. SOE Solid Energy is preparing to wreck our environmental image and increase our carbon costs with lignite-to-liquids. Kiwirail saves itself some money by buying trains in China but costs its owners (us) millions in wages and tax revenue. Then, there’s Steven Joyce going for the cheapest broadband network option while ignoring the cost of re-creating Telecom’s monopoly.

Neoliberalism believes that government, to the extent that it should exist at all, should operate like a a group of businesses, each operating independently without reference to anything other than their own bottom lines. SOEs are the epitome of this model – government departments were turned into businesses and, before being sold, were held at arms length from the elected government. Basically they’re run just like private businesses that happen to be owned by the Crown. The corporate culture of some, Solid Energy in particular, is more akin to a soulless multi-national than a public asset.

All government bodies should have to consider the ramifications for the government, if not the country, as a whole when making investment decisions. They could use the same kind of benefit:cost analysis that NZTA does to assess the value of roads.

Going a step further, I would gather all the government’s commercial operations and financial investments into an umbrella group (call it the Kiwi Future Fund) and set it a mandate of investing in infrastructure, here and abroad, that is crucial to the New Zealand economy. People could also invest in this fund via their Kiwisaver or term deposits at Kiwibank. The aim is to get the commercial side of government all pushing in the same direction: toward an economically sovereign and sustainable New Zealand. Commercial return for the Fund and its components would be one way of delivering value to its owners (us), it would also take account of the implications for New Zealand jobs, tax revenue, and sustainability in making its decisions.

The mad situation we’re in where Kiwirail buys trains from China because they’re cheaper and that means it can pay a bigger dividend to the government even though it costs the government even more in lost tax revenue and where Solid Energy is prepared to wreck our climate account and valuable environmental image to increase the dividend it pays us should not be allowed to continue.

Of course, that’s a radical departure from the SOE model but so what? SOEs were created as a stepping-stone to privatising public assets. If we’re against privatisation, then why persist with the SOE model?

Government investment should be directed at public control of utilities where the private sector fails to operate competitively (eg. rail and electricity – I see Gerry Brownlee’s attempt to reform the sector to create competition has already pushed up prices, as predicted). In markets that tend towards oligarchy, to having a publicly-owned player to keep the others honest (eg. Kiwibank in banking, Kordia/Orcon in ICT). That means keeping the kinds of businesses the government already owns and keeping them strong.

Joyce’s decision to give 70-84% of the ultra-fast broadband contract to Telecom is the exact opposite of what I’m talking about. He’s effectively reinstated the private monopoly of Telecom (which, again, was predicted from the outset). If he had given more of that contract to Kordia then he would have been ensuring better competition (actually, the fibre network is going to be a lot like the power line network – a lot of local monopolies – so would be better all publicly owned).

Housing is clearly a market that works best when the government is one of the large suppliers. When, as in the 1990s and now, government stops building new houses the only ones that get built are targeted at the well to do either plush homes for themselves or cheap townhouses/apartments for renting out to the rest of us. State housing fills a gap. The government should undertake an aggressive building programme of eco-smart homes targeted at families on middle incomes (around $60-$70,000 a year). I don’t have a problem with the government selling to tenants as long as there’s a caveat preventing them using the house as a rental property.

Another market I think the government could usefully intervene in more is the third party employment/recruitment. There are a hell of a lot of Kiwis who are effectively employed as day labourers through labour hire outfits like Allied Work Force and recruitment agencies like Manpower. Typically, the worker is a contractor for the company, which in turn contracts to deliver their labour to another company. The worker has no employment security, no annual leave, no sick leave, nothing. The pay is usually minimum wage or near to it. The company then charges them out at as much as double their pay rate per hour and pockets the difference. It is an awful, immoral industry that treats the most vulnerable workers like disposable tools.

The government already participates in this market in a limited fashion and improves vastly on standard industry practice through Student Job Search. Rather than taking huge profits by contracting workers and delivering their labour to a third party, SJS just acts an intermediary – both employer and worker are better off as a result.

You’ll recall in my previous ‘new economy’ post, I suggested virtually eliminating the benefit system and replacing it with the guaranteed minimum income. That would put a lot of WINZ staff out of work who could be redeployed to a beefed up version of SJS to compete with the labour hire/recruitment firms. This would either operate free to the employers or with a small cost-recovery charge. It wouldn’t contract workers who use it and it would act to ensure their work rights. Employers would be required to pay leave and Kiwisaver but would still find the service much cheaper than the current market.

Finally, the government should use its huge buying power to set standards. This was something begun under the last Labour government and, for no good reason, abandoned by National. Departments should only rent eco-smart offices, only buy fuel efficient cars and machinery, only do business with contractors that have sustainable practices and good employment conditions, and only supply healthy food at schools, hospitals, and workplace cafeterias. Yes, there’s an additional cost to all these things but it’s a cheap and effective way to move the whole market for the better.

37 comments on “The new economy: Govt as an economic actor”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    The US government does a lot of what you talked about at the end. They set standards, particularly in IT and other technology areas, where all departments must be running x system or service within 3 years time, thus creating a market for private industry to supply.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      I would love to see government to mandate use of Open Source and Open Standards software for all it’s departments and subsidiaries. It makes a huge amount of sense economically and socially. Wages for the programmers would go to NZers (reckoning that government would have to put in a software development department) in NZ and we would develop a massive skill base.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Besides which the code is usually more stable and in particular I find it more efficient than figuring out where mickeysoft has shifted the bloody menu items to this time.

        • Rich 1.1.1.1

          And the FBI gets to read your data with done of that tedious messing about bribing Microsoft/Oracle/IBM.

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/15/openbsd_backdoor_claim/

          • chris 1.1.1.1.1

            or not, geez, at least investigate your conspiracy theories before you spout them

            http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2009441

            • Bored 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Now now gents, Bill is actually God, and Larry Ellison the Arch Angel, we must pay our dues , Open Source resides on an inner ring in the Inferno along with a pile of Popes. The flow of mana upward toward heaven must not be interrupted, clean licensing is next to Godliness.

              My point Chris, is that you are right, no conspiracies (probably because the conspirators dont quite get the technology). But there are license spies, and planned exploits to keep us “honest”.

          • Aron Watson 1.1.1.1.2

            Micro$oft left back-doors in Windows 93 and 95 after agreements made with American law enforcement. There is a reason why Windows is the most unsafe OS on the market, cause they let it.

            • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Citation needed. Also there’s no such thing as “Windows 93”.

              Also allowing law enforcement to have a backdoor into the system, has nothing to do with the rest of the system being poorly designed or poorly implemented.

              • Aron Watson

                oops me bad, I meant 3.1

                “system being poorly designed or poorly implemented.”
                Which it is, no arguments here, that’s why I use Linux and FreeBSD

                Citation. No. Only a young teenager when I read that in the news section of some american computer mag. Surprised they published it…and it was Gates that admitted it.

  2. Descendant Of Smith 2

    Work and Income already provides a free service to employers to find staff and to workers to find work. This includes assisting firms when staff are being made redundant.

    The comparison to SJS who have very few staff and then only for a short period of time is slightly odd.

    I’m also not sure whether they should compete against private sector firms – a co-operative approach where the government agencies can support the private sector firms to fill vacancies makes far more sense.

    Link

  3. Whose going to implement the ‘new economy’, a Labour Government? No. Downgraded credit rating and capital flight will bankrupt the country overnight. We’ll be a South Pacific Greece, Ireland and Iceland forced to make the working class majority pay for the debt.
    It will need a Workers Government that can repudiate the national debt, expropriate big business, take control of the Reserve Bank, plan production and do trade swaps with other countries who go down the same road. Its called socialism.
    Most of us will take an income cut but it will be worth while because we will own and control the economy and in cooperation with other socialist states build a new world economy based on sustainable production and conservation of nature. Our living standards will rise on the basis of production for need and not profit. The only losers will be the small minority of super rich parasites and their hangers-on who will have to adjust their aspirations.
    That would be a ‘new economy’. It would also mean survival for humanity.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      but this is hardly radical stuff. It’s very sensible, implementable stuff that would make a difference, I reckon. Labour’s searching for detail for its economic agenda – here it is.

    • Bored 3.2

      Ah Dave, the old socialist dream of Heaven on Earth. Its a bit like the capitalist Shining City on the Hill, corrupted at source by the need for coercion, and by rationalist justification gone mad. Both reek of concepts like “progress” and “material betterment”. Both make rational constructs based upon imperfect information and premises. I would buy it if I could see around the inevitable dictatorship, the next Stalin or Kissinger, the drive for individuals to embrace the “orthodox”, the suppression of the spirit.

      You are right about the outcomes we need, and who should be the losers. I question the methodology as a total package. I would hate to foist the next dictatorship upon us in the name of any of todays established credos, left or right.

    • Hi Dave
      I’m sorry but you are forgetting we are past peak oil, we are about to start a decline that ‘mankind’ hasn’t seen on the scale it will be, by the time a ‘new world order’ along your suggestions could be implemented, we will be living like refugees at best. About the only ‘government’ will be small and local.
      I’m not saying this system is any good, it is dying fast and taking most of us with it.
      Collapse is when shit happens, National are the current bunch of arsholes, as any other party would be at this point in time, $300 million a week would/could anyone do any better? maybe Robert Magarbe (?)
      Phil can’t even sell his flat/superannuation, house sales are fast becoming a thing of the past, it will come to a point were the occupier will be the owner.
      I warned Capital Property Investors’ Association of Wellington NZ in a talk I gave on 4th of March 2008 “get out now” http://www.youtube.com/user/oilcrash1#p/u/86/nyMEFiHriAM I wounder how many wish they had listened?
      Even have a couple of friends express sadness they hadn’t listened to me before their last child was born. The others are still in deanile or just say “k sara sara well they are fun to play with”.
      Chances are we will have a firewood economy, long before anything else.
      50 years ago things might have stood a chance, but now the scramble for the air vents is about to start, there are no exits in this horror show )

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Natural monopolies such as Telecom and power need to be in state ownership with a mandate to provide the best most up to date service for as little as possible. If Telecom had remained state owned with such a mandate then we would already have FttH across most of the country. We certainly wouldn’t be having to subsidise private profits from our taxes.

    The government should undertake an aggressive building programme of eco-smart homes…

    Passive House is a standard that needs to be developed for NZ and the government could do it through Housing NZ. Housing NZ should also be looking at building more high-rise apartment buildings as well especially in already built up areas as this would promote the use of public transport as it would be far more efficient.

    Another market I think the government could usefully intervene in more is the third party employment/recruitment… The worker has no employment security, no annual leave, no sick leave, nothing. The pay is usually minimum wage or near to it.

    Actually, it’s quite often less than minimum wage once everything is taken into account. In fact I know people who have actually lost money going to work (effectively paying to go to work).

    The government already participates in this market in a limited fashion and improves vastly on standard industry practice through Student Job Search.

    I’ve seen such contracts where people pay to go to work in SJS listings as well. Admittedly, that is probably more due to the lack of protections for contractors in law than anything.

  5. prism 5

    While we are thinking of the tax losses to government in this country because we have gone overseas for cheaper cost and are demanding very short delivery time on railway carriages, we shouldn’t forget the multiplier effect. It ripples out into the community far wider and more effectively than the trickle>down that we sparrows are supposed to receive from the tables of the wealthy. I think for each $1 earned, the net remainder enables another three transactions, each of which pays out a taxation component.

    It would be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving but this NACT outfit likes to think of themselves as hard men – don’t bring that sort of sentimental hope and goodwill to the table thank you very much.

  6. Rich 6

    The SOEs are run for the public benenfit how, exactly? The government (including the previous one) is under a self-denying ordinance not to interfere and to be *more* of a hands off shareholder than a pension fund would be. So they’re basically run for the aggrandisement of senior management.

    What we actually need is for most of the SOEs to be converted into worker/customer owned coops, regulated as appropriate. This would mean that Kiwirail’s profits would be shared between the workers and (individual) customers, and senior management would be elected by the workers and customers. (With something like a 50:50 split, so obviously individual rail customers, being more numerous than workers, would get less dividends and votes each).

    That way, organisations are free of treasury or capitalist control and run cooperatively for the benefit of everyone involved.

  7. Hamish 7

    KR have been given an amount of money from the goverment. They, like a business, must use that capital as effectivly as possible. Which means buying the required wagons from overseas.

    Besides, KR’s workshop’s don’t even make flat deck wagons! One, however, does make coal wagons. Which is something they can do at a good price; because only a handful are needed every year.

    >>>”The mad situation we’re in where Kiwirail buys trains from China because they’re cheaper and that means it can pay a bigger dividend to the government ”

    Absolute dribble, Marty. KR does not even make a profit, let alone pay a divident to its owner!! (Although I did notice a while ago you or another poster here claimed that KR was making a profit. If your a bit of the slow side, I guess you could come up with that assumption. When you engage your brain, you’d quickly work out that you can only get the “profit” if you count goverment grants for Auckland’s new Electric Trains as income. KR does not make enough to cover the amount it spends on the network, which is why the goverment gives it 90mil every year..)

    • Bright Red 7.1

      “Absolute dribble, Marty. KR does not even make a profit, let alone pay a divident to its owner!!”

      Irrelevant whether it runs at loss or profit – the commercal decision to buy the rail wagons in China was to minimise its loss/maximise its profit. Kiwirail is increasing the cost to the government by not sourcing its wagons here.

      “They, like a business, must use that capital as effectivly as possible”

      as effectively as possible from whose perspective? Kiwirail’s or the government that owns it? That’s the whole issue genius.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Kiwirail Making Big Profits

      Seems that you’re the one speaking dribble.

  8. prism 8

    The mad situation we’re in where Kiwirail buys trains from China because they’re cheaper and that means it can pay a bigger dividend to the government even though it costs the government even more in lost tax revenue

    OK Hamish its true that KR doesn’t make a profit, despite efforts to achieve that. We know that transport is costly to provide for people and freight. Then if reality does prevail mentally, it would make sense to not go for the cheaper overseas option but to get NZs trained to build these wagons either whole or in part with some importing, provide jobs for skilled men and women, get tax, boost the economy getting long-term, useful infrastructure.

    You’re so smart and so TINA. It is thinking that reflects received wisdom outwards, without examining it first to see whether applicable here.

    • prism 8.1

      So Kiwirail is making profits. This is why I come to this site, to get my ideas up to date. Who would have thought they could be making profits – there is always so much smoke confusing the issue and all you hear is the voice of some wizard saying that government can’t run trains efficiently blah blah

  9. randal 9

    neo liberalism is only a theory.
    therefore its effects are subject to objectification and reality testing.
    however by that time the beneficiaries have usually absconded.

  10. tc 10

    This broadband outcome’s a very sad one for NZ….lots of public money to re-entrench our most badly behaved anti-competitive slothful corporate entity…..Telecom.

    Being both a rural and urban user this saddens me (but doesn’t surprise me) as I will not get a decent, reasonable service in my rural location as effectively Joyce’s locking out the innovative new-age technology wireless players in favour of the bigest bastards in the scoool yard…..a company he admires as their MO is his MO….bully/ignore/confuse/deny then finally get snarky.

    much like the brash taskforce….a relentless march back in time because it worked so well back then.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      reasonable service in my rural location as effectively Joyce’s locking out the innovative new-age technology wireless players in favour of the bigest bastards in the scoool yard

      You seem to be under the illusion that telcos actually make the technology that they use and also that the technology that they do use is actually different in some way (which it isn’t as it has to conform to standards so that each telco can talk to other telcos). Also, If you’re talking about a static connection then you don’t want wireless as it’s far slower and less reliable than a wired connection.

  11. Deadly_NZ 11

    Damn so telescum get the lions share of the high speed broadband well I for one Will not be using it I refuse to have anything to do with Telescum. Yet another fail for the democratic process and another gain for the Fat cats overseas.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      I refuse to have anything to do with Telescum.

      Whatever gave you the idea that you have any choice?

      As I said the other day: Me connecting through Orcon makes no difference because I’m still connecting through Telecom’s network. Telecommunications is a natural monopoly and more competition just means higher prices as more resources are diverted to do the same job.

  12. tc 12

    Well exactly prism…..it’s assumed pretty much everything the NACT do is their backers interests.

    Goff’s ‘for the many not the few’ has a profound ring to it, they should base the campaign on that.

  13. prism 13

    Jonkey has just been extensively interviewed on RadioNZ. You all can relax everything is going swimmingly and certainly better than when Labour was in.
    He talks quite quickly giving a conman feel, in an upbeat tone.

    They have been busy working on the structural imbalances I think he said. Our regulations and taxes are better than Oz so that gives us a comparative advantage I think. Work will set you free is the background to attitudes to welfare. There can be no greater role model than a parent who is working. Huh? (There are people slaving over a hot stove making meth – they are working all right. Perhaps all we need is to legalise drugs so we can tax them, or what we can extract, then these people can get the respect they deserve.)

    He isn’t concerned with Patsy Wong as this was a matter for the Speaker. Having some problems with MPs doesn’t match up with Labour which had double figures.

    (And NACT is doing well in the polls still. It could be that there is a different mindset now about what makes a good government. The minds of people who spend all their time listening to their best friends on cellphones or playing fantasy games are likely to be different from past generations.)

  14. Jenny 14

    .
    On top of skyrocketing food bills thanks to 15% GST, higher ACC levies for work and vehicle licensing, etc, comes a near-tripling of the wholesale electricity price.

    Electricity prices set to rise next year

  15. Hamish 15

    “Draco T Bastard 7.2
    17 December 2010 at 2:30 pm
    Kiwirail Making Big Profits

    Seems that you’re the one speaking dribble.”

    Sigh. It’s been explained to you that you can only get that result if
    you include capital grants as operating income (which that report does).
    Take away those capital grants and it runs at a solid loss, which is why
    it gets 90mil of tax payer money every year.

  16. A 16

    It looks to me as though what you are asking for is a massive reorganisation of society in which the state dominates the commanding heights of the economy to a greater extent than it did in the post war period, with the market permitted to pick up the slack but subject to heavy restrictions. That sounds fine to me, and I think the intellectual case for greater governmental control over the economy is probably unbeatable.

    But that is the easy part. There’s about 30% of the population who will find this completely unacceptable. Sadly, they as a group possess most of the wealth and influence in the country, and they will cease caring about democracy if it doesn’t go their way, although they won’t present it as such. Private power is genuine political power and exists alongside and above democratic political control.

    Without some answer better than “people will vote for it” of how your program can be a political success, how are we supposed to find it a plausible political idea?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Extra support to tackle homelessness
    One of our most immediate priorities upon forming Government was to get people out of sleeping in cars, garages, or on the street and into safe and warm housing. Since then, we've made major progress towards breaking the cycle of homelessness, including expanding Housing First, building more state houses, and ...
    11 hours ago
  • Free healthy lunches in schools
    Kids learn better with a full stomach. That's why we launched our Lunches in Schools programme, which is already providing free and healthy school lunches to thousands of children so they can focus on what's important - learning. ...
    1 day ago
  • Stats show progress on child poverty
    Latest statistics show thousands of children have been lifted out of poverty, as the Government’s work to tackle child poverty takes effect. ...
    1 day ago
  • Launch of Parliament petition to remove aluminium dross
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP based in Clutha-Southland This afternoon to a crowd of over 100 people in Mataura -- Mark Patterson, New Zealand First List MP based in Clutha-Southland launched a parliamentary petition regarding the aluminium dross issue in Mataura, Southland. The petition asks that the ...
    1 day ago
  • Coalition Government brings strong economic management
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development New Zealand First Deputy Leader and Spokesperson for Finance, Fletcher Tabuteau has welcomed Statistics New Zealand’s latest report as a timely reminder of the value that this Coalition Government brings to every day New Zealanders: “This Coalition Government has meant a ...
    2 days ago
  • Week That Was: Lunches in schools
    We're taking action on child poverty, getting Kiwis into the trades, and more ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ First pledge major funding support to St. John
    Today New Zealand First made a pledge to campaign at the election to fund St John Ambulance the 90 per cent it has asked for. Government funding would allow St. John’s to achieve fully funded status.   Leader of New Zealand First, Rt Hon Winston Peters publicly declared his determination to deliver ...
    5 days ago
  • Record number of fleeing driver incidents, crashes, pursuit abandonments – again
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order Newly released Police data shows once again the number of fleeing drivers have continued to skyrocket with a record 512 incidents occurring in December – almost tripling the number of incidents occurring just ten years ago, says New Zealand First Law and ...
    5 days ago
  • Shane Jones calls on Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi to work constructively in response to Northland drought
    While the Provincial Growth Fund has provided $2 million to set up temporary water supplies in Kaikohe and Kaitaia, Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones said he is greatly concerned that there are “issues” in implementing the projects. The Minister said the immediate solution was to pipe water from a bore ...
    6 days ago
  • Rio Tinto must remove dross immediately
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP for Clutha-Southland NZ First is calling on Rio Tinto to accept its responsibilities to the Southland community and enable the immediate removal of the toxic Aluminium Dross from the Mataura Paper Mill site. New Zealand First List MP for Clutha-Southland, Mark Patterson ...
    6 days ago
  • Coalition Government announces further funding to help flood-hit Southland and Otago residents
    The Coalition Government has announced that a further $500,000 will be given to help residents in Southland and Otago to speed up recovery efforts from the floods. It follows prior government assistance of $200,000 earlier this month where the Southland Mayoral Relief Fund received $100,000 to support communities impacted by ...
    6 days ago
  • “This is a genuine crisis situation”: Minister Shane Jones talks about drought in Northland
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was on RNZ’s Morning Report talking about the recent droughts in the Northland region and what the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is doing to alleviate its impact. The PGF recently announced a funding of $2 million for temporary water supplies to Kaikohe and Kaitaia, ...
    1 week ago
  • Shane Jones defends water storage and real meat, hits out at local councils and director James Camer...
    Speaking to The Country’s Jamie Mackay, New Zealand First MP and Cabinet Minister Shane Jones talks water storage, plant-based meat imitation, and superstar Hollywood director James Cameron. While water storage may have its critics, Minister Jones defended the scheme by saying: “unless we invest and continue to invest” in this ...
    1 week ago
  • Shane Jones: Iwi leaders are sell-outs for blocking water action
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones is accusing northern iwi leaders of selling out Māori by voting for ideologically-driven court cases rather than practical steps to increase water supply. “I just think that iwi leaders who think that water issues are going to be solved by perpetually fighting in the ...
    1 week ago
  • Government-funded security system in dairies foils robbery
    A dairy owner in St Kilda, Dunedin was delighted to hear that an attempted robbery of his establishment was foiled by a government-funded security system. Sean Lee was delighted at how well the anti-theft smoke system worked. When a knife-wielding man entered the store, the shop assistant immediately pressed a ...
    1 week ago
  • Customs nabs more than 3 tonnes of drugs bound for New Zealand in 2019
    Customs says it stopped more than three tonnes of illegal drugs coming into New Zealand last year. This includes 1,180kg of methamphetamine, 329kg of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine precursors, which could have been converted into 246kg of methamphetamine, 739kg and 6469 pills of MDMA or Ecstasy and 60kg of cocaine. Offshore, ...
    1 week ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund pays for temporary water supply in Northland
    Hon. Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Up to $2 million will be allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund to set up temporary water supplies in Kaikohe and Kaitaia where drought is biting hard, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Drought conditions in Northland have led to ...
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch trial new defense against fleeing drivers
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Law and Order New Zealand First welcomes the deployment of an Eagle Police helicopter in Christchurch in what is a step towards fulfilling its long-standing goal to increase the use of police helicopters for the front line, particularly in addressing the scourge of fleeing drivers. Christchurch leads ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: A Government of progress
    It may have been the first sitting week of 2020, but our Government is already in full-swing - managing a strong economy, investing in infrastructure, and working to break the cycle of homelessness. Read below for all that, and more... ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters calls Opposition “lemon suckers” during debate on gang numbers
    In a heated debate in Parliament, National's Deputy Leader Paula Bennett claimed that “nearly 1600 patched gang members have been added” since the Coalition Government took power. To illustrate her point, she altered a chart used by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to show her government’s progress in housing to instead ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech by the Rt Hon Winston Peters at Parliament’s Opening 2020 ‘We all Need Insurance’
    Speech by the Rt Hon Winston Peters at Parliament’s Opening 2020 "We all need insurance" This year New Zealanders are going to have a clear choice to make That choice is between: Optimism versus pessimism; More progress versus back to the future; Investment versus divestment; Unity versus division. New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 8 ways the Big New Zealand Upgrade will change New Zealand
    The Government has announced the biggest investment in New Zealand’s infrastructure in a generation with the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones slams Auckland Airport’s board over runway closures
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has slammed the Board of Auckland Airport following the airport's runway closing twice within two weeks due to maintenance. Around 2,000 passengers were affected by last week’s runway closures, according to 1NEWS. Another maintenance closure on January 24 saw two international flights and three domestic flights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Public media business case a practical step
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Broadcasting New Zealand First supports the commissioning of a business case to assess the viability of a new public media entity. “A strong media environment is critical for a healthy democracy. New Zealand First is a strong supporter of a diverse, independent media,” New Zealand First broadcasting spokesperson ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Waitangi
    This week, the focus was on Waitangi - a great opportunity to reflect on who we are, and who we want to be as a nation. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • West Coast tech firms and iwi get Provincial Growth Fund cash boost
    Pounamou and technology industries in the West Coast region are set to receive more than $2 million in Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding. This was announced by the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau during Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika. He said $800,000 would be given to Development West ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 70 marae online through PGF
    Hon. Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Te Tii, the lower marae at Waitangi, is among more than 70 marae now connected to broadband internet thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund’s marae connectivity scheme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today. In February 2019, the Provincial Growth Fund ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF supports West Coast connectivity
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The West Coast has had a funding injection of over $1.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika today. The PGF projects announced are: $800,000 to Development ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Speech to University of the South Pacific students
    Tihei mauri ora Te Whare e tu nei Te Papa e takoto Tēnā korua  No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa Ni sa bula Vinaka It is a real pleasure to be here today, and to have the honour of addressing you all. If you’ll indulge me I’m ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Proposed new measures to improve Aotearoa’s air quality
      Improved air quality to support better health and environmental wellbeing is the focus of proposed amendments to air quality regulations, says the Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  “Although our air quality is good in most places, during winter certain places have spikes in air pollution, mainly from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Water investment in Raukokore
    The remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokere will receive a Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $10.6 million for a water storage facility, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “This is great news for the rural community. The landowner, Te Whānau a Maruhaeremuri Hapū Trust, will use ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Better protection against late payments
    New legislation is being proposed which aims to reduce the stress and financial hardship caused by late payments to small businesses. The Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash is considering stricter rules around payment practices between businesses. “Late payments from large organisations to smaller suppliers can be crippling for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Police partnership programme with Fiji launched
    A new partnership programme between the New Zealand Police and Fiji Police will focus on combatting transnational organised crime and enhancing investigative skills, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on the first day of her visit to Fiji. The programme will see: ·       New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Joint statement from Prime Minister Ardern and Prime Minister Bainimarama
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama met today in Suva, and renewed their commitment to continue to strengthen Fiji-New Zealand relations on a foundation of shared values and equal partnership. The Prime Ministers acknowledged the kinship between Fijians and New Zealanders, one that has endured over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • $19.9 million from PGF for Kawerau
    A $19.9 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund will help develop essential infrastructure for an industrial hub in the Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “The funding will go to three projects to further develop the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub, an industrial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • PGF funds Mahia roading package
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing $8.3 million on a roading package for Mahia that will lead to greater and wider economic benefits for the region and beyond, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at an event in Mahia today. The $8.3 million announced consists of: $7 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 18,400 children lifted out of poverty
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed new reporting showing the Coalition Government is on track to meet its child poverty targets, with 18,400 children lifted out of poverty as a result of the Families Package.   Stats NZ has released the first set of comprehensive child poverty statistics since the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 20,000 more Kiwi kids on bikes
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today announced that Bikes in Schools facilities have been rolled out to 20,000 more kiwi kids under this Government. She made the announcement at the opening of a new bike track at Henderson North School in Auckland. “Bikes in Schools facilities give kids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April
    Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April   Main benefits will increase by over 3 percent, instead of 1.66 percent, on 1 April with the Government’s decision to annually adjust benefit rates to increases in the average wage. The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign and Trade Ministers to lead business delegation to India
    Strengthening New Zealand’s political and business ties with India will be the focus of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters’ and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker’s visit to India this week. The Ministers are co-leading a high level business delegation to India to support increased people and economic engagement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister champions more Pacific in STEM – Toloa Awards
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio continues to champion for greater Pacific participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers with the announcement of the Toloa Awards, with 8 recipients of the Toloa Community Fund and 13 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships. “The Toloa Programme encourages more Pacific peoples ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Submission period for whitebait consultation extended
    Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has extended the date for people to have their say on proposed changes to improve management of whitebait across New Zealand.   Submissions were due to close on 2 March 2020 but will now remain open until 9am on Monday 16 March 2020.   “I have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New international protection for frequent fliers
    The endangered toroa/Antipodean albatross has new international protection for its 100,000km annual migration, thanks to collaborative efforts led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile.   Today, 130 countries agreed to strictly protect Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago