Then they came for the Health Boards

Written By: - Date published: 8:26 am, July 27th, 2015 - 79 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, democracy under attack, elections, health, national, same old national - Tags:

Democracy under attack

Radio New Zealand has been leaked a policy paper suggesting that a radical change in the way Health Boards are run is being investigated.  Currently there are up to 11 board members in each board with 7 positions being elected and four appointed by the Minister of Health.  The proposal is that board size is reduced to 9 with six being appointed by the Minister and three serving six months terms and being selected from a community advisory committee which I presume would be elected.

Annette King was scathing about the proposal.  As reported by Radio New Zealand:

Labour health spokesperson Annette King said the move was a major push to centralise the control of health into the Director General’s office.

“The recommendations, apart from reducing the size of District Health Boards, are also looking to get rid of some of the structures that are in place like the National Health Board and so on.

“The bigger concern to me is this is a very sneaky move to take away democracy from District Health Boards by having the majority of members appointed by the Minister, so the Minister’s stooges become those that make the decisions in the community, and not the majority community members as it now is.”

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman was also interviewed by Guyon Espiner.  He said that he had no idea about the proposal, it was from a “third party”, and that that it was a “stolen report”.

As to his first claim this is startling.  This is not some jot an idea on the back of an envelope proposal.  A paper has been prepared and circulated for comment.  Chief executives and chairs of boards have been summonsed to a meeting this week with the Director General of Health and teleconferences were held last week.  The proposal has that well down the path feeling about it.  There is no way that something this contentious would not be communicated to the Minister’s office.

His second claim is also startling.  This is not some independent organisation it is the office of the Director General of Health who was appointed by the Government and reports directly to the Minister of Health.

His third claim, that the report is “stolen” is the same thing the Government used to say about Dirty Politics.  Someone should tell him the difference between whistleblowing and stealing.

Annette King was scathing about Coleman’s comments and said she did not believe him.  Perhaps he is exceedingly incompetent rather than dishonest.  How the proposal is treated will allow us to make a better judge of this.

But I get the strong sense that yet another local democratic institution is in the process of being dismantled and power is being concentrated in the Minister’s office.

79 comments on “Then they came for the Health Boards ”

  1. BM 1

    I’d prefer this any day to ex sports stars or radio/tv personalities getting elected.

    Health board elections with the stv voting system don’t work, the public either don’t vote or just vote for who ever they recognize or only the ones with the white faces.

    I doubt any one except the sticky beaks of the left would care if there were no longer any health board elections.

    When you think about, it’s utterly ridiculous having the general public voting for a health board, the vast majority have no idea who’s good or bad, it boils down to either a lucky dip or a popularity contest.

    • weka 1.1

      On that basis, may as well do away with the General Election and other local body elections too then, aye?

      • BM 1.1.1

        For something as specialized and complicated as heath, the general public should not be deciding the make up of a health board.

        Leave that to the professionals.

        • mickysavage

          The logical extension of what you say is that for something as specialized and complicated as a country, the general public should not be deciding the make up of a government and we should leave it up to the professionals?

          • BM

            To be honest, yes.

            • freedom

              Seeing as you have declared your anti-democracy stance BM, what exactly qualifies a person as being suitable to decide the make up of a government?

            • Sabine

              who would you like to see make those decisions for us? White male property owners?

          • tc

            what like bankstas, lawyers, farmers, failed woodwork teachers, kitchen hands etc as we have now ?

            • Anne

              You forgot property speculators, motel owners, typists and a couple of half baked accountant types from the tobacco companies. Oh and a twit called Jamie Lee Ross (mate of Slater’s) who as far as I know never had a job before becoming and MP.

              • tc

                If you consider a real job to be outside the cosy public service or beltway cuddlefest then Bill English tops that list as having ZERO real world experience.

                With the NACT the ‘etc’ is the scary part as the list of dullards, incompetants, failures, rorts, BS/deception and general fibbing will be their most significant legacy.

              • dukeofurl

                Lee Ross worked in Maurice Williamsons office, this was his only paid job before he became an MP

              • Sabine

                Paula Bennett, the Welfare Queen personified. I don’t think she ever worked in private industry, in fact did she not once state that she went back on the benefit because she found it too hard to work and raise her child?

                • Anne

                  Well, if she did say something to that effect (and I vaguely remember it) then why is Labour not highlighting it?

                  • Sabine

                    because a. it would be unpolite, and b. it is true trying to work and raise a small child is hard to reconcile. So no I don’t want Labour to highlight this. What they should highlight, is that she was not sanctioned when she went back on the benefit, and that she did have the time to raise her child, go to uni and buy a house while on the benefit.

                    under her winz, mothers are forced to go to work lest they get sanctioned with benefit cuts, they cut adult education and i don’t think that the government is wanting to help anyone into a house that is not a large scale donor to the national party.

        • dukeofurl

          The trouble is too many members elected were either hospital specialists or public with special skills

          eg ADHB
          Jo Agnew is a Registered Nurse with a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science and a Masters (with Honours) in Nursing.
          Jo has worked in many areas of the health system, and she is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland.
          No Specialised knowledge ?

          Peter Aitken
          My strengths are that I am highly self motivated, innovative, a good mentor and able to cut to the chase. I am a registered pharmacist with 30 work years in the community. I have a number of achievements ranging from design and marketing the pharmaceutical “Medico Pack” a delivery system now used extensively throughout the country, developing a number of medical centres, the latest the Totara at New Lynn, open April 2013, and am currently involved with an innovative nutraceutical manufacturing and export company.
          No specialised knowledge ?

          Douglas Armstrong served as an Auckland City Councillor between 2001 and 2010. For much of that time he was the Chair of Finance. He was also the Chief Executive Officer of Unitec.
          Douglas trained as a Civil Engineer and is a past president of the Institution of Professional Engineers NZ and a former member of the Prime Ministers Enterprise Council.
          No specialised knowledge

          THe list goes on, these are the elected members, not appointed by the government. The public wants and elects people with specialised knowledge.
          These people on a whole are better qualified and have more extensive community experience ( which is as important as technical qualifications) than the National party cabinet. Where a former woodwork teacher is Minister of Defence and Sam Loti -Iiga has no knowledge of Corrections but is Minister ( aint that the truth)

        • Sabine

          Paula Bennett? Whose only achievement would be to go from Welfare recipient to taxpayer sponsored Minister?

          John Key? Currency Trader – got money? Go shop for your healthcare?

          Bill English? Not a farmer and not a Financial Guru will advertises leaches and faith healing?

          Nick Smith? There is no housing crisis, and living outdoors is a good way to get fresh air?

          Mrs. Hekia Parata? Failed Charter Schools need more money to fail even more spectacularly, cause only educated people need healthcare?

          Steve Joyce? a Radio Man who is a Zoologist – didn’t make the cut for a veterinarian 🙂 – whut? There is a difference between mammals and mammals?

          Todd Barcley? Lobbyist for Tobacco? Smoking is good for ya, keeps ya skinny and kills yer of early which is good for the state?

          Judith Collins? She will crush your balls anytime and smile while doing it? A new and modern way of handing out vasectomies.

          Amy Adams? some are more lawful then others. and she will decide if legally you are entitled to health care.

          Louise Upston? has not met a women she would not throw under a bus? women ….if they bleed they breed and if they get overbred one just gets a newer model. see … issues.

          Alfred Ngaro? Healing by faith? Let me just lay hands on that……dear lord….

          Sam Lotu Liga? Helping people trip/slipnslide down balustrades since ages ago?

          who would you like to see run the Health Board, and at what stage will you wonder if this is the best for you and your family?

          • BM

            That’s applicable to all political parties, if you ran through labour it’s, teacher, unionist, teacher, civil servant, teacher, civil servant, unionist etc.

            Which is why ministers are really only figure heads, all the worthwhile stuff is done at the next level down
            From what I’ve seen skill or experience in your given position doesn’t seem to matter.

            Does make you wonder about the purpose of politicians and the political system.

            • dukeofurl

              But health boards ARE different the public does want and elect highly specialised people, more so than MPs.
              So your earlier point was wrong, just waiting for the light bulb to come on

              • BM

                The public aren’t required to elect a heath board, Ministry of health can do that.

                The same people who put their names forward for heath boards can put their names forward to the Ministry of heath and the best ones chosen, no more ex sports stars or tv celebs.

                Why leave it up to a group of people that don’t have a clue or are not at all interested.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Why indeed?

                  Let’s leave it to elected representatives who have a clue instead.

                • Sabine

                  why leave it up to a bunch of Party people that will only elect people that adhere to their world view? Aka, National – lets privatise everything
                  or Labour with its dreaded teachers and unionists.

                  Why not leave it to the People that will receive the services (and btw. Pay for it too)? All People get to vote, of all Party affiliations, ages, genders, creeds etc etc etc you get my drift, like in a democracy?

                • freedom

                  “…., what exactly qualifies a person as being suitable to decide the make up of a government?”
                  Is there an answer approaching slowly from the horizon?

                  Discussing specifics of democratic bodies and how they are elected seems a bit redundant when all the while you do not believe in democracy and won’t explain what you feel are the qualifications necessary for a person to make decisions relating to governance in society.

                  • BM

                    I do believe in some form of democracy I just don’t think we’re been served that well by the particular political model we have.

                    I have actually given it a bit of thought and have come up with my own model which I think would be rather good.

                    There’s going to be some tough choices coming up in the next 20-30 years and I don’t think our current political democratic system is really up to it.

                    • freedom

                      Seeing as you disagree with the general public having a vote,
                      what sectors of the public get to vote in BM’s world?

                    • Skinny

                      The problem with you view Blind Man is that if we revert back to political appointed boards it becomes return favours. In other words ticket clipping junkets, we have enough of this already without extending it back to DHB’s.

                      I am cynical of the real reasons National want a change. Recently a couple DHB’s have rejected the Governments outsourcing of hospital food catering to an international multi corporate, this wouldn’t have occurred if the boards were Govt appointments.

                    • Gangnam Style

                      “I do believe in some form of democracy I just don’t think we’re been served that well by the particular political model we have.
                      I have actually given it a bit of thought and have come up with my own model which I think would be rather good.” – Guest post?

                • Sacha

                  “The same people who put their names forward for heath boards can put their names forward to the Ministry of heath and the best ones chosen”

                  Best for what? How would the Ministry know which people are well connected with their local communities and have strong governance skills?

                • Pat

                  give it up….your anti democracy position is as clear as your flawed reasoning

                • Stuart Munro

                  It would be a good idea if the ministers were any good – but the subhuman crooks who make it into National as you say don’t have a clue and really aren’t interested in anything except rorting their funding.

                • dukeofurl

                  Seems there were the same problems under Nationals old CHE system when all boards were fully appointed.

                  So much for Ministry , in effect the minister appointing party cronies

                  Does former national MP Simcock have special skills to chair Waikato DHB , he was one of the deadwood who were pruned from national

                  Or any knowledge of health whatsover?

                  • BM

                    From what I’m reading the issue seem to be that that the public service is either corrupt, politically biased, can’t be trusted or gets coerced into poor choices by the government of the day.

                    If this is why we need to elect health boards ourselves, it’s a rather sad indictment of the public service to be honest.

                    Might be time the public service is tightened up and a few people given the chop.

                    • Tracey

                      read your post again, it is a sad indictment of the Government and the Ministers in charge…

                • dukeofurl

                  the ex sports stars – you ARE thinking of Susan Devoy, was elected but resigned quickly and was APPOINTED by national to an even less suitable job, Race relations Commissioner.

                  You fallen in a hole over that one

            • Sabine

              I gave you a short list of the MP’s from the National Party as an example of Professionals that you could vote, considering that you would not vote for any of the other Parties.
              And no, the current lot of National Mp’s do not leave it to the level down. They order and then it gets done, not forcibly for the best of the country, but surely for the best of themselves.

              And please just simply leave labour of it his, as it is not Labour that advocates the removal of a political process that is clearly democratic and not partisan.
              In this case, dear BM, Labour is not doing it.

              And as for political systems? We could get inspired by the libertarian wetdream that is Somalia, only the biggest, fastest, and meanest will survive and to heck with the others. Or we can look at totalitarian regimes like China, or Russia? Which of these Political systems do you like best?

              Or we could leave the process as it is, because as listed up thread, the elected are healthcare professionals that maybe put their profession above party line.

              So whom would you want to see voted/elected/appointed to run the Healthcare system in NZ?

              • dukeofurl

                Pruned deadwood, ex national MP Bob Simcock was appointed Waikato DHB by the minister.

                So much for the idea appointed boards will select better locals, an ex mayor of hamilton and was a failure at that job- remember the v8 supercars financial disaster

          • D'Esterre

            @ Sabine: “Steve Joyce? a Radio Man who is a Zoologist”

            I seem to recall that he has a degree in Botany; a zoologist he ain’t. He’d need more than just an undergraduate degree – which I believe is the extent of his tertiary education – to qualify as a zoologist. Otherwise, your point stands…

        • Tracey

          Then why do so many Boards get chocked full of business people with no background or knowledge/experience of, Health BM?

    • Tracey 1.2

      Interestingly a former Chair of a large DHB said yesterday that the eelction of Susan Devoy (by popular vote) actually resulted in his Board having an excellent board member. He was surprised but very pleased. he suggested that BOTH systems are flawed. That by voting you can get people without experience of health matters and conflicts of interest but by not electing you get party hacks and government favourites. he also said during his time the membership was business oritented and he was not convinced that was the right direction either. Let’s not get to enamored by business people and financial experts on our Boards, afterall those people brought you the GFC.

      IMO elected members are important from an accountability point of view and people would not assume that those who put their names forward have nothing to contribute.

      We need to decide what our DHBs are for. Are they really just auditors and spreadsheet watchers or are they truing to supply beneficial health services tot he greatest numbers of people?

      They can be both, but a heavy emphasis on the former has turned them into failures. IMO

    • D'Esterre 1.3

      @ BM: The leaked papers reveal proposals which have already been tried here in NZ, back in the 1990s, and were a dismal failure. The lack of the democratic voice, coupled with a competition model which couldn’t work in such a small polity (and judging by what we see of the US healthcare system, doesn’t work anywhere) sank those reforms in the end . Remember the CHEs? Many of us would rather not.

      What the hell is the matter with these people: have they forgotten what happened 20-odd years ago? Talk about back to the future!

      And I note Jonathan Coleman’s reference to “stolen documents”, trotting out the line Dear Leader used repetitiously about Dirty Politics. And that after he’d told out-and-out porkies about the provenance of the policy paper. Coleman should remember the old adage: sometimes it is better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all possible doubt. Has he never heard of the leak? It’s a time-honoured part of the democratic process, and keeps pollies accountable for what they do. And fail to do. Truly, democracy isn’t safe in the hands of that mendacious nincompoop.

  2. esoteric pineapples 2

    “Perhaps he is exceedingly incompetent rather than dishonest.”

    Pretty much applies to nearly all the Cabinet ministers. At no point does anything ever become a “lie” to them.

  3. Sabine 3

    Soon we are going to be the Democratic Peoples Republic of Aotearoa?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Under national we pretty much already are. Hell, it’s not that much better under Labour. Neither party really likes listening to the people.

      • AmaKiwi 3.1.1


        Those at the top always prefer top down management. Labour is no exception.

      • Sabine 3.1.2

        so under labour the statehouses will be privatised, the schools will be privatised, the healthboards will be privatised?


        ok then.

        Lets abolish voting, send the Labour Party, the Greens, NZ First and the last remnants of Mana to Siberia for a bid of re-education and greet Dear Leader and proclaim our never ending love.

        And lets have a national flavour of communism. 🙂

        • Draco T Bastard

          o under labour the statehouses will be privatised, the schools will be privatised, the healthboards will be privatised?

          I didn’t day that now did I? Perhaps you should go back and re-read what I said.

  4. Save NZ 4

    Well the Nats are already removing democracy from the councils, putting cronies into key government roles. Taking over assets, private prisons, schools, housing.

    Health is the logical next step.

    In fact TPPA is their final solution.

  5. Save NZ 5

    Government ministers don’t know about people dying and being tortured in prison, they don’t know about toddlers dying in state houses, they don’t know about removing democratic roles in the Health board.

    They know nothing.

  6. Jenny Kirk 6

    Yes – the Nats have for decades tried to take over NZ’s quality public health system. This looks to me like being the first major step towards privatisation of public health and our state hospitals.

    They’ve got the private hospitals which don’t do major ops and which send to our quality state hospitals ALL botched-up jobs or complicated ops because “private” is not equipped to do these. And now they’re getting ready to take control of all the best of our public health system.

    oh we’re well and truly going down the road to being a little American state. There’s no need to change our flag – ShonKey just needs to add another star to the USA flag and use it as ours !

    • Treetop 6.1

      Charity hospitals e.g. one in Christchurch also cut down health costs. I am not sure how they compare to a private or public hospital for the same procedure.

      About 20 years ago the Home of Compassion helped me out for surgery and an overnight stay. This came about because the specialist did procedures at the Home of Compassion, (I also paid to see the specialist privately).

    • northshoredoc 6.2


  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    His third claim, that the report is “stolen” is the same thing the Government used to say about Dirty Politics.

    That seems to be the way of National’s spin these days as they know that they can get the MSM to focus on the ethics and morality of ‘stolen’ rather than the ethics and morality of what National are actually doing. There will still be no big, red ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY headlines in the NZHerald despite the fact that this is actually an attack on democracy.

  8. Ad 8

    OK its disgusting. Granted. This Minister is a snake.


    The collapsing vote turnout for Health Boards, as well as the low and still declining vote for local government, show it will be only missed by a few. The democratic mandate to the ‘elected’ health board members barely exists.

    Being a local Councillor, or indeed an MP, is incredibly unattractive as well. Once elected, you will be universally loathed, including by your family.

    Next thing to go will be school boards, flagship of Lange’s Tomorrow’s Schools. A thankless task, when the major resourcing moves for all but the elite schools are made through the Decile system.

    Democratic participation and its mandating is in trouble right across New Zealand’s public. Only some of that is caused by government action. Most of the problem is in a wholesale decline in public participation in democracy.

    • tc 8.1

      Compulsory voting forces a level of engagement (Oz) whereas having it voluntary suits the tories down to the ground they’re burning down to.

  9. Rick 9

    Health care in New Zealand has deteriorated far below third world level. I am working on a series of articles, based on real world cases, on the issue, and it is already clear that New Zealand health care is far below that of China, and most Asian countries. In one case a kiwi was taken to hospital with a stroke, he had two more strokes that night, and was still declared well to leave the next day. Doctors refused even to check. The house doctor lied in the report saying he left well and willingly despite that he protested vividly. He was dumped with a battery of pills. It took nearly three months and several tries before they checked, and YES, he had strokes. Stroke is a immediate life threatening condition, but in New Zealand the response time is three months apparently. The medical care offered more pills, put the wrong treatment, he suffered a bleeding in the eyes and lost his eyesight. That is New Zealand health care of today. In a parallel case in EU, the person was immediately hospitalized for two months for observation, and suffered no long term problems.

    • JeevesPOnzi 9.1

      No disrespect, but this sounds like a wild and vivid tale based on a subjective memory of personal events- would love to see some references posted.

    • joe90 9.2

      Health care in New Zealand has deteriorated far below third world level

      Yeah, health care is so far down the gurgler within an hour of presenting at my GP with what turned out to be a potentially life threatening infection I was in the local ED receiving intravenous antibiotics, scanned to rule out potential vascular causes, discharged, and returning daily for further treatment.


    • northshoredoc 9.3

      “Health care in New Zealand has deteriorated far below third world level.”

      What absolute tripe.

      • b waghorn 9.3.1

        “What absolute tripe.”
        Your right but they are heading in the third world direction in small towns like Taumarunui!!

  10. Treetop 10

    I think that it takes about six months to get a grip on being a board member at a dhb. There seems to be some sort of agenda in doing this and I doubt that it is in the interest of the health consumer. Some complaints to the board would take longer than six months to process.

    A six month appointment is money wasted.

    • JeevesPOnzi 10.1

      Six months… and the rest.

      How many people, educated or otherwise can understand the very necessary yet mind-bogglingly precise language used by Health professionals every day in their reports to Boards…..

      What is the difference between Magnetic resonance, Nuclear medicine, and Computerised tomography…
      What is a Linear accelerator, and why do they cost so much?
      Whats the difference between an X-ectomy, an X-oplasty or an X-oscopy?
      Between the perinatal, the neonatal, and the puerperium?
      Between Radiography, Radiology, and Radiotherapy.
      What are neoplasms? What is Oncology?
      What does the word “Acute” actually mean, and “Elective”?

      And believe me- I could go on for a lot longer than six months.

      So what it comes down to is a person’s ability to apply good governance over technically ambiguous (or baffling) issues. To be able to see through the dense fog of language and notice that there are no checks and balances, or the credentialing system looks weak, or there may be licencing issues, or local agendas, politics at play etc.

      But six months? A better man than me, Gunga Din.

      • Treetop 10.1.1

        Don’t get me started on a rare health condition and the correct specialist not being available. I just hope that other areas where the RIGHT specialist is that access to see them is not blocked.

  11. Bill 11

    So the government puts in people with an economic bent to their approach who will serve…How long?

    And the public get to elect people, perhaps with appropriate medical backgrounds, who can only serve for six months.

    Institutional memory anyone?

    Yeah see, that dies. And then health turns blue due to being bound by restrictive cash flows.

    • adam 11.1

      All just steps to privatisation.

      I wonder when the social democrats in this country will wake up to the fact they have no hope in the face of such a extreme form of capitalism?

      This is a government, of the rich, for the rich, serving the interests of the rich. They hold power by the lie, that you too can be rich – which anyone with half a brain realises is imposable. The game is rigged.

  12. Sacha 12

    The idea with elected members is that DHBs are responsible for the wellbeing of the communities and subgroups in their area. A population health approach relies on good community connections and knowledge, at governance and operational levels.

    It is arguable whether the current governance model has ever really delivered that in most DHBs but appointing people with technical expertise sure won’t fulfil that function.

    A token community board role will be just that if 6 month terms are adopted. Instead the primary avenue for the public being represented in governance becomes the Minister. That’s no accident.

    • Treetop 12.1

      A token community board role will be just that if 6 month terms are adopted. +1

      And a government minister who I do not support.

  13. hoom 13

    Obviously there will be countless banner headlines “Democracy Under Attack”.
    Oh wait, this is the Nats so the Dirty Columnists will all praise it instead…

  14. JeevesPOnzi 14

    There are some DHBs where the elected reps have had a very powerful impact on things- not always for the better, but sometimes certainly.
    Whanganui DHB has a history of utilising people power to address local concerns head on- and the elected reps knew where the bread was buttered.

    In other DHB areas, the DHB is by far the biggest employer/economic stabiliser, and this fact can loom large in almost every debate at Board level- often to the detriment of rational health expenditure for their local population.

    And Health is often described as a jelly mould- you touch one little bit and the whole thing wobbles dangerously.

  15. dukeofurl 15

    We had totally government appointed health boards , in nationals day they were called CHEs, crown health enterprises which was bought in 1993 ( a huge increase in bureaucracy went with it)
    They stayed till Labour in 2000 changed to majority elected boards.

    What were the pluses of the CHEs?
    I seem remember one national party stalwart from Wellington created havoc in Waikato when he was Chair of the Waikato CHE.
    had no real health experience, no connections to Waikato. Just a crony.

    “HAMILTON – Health Waikato ( CHE)has scrapped its $11.4 million computer and a third of its board has been sacked for buying a system which was never switched on after 16 months of testing.
    The only other SMS buyer, Wellington’s Capital Health, announced yesterday that it was also ditching some aspects of its $26 million system.
    Purchase of the two systems was the brainchild of Jack Jenkins, former chairman of both Health Waikato and Capital Coast. He was not available for comment.

    • D'Esterre 15.1

      @ Dukeofurl: ““HAMILTON – Health Waikato ( CHE)has scrapped its $11.4 million computer and a third of its board has been sacked for buying a system which was never switched on after 16 months of testing.
      The only other SMS buyer, Wellington’s Capital Health, announced yesterday that it was also ditching some aspects of its $26 million system.”

      Oh god, this has brought back memories! There was also some American guy at Capital Coast, who I think came to the job with some whiz-bang computer system, from a company in which it turned out he had himself invested, I think. It proved to be snake-oil as well, and he and system eventually evaporated. Can’t remember his name, or the dates when he was there. So much half-arsed incompetence, combined with wide boy and shyster types, during the time of the CHEs. Labour’s return to the elected DHB model came as a profound relief; there are worse things than having retired sports stars elected to boards, we discovered back then…

  16. ScottGN 16

    Further leaks to Radio NZ this morning (praise-be to the leaker!) suggest that the government is looking to return to National’s hopeless 1990s models of contestability.'1990s-in-drag

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    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
    23 hours ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
    23 hours ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    2 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    2 days ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    4 days ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    4 days ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    5 days ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    5 days ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    5 days ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
    6 days ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
    6 days ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
    6 days ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    6 days ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and Vanuatu to deepen collaboration
    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    7 days ago
  • Penk travels to Peru for trade meetings
    Minister for Land Information, Chris Penk will travel to Peru this week to represent New Zealand at a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on behalf of Trade Minister Todd McClay. The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held on 17-18 May ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister attends global education conferences
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford will head to the United Kingdom this week to participate in the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) and the 2024 Education World Forum (EWF). “I am looking forward to sharing this Government’s education priorities, such as introducing a knowledge-rich curriculum, implementing an evidence-based ...
    1 week ago
  • Education Minister thanks outgoing NZQA Chair
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford has today thanked outgoing New Zealand Qualifications Authority Chair, Hon Tracey Martin. “Tracey Martin tendered her resignation late last month in order to take up a new role,” Ms Stanford says. Ms Martin will relinquish the role of Chair on 10 May and current Deputy ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
    New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and President Emmanuel Macron of France today announced a new non-governmental organisation, the Christchurch Call Foundation, to coordinate the Christchurch Call’s work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.   This change gives effect to the outcomes of the November 2023 Call Leaders’ Summit, ...
    1 week ago
  • Panel announced for review into disability services
    Distinguished public servant and former diplomat Sir Maarten Wevers will lead the independent review into the disability support services administered by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha. The review was announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago to examine what could be done to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister welcomes Police gang unit
    Today’s announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster of a National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units will help deliver on the coalition Government’s pledge to restore law and order and crack down on criminal gangs, Police Minister Mark Mitchell says. “The National Gang Unit and Gang Disruption Units will ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today expressed regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric towards New Zealand and its international partners.  “New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018,” Mr ...
    1 week ago
  • New Chief of Defence Force appointed
    Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister and other Ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence ...
    1 week ago
  • Government puts children first by repealing 7AA
    Legislation to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has been introduced to Parliament. The Bill’s introduction reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the safety of children in care, says Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “While section 7AA was introduced with good intentions, it creates a conflict for Oranga ...
    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister to meet counterparts in UK, Italy
    Defence Minister Judith Collins will this week travel to the UK and Italy to meet with her defence counterparts, and to attend Battles of Cassino commemorations. “I am humbled to be able to represent the New Zealand Government in Italy at the commemorations for the 80th anniversary of what was ...
    1 week ago
  • Charter schools to lift educational outcomes
    The upcoming Budget will include funding for up to 50 charter schools to help lift declining educational performance, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today. $153 million in new funding will be provided over four years to establish and operate up to 15 new charter schools and convert 35 state ...
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference consultation results received
    “The results of the public consultation on the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into COVID-19 Lessons has now been received, with results indicating over 13,000 submissions were made from members of the public,” Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden says. “We heard feedback about the extended lockdowns in ...
    1 week ago
  • The Pacific family of nations – the changing security outlook
    Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, other Members of Parliament Acting Chief of Defence Force, Secretary of Defence Distinguished Guests  Defence and Diplomatic Colleagues  Ladies and Gentlemen,  Good afternoon, tēna koutou, apinun tru    It’s a pleasure to be back in Port Moresby today, and to speak here at the Kumul Leadership ...
    1 week ago

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