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This is why we have employment law

Written By: - Date published: 7:36 am, June 30th, 2011 - 61 comments
Categories: military, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

We have a government which is committed to chip chip chipping away at employment law (they call it a “flexible labour market”). Perhaps we as a country need a reminder of just why employment law is necessary:

Defence Force cuts condemned

The way in which the Defence Force has dumped 308 military staff has been met with condemnation, with one union calling it an outrageous abuse of power. The force today announced the first in a series of cuts intended to remove 1000 uniformed personnel and replace them with 500 civilian staff. A similar exercise was expected later in the year. …

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said there had been special constitutional reasons why military staff were not covered by employment law and the restructuring was an outrageous abuse of power.

“It’s fine for the Defence Force to restructure, but to then make these workers apply for their own jobs on the open market is simply orchestrating what would be an unfair dismissal in any other normal business, and these men and women deserve more respect than that,” she said. …

A spokesman for acting Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman would not comment, saying it was an operational matter for the force. But Defence Minister Wayne Mapp last week said the civilianisation process would allow the force to get “more work out of fewer people”. …

Assistant chief of personnel Commodore Kevin Keat today said the job cuts would save $23 million in total because they would no longer have to pay the staffs’ uniform allowance, accommodation assistance and health and dental care.


Defence Force cuts leave staff ‘gutted’

Defence staff, although gutted, were too loyal to speak up, so civilian Gary Farrer spoke for them, describing the atmosphere at the base as ‘like a morgue’. “You’re talking about people that have done 30 years. That’s all they know, is service,” he says.

There’s nothing wrong with restructuring, but it should be done with due process and consideration for the individuals involved. Here we see how a workforce without the protection of employment law (or better yet a Union) can be treated. Long serving, loyal staff sacked to get “more work out of fewer people”. If they’re “lucky” some of those cast aside might get civilian versions of their old jobs back, with (effectively) huge pay cuts as a sweetener. Welcome to the epitome of National’s flexible labour market.


61 comments on “This is why we have employment law”

  1. Gosman 1

    Perhaps they should form a union and go on strike then.

    • toad 1.1

      Defence staff cannot legally do so – they have fewer employment rights than anyone else in the workforce. That’s the whole point r0b is making.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        Yes I was well aware of that. I was being a tad facetious. The problem here though is too much State regulation not too little.

        • bbfloyd

          that has to qualify as completely meaningless if you aren’t prepared to at least explain how too much state regulation is the cause of this debacle.

          of course, i’m assuming you aren’t just indulging in apologist behavior for the sake of it.

          • Gosman

            Why haven’t they got the right to protest against this sort of action?

            • Maynard J

              Because the armed services are seen as essential to the functioning of the state. Are you a complete fucking idiot?

              • Gosman

                No, but you obviously are.

                So the reason they can’t strike or protest is because of a Government regulation.

      • KJT 1.1.2

        Most of the workforce do not have the right to withdraw their labour (Except in extremely limited circumstances) .
        One of the main reasons why workers share of GDP is dropping rapidly.
        In contrast to business owners who are allowed to withdraw capital whenever they wish.
        This just shows how powerless ordinary people really are.

        Neo-Liberals do not care about defense. Except to arm the police to protect those in power when the public finally wake up to the fact they are being robbed.

  2. Bill 2

    Who will the employer be under this impending scenario?

    And if it’s the government, how long before contracting out to private companies occurs?

    And if today it’s ‘office staff’, how long before it is maintenance engineers, catering services etc, ie logistical support?

    And how long before the entanglement with private business interferes with military decision making?

    • Pete 2.1

      “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

      -Dwight D. Eisenhower

    • Gosman 2.2

      “And how long before the entanglement with private business interferes with military decision making?”

      Such as what exactly?

      How would a company involved in providing catering service to the Military influence military decision making? An example of this happening in the real world would help.

      • Brokenback 2.2.1

        Try Halliburton -KBR , for example.

        • Gosman

          So Halliburton has actively influenced military decisions in the field have they? Care to show where exactly?

          • vto

            Iraq and Afghanistan, you silly egg.

            Was it not the vice-president Cheney who had extensive ownership and directorship (or similar) of Haliburton? Was he also not one of the most militant in wanting to get a war underway?

            Same for Rumsfeld.

            • freedom

              you really should pay closer attention to what actually happens in the world.
              Halliburton alias Blackwater are known as Xe ( for almost 2 years now) and currently have over seventy percent of all security contracts paid for by the US government, not to mention the hundreds of billions they recieve in private security projects, in over sixty countries around the globe.

              In a little over ten years a relatively small private security firm has become the largest private army in the World!

              oh and by the way, Lockheed Martin, those nice people who do the top to toe logistic support for Xe group, they are the same who now do ALL logistical supprt for the NZDF for the next ten years.

              So on the question of sacking our soldiers being good for the future of NZ,,, not so much

              • Gosman

                That isn’t evidence,it is left wing conspiracy theory.

                Please show hard evidence, (e.g. an e-mail, memo, or phone call), where a decision made by some Haliburton employee, in their capacity as a Haliburton employee, influenced a military decision in the field to the benefit of Haliburton.

                • freedom

                  Gosman, Xe development is largley from the efforts of Cheney and associated shareholders of private companies that now do multi-billion dollar contract work for the various agencies these same shareholders work for.

                  So play away, ask your assinine questions, Ignore the facts all you like

                  but for your own sanity take off the smoke and mirror glasses. There are some not very nice people with a lot of very big guns ready for you to sit there and play dead

                  • Gosman

                    So you have zero hard evidence then, just supposition?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Fuck off how are we supposed to have access to Haliburtons corporate data or emails; your demanding that as evidence is ludicrous.

                      Even we had the emails you would dismiss them as irrelevant or a one off case

                      i.e. another Right Wing tactic to waste time and delay

                      Supposition combined with observation is more than enough to act on and talk to people about, and that is what we are doing.

                      NB its clear that when the Right wants to do something or communicate a specific message, “evidence” and “facts” are completely irrelevant and unnecessary.

                      Blackwater wins US$120M US Govt contract


                      Gosman = Loser

                    • Bazar

                      Its resonably simple.
                      Do you believe Dick Cheney, who made millions apon millions from blackwater, wasn’t the slightest bit biased as to how the mitiliary should respond and its internal logistics?

                      Large investement in a private war firm, and being in control of a goverment going to war. Its hard not to see him connecting the dots.

                      If you believe he wouldn’t connect the dots because he was unable to, or unwilling, then i’d say your out of touch with human nature or must think hes a saint.

                      So if you can agree that on *some level* cheney influnaced the goverment into giving blackwater extra work, then you have to agree that

                      “And how long before the entanglement with private business interferes with military decision making?”

                      Has already happened on some level.
                      As for
                      “Please show hard evidence, (e.g. an e-mail, memo, or phone call), where a decision made by some Haliburton employee, in their capacity as a Haliburton employee, influenced a military decision in the field to the benefit of Haliburton.”

                      The orginal arguement was never about field command. It was about military decision making, and when the goverment decides to have a private company handle aspects of war logistics, thats influncing military planning.

                    • Bazar

                      Re Viper:
                      This is how you argue points. You read what has been written, and you stick to the points, and you stay factual.

                      You don’t spin off and have a mental wabbly, accuse the poster of playing unfairly, then wrap it up as a right wing conspiricy (and seriously, every time you pick an arguement, its always some right wing conspiricy this or right wing tactic that at play)

                      At least you’ve tried to provide a fact to your post, but i don’t see how its revelant.
                      All it shows is a company getting a contract for security from the goverment. It doesn’t actually prove that the company interfered with military planning, which is what this arguement was about.

                      PS: too late to care about spell checking/grammar.

                • KJT

                  Ah. Come on! The whole war was for the benefit of Halliburton. Exxon and a few other corporations.

                  It was an ex US General who said he had spent his whole career fighting to help US corporations stiff the locals.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Smedley Darlington Butler

                    Interesting, it seems that that BBC has been doing more research into the coup that he was asked to lead.

                    According to the BBC, the plotters intended to impose a fascist takeover and “Adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

                    The proven record of Prescott Bush’s involvement in financing the Nazi war machine dovetails with the fact that he was part of a criminal cabal that actively sought to impose a fascist coup in America.

                    Prescott did not succeed but many would argue that two generations down the line the mission has all but been accomplished.

      • framu 2.2.2

        i cant speak for bill – but to me he’s describing a continum – catering services being contracted out to the private sector is one step – not the conclusion

        so focusing on just catering services is possibly, as you put it “being a tad facetious”

        but i suspect you already know that

    • millsy 2.3

      From what I understand, a large amount of NZDF work will be contracted out to the private sector.

      Areas of note include the NZDF health services. I belive that the White Paper also recommended the closure of the Navy’s hospital at Devonport (a businessman like Dean has no idea of the impact that the loss of the decompression facilites at the naval hospital would have, given that he is all about money and profit)

    • Deadly_NZ 2.4

      @ Bill
      And if it’s the government, how long before contracting out to private companies occurs?

      “It’s fine for the Defence Force to restructure, but to then make these workers apply for their own jobs on the open market is simply orchestrating what would be an unfair dismissal in any other normal business, and these men and women deserve more respect than that,” she said. …

      You obviously only read the title or you would have found it a coupla paragraphs down.

  3. prism 3

    Gosman – For an example in the real world of private business involved in war just look at the USA adventures in the Middle East. Let’s face it, you aren’t interested in examples and thinking about comments here, you have heard the same stuff we have and it has rolled off the shiny slickness of the fixed barriers in your mind. Or perhaps you are just a dilettante with nothing better to do than denigrate comments here in a superior all-knowing manner.

    • Gosman 3.1

      This is just your, (and other leftists) opinion not fact.

      If we were to take the leftist world view all military intervention by a Western nation has been dictated by commercial imperitives.

      However this seems to be regardless of whether or not the military of said western nation has aspects of it being contracted to a private business. How do you explain that?

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Its not the military being controlled by private business, its Congress and other aspects of the Federal Government.

        And its not so much “controlled” in the traditional sense, as it is one highly networked collaborative entity (the military-industrial-governmental complex).

        • Gosman


          So what were the drinving factors behind Soviet involvement in places like Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, etc given they didn’t have this ‘evil’ capitalist military idustrial complex contolling the politicians?

          • joe90


            This is the next phase in privatizing the military. First you bring in the mercs to “supplement” the forces you directly control. Then the mercs outnumber the “conventional” forces. Finally you distribute (diversify) the command-and-control structure so that the mercs are roughly self-directing. (In the computer world, this is called “distributed processing.”)

            That’s the phase I think we’re in right now — distributed command-and-control. It’s an unheard-of situation for a first-world military, but it mirrors the distributed command-and-control of our political process in this post-Citizens United corporate era. Scahill elsewhere says this is “the most radical privatization in our history [and] we’re seeing it full-blown in the war machine.”

            • Gosman

              So no reply to my question about the motivation behind Soviet military involvement in places like Afghanistan etc?

  4. prism 4

    The cutback in military staff in support roles is likely to have an affect on Maori. The Defence Force has a strong Maori presence, and it has become a generational thing. Changing the system to downgrade the jobs of those who have retired from active duty but are still taking part in the military and who are trained, experienced, men and women of integrity is a blow to the career paths and incomes of the active members of the forces.

    The change downgrades employment opportunities and the secure future providing a good living that can usually be expected by skilled people, and could turn out to be a real jolt similar to the loss of employment and security when the railways were ‘privatised’ (to use a phrase that Lockwood Smith says with pursed lips is improper).

  5. Portion Control 5

    There are good reasons why military staff don’t have the same employment rights as other employees. Labour acknowledged this because they have not once sought to change the status of defence personnel.

    “Captain, I wish to bring a personal grievance against Lieutenant Mannering because he yelled at me just because I threw that grenade too early.”

  6. What a load of crap. The army is not some branch of the public service that should be defended in any sense. Its not a branch of the state that acts to reproduce or protect the vulnerable, and don’t we know how these branches really serve the bosses interests in the last analysis.

    No the army serves to defend the state which acts to defend private property. Ostensibly from the foreign enemy, but increasingly from the so-called enemy within. In the last analysis the army functions to suppress revolution against an exploitative and oppressive ruling class (1913 General Strike). Today it is increasingly being hired out as UN mercenaries to police borders (Sinai) or fight insurgents in countries oppressed by imperialism, witness the SAS in Afghanistan.

    So how the army allocates its resources internally is like who gets to be on the Business Roundtable. Its the bosses business. Its not the business of those who claim to be on the ‘left’ unless you too rely on it to stop revolutionaries overstepping the mark and taking up arms against yourselves in power.

    Socialists should be for the abolition of the standing army and for a popular militia. How you go about abolishing the army is the point. Not by unionising it, or seeing it as an equal-opportunity employer, but by conducting campaigns to stop conscription or recruitment as a vocation, such as the military visiting schools to recruit the young, especially Maori; by campaigns that expose the real role of the military; and in the event of wars calling on the ranks to mutiny (e.g. Vietnam, Iraq) cutting off funding; calling on the ranks to support popular movements rather than obey orders to suppress them (Egypt, Libya, Syria etc).

    And don’t get me started on employment law which has historically acted as ‘labour’s leg iron’. Socialists are for ending the wage system, not bending it.

  7. Peter Rabbit 7

    “Socialists should be for the abolition of the standing army and for a popular militia.”

    Dave I’m interested in your above statement and was wondering if would expand on your thoughts around replacing the standing army with a popular militia. In particular:
    How would you envision the militia operating?
    What role(s) would it be responsible for?
    Where would equipment/training come from?
    How would it be deployed?

    • Popular militias arise out of revolutions when the armed people make revolutions and defend them from counter-revolutions. Historically they would include the popular militias in the American Revolution; the Paris Commune of 1871; the armed Soviets in Russia in 1917 and the Red Army that arose to defend the SU from imperialist invasions; the irregular militias that supported the Republic in Spain in the 1930s eg socialist and anarchist militias; the Vietcong etc. Ideally they should be subordinated to the popular organs in the revolutionary society mainly to defend the revolution from reactionary force inside and outside the country. Most historical instances show that so far the counter-revolutionary forces have won eg SU after 1924, and this is often seen as a fault of the revolutionary army (e.g. using violence!) But this is not an argument for abandoning popular militias, rather for having more of them and better organised. Instead of running, Peter Rabbit could have mounted a military takeover of Mr McGregor’s garden.

      • crashcart 7.1.1

        Have to say I am a little annoyed at people who are saying NZDF personel should be downsized because they are an aggresive military. Amazing how one story in the current news about the SAS makes you all forget about the work done by all the branches of the NZDF after both earth quakes in Canterbury. After the second large quake HMNZS Canterbury was already alongside Lyttelton. Within a very short space of time she had disembarked personel and equipment who not only help in securing quake damaged area’s but also fed hundreds of Cantab’s. The ship sailed back and forth between Wellington and Lyttleton delivering supplies and relief to people there.

        Only a year and a half before that she was in the pacific delivering desperately needed aid to islands devestated by the Tsunami. In places such as Nuetaputapu every building on the island had been destroyed and the local populace had not seen a single out sider until Canterbury anchored of the coast and started landing building materials to help rebuild.

        The men and women of our defence force who give up their employments rights and go through seperation from family and friends to help protect and relieve people they have never met before are not the baby killers some of you would like to paint them as. I forget that people like Dave preach equality for every one except those he doesn’t like.

        • dave brown

          Crashcart all of the things you say the army is so good at doesnt need an army, but a civilian public service. In fact the student and farmy ‘armies’ have done more good in ChCh than the actual military.

          The other things that the army was used for, APCs and checkpoints were over the top, designed to create a panic of lawlessness and ‘looting’ just as happened in New Orleans after Katrina. This is part of the ‘Shock Doctrine’ of Disaster Capitalism that Naomi Klein talks about where the militarised state response is to label workers ‘looters’ and ‘criminals’ and use force to control them.

          It turned out that in ChCh it was ordinary citizens, incensed at being kept out of the Red Zone that were the ‘enemy’; small businesspeople got thrown out when they protested. One autistic ‘looter’ was arrested and beaten up when collecting light bulbs in empty buildings, another outraged citizen entering his own premises after he had been officially refused access to save a hard-drive with decades of work on it from being destroyed during demolition, was slammed in jail for two weeks and given a psychiatric assessment.

          Who needs this type of army and police? Only the ruling class scared of a breakdown of law and order. And for good reason as we see that is exactly what is happening as the system goes into crisis and begins to breakdown. As soon as the masses appear on the streets, unarmed and peaceful, they are attacked by the armed forces. The bosses call this protest ‘terrorism’ justifying a semi-fascist clampdown on citizens rights.

          I am for equality but this is impossible between capitalist boss and worker. They use the military to force workers to pay for their crisis, or increasingly as mercenaries to suppress freedom fighters. That is why I am for the abolition of the bosses’ system including its army, and its replacement by a workers government defended by a workers’ militia.

          • crashcart

            Your problem is that you use a couple of extreem examples to paint the entire military. You completely ignore the good they do. You may have guessed I am in the military. I don’t know a single person who isn’t a normal Kiwi just like you or anyone else who wakes up and goes to work in the morning.

            Civilian groups have been helpful but it is for exactly those circumstanes where authority needs to be exersized that police and military are required. I am guessing that you are a believer in the Anarcist system where government is completely removed and we all of a sudden realise that we don’t have to be mean to each other or take advantage of each other and as comunities we will all live happily ever after. I am afraid I just don’t agree. Our system mis far from perfect but the other extreem isn’t the answer either.

            I admire your spirit and energy in your beliefs. I am just dissapointed when you value people who do this work lower than every one else in this country. When you feel that they aren’t entitled to the same rights as every one else. Not a very socialist attitude if you ask me.

  8. Jim Nald 8

    Alasdire has the luxury of employment law working for him.
    His is a kind of meritorious case that deserves the protection of due process 😛

  9. vto 9

    What happens when there is a military crisis and all the civilians go AWOL? Big holes in the defence force capabilities, that’s what.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha, bloody useless.

    Dumb decision.

  10. ZeeBop 10

    A black man in the South fifty years ago. Wealth is now the new White.
    Criminalizing and dehumanizing the poor and less well paid.
    In 100% pure NZ. Just more slogans to cover the growing proto fascism.
    Hey, just remember Hitler first worshipped the rich, then he targetted
    some rich – Jews. Its the way social cannibalism works, the rich should
    be worried but they are not. Least they forget, first Hitler came for the
    weak, the marginalized, and when he’d used them up, he moved to target
    the middle classes, and even members of the loyal members of his own
    First the elite must make sure everyone knows they are perfect.
    Then the elite turns on any imperfection as a treat to their perfection.
    Then even the most perfect, the estates of the very richest, are
    opened to the little one orb man from Austria who says he’s a perfect
    German. The hypocrisy, the lies, the inhumanity.

    When you let Key lie you reward the path to a fascist state.
    $50,000 no oops, $100,000.

    • Jim Nald 10.1

      on the pretext of attacking the ‘nanny state’,
      national turns us into the nasty state.

  11. ianmac 11

    Wonder what the pay is for a Defence person before, and then after the restructuring for one doing the same job?

    • ZeeBop 11.1

      Technically? Don’t they have to be able to fire a rifle, etc, and now that is no longer necessary for the job. Like a police office who needs to pass the fitness, put in a non-com and they don’t have to pass the fitness examine.

      What worries me is this under minds the army community, since many roles within the army back office would be taken up by family of servicing personal, who buy into the culture. Now anyone can apply for these positions and displace them. Knowing your loved ones are looked after while on mission surely must help morale, but now National have pretty much destroyed that perk.

  12. Sea bandit 12

    When Labour down sized the NZ Airforce National cried its eyes out Fkn Hippo,s

  13. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 13

    But having employment law apply in this situation would have made no difference to the outcome. The employer would just have to have gone through a cruel charade of pretending to consult with the employees as if they could do something to change the outcome, and then they would have been made redundant anyway.

    • IrishBill 13.1

      The employer would just have to have gone through a cruel charade of pretending to consult with the employees as if they could do something to change the outcome, and then they would have been made redundant anyway.

      But every job that was readvertised with no significant change (i.e. the jobs where uniformed workers were sacked and civilians hired to the same job on lower terms and conditions) would have been grounds for a constructive dismissal and would have been highly likely to have resulted in some kind of recompence such as hurt and humiliation payments and, most likely, reinstatment.

      Redundacies based on outsourcing the work to a contractor (who subsequently hired the same workers back on lessor terms and conditions) would get around that but also bring the extra costs and risks involved in a contracting relationship.

      Defence runs a real risk of having the rehired “civilian” staff immediately unionise and initiate for a collective agreement with claims seeking their previous terms and conditions. I’d imagine that they’d have the right to industrial action as civilians that they don’t have as military personnel.

      Frankly I think this is a badly thought out plan that doesn’t stand a chance of making the savings defense claims it will.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 13.1.1

        “…the extra costs and risks involved in a contracting relationship.”

        What are these, when compared to having an employee?

        • IrishBill

          A cost is the profit margin of the contracting company another is the administration involved in running a tendering process. A risk is the loss of control of the work being done and the quality of the work being done.

          To be clear, if the military-get-out-of-employment-law-free clause didn’t apply defense could not contract the jobs out individually as it would be easy to have independent contracts between defense and individual contractor ruled as employment agreements and thus defense would be back to square one (but with a variety of costs).

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.2

        Frankly I think this is a badly thought out plan that doesn’t stand a chance of making the savings defense claims it will.

        Ley and English are only after the headline numbers in the news for impact, they dont care if any actual savings are realised. If they aren’t the Govt books will be in worse shape than ever = more rationale to sell off our assets = Win win for them

  14. Treetop 14

    Well looks as though there are going to be a lot of ex defence lining up at the Police College. 10 years in the defence force and the pay is above $50,000 but usually below $60,000. Redundancy could be about $50,000. Minus health care and a paid uniform approx $2,000 a year.

    What won’t be missed is being transfered and having to relocate because you are told you have to go there, even if you own your home. Hard on families with school age children or if you own a business.

    I doubt $23 million will be saved because having civilians do military jobs can create problems e.g. cost of employment complaints, attrition and wages.

  15. alex 15

    Everyone calm down. Our defence force currently lacks any fighting capability beyond special forces, but we spend truckloads on fighting capability anyway. To be honest, this seems more like a gradual morphing of the army as it stands to something more useful, i.e what Japan has, which is an army which never operates overseas, unless for disaster relief, and mainly just helps out in the wake of natural disasters. It is a colossal waste of money to spend it on the back-room staff needed to kill people. I was glad when the Clark govt cut the airforce and I’m glad that Key is doing the same with the army. Lets stop wasting money on killing power. We have precious little to throw around.

    P.S. Sorry about the people who lost their jobs, but they work for an organisation that kills people, so not that sorry.

  16. clandestino 16

    I don’t quite understand why people are caring about army personnel aside from the personal, emotional response.
    The way I see it, our defence force is a giant waste of money in the first place, indulging boyhood fantasies of playing soldier. All those ‘military attaches’ at embassies and consulates around the world, uniformed ‘officers’ in Wellington, ‘Colonels’ hanging out back office at Waiouru etc. are/were making big bucks directly off our dollar and the large majority do not fight and have not for 40 years.
    Is that value for money? I don’t think so, and accept we don’t need them.

  17. MrSmith 17

    Comparing NZ to the US as some have been, isn’t very helpful, as there can be no real comparison.
    As much as I am anti the US military and fighting wars etc in general, there is something just around the corner, that most have there heads still firmly buried in the sand about, and thats climate change, the crises thats unfolding as we speck.
    We think sitting down here at the bottom of the world nobody notices us, but once the market for climate change relocation&refugee’s becomes a business, legal or otherwise, our shores may see ships and boats arriving nightly. We should be preparing for dealing with this now, it’s called being prepared and the numbers are in on this one, but thinking is always hard for the Nact’s as there’re generally busy only thinking about their wallets. Hey!, maybe the market will provide like it has in CHCH.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      Yep, when relocation of a few billion people becomes inescapable a lot of those people will be looking this way. At that point, we’re going to need a defence force capable of actually defending us.

      • rosy 17.1.1

        at that point, we’re going to need a defence force capable of actually defending us

        I disagree… but only because we will have already sold-off our land and laws to those who will most need our food production capacity.

        • KJT

          No we won’t. China and USA will happily defend the land we sold them from each other.

        • Draco T Bastard

          What is our sustainable food production capacity without oil? Hint: It’s not what we’re producing now.

  18. Drakula 18

    Contracting out to private firms is definately going to be more expensive to the taxpayers because contractors are businessmen and like all capitalists they are going to slap on a profit.

    For those who don’t believe me then just consider how our local body rates have soared in the last twenty years.

    The defence force are doing exactly the same!!!

    It’s just another gravey train!!!!!!

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  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    2 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    3 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    3 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    3 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    4 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    4 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    4 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    5 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    1 week ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    1 week ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago