Water and cultural values

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, October 8th, 2016 - 60 comments
Categories: capitalism, Conservation, disaster, Economy, Environment, farming, maori party, national, sustainability, water - Tags: , , ,

 October 8 – 10th is four International Days of Prayer and Action with Standing Rock on stepping up as Protectors of Water. Background and ways to take part are outlined here. This post is in support of that. 

Choose Clean Water and Action Station are currently running a campaign on clean water in the run up to presenting a petition and speaking to the Select Committee next week. There’s some good work being done here (follow the links, they’re all ways to take part), and it’s part of a larger movement in NZ to regain meaningful water standards. The main message from this movement is that instead of the National Government’s ‘wadeable’ standard, we want our rivers and lakes to be swimmable. On the face of it a laudable proposition.

Let’s start making some connections here. ‘Swimmable’ means you don’t expect to drink the water, otherwise the standard and the message would be ‘drinkable’. When I was growing up in the 70s, we swam in the local rivers, but we also drank from them. No-one even thought about this, it was a given. These were rivers bounded for the most part by sheep and beef farmland. When we went to the river it wasn’t just to swim, it was to relax and enjoy, be in nature, connect with places we loved, hang out, and all of that usually involved eating and drinking. We took food but we didn’t take water with us, we drank from the rivers.

A culture that doesn’t expect to drink from the rivers, has to carry water with it. For us at this time, that usually means plastic bottles. For many people, that is commercially bottled water.

On the other side of this is the intensification of farming and horticulture, particularly but not only industrial dairying. We’ve watched for more than a decade as our waterways become so polluted that we can no longer safely interact with many of them. Thus in 2016 we have the situation in Havelock North where two people have died, at least two people have ended up with serious, long term chronic illness and disability (that count is likely to be higher), and thousands of people have been made ill during a Campylobacter outbreak stemming from the town water supply. Good old clean green New Zealand’s rock star economy reaches dizzying new heights.

Meanwhile Havelock North local authorities sell access to the best water from the region at a minimal price to commercial, foreign-owned interests who bottle it and send it overseas. They also give them a hefty employer subsidy. The council doesn’t know how much water is there or what the impact will be, but it does know the aquifer has been slowly dropping over the last 20 years.

But it’s all just a mistake right? We can have industry and a rock star economy and clean water, if we just apply ourselves better. Let’s blame the government (local and national), and just reset the standards to something better and all will be well. We can always sell our water for a better price, and find the sweet spot between extraction and ecosystem collapse, that’s management.

There is something very wrong with this picture. It’s the cultural values that see water primarily as a resource to be managed, whether that’s for commerce or recreation. Waterways have no intrinsic value. Water is there for our use and if we manage it right then all will be well, as if we have ever been smart enough to know how to manage it right. But a culture that doesn’t expect to drink from the rivers will also not look after them to a standard that supports the ecosystem that the water itself is dependent on. Water is life not just because we need to drink it, but because everything we have depends on the environment we live in being healthy and sustaining itself over time. The Standard commentor Roy Cartland,

Wade-able, swimmable, drinkable: these are all standards lower than what most fish can survive at. Just because an adult human can drink it, does not mean an ecosystem can survive in it. We need higher standards than any party is promoting.

(I got all that and more from Mike Joy’s lecture.)

Let’s look at a different set of values. The Māori Party alone say fresh water should be safe to drink, swim in, and gather kai from. In their policy on water they frame it as a taonga.

Water – Te Mana o Te Wai

The Māori Party established Te Mana o Te Wai – the health and well-being of our water – as a driving policy for freshwater management. The three elements of Te Mana o Te Wai are:

te hauora o te wai – the health and mauri (quality and vitality) of water

te hauora o taiao – the health and mauri of the environment and

te hauora o te tangata – the health and mauri of the people.

The Māori Party want to “ensure that Te Mana o Te Wai remains as the overarching objective for freshwater management”.

Leaving aside issues of the Māori Party’s dilemma in supporting National (please, not in this conversation), what would it look like if NZ decided that the mana of the water was the guiding principle not just for all decisions but for the very relationship we have with water itself?

60 comments on “Water and cultural values”

  1. Sacha 1

    What would it look like? We would have spent the last half-century investing in smart, high-value, sustainable industries instead of trashing our environment and locking our low-wage economy into a reliance on extractive exports like milk powder, logs and coal.

    How we wind back that model and make up for the decades of wasted opportunities for change is a huge challenge. Removing the current govt is only a start.

  2. There’d be no disposal of sewerage to water for starters. Soil and the microscopic life that sails in her is the most suitable vehicle for receiving humanure. Rivers are not, nor are oceans, lakes lagoons or estuaries.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      I’ve always considered the best option for sewage is to treat and then dump it on our forests and let nature take care of it. Keep it up in the high country and the natural fertiliser will flow down on to the farms removing the need for artificial fertilisers.

      Of course, we would probably need more extensive forests than we have and a fairly massive decrease in farms.

      • …”dump it on our forests…”
        Er, yes. Native forests have an efficient nutrient cycle going on that might not respond well to the addition of humanure en masse, but production forests could benefit. Mind you, the amount of bird poo that isn’t falling on the present-day native forest floor, compared to earlier times when kakapo, moa, kiwi and takahe wandered at will, is significant, so perhaps…
        Really though, humanure should go back into the food cycle – energy out, energy in; market gardens, orchards, grain fields – wherever we get our food from 🙂

        • Draco T Bastard

          Native forests have an efficient nutrient cycle going on that might not respond well to the addition of humanure en masse, but production forests could benefit.

          I’m sure that even the native forests would simply take care of it. It’s just food for them after all.

          We’d have to be careful as to how much we dropped where. Simply dumping it on one hill top wouldn’t work but across all them would.

          Really though, humanure should go back into the food cycle – energy out, energy in; market gardens, orchards, grain fields – wherever we get our food from

          Putting it on the forests does put it back in the food cycle.

          • Stuart Munro

            It’s not just dealing with the decay cycle we should consider – phoshates are more limited than petroleum – we shouldn’t be pissing them away.

        • marty mars

          there are cultural aspects to consider regarding humanure – the restrictions were developed over time for very good reasons. Personally when I did our house for 4 or so years the stuff goes into a drum and sits there for a year of so and then gets put around non-food trees and plants.

          • Robert Guyton

            Marty – yes, a stand-off period is necessary and overhead application to vegetables not recommended. Digging in the matured manure is the best way. And as with most things, organic/unadulterated is best 🙂

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Thanks for this post Weka.

    What Sacha said. I reckon the Greens should steal the Māori Party’s policy.

  4. Foreign waka 4

    Clean Water – you can live without food for about 3 weeks, without water maybe 1 week depending on age, health condition.
    This is not an issue of who lays claim, this is an issue of survival. Not just for the individual but for the country in every conceivable way.
    So lets stop these talk fests, academically sectioning of opinions and demand the basic human right to be able to survive in the true sense of the word. This ought to be the standard, full stop, no discussions about wadeable or whatever.
    I have been recently to the south island and the waterways are being deliberately and by neglect (yes, and I repeat deliberately) contaminated. Rivers coming from the snow capped mountains and what do I see? Beer cans, rubbish, car batteries (!) which we took out of the water, nappies etc. – and further down the slope, cattle galore. Surrounding forests – I looked around and low and behold, rubbish everywhere. I mean, in the most unsuspected places.
    I really belief the average NZlander is not really interested – NIMBY, if there is no buck to be had, just let it go to rot.
    Meanwhile on planet political correct, we have now legislation that we wont have any pests by year x. Well, maybe they should add some humans to those.

  5. weka – how can people who don’t understand what “mauri” means or is, subscribe to a management system that uses that as a pivot around which behaviour is expected? In other words, can modern athiests with no knowledge of that particular tikanga Maori be expected to “get it”? I’ve sat at council tables where “Te Mana o te Wai” has been presented and heard the Gongs of Incomprehension ringing loudly.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      In other words, can modern athiests with no knowledge of that particular tikanga Maori be expected to “get it”?

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find that the average atheist is more than willing to go on the facts.

      The problem seems to be those who worship at the altar of Mammon: National, ACT, The Peter Dunne Party and even Labour to a large degree. These types ignore the facts so as to protect profit and privilege.

      • You’re right, Draco; I chose my word carelessly. Monothiests too, are perhaps unlikely to be able to conceive of the meaning of a polythiestic concept such as “mauri”. I wonder if it’s only the animists who can grasp what is meant and therein lies the conumdrum. I think “we” glibly nod with understanding when terms like “mana”, “tapu” and “mauri” are used, but do we modern New Zealanders really grasp the ideas?
        In any case, spending some time lying beside a pristine mountain stream, watching the fishes rise to catch tiny flies should be enough to reveal to any observer what is at risk here. In the lowlands though, a day spent beside the river would be a very sobering experience to anyone moved by a mountain stream contemplation.

        • weka

          how can people who don’t understand what “mauri” means or is, subscribe to a management system that uses that as a pivot around which behaviour is expected?

          That’s certainly the question I was left with after writing the post 🙂

          I think some of the answer to that is in your last paragraph. I’ve had interesting conversations with avowed atheists who spend a lot of time in the wilderness and when I listen to them talking about their experiences I hear descriptions of ‘spiritual’ experiences. They just think about them in different terms and because they have a belief system that rejects the spiritual, the experience gets defines in ways that take us away from being able to talk about it.

          And not just atheists, I think it happens across the board, where people either don’t think about it in that way, or don’t talk about it out loud or in public very much because they don’t want to sound weird.

          I put the word spiritual in commas because that’s also part of the problem, Roy has raised it elsewhere – mainstream Pākehā don’t have the language or daily concepts to talk about this easily. The deeper discussions get pushed to the margins. But I do believe that many, many Pākehā also experience the mauri of things and places but just don’t think about it in that way and lack avenues of shared expression.

          Many Pākehā also feel deeply about what is happening to water in NZ, and again lack avenues for taking action, although I tend to think there is more choice involved in that and it’s time we got over it. Culture is a strong inhibiting force at times.

  6. save nz 6

    Great post. Wish the political parties would concentrate a bit more on the destruction and/or sale of our water and our waterways. It’s shocking how Kiwis have to pay for drinking water through water rates, or bottled water while the council and government sells off the rights and allows wide spread pollution of it.

    Even worse people now are not able to interact with water and nature in the same way which destroys the next and current generations relationship and human and environmental rights with water. The waterways sustain life and without it, the ecosystem will die, destroying life with it.

  7. Two days ago, Frenchman Theo Rohfritsch arrived at Bluff, completing his 20 country cycling campaign for global clean water access. I met him there, shook his hand and listened to his stories from his journey. Lovely bloke. Here’s the report by our local journalists.


  8. Nice post. imo the concept of kaitiakitanga encompasses protection, guardianship and maintenance of mauri and mana. Those are manifested by the vitality, variety and abundance of nourishment (of all kinds) derived from, say the waterway. Those aspects reflect the mana of the people who are kaitiaki. It is a loop – the people maintain the waterway, the waterway provides, the mana of the people is increased, the mana of the waterway is increased, the ability to provide manaakitanga is increased and so on. The mana and mauri of the waterway is indistinguishabe from the mana and mauri of the people though they are seperate and distinct. This is the interaction, the connection, the interrelationship between the two (in this case ) entities. The same conception works with leaders and people.

    The state of our waterways reflects the state of the people – fix one of those in a tika way and the other will be sorted too.

    • weka 8.1

      Thanks marty, that’s such a powerful description. I especially like the last sentence.

  9. roy cartland 9

    Excellent post. I guess I should eat some of my words, having been quoted, and thank you for steering toward the Maori Party policy.

    As many seem to have commented, what this would look like is a change in cultural attitudes. Language has a lot to do with this – recognising a water body’s ‘life’ or ‘spirit’ will instantly be derided by the likes of big mouths like Bob Jones, Brash et al because they are unable to understand that anything can have a value outside economics.

    An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.

    Incomprehension maybe – but re-learning about water’s intrinsic, non-financial, value is what needs to happen. It should start with language.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.


    • RedLogix 9.2

      Mostly +1 roy.

      Still the fault does not lie with words like “spirit” or “life force”. It lies with the neo-liberal madness which insisted we were all ‘economic rational actors’ with no such thing as a soul.

    • Foreign waka 9.3

      Every culture on this planet has held water in special regard – because every human being with normal functioning senses will know that it means life – in any language and over thousands of years. To imply that this can only be conveyed in Maori is an insult to all other cultures who might use terms that seem to you “airy fairy”. By extension, if I may add, using indigenous language might increase the marketability and hence achieve the opposite: making a taonga a commodity (i.e Waiwera)

      • All cultures haven’t held water in equally high regard, Foreign waka, hence the problems we now face. Our present modern culture here in NZ is failing to hold water in special regard, as the quality of our water attests.

        • Foreign waka

          Well, all cultures have in their past held special regard for water, i.e the Ganges for Indians, the Nile for Egyptians, the Tigris for the Persians, the Po for the Etruscan’s etc… water is seen as life giving, cleansing and even used in meditation. Over the millennia it has and does hold the same appreciation by most people.
          Unfortunately, commerce has now taken over all facets of life and in the same way as we ignore gen modification and the ramification of the supply of food, the same is now underway with water. The way we treat water on the farms, in the environment etc (see my previous post) could make one cry – honestly. When a pristine river will carry 1080 because it is strewn out nily willy over days (fact) without a second thought of the consequences down stream, I feel despair. The constant depletion of water tables lead to salination on contamination of the very drinking water as we have seen in Hawkes Bay.

      • Incognito 9.3.2

        The etymology of “water” is most interesting.

    • weka 9.4

      “I guess I should eat some of my words, having been quoted, and thank you for steering toward the Maori Party policy.”

      I think your quote and the Mp policy sit side by side (and demonstrate values from different cultures).

      An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.

      Incomprehension maybe – but re-learning about water’s intrinsic, non-financial, value is what needs to happen. It should start with language.

      Nice. That’s what I’m thinking too. The dominant (Pākehā) culture doesn’t have the language or concepts via language to get beyond swimmable. I think many Pākehā do in fact have a deeper relationship with nature but we lack the ways to talk about it in the mainstream. Probably a result of the cultural suppression in our own past.

      • RedLogix 9.4.1

        The dominant (Pākehā) culture doesn’t have the language or concepts via language to get beyond swimmable.

        I agree that in the past few decades it has been suppressed, but certainly the trampers, hunters and anglers I meet in the outdoors understand exactly what we are talking about here. They typically may not be very eloquent about it .. but they do know.

        • weka

          Quite. It’s there in the culture, but we don’t have the expression of it because of the lack of language and concepts (see my comment elsewhere in the thread about that).

          I think the reason we don’t have that expression is because of the European past of it’s own colonisation that suppressed indigenous understanding. It’s still there because it’s innate inhumane, and we have the remnants of it in Pākehā culture, but I’m guessing the reason why we’ve stood by for 2 decades and watched the situation get so bad is because we aren’t supposed to talk about it.

  10. Brendon Harre 10

    I like this article because it goes from looking at ‘what’ to do -announce a target on water quality to ‘why’ we should do it -it is part of our cultural values (or should be). I think if the ‘what’ and ‘why’ are more carefully explained then it creates a bigger movement for change and then the ‘how’ becomes more effective.

    National have been very good at periodically producing nice sounding ‘whats’ -predator free by such and such date, exports as a % of the economy up by such and such date, house prices should be 4 times median incomes by another date etc. But quite light on the ‘why(s)’ and useless on the ‘how’ -the implementation. It seems for the right failing to deliver on the ‘how’ is not important.

    So in my view, we on the left should be debating these sort of ‘why’ articles but also considering the next step the ‘hows’.

    Something I have played around with in my head is a young adult ‘Conservation Core’-something that would be loosely modeled off some combination of the Territorials, Civil Defence and Outward Bound but with the task of achieving conservation goals. I would imagine a reasonably modest sum from central government -say $100m, would go along way in activating and resourcing young people in an organised way to work on the ‘how’.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      National have been very good at periodically producing nice sounding ‘whats’ -predator free by such and such date, exports as a % of the economy up by such and such date, house prices should be 4 times median incomes by another date etc. But quite light on the ‘why(s)’ and useless on the ‘how’ -the implementation. It seems for the right failing to deliver on the ‘how’ is not important.

      That’s because they’re not interested. It’s just a sound bite that will help them get re-elected and not something to be actually enacted or fulfilled.

  11. Siobhan 11

    To imply that National and its friends regard Water as something as valuable as a ‘Resource’ is an unwarranted compliment.
    For them Water is another Commodity, to be traded away as quickly and cheaply as possible.
    Ultimately self defeating and arguably criminally insane, but that’s how they roll.

  12. Jenny 12

    The other issue at Standing Rock, is of course, climate change.


    Jill Stein of the American Green Party takes a more direct and principled approach.

    “Ajamu and I will continue to mobilize support for immediate action on climate change and to respect Native American treaties and the rights of indigenous people…”

    “……among the first steps I would take would be instruct all federal agencies to respect the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples and seek the full and informed consent of indigenous communities. “
    Jill Stein US Green Party leader and US presidential candidate


    [As you know full well telling lies about authors is a bannable offence. I am writing a series of posts over 4 days. Read the post, follow the links, and you will see that I have already talked about climate change as a central part of what is happening at Standing Rock. You also appeared to miss the ironical tag in the current post. Banned site wide for a week for knowingly telling lies when you have been warned about this multiple times by multiple moderators over multiple conversations in the past. If you ever pull this shit again under one of my posts I will give you a lengthy ban without warning. – weka]

  13. RedLogix 13

    Love reading your posts weka. They bring a wonderful balance to The Standard.

    I’ve long maintained that NZ’s ‘clean and green’ meme was merely an artifact of our low population. That in fact we were such poor managers of our land that long before we hit a fraction of the population densities common in Europe, we would be in deep shit. Literally.

    But sitting about ‘railing how shit it all is’ isn’t going to help.

    How often, sweating and toiling along some rough track, or tussocky spur, have I come across a flow of the purest, sweetest water. Crouching down awkwardly under a pack, or slinging it off, scooping with cupped hands, or a metal mug. Sucking it down greedily, fearlessly with both and adult gratitude and a childish delight. Then standing up over stiffened knees to let the cool damp hollow seep over and through the senses, the soul.

    And at that instant the primal connection is laid bare, that here is the root of all things, all life that mostly we cover over with technology and tat. In those crystal moments is a glimpse of life’s energy, it’s mystery, if you want to look.

    The taonga is still there. It’s just retreated back up into the high country, waiting for us to welcome it back down into the cool braided rivers, the gentle shaded swimming holes and shingle banks where children can splash freely again.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      I’ve long maintained that NZ’s ‘clean and green’ meme was merely an artifact of our low population.

      Yep, learned that one in the 1990s from my nephew. I’ve extended it a bit since then as I’ve come to the conclusion thatfarmland is traditionally seen as ‘good’ and so being mostly farmland that to as been added into the clean and green image when it should be indicative that we’re destroying our land.

      There’s no way that you’d want to drink from a stream on a farm.

      • RedLogix 13.1.1

        There’s no way that you’d want to drink from a stream on a farm.

        Generally a wise idea, though the runoff from ruminants on hill country land isn’t too bad. Many times you’d get away with it with drinking it.

        It’s human shit that’s really dangerous.

    • weka 13.2

      Apparently you do have the language and concepts 😀

      The only thing I would add is that we also need to be with the rivers in our backyards so to speak. The Leith in Dunedin, the Avon in Chch, the Waihopai in Invercargill are three good examples of city rivers that are still beautiful and that we can connect with. They’ve been treated badly but they are still there.

      “Love reading your posts weka. They bring a wonderful balance to The Standard.”

      Thanks for that Red, the encouragement is welcome.

  14. Takere 14

    It is interesting when an important issue like fresh water and the environment pop up. The word “Maori” is thrown into the conversation. Some believe this can add some weight to the argument?

    “Iwi entities run by the same rules as any capitalistic business venture, however, I think some iwi do make the environment & environmental issues a “Business Prerogative – Tenet”, but many people (maori & non maori) use this broad sweeping assumption and think that we all do. This is wrong to assume this as many of us already know that as a private entity,on the balance sheet, the first objective is profitability.

    The Maori Party’s position on this issue and any other is purely lip service. If they were the big – swinging – dicks in the room after the Cabinet meeting. Why is Poverty, Health & Education, homelessness are still major issues?

    We hear from them about the $452m/yr (including compounding sums of what wasn’t spent the previous year) of gains been won for the “Brown Ministry, Te Puni Kokiri.” But where does that go and what are the results, bang for bucks?
    Oh that’s right, there aren’t measures for the difficult “tasks.”

    With 30m Sheep & 7m Cows. That’s a lot of shit!
    What happened in 2010 when IRD had failed to collect the “Herd Tax” since 1987 of $8.8bn from all of these farmers, they cancelled it! Left them off the hoof! (Hook!)
    $8.8bn would of been a fund & a great way to address this issues!

    Get rid of these clowns and their crony’s coalition partners!

    • weka 14.1

      I agree with a lot of that Takere. The tricky thing about writing this post is that the only party in parliament who had an actual written policy that matched what I was talking about was the Mp, and there are IMO pretty clear cultural reasons for that.

      So yes, great irony, but I tend to think that that irony reflects much about the situation we are in. If we look at how Māori have had to struggle to regain so many things, and still have to struggle, and especially politically if we look at how the Mp came into being (via Labour and the Foreshore and Seabed Act), then there are hard truths there too about the consequences of Pākehā culture and the decisions that Māori will make. This doesn’t excuse the Mp for their sins, nor corporate Iwi, but as a Pākehā I find it hard to condemn them given that the Pākehā system still basically says be like us or you’re fucked (happy to condemn the actions though where appropriate).

      I don’t know if the Mp are paying lip service to their water policy. I still think there is a possibility that they will be part of the left forming the next government, and I would welcome that in part because of that policy.

  15. Incognito 15

    Good post, thank you.

    Water is life

    Indeed it is, literally, when you consider that the first part of our life cycle we develop whilst floating in water and our bodies are composed of mainly water. We have specialised organs and tissues (cells) to maintain the high quality of our bodily fluids (water) and preserve the equilibrium that not only sustains life but also allows us to optimally function and perform.

    I cannot understand why some people are so blasé about water and the environment.

  16. In case anyone is interested, I was re-elected to the Southland Regional Council today – our focus for the next triennium?

  17. Ad 17

    I like this post as a political sympathy. But that’s it.

    I just find it too hard to imagine such an alternative world occurring in our local, regional, or central political orders, ever.

    I was listening to Minister Smith getting ready to roll over out aquaculture regulations, and I thought, yup: doubling down.

    We’re so far gone re fresh water it’s too hard to re-imagine with a fresh set of positive ideas. The RMA reforms will go through with Maori Party support. Too damn hard.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      I just find it too hard to imagine such an alternative world occurring in our local, regional, or central political orders, ever.

      The thing is Ad … I don’t. I can well imagine it. I’m not just saying this to naysay you.

      At one stage of my life I was shown that human nature is not a fixed thing, forever brute and greedy. It is instead a palette of light and dark, and we … collectively … choose the pictures we create. Sorry if that seems hopelessly naive, but I assure you it is not.

      • Robert Guyton 17.1.1

        I strongly support what you have said there, RedLogix.
        Where I’m sitting, Ad’s “alternative world” is becoming more and more apparent and as this post is (in part) about words, language and the power they hold, I say, speak it and it will become real (what are wordsworth?). And yes, they are doubling down, but that was always on the cards. We just have to treble up 🙂

        • weka


          For me, I can’t not imagine it.

          • Ad

            And life without utopians like you would suck.
            But currently, leftie life sucks.

            • weka

              Interesting. I wouldn’t think of myself as a utopian (especially as at the political level I’m a pragmatist). I suppose belief systems have a lot to do with it, and those are informed by our experiences and what we perceive happening.

              I get the sense you’ve been quite disillusioned in the past year or so. I can’t function effectively if I focus too much on how bad things are (which is not the same as being in denial, I still know what’s going on). So always looking for where things are working as well. And where the potential is.

              I’m a leftie in terms of political life in places like ts, but I more identify with deep green politics and indigenous politics, and I’m more and more interested in post-left progressive politics and what that means. All those take a different approach so that it’s not as bleak as one might think if looking through a left-wing lens. Indigenous peoples in particular take the long view.

      • Draco T Bastard 17.1.2

        At one stage of my life I was shown that human nature is not a fixed thing, forever brute and greedy.


        Same applies to culture. It shifts and changes and we can affect those changes.

      • Ad 17.1.3

        It’s good to have people like you around.

        • RedLogix

          Likewise mate. It’s a terrible cliche, but it really does take all sorts to make it work.

          My vision for The Standard is for it to be a place where a healthy diversity of pro-left, life-affirming ideas could find expression.

          Coming to Australia it was immediately noticeable how much more diverse the media is here. Not just a still strong public broadcaster, but across the commercial media there is decent range. Much, much healthier.

          The Standard will always see shades of opinion jostling for position. Open scrutiny and challenge is essential, and the robust debate can take some getting accustomed to.

          But ultimately I see everyone who contributes here in good faith as part of my family.

    • Incognito 17.2

      If you believe it won’t be possible, it won’t be.

      If you believe it will be hard, it will be.

      You’ll see it when you believe it.

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  • Hamilton: City of the Future
    This post is about: How spillovers from the Auckland boom are driving growth in nearby regions. The opportunities for these communities to benefit more from this economic change. The central role of inter-regional transport infrastructure for reviving small towns and ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    19 mins ago
  • Trump and Truman
    Incinerating Hiroshima by Don Franks US President Donald now threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea’s country of 26 million people. This from the leader of the only power that ever used nuclear weapons. Trump isn’t a one-off nutcase. He follows ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    10 hours ago
  • You’re Wrong Keith: We Have To Do This NOW.
    Let's Do This NOW! Elections are won when the electorate’s general preference for prosperity and stability is overwhelmed by its desire to turn the page and begin something new. When simply restoring the same old faces to the same old ...
    11 hours ago
  • Lies, damn lies and the National Party 
    This week Patrick Gower called it. The National Party was guilty of the biggest lie of the campaign. It’s not the only lie, but it’s certainly the biggest. Labour, apparently, is going to lift income tax. National are arguing, like ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    14 hours ago
  • Fluoride, pregnancy and the IQ of offspring
    Anti-fluoride campaigners don’t agree. Image credit:Dental Care Tips for Mom and Baby” presentation What’s the story about this new IQ-fluoride study? The one that claims fluoride intake by pregnant women could endanger their children’s IQ? Whatever the truth, ...
    14 hours ago
  • BSA and ASA to political parties: “sure, lie all you like”
    When I first saw the National Party’s blatantly misleading “Let’s Tax This” ad, I thought: the Advertising Standards Authority would have to uphold a complaint about this one. And if the ad is broadcast on TV or radio, the Broadcasting Standards ...
    15 hours ago
  • WINZ steals from the poorest
    Hot on the heels of yesterday's news of WINZ lawlessness, we learn that WINZ has been illegally underpaying the poorest beneficiaries: More than 7000 of New Zealand's most-desperate beneficiaries have been short-changed by the Government - and they're about to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Suspicious
    Remember National's court case with Eminem? A decision was supposed to be issued within three months of the trial ending in May. But strangely, its late:Justice Helen Cull reserved her decision on May 12 - noting at the time that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Māori Party confirms opposition to tertiary education Bill
    The TEU is pleased to report that Marama Fox, co-leader of the Māori Party, has told the TEU that her party is opposed to National’s tertiary education Bill. The Bill would give Ministers greater powers to divert public funds away from public ...
    17 hours ago
  • Second chance learners rely on public tertiary education
    Craig West, a senior lecturer at Otago Polytechnic, discusses the importance of public tertiary education for second chance learners and its role in the local community. Education sits at the heart of every community and this could not be truer than ...
    17 hours ago
  • Election a huge opportunity to improve lives of students
    Jonathan Gee, national president of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, says this election is a chance to make politics work better for students – which, he says, will benefit us all. For too long, students and young people ...
    17 hours ago
  • National announces tertiary education policy
    National published its tertiary education policy for the election with minimal fanfare last week. The policy contains little of substance, but there are two commitments worth pointing to. The first is a target to increase the value of international education in New Zealand ...
    17 hours ago
  • What next for tertiary education?
    David Cooke, national chair of the Quality Public Education Coalition, looks at some of the key issues facing the tertiary education sector after the election before offering some thoughts on what we can do together to ensure a positive future for students and ...
    17 hours ago
  • TEU celebrates Suffrage Day
    Tuesday 19 September was Suffrage Day and TEU members were out in force to celebrate. Many chose to honour those women who fought and won the right to vote 124 years ago by coming together to vote early. The TEU teams at ...
    17 hours ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters Part 4: Health and Support
    This is the fourth of a series of blogs from the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).   We have used DPA’s strategic areas of focus, as identified by our members, as a guide to examine key areas of each party’s policies. We ...
    18 hours ago
  • A positive sign
    While Donald Trump seems trying to start nuclear wars with both North Korea and Iran, there's abeen a positive sign: the UN has outlawed nuclear weapons. And New Zealand was one of the first countries to sign up to the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • New Auckland Transport Chief Executive
    Yesterday, Auckland Transport finally announced who would replace David Warburton as Chief Executive later this year. The job has gone to Shane Ellison. It certainly seems that he has significant experience with running public transport which will be very useful for ...
    19 hours ago
  • What Do the Chinese Pay For?
    The Herald’s readiness to alert its readers to the important conclusions of the University of Canterbury research into the links between China and past and present New Zealand politicians and their family members is to be commended, not because there ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    19 hours ago
  • Hard News: The Day After Tomorrow
    The Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence index dipped marginally this week, but, said the bank's chief economist, "households remain in good spirits". In truth, our good spirits rely on us not looking too far ahead.New Zealanders' perception of their current ...
    19 hours ago
  • Rotten to the core
    How rotten is WINZ? So rotten that they use false names for those serving on their internal Benefit Review Committees, and present them as truthful to their statutory appeal body. As if that's not bad enough, they then continued to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • The Grow Room Profiles – Villette
    Local Alt R&B songstress/producer Villette discusses some of her formative musical experiences, her positive forecast for Women within Aotearoa's music industry, and finally drops the name of her new mixtape. This video was made with funding support from NZ ...
    19 hours ago
  • The Singles Life: What happened to political music in New Zealand?
    Welcome to weekly series The Singles Life, where known experts Katie Parker and Hussein Moses peruse, ponder and pontificate on the latest and (maybe) greatest in New Zealand music. In these trying times, political music feels like it would ...
    20 hours ago
  • Media Link: Chinese influence operations, Hillary’s blame game, Trump’s incoherence and NZ’s 3...
    As part of the series of radio interviews I do with Mitch Harris on RadioLive on Wed nights, this week we decided to be a bit more free ranging than usual (since the normal focus of the radio version of ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    24 hours ago
  • The beginning of the end for nuclear weapons
    "I have been waiting for this day for seven decades and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived,” said Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow in July, when a new treaty banning nuclear weapons was agreed at the United Nations in ...
    24 hours ago
  • Election Transport Policy Roundup
    Transport featured prominently in this election, particularly in the opening weeks of the campaign. At the same time, the differences between the parties when it comes to transport policies has been stark. It’s also worth remembering the outcome of the 1News ...
    1 day ago
  • The loneliness of the election hoarding
    Every three years the institution of the election poster gives us an object lesson in psychogeography, remaking the country into red zones, blue zones, contested zones. A sign erected on a private fence or put up at one’s window makes ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    1 day ago
  • This is how civil wars start
    As I write this, Spanish police are raiding Catalan government offices and arresting government officials in an effort to prevent Catalans from voting in a referendum on independence:Spanish police officers have raided three Catalan regional government departments and arrested 12 ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Election edition of It’s Our Future Bulletin
    A vote for National is a vote for the TPPA-11 Kia ora koutou katoa, This will be a short Bulletin as you are all, no doubt, up to your eyeballs in political spin and campaign rhetoric. The general election Saturday ...
    Its our futureBy Stephen Parry
    1 day ago
  • National Increased and Introduced 18 New Taxes, How Many More to Come?
    While National have been the failed Government of New Zealand they have increased or introduced 18 taxes on the ever suffering New Zealand public!   These included an increase in GST, taxing your Kiwisaver contributions, increased your Prescription ...
    2 days ago
  • Bugger
    Still, the Greens look safe. That's SOMETHING.And if NZ First don't get back in (assuming Winston loses Northland and they slip 0.1% more ... Well, I'll try very hard to lament the undemocratic wasted vote while punching the air and ...
    2 days ago
  • It takes just 4 years to detect human warming of the oceans
    We’ve known for decades that the Earth is warming, but a key question is, how fast? Another key question is whether the warming is primarily caused by human activities. If we can more precisely measure the rate of warming and ...
    2 days ago
  • Why I was an idiot for not voting last election
    Three years is a long time.   Image: The Wireless/Luke McPake   I have a flatmate who probably won’t vote. He says he might, but it’s not looking good. A capital gains tax could persuade him, but Labour’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Not That Kind of Voting
    As is customary in the run-up to an election, there is some hand-wringing going on about what turnout is going to be like.read more ...
    PunditBy Leonid Sirota
    2 days ago
  • Bill English is incompetent
    When John Key handed Bill English the poisoned chalice of a third term, it was pretty clear that the smiling assassin was getting out while the getting was good. After all, English had been largely left out of most of ...
    2 days ago
  • Pre-emptively poking holes in the land tax bucket
    Land taxes have – unexpectedly – become a hot policy topic in the run-up to the election. Land taxes were originally suggested by the economist and social reformer Henry George as a fairer alternative to income or business tax. The ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis support a water tax
    The prospect of making farmers and water bottlers pay for their use of public water has been a big issue this election campaign. Irrigation-dependent dairy farmers hate the idea, of course - they're freeloaders who don't want to pay their ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National censors NZTA
    Last month, when the National Party announced ten expensive new roads as the core of its election campaign, the Greater Auckland blog noticed something interesting: the business case for one of them, Whangarei to Wellsford, had disappeared from NZTA's website. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Follow the Leader: Winston Peters – NZ First
    2 days ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters 3: Education and Justice
    This is the third of a series of blogs from the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).   We have used DPA’s strategic areas of focus, as identified by our members, as a guide to examine key areas of each party’s policies. We ...
    2 days ago
  • Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (ono)
    . . You show me yours, I’ll show you mine… . Perhaps the most ill-considered public statement from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, was his recent (11 September) demand that Labour disclose it’s full tax plan as a pre-condition for ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • The mystery of the Wellsford-Whangarei business case solved
    Exactly a month ago, the National Party announced the biggest element of their transport policy for this election, $10.5 billion on 10 new Roads of National Significance. These are: Wellsford to Whangarei East West Link in Auckland Cambridge to Tirau Piarere ...
    2 days ago
  • Which New Zealand are you voting for?
    I was walking out of a meeting with two fine people the other day, one a National Party supporter and one a Labour Party supporter. The centre-right man reckons his team has lost it, but he sighed, "the economy's going ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 days ago
  • Farmers blame absence of Bill English for failure to summon Cow God
    Farmers were deeply disappointed when an incantation meant to summon the Cow God instead summoned Winston Peters. Dairy farmers have spent the better part of today blaming Prime Minister Bill English for their failure to summon the Cow God beneath ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • Trust women to decide: Greens
    The Green party has renewed its calls for abortion law reform, after a woman who was declined a termination considered suicide.    Under the Crimes Act, an abortion must be approved by two licenced specialist doctors.  Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day is now about equal pay for many women
    The fight goes on.   Merinda Jackson. Photo: The Wireless/Max Towle Women wearing suffragist dress gathered outside Wellington’s central library this afternoon. They periodically broke off into small groups and disappeared inside for a few minutes at ...
    3 days ago
  • How WINZ got social housing costs so wrong
    Last year, National bowed to public pressure over homelessness and replaced emergency housing loans - under which the homeless were saddled with odious debt to be put up in price-gouging motels - with a grant. Their initial budget for these ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Narcissistic men are more likely to troll on Facebook – study
    “Aggression, manipulativeness, low agreeableness.” Sound familiar? Illustration: 123RF A new study analysing people’s motivations for trolling has found men are more likely to bully others on Facebook because they’re more narcissistic. Researchers from Brunel and Goldsmiths universities ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change: This is going to cost us
    For the past six months, National have been suppressing Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards, which show that sea level rise and the resulting storm surges threaten $19 billion of coastal property. This government malfeasance isn't just bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National has failed our health system
    Along with a number of other worsening sectors in New Zealand, the public health system has become increasingly degraded under a National led government. The statistics clearly show a complete failure to meet growing demand for services, especially in peak ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day
    Today, September 19th, is Suffrage Day. 124 years ago today, women gained the right to vote in New Zealand. Its one of our greatest achievements as a nation, and yet its not one we publicly mark. That needs to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins and the swamp kauri petrol crisis
    The ruptured fuel pipe that runs to Auckland Airport looks set to cause more chaos as fuel shortages start to impede people trying to fill up at the pump.Already a number of international flights have been diverted or cancelled due ...
    3 days ago
  • Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
    This sort of serious dental fluorosis does not occur in New Zealand A recent issue of the Fluoride Exposed Newsletter gives us the facts about dental fluorosis – a subject very often misrepresented by opponents of community water fluoridation. Ever ...
    3 days ago
  • PT Ridership around New Zealand
    Auckland had a pretty good year for public transport ridership in the last financial year (to the end of June). Overall, compared to the 2016 ridership increased by 5.5 million (7%) to 88.44 million trips, the highest point since 1955. ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution
    Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Chevron’s Amazon Chernobyl Case moves to Canada
    After perpetrating what is probably the worst oil-related catastrophe on Earth - a 20,000 hectare death zone in Ecuador, known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” - the Chevron Corporation has spent two decades and over a billion dollars trying to avoid ...
    3 days ago
  • 5 reasons the car industry needs to change its ways now
    Today the world’s biggest motor show gets underway in Germany. The Frankfurt Motorshow is the moment many of the world’s best known car manufacturers get together for a grand display of vehicles that have been polished so hard it’s a ...
    3 days ago
  • Access Granted: Kat Greenbrook – From insight to action
    Kat Greenbrook (@katgreenbrook) is on a mission to increase the number of data insights actioned as she sees a growing gap between analytics teams and decision makers, stemming from a breakdown in communication.  Kat, through her own company Rogue Penguin, works across ...
    3 days ago
  • When The Country Goes To Town.
    Pretty Ugly, Pretty Quickly: That the demographic and cultural divide between rural and urban New Zealand remains a source of deep unease to farmers cannot be doubted. Equally indisputable, historically-speaking, has been the militant, even violent, character of rural New ...
    3 days ago
  • More on Kiwi Rail De-electrification
    *This is a guest post by Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders KIWIRAIL’S NIMT DECISION EXPOSED IN LEAKED DOCUMENTS Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders1 Leaked documents show that KiwiRail’s decision in December 2016, to ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Limits to growth?
    Mounting concern with housing, transport and diversity issues in Auckland point to a consensus that growth trends are exceeding our ability to readily cope. This is aggravated by reports that portions of our wilderness tourism areas are being hammered by ...
    Briefing PapersBy Charles Crothers
    3 days ago
  • Winston Peters hijacks National’s protest
    There was a lot of anticipation surrounding a farmer’s protest in Morrinsville yesterday, a protest over Labour’s proposed levy of 1 to 2 cents per 1000 litres of water used for irrigation.Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ in particular have been ...
    3 days ago
  • Just when will the fat lady start singing this election?
    Now we’ve entered the last week of the election campaign, Saturday’s finishing post is in sight. Once the polls close at 7pm on that day, no further ballots may be cast.read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • Prediction
    There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going to do:NAT – 42%LAB – 39%NZF – 8%GRE – 6%TOP – 2%MAO – 1.5% (With electorate ...
    4 days ago
  • The evidence says TOP have no hope
      The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan has come out swinging against the polls, which unanimously report his party polling nowhere near the 5% threshold. He basically says they’re fake news because they (mostly) only poll landlines. He predicts TOP will ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • If you support Labour, Green, TOP, Māori, or Mana: Party vote Green
    I wrote this post on Facebook and it’s got a bit of traction so I thought I’d put it here as well. (These thoughts aren’t unique to me: other people are making similar points.) Most people intending to vote Labour, Green, ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • An Alternative to Neoliberalism?
    Are we at a turning point in our politics? I don’t mean whether we have a new government. That is a matter for the voters; the polls say that either they are very volatile or that the polls are very ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • 1969: The “Nearly-But-Not-Quite” Election.
    Labour Nearly Did This: It didn’t really seem possible that Labour could have lost. Its 1969 campaign had broken new ground in terms of media sophistication. Labour’s theme-song “Make Things Happen” had topped the local charts, and its television commercial, ...
    4 days ago
  • Why is Matthew Hooton SO UPSET at efforts to increase voter turnout? (AUDIO)
    Here’s some commentary from PR professional Matthew Hooton, owner of the ‘Exceltium’ PR agency*, on how he sees efforts by New Zealand’s Electoral Commission to increase voter turnout. “I think the way the Electoral Commission has behaved, taking upon itself ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    4 days ago
  • Its going to be a short election night
    Advance voting has really taken off this year, with enormous numbers exercising their right to vote early, parties campaigning specifically for advance votes, and queues at some advance polling booths. As of Sunday, 445,000 people had advance voted - more ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • We need more post-publication peer review
    We often tout peer review as the reason for accepting the veracity of published scientific studies? But how good is it really? Does it ever match the ideal picture people have of it? And what about peer review before and ...
    4 days ago
  • No choice
    The decision to have a child can be life changing. But Kate* says she didn’t have a choice.  Illustration: Lucy Han / The Wireless A woman who was denied a second trimester abortion through North Shore Hospital says ...
    4 days ago
  • Too many cows
    Waikato's dairy farmers - the dirtiest in the country - are protesting in Morrinsville today to defend their "right" to keep pumping their shit into our rivers and their piss into our wells. Meanwhile, to get an idea of how ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Upgrading Takapuna’s heart
    While the beach may be the soul of Takapuna, Hurstmere Road is perhaps it’s commercial heart. Working in Takapuna, it’s a heart I know well (in fact at the time this post is published I’m probably walking along it to ...
    4 days ago
  • Cameras on boats will wreck ‘way of life’ – fisherman
    Push back against plans for surveillance on the high seas.       Fishing boats lined up along Bluff wharf. Photo: The Wireless/John Lake For Bluff cray fisherman Jayce Fisher, working the ocean is a way of ...
    4 days ago
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus... ...
    4 days ago

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