Welfare for whom?

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, September 11th, 2009 - 61 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

Remember the iconic photos of the first Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage and his cabinet celebrating the introduction of State Housing by carrying furniture into the first home at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar?

State housing in New Zealand was set up to provide relief for low income tenants, from insecurity and rack renting by private, profit driven landlords, during the original housing crisis of the Thirties. (The principle being, to remove the profit motive from housing, and provide decent housing at a low prices as a basic human right).

How things change!

ad for HNZ landlords

Who knew that over the decades it would morph into an organisation that provides relief for private landlords, suffering from falling private profits and tenancy rates due to the housing crisis of the Noughties? (The principle being to protect the profit making in housing, and keep prices up).

Housing New Zealand, in a perversion of its founding principles, now provides Social Welfare for private landlords, and wealthy private realtors.

[the story of 12 Fife Lane, as told here, is a microcosm of the history of state housing and social welfare]

61 comments on “Welfare for whom? ”

  1. Remember the iconic photos of the first Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage and his cabinet celebrating the introduction of State Housing by carrying furniture into the first home at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar?

    No, but what a clever PR stunt.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      God you’re a bore Danyl. Some people do things because they believe in them. Of course the PM is going to show up at the opening of the first State House, a project he believed in passioanately, and as he was there why wouldn’t he help the people move into to a house they had thanks to his party?

      Clark and Neilson 50 years later – that was pure PR.

  2. BLiP 2

    Housing is just one area – look what’s happening in health: money set aside to assist the poor is being used to subsidise a multinational. Corporate welfare is this government’s “New Deal”.

    Thanks National Ltd, I’m lovin’ it.

    • Tim Ellis 2.1

      As opposed to those very small locally owned New Zealand companies, Labtests and Diagnostic Medlabs, who have and had laboratory testing functions.

      Thanks Labour.

      • Bright Red 2.1.1

        The whole shebang should just be state-owned. Why are state-run medical providers permanently buying part of the service they provide from a private, profit-driven company?

        • burt 2.1.1.1

          Probably because the state ideology refuses to pay internationally competitive salaries (because it is an obscene amount of meney..) so the state can not retain the resources to provide the service.

  3. ieuan 3

    Interesting that the first state house was actually purchased by the first tenants.

    It seems to me that the writers at ‘the Standard’ have an aversion to anything being in private ownership.

    • burt 3.1

      When people are dependent on the state for everything they vote for a state that owns everything.

      • burt 3.1.1

        Wake up call, shortage of state houses will not be solved by ideology. (repeat for hospital waiting lists and educations standards)

    • Bright Red 3.2

      That was a National Party programme in the 1950s to run down the number of state houses.

      Think about this: why is Housing NZ leasing from private landlords now? Because in the 1990s, National sold thousands of its houses and now it doesn’t own enough to provide housing for those in need.

      • Swampy 3.2.1

        No, it was National Party policy to give people a helping hand into their first own home, at the same time it changed the social balance in the housing estates and that was a very good idea because home owners make a much bigger contribution long term into their communities than tenants do.

        I have known over the years, innumerable people living in former state houses that they own, surrounded cheek by jowl with numerous still-state-owned rentals, long term having people living in their own houses that they own is vastly beneficial to these neighbourhoods.

  4. burt 4

    Wake up call, the current shortage of state houses will not be solved by ideology. (repeat for hospital waiting lists and educations standards)

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      No, it will be solved by practical work that pretty much precludes anything done by NACT because everything they do involves giving even more money to those who don’t need it and didn’t do anything to earn it.

    • burt 4.2

      Draco

      9 years of Labour didn’t solve the probelm of housing waiting lists (or hospital waiting lists) and to be honest if private owners profit saving lives in hospitals or getting people into houses then that is the price we pay today for Labour’s inaction.

      • Bright Red 4.2.1

        labour wasn’t inactive, it did a lot but no it didn’t solve the problems. Social problems aren’t like that you don’t suddenly solve them once and for all, you make incremental steps to reduce and minimise them and it’s always a contest fight just to sustain the stats quo.

        is this really the height of rightwing argument, burt’s bollocks?

        • burt 4.2.1.1

          So creating more available properties by encouraging more landlords to offer them up for state tennants is an incremental step….

          The problem Bright Red is that the lovers of big govt have got ideological issues with anyone making a profit from provision of social services. They would rather see people on waiting lists than see public money used to provide services through non state providers. It’s not about the people who need the services is it – it’s about the ideology.

          State funding and state provision need not be one in the same. Personally I’m proud to be called a twat by people who would rather see overcrowded state housing than see a few private landlords lease their houses to the state.

          Disclaimer: I have no plans to rent houses to the state and have no vested interest in this – only an interest in seeing waiting lists diminish.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.1

            They would diminish faster burt if those private profits weren’t taking up resources that could be used to build more houses/hospitals etc etc.

            Profit is a dead weight loss.

            • Swampy 4.2.1.1.1.1

              The cost of capital is a major consideration, through this policy the government is not made to stump up that cost in advance.

              For every scenario in which the government could save money by building the houses itself and owning them for decades, there is a corollary of the government being left with houses that no one wants to live in, in out of the way places where the industry has closed up and left town. All those electricity towns served their purpose, and then the state either paid to move the houses somewhere else or sold them off at rock bottom prices.

          • burt 4.2.1.1.2

            Draco

            And profit is a motivator.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.2.1

              But not one that’s good for society.

            • Maynard J 4.2.1.1.2.2

              Yes – for cheap service, and a prepetuation of a problem that needs a (paid) solution.

              I have no problem with private ownership, unless it is touted as an ideal but in reality means that a service is being provided at a greater cost than it could otherwise be.

              I have no doubt that with proper investement, the government could contract the construction of state houses to preculde the necessity for private investors to make money out of them – and this would be cheaper in the long run. So my problem is not with the private investors, but them making money when it could be better used – like bringing down hospital wait lists.

    • Bright Red 4.3

      burt, the shortage of state houses can only be solved by a government that commits to building more, that is an ideological policy (indeed all policies are ideological)

      • burt 4.3.1

        Bright Red

        Building more is a long term plan, that is unless the state wants to get all 1930’s and employ all the builders available today so it can corner the market and ultimately create a bigger shortage of builders and push build prices through the roof for themselves and everyone else.

        But hey – keep the waiting lists if you think it is better than having more houses available because hell we wouldn’t want a single person to profit from providing social serices would we.

        • Maynard J 4.3.1.1

          burt, that is a false dichotomy. There is no choice between the two apart from in your head. The chioce is not a black and white one between wait lists or private landownders providing the capital. That is what is happening now, but would you not say the entire point of this post is to agitate for change on the issue?

          I.e. agitating for a future when there is no wait list (or at least a more reasonable one) and decent state owned stocks of state houses (built by anyone – will not bother justifying that petty strawman with a response, and you know full well why) that cost less to maintain since the government does ot have to fork out profits to owners.

          • burt 4.3.1.1.1

            It is not a strawman at all. An ideology that private landlords should not profit from leasing houses to the state is the same issues as private building companies building for the state. Either the state funds and provides or there is a funder/provider split. As soon as we have a split between the funder and the provider we have made a mockery of the ideology that says private landlords must not profit from provision of state housing. Or is it OK for private enterprise to profit when on the surface it looks like the ideology is still intact ?

            But if you want a strawman – Next someone will say the state can only use state owned land because private land owners must not profit from selling land for state house development . Change a few laws and we could build state houses in National parks and on DOC land to make sure no private land owners profit from provision of state housing.

            Yes I would rather my tax payers money we spent as frugally as possible providing social services. However IMHO the first priority is that they (social services) are delivered and the second priority is the ideology of how we split funding and provision.

            • Maynard J 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes it is. The difference between people using spare capital to make a buck off the government and people using their labour to earn a living escapes you?

              If so, then I can see why you would say that it looks like it is ok only “on the surface”.

            • burt 4.3.1.1.1.2

              Maynard

              The difference between a building company (EG: Fletcher Construction, Lockwood Homes) and a Builder escapes you.

              Let me explain, one is a person who sells their labour and the other is a company that profits from the labour of people they employ.

              Was it where I said ‘building companies’ that I confused you !!!!

              Sheeesh.

            • Maynard J 4.3.1.1.1.3

              Whatever burt. We are talking about the ownership of the capital, not about the construction thereof, but if you want to conceed or abandon the argument about ownership to try and score petty points on the finges, be my guest.

              G’Weekend t’ya…

            • burt 4.3.1.1.1.4

              meeeeooooow.

      • burt 4.3.2

        Bright Red

        And that is employ the builders not contract them. Can’t have private building comntractors profiting from state house building contracts because that would be the same as private landlords profiting.

        Bright…. I wonder.

        • felix 4.3.2.1

          Not sure why you have a problem with the state employing/contracting builders.

          Plenty of builders needing work. Plenty of homes needing building. Why does it matter if it’s the state employing them or someone else?

          Also, the distinction between employing/contracting is pretty vague in the building industry. Many are technically contractors when it comes to being responsible for their own administration, holiday pay, tax, acc, gst etc but are essentially just employees in terms of self-determination, decision making, actual workplace autonomy. Probably wouldn’t hurt to have a few more people with steady full time work in the industry IMHO.

          • burt 4.3.2.1.1

            felix

            Contracting a building firm will provide profit to the shareholders of that firm, the only way to avoid this is for the state to employ the builders directly.

            I’m simply pointing out that allowing private landlords to lease houses to the state thereby providing profit via provision of social services is the same (but different) to contracting a building company to build houses.

            • felix 4.3.2.1.1.1

              I suppose you’re just trying to be consistent, and fair enough.

              What’s wrong though with the state directly employing builders and owning houses?

            • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2.1.1.2

              the only way to avoid this is for the state to employ the builders directly.

              Nothing stopping them doing that and it would be cheaper – no worthless shareholders to pay off.

              I’m simply pointing out that allowing private landlords to lease houses to the state thereby providing profit via provision of social services is the same (but different) to contracting a building company to build houses.

              No need to contract a building company either. Directly employ the project managers and builders and all the dead weight loss of profit is removed.

            • burt 4.3.2.1.1.3

              felix

              There is nothing stopping the govt from directly hiring builders if they want to be in the business of building houses. Just like there is nothing stopping the govt from owing all means of production. Hell some people even think this is efficient. Ask a person in a communist country what they think, plenty of time to talk to them while they stand in bread queues, but hell at least the capitalist pig dog bakers are not making profits from peoples need to eat.

            • felix 4.3.2.1.1.4

              burt,

              It seems you are taking a principle (broadly, people investing money to make a profit tend to run things more efficiently than the state) and trying to apply it evenly to every possible situation, and therefore you assume that others are equally trying to apply an opposing principle to every situation.

              This makes it a bit difficult to have any kind of discussion with you. Suddenly we’re talking about making bread in communist countries – I thought we were talking about building houses in capitalist ones.

              I’m a bit like John Key in a way – I just like things that work.

              There’s no reason I can see that because the state might arguably have an interest in being involved in one sector of the economy (i.e. building, where they could use a labour surplus to build some much needed infrastructure) that they automatically have to get involved in the breadmaking industry.

              Perhaps you could explain why the state, if involved in one industry, must involve itself in another. To me that seems like an absurd subservience to principle, a triumph of theory over practicality.

              Anyway, have a good weekend.

            • burt 4.3.2.1.1.5

              felix

              IMHO the state should be involved in governance. This thread is about how the state renting houses from private landlords is wrong and I have pointed out that if that is wrong (on principle – which is what this thread is about) then using private construction firms would also be wrong (on principle). Some people clearly didn’t want to hear that.

              As I questioned earlier – is an ideology (private enterprise must not profit from state provision) only bad when it is obvious that is happening ?

              If you just like things that work, then surely you would think the state leasing existing properties to provide houses for people on state house waiting lists is a good idea?

          • felix 4.3.2.1.2

            Yes I do, as a short term measure.

            I think that if the state is to provide low-cost housing then it’s better that the state owns the houses, but if leasing some is necessary for the time being, then so be it.

            I don’t subscribe to the idea that every action must adhere to the same principle. Do you?

            • burt 4.3.2.1.2.1

              felix

              No I don’t think every action should adhere to the same principle.

              But on a thread premised on the idea that it is wrong for private enterprise to profit from state funding of social services then the principle is that private enterprise must not profit from the state funding social services.

            • felix 4.3.2.1.2.2

              And I’m suggesting that in principle it’s generally not desirable for the state to be paying out extra money (as profit) for services it could provide itself.

              In practice you do what you have to do, with what you have available, to achieve what you want to achieve.

              I don’t have any problem with the state leasing houses if that’s what’s needed – I do have a problem though if there’s no long term goal to build or buy more houses and we’re expected to keep paying out those profits indefinitely.

            • burt 4.3.2.1.2.3

              felix

              That’s fair.

  5. Chris 5

    To be pedantic, this advertisement started making its appearance about 3 – 4 years ago – under a Labour Government.

    The intention behind the ad is obtain leasehold property for state housing tenants, which is no bad thing.

    • burt 5.1

      Chris

      Bugger – I was getting to that once I had enough of the lovers of waiting lists calling me all the names under the sun.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      You can be as pedantic as you like. The fact that it happened under Labour still doesn’t make it right or cost effective. Labour themselves are still under the delusion that capitalism works.

      • Swampy 5.2.1

        Labour are the democratic reflection of the electorate, the people that vote for them who all believe the same. Why is it necessary in c_mm_n_st countries that there is a one party state, no free and fair elections in any of them. You are on a hiding to nothing here.

    • burt 5.3

      Draco

      Providing houses as a social service is either good or bad. How it is achieved is secondary to the desire/requirement to do so.

      • Maynard J 5.3.1

        Have you just nuremburged your defence?

        • burt 5.3.1.1

          I was following orders and killing a failing ideology was a cost of delivering a service your honour.

          • Maynard J 5.3.1.1.1

            lol

            BTW, shall I read your 1:01 comment as a demand that The State nationalise those houses owned privately…or did you mean it otherwise?

          • burt 5.3.1.1.2

            If the state wants to buy existing houses rather then lease them then fine. But wait for *some* people to complain that private owners got market value by selling them to the state….

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2

        How it is achieved is of primary importance because that determines if it can be afforded. The addition of profit means we can afford less.

        • burt 5.3.2.1

          So would you suggest that the state should not house public servants in building not owned by the state ? Would you be happy if state employees were on waiting lists for office space while the state pontificated about what to do rather than lease private buildings for them ?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2.1.1

            If it can be done economically then sure, lease them from private owners. But it can’t be maintained because it costs too much reducing the amount that can be provided by those same government employees. It’s cheaper to own the building by the amount of profit the private owner would take.

          • Swampy 5.3.2.1.2

            Better still, the State doesn’t employ any more bureacrats until they have spent years planning and constructing the buildings they will work in.

            This ideology I could agree with, if it acted as a proper check on the growth of the public sector.

          • burt 5.3.2.1.3

            swampy

            I’m with you all the way on that one.

            captcha: hopes

  6. George D 6

    It doesn’t even make economic sense. The Govt can build and own houses more cheaply by doing so on a large scale, than private landlords. The Government also has much much cheaper access to capital raising than do private investors.

    It can only be seen as a method of preventing the Government’s increased ownership of state housing. And that way they have less to privatise when that comes around.

  7. Pete 7

    FWIW I used to work in this area in the last government and have a few facts for the debate.

    HNZC has a stock of around 86,000 properties but a waiting list of close to 10,000. A good third of these are people already in HZNC properties and awaiting transfer to a more appropriate accommodation however it does leave a large number of people seeking HNZC accommodation especially those in the A and B category signifying urgent housing need.

    The last government did indeed utilise the leasing of private rentals on a long term basis for the simple reason that the waiting list was growing faster than HNZC could acquire properties. Problem was in the housing boom years it was very hard for the Corporation to get builders at a decent price to make it economically viable in relation to the build/acquisition budget HNZC had per year, verses the governments five year acquisition targets as specified in the Statement of Intent. Aside from a shortage of builders, another problem with HNZC constructing their own dwellings was planning permission and the time it took to get consent.

    So that leaves two other methods of meeting the ambitious acquisition target as set by the govt securing leases on a long term basis from private landlords, or purchasing already constructed homes. HNZC did a mix of all these three to try and achieve the acquisition targets and still fell short.

    I guess one could say in this period of a housing build slump there is a ready availability of builders and the government through HNZC could embark on building programme which would have the twin benefit of boosting the stock, whilst having the associated economic and employment spin offs.

    However a further point of consideration is that HNZC no longer constructs on mass large housing estates of cookie cutter housing we have learnt the lessons of Tamaki and Cannons Creek. So the economic virtues of large scale building, like the first estates, that some people have cited in this thread is somewhat dissipated.

    One of the big advantages of leasing or buying existing properties is that it fulfils HNZC’s and successive government’s policy of “pepper potting’ I.e integrating state housing with private housing creating mixed neighbourhoods thus avoiding the social and economic problems that arise from mass housing estates.

    I’m not arguing for or against any of these methods of acquisition, I’m just pointing out all have their benefits and drawbacks and personally I’d be more concerned with solutions that get vulnerable people into housing as quick and as efficiently as possible than debates about the purity of method.

    • burt 7.1

      Well said Pete.

    • Swampy 7.2

      Good call, I have lived more than thirty years close to several different large estates with dubious reputations.and right now I live in a HNZC property. It is just a pragmatic decision to have taken the policy that Labour did in their last term of office.

  8. Swampy 8

    You guys are really stooping low on this one. The Labour Government of the 1930s bought the land and everything they needed to get the houses built, on the market, paying people a profitable return of course. As did they with the private construction firms that built the houses.

    The lease policy is about HCNZ getting houses right now, where they are needed, according to where the demand is. It means they don’t have empty houses in out of the way places that no one wants to live in, which is a waste of funds. Think all those ex railway and electricity towns as examples. It means they can cater to the waiting list by getting houses for people who need them, right now, not years away. At the end of the day it gets people who need the houses the most, into a house that they can afford, right now, and that must be what matters the most, you can’t eat ideology.

    This present policy was introduced by the Clark Labour government. Since you guys won’t identify a party affiliation most of the time I’ve got no idea whether you have waited for Labour to lose the election so as to try embarrassing National or tried to marginalise Labour for this pragmatic decision – the tenants will not care as they find rhetoric doesn’t pay the bills.

  9. Jasper 9

    This policy was implemented by the 5th Labour Government as a way of reducing the waiting lists for state house tenants.

    Nothing to do with National.

    IMHO – it’s actually a good policy as HNZ have a set criteria for the standard of the properties they rent to tenants. So shite landlords with crap housing won’t get the HNZ lease until their property is up to scratch.

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    Hi,I was in Texas recently and couldn’t stop thinking about how in some parts of America they really like to kill their prisoners. As a society we tend to agree murder is wrong, but somewhere along the way Texas figured it’s fine if it’s after 6pm and the killing is ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • The new Beehive approach to the environment
    A persistent theme has been weaving between the Committee rooms at Parliament all this so-called “Scrutiny” week as MPs have probed Ministers and agencies about their work and plans. The question has been simply what the environmental price might be if the country begins to accelerate its infrastructure building to ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2024
    Open access notables Climate Change Is Leading to a Convergence of Global Climate Distribution, Li et al., Geophysical Research Letters: The impact of changes in global temperatures and precipitation on climate distribution remains unclear. Taking the annual global average temperatures and precipitation as the origin, this study determined the climate distribution with the ...
    4 days ago
  • You take nicer pictures when you’re not drunk
    Readers keeping count will know it's more than five years since I gave up booze. Some of you get worried on my behalf when I recount a possibly testing moment. Anxious readers: today I got well tested.All the way across France I've been enquiring in my very polite and well-meaning but ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    7 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    7 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    7 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    1 week ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    2 weeks ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
    The coalition Government is delivering up to 26 cancer treatments as part of an overall package of up to 54 more new medicines, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health Minister David Seymour announced today. “Pharmac estimates that around 175,000 people will benefit from the additional treatments in just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
    The coalition Government is providing more financial support to drought-stricken farmers and growers in many parts of the country to help with essential living costs. “Rural Assistance Payments have been made available in 38 districts affected by dry conditions to help eligible farmers and growers whose income has taken a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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