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What if all New Zealanders had enough to live on?

Written By: - Date published: 6:10 am, August 6th, 2021 - 97 comments
Categories: benefits, economy, employment, unemployment, wages, welfare - Tags: , ,

Yesterday Micky put up a post about the good changes happening with employment rates and wage increases: Aotearoa New Zealand approaches full employment.

There are important points in the post and comments, about managing the economy, the EMA’s position of wanting 5% unemployment to help suppress wages, that full employment used to be 2% and few casual jobs, the problems in employment being measured as 1 hour of work per week.

So Labour doing what Labour do well within centre left governance, making important gains, and also leaving some significant gaps.

Then vto said this,

i find it astounding

that so few

give thought

to those 4% required

to be unemployed

shouldnt they be on the average wage?

For perspective, Micky reports that average weekly earnings are now $1,360. Unemployment benefit is $290 (gross, single person, no kids) plus whatever accommodation supplement can be gleaned.

Much of the mainstream sees the 4% as collateral damage, the price we pay for neoliberalism’s gifts I guess. What interests me here is how vto’s comment cuts through all that and opens a door to imagining how it could be different.

What if decided that everyone in New Zealand should have a certain standard of living?

Ad also laid out this vision,

I’m looking forward to an economy in which we never need seasonal workers for orchards (and massive investment in automation has happened), or imported labour for infrastructure projects, or imported fishermen, or imported nurses …

… where it gets so hard to find people to work that we start emptying our jails, even gangs find it hard to recruit to a life of crime…

… where the government and business have to pay so much per hour that arguments over a minimum or living wage become immaterial …

… where it’s so hard to get good people that companies invest thousands to put their prospects through Drivers License courses, Heavy Truck tickets, heavy electrical tickets, supervisor tickets…

… and we start to bring down the long-term unemployed numbers, those coming off ACC, the otherwise damaged and bereft and marginalised.

Maybe start to really lift this country.

And I added,

… where the government no longer feels the need to punish or take a stick to be beneficiaries over working and they remove the abatement process from wages while on a benefit, which frees up a large number of disabled and other people to work part time and flexi time.

To me the issue here isn’t how to manage the economy, but is more fundamentally about values. Do we want to accept the collateral damage, which is significant with its flow on effects into health, child poverty and welfare, the justice system, community resiliency and functionality, climate action? Do we want to consign a chunk of New Zealand to the underclass, a bigger than 4% chunk because we have to also acknowledge the people on 1 hour a week?

Or do we want something different, and what might that be? Here I’m not talking about whether Labour can change how it juggles the economy and the repressive forces in society within a neoliberal system. I”m talking about the values in New Zealand society, and whether we can imagine something better.

What would that look like? And how would a shift in values impact the political landscape?

97 comments on “What if all New Zealanders had enough to live on? ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Values are tricky in a country still dealing with post colonial fall out, and almost 40 years of neo liberal hegemony for both the state and individuals.

    No one should be hungry or homeless in this land of obvious plenty. Fare free public transport, free Wifi nationwide, a basic income paid to all citizens via IRD, with a new special needs agency for disabled etc. could all be done right now. But it will not be done for some rather obvious ideological reasons.

    With a monetarist regime the thinking is not just “me me me”–it is also “why should they get that…” or last place aversion as US studies have called it. Lower paid workers sometimes do not support increasing the minimum wage! People perversely, apparently like to have someone beneath them.

    The Deputy PMs “Implementation Unit” is not worker friendly so far, but certainly acknowledges some within Govt. do feel snookered by the fifth columnists in the public service. With upward pressure on wages now, maybe some changes can be made. But, they will have to be organised for and fought for by the working class and allies.

  2. Incognito 2

    Good post.

    Values are a fickle beast and whose values are we talking about? Values are a bit like vows: you make them with all the conviction you have, with the best intentions, and convinced that you (and your partner) will stick to and with them, at least for some time. But over time, they tend to slip away in the mundanity and banality of (daily) life, they get rusty and dusty, and they lose their meaning and impact. Same applies to friendships, BTW. Do I need to say more?

    • Tiger Mountain 2.1

      …except the Reserve Bank Act, State Sector Act, Cabinet Manual, and fiscal responsibility are neither rusty nor dusty–they are well oiled processes still assisting finance capital in particular to keep its foot on the throat of the NZ working class.

      • Incognito 2.1.1

        Are we letting our lives be dictated by ‘well-oiled processes’ even when the outcomes and impacts are inconsistent with our values?

        • arkie 2.1.1.1

          For those without power (or capital); how much agency over these processes do we have? Aren't the outcomes and impacts of these processes consistently hitting us hardest regardless of our individual values?

          • weka 2.1.1.1.1

            it doesn't explain what's going on with those that do have agency and wealth.

            • arkie 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Perhaps not, however there is much that has been written about our aptitude for self-delusion and knack for rationalising. There is also an inaccurate societal perception of the power of individual and collective action that pervades our thinking and informs our values. Also I think it's evidently possible for people to state their values and at the same time act counter to them, passively or otherwise.

          • Incognito 2.1.1.1.2

            For argument’s sake, we all have some power and we all have some agency, but we still haven’t figured out how to use it in a mutually beneficial way, how to reach our individual let alone our collective potential (whatever that is), rather the opposite, it seems. Think of it as being a child, young, naïve, inexperienced, but unencumbered, full of dreams, wonder, imagination, etc., but when growing up you gain in the former areas but seemingly at the expense [no pun] of the latter attributes, especially imagination, and many of us become a tad (!) cynical and jaded. In any case, there’s strength in numbers; united we stand, divided we fall. Thatcher was wrong.

  3. Sabine 3

    We have been saying that for years now, that the income for beneficiaries and unemployed should be at least min wage. IF that is not possible, they – according to their abilities – should be allowed to find work and top their starvation benefit up to min wage before any reduction in other benefits.

    I guess even that Labour in 2016 was elected on these issues. But that was 2016 and now is 2021 and things have changed forever.

    The beneficiaries should count themselves lucky if they got 7NZD or 15 NZD of the last trickle down from government.

    • Incognito 3.1

      2017

    • arkie 3.2

      100%. What is a 'minimum wage' if not the smallest income that we as a society can countenance? Raising the benefit is ruled out because it may 'disincentivise' working, perhaps we should be framing it as an 'incentive' for employers offer more/better working conditions. Then, at very least we would actually be living up to the values of the 'minimum wage' concept.

  4. pat 4

    Redistribution is vital, but to redistribute you need to ensure there is something to distribute to begin with.

    • weka 4.1

      we're not a poor country. This is why I'm asking about values. How do we redistribute what we've got more fairly? Or do we really believe collateral damage is necessary?

      • Tiger Mountain 4.1.1

        Increasingly younger and browner is how much of the country is going regarding reconciling colonial history. Small acts of kindness happen all over, little take what you need community food stalls, community gardens, papakainga housing, all sorts of volunteer and NGO agencies.

        But, economically Rogernomics still runs deep because it is embedded in the state sector and legislation and finance capital institutions. Contracting out, managerialism, transactional models, and to be frank–a moralistic ‘war on the poor’ still have much influence on our daily life.

      • pat 4.1.2

        Why are we not a 'poor' country?

        It may seem obvious but to feed, house, educate and provide health care for the 5 or so million who live here requires work…..that is the basis, not money, so the question is who does it and how is it incentivised/implemented?

        Like the world the resources are limited so it is a question of priorities and as we know everyones priorities are different….whos priorities take precedence?

        As RL on TS noted this morning is everyone was offered a comfortable existence without working how many would choose to work?….isnt that what rentiers do?

        Any society can, no matter the system, provide for a percentage of non productive members but that number is limited by what the productive members can provide.

        • weka 4.1.2.1

          It's cruel to say to 5 – 10% of the population: you have to live in poverty, some of you permanently, because we believe that humans are inherently work shy and have to be forced into jobs and we think having a chunk of people live sub par lives is the best way to do that.

          Of course, under neoliberalism this has some truth, because we have so many jobs that are not good for people, they system had to force someone to do them.

          I'm not really interested today in rehashing what to do within neoliberalism. I'm more interested in look at the values at play and seeing where that leads.

          If we start from the premise that everyone deserves and should have a decent standard of living, how might we achieve that?

          • pat 4.1.2.1.1

            Then dont rehash 'neoliberalism' because I didnt mention it.

            I pointed out that work is the basis of what we can provide society…..money is an obfuscation.

            I also stated that redistribution is vital and posed the question who's priorities take precedence?….the workload has to be distributed in the most effective manner possible and until priorities are established that will not occur.

            If the problem is examined with the correct lens then the answer is apparent….for those with insufficient to have sufficient then those with more than sufficient need to provide it……cue politics.

            And all this assumes that sufficient can be provided for all which is (increasingly) by no means a given…..cue conflict.

            • weka 4.1.2.1.1.1

              you posited that to have an economy that gives everyone a certain standard of living, people have to be incentivised to work. I'm suggesting that examining the values in that is useful (before we get to what might or might not be possible).

              How do we know that people won't work without someone standing over them with a stick?

              • pat

                How do we know?….why do so many invest (particularly in property), why do we have pay disparity, why do we have retirement,

                It is not that people wont work without a stick, its that not ENOUGH will work without the incentive to provide the security of output needed….the Amish are one of the few examples I can think of that perhaps succeed in the attempt..how many Amish do you know?..and is that the society you would seek to replicate?

                • weka

                  "It is not that people wont work without a stick, its that not ENOUGH will work without the incentive to provide the security of output needed"

                  How are you measuring the security of output needed?

                  We can look at non-industrialised societies to see that people worked for the common good eg Māori pre-colonisation.

                    • pat

                      I recommend you read the linked paper (systems economics)….it covers what I seek to convey with (i think) greater clarity.

                      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800919310067

                      "One barrel of crude oil can perform about 1700 kW h of work. A human laborer can perform about 0.6 kW h in one workday (IIER, 2011). Simple arithmetic reveals it takes over 11 years of human labor to do the same work potential in a barrel of oil. Even if humans are 2.5x more efficient at converting energy to work, the energy in one barrel of oil substitutes approximately 4.5 years of physical human labor."

                      This example lays bare the challenge we face.

                    • RedLogix

                      While we've crossed many times before, I do want to underline this comment. Energy – in particular the ability to concentrate it in high quality, high density forms – lies at the root of all human progress. It's not the whole story, there are many layers of technical, social and political innovation that are part of the whole structure, but the energy story is the prerequisite.

                      Hunter gather humans could rely only on the modest surplus found in the natural world – fruits, nuts, seeds and meat for the most part. For millions of years the total human population barely exceeded 10m.

                      Then about 10,000 yrs ago we learned how to concentrate photosynthesis energy using agriculture, and by around 1800 we had plateaued at around 800m. However the inherently diffuse and intermittent nature of sunshine, and the deeply seasonal nature of agriculture meant that in order to survive all societies were in a constant contest over land, rainfall and slaves. It was essentially an age of empire – driven by the inescapable limits of the energy source available to them.

                      Then we discovered how to burn coal in high temperature boilers, and for the first time we had access to concentrated, reliable high quality energy. On this foundation we transformed the world – and now sustain over 7b humans with a food surplus. And I would argue at least since the end of WW2 the prior form of empire based on overt conquest, occupation and extraction has become largely unecessary – the vast majority of nations able to exist and thrive without the constant pressure to expand their territory.

                      Of course our opportunity to exploit fossil carbon always had a timeline on it – but it enabled us to massively progress our science and technology to the point where we can now move beyond it if we choose. My argument is simply this – we stand at a cross-roads – either we choose to embrace the next stage of our social evolution as enabled by concentrated, reliable, clean and cheap energy OR we revert back to pre-Industrial conditions and ultimately an uncertain path toward virtual extinction.

                      This of course does not preclude the idea that the current phase of human population growth has ended, and along with it the much of the excesses of the past 200 yrs. Stable and ageing populations if they are able to continue to progress toward developed world standards of living will almost certainly tend to consume much less exuberantly. We've transitioned from a species that typically had many children but had short lives, to one with longer lives and fewer children – this being an astonishing change we're still coming to terms with. But maintaining this is critically dependent on pulling all of humanity globally through this transition.

                      Takeaway the energy foundation – as your barrel of oil example very clearly shows – and I personally believe that all of the economic and social changes of the past few hundred years will be undermined and eventually unraveled.

                    • pat

                      @ RedLogix

                      I recommend you also read the attached article (in its entirety) and you will discover that approximate 200 year long exploitation of a one off resource hasn't just enabled a (unsustainable) population explosion, it has concurrently depleted the other resources…..resources also crucial to alternative energy conversion.

                      There is going to be no 'technological' breakthrough that enables this planet to sustain its current population and whatever population equilibrium that eventuates will have a greatly reduced output per capita.

                      So again the question…."And ultimately what do you do if those 100 people cannot provide all of those requirements for 100 people?"

                    • Andre

                      @pat: When the highlighted quote contains such a glaring and simple error as "One barrel of crude oil can perform about 1700 kW h of work.", it makes me wonder what other massive errors they've made.

                      One barrel of crude oil can deliver about 1700kWhr of heat, not work. At very very best, if it's converted to work in some sort of engine, it will deliver about 850kWhr of work. And more likely much much less.

                    • RedLogix

                      While technically correct it scarcely changes the point pat was making. Besides heat in it's own right is used directly in many processes without conversion to work – eg steel and cement making.

                    • pat

                      @Andre

                      I barrel of crude produces 1700kWh of energy…it is an error of description somewhat mitigated by the following qualification… "Even if humans are 2.5x more efficient at converting energy to work, the energy in one barrel of oil substitutes approximately 4.5 years of physical human labor."

                    • weka

                      I recommend you read the linked paper (systems economics)….it covers what I seek to convey with (i think) greater clarity.

                      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800919310067

                      "One barrel of crude oil can perform about 1700 kW h of work. A human laborer can perform about 0.6 kW h in one workday (IIER, 2011). Simple arithmetic reveals it takes over 11 years of human labor to do the same work potential in a barrel of oil. Even if humans are 2.5x more efficient at converting energy to work, the energy in one barrel of oil substitutes approximately 4.5 years of physical human labor."

                      This example lays bare the challenge we face.

                      I'm not sure what your point is here exactly Pat.

                      Yes, oil is an incredibly dense energy source. Those millennia of sunlight compacted into a very powerful form. We can't keep using it.

                      I'm sceptical of the maths above. Does it take into account what the synergy that happens when people work together? Does it use something like permaculture design which inherently finds more efficient ways of doing this with less energy? (permaculture was invented in part because of the dilemma I think you are pointing to). Does it accept that we can live functional, meaningful, healthy lives by lowering demand from the systems around us? Or is it counting reductionist and isolated energy in humans outside of context and in support of BAU?

                      I can't see much point in comparing human power to ff power as a starting point unless one is wanting BAU.

                      From a sustainability pov, I'd start with the landscape (specifically, an actual watershed), audit that, see how many people can live there post-carbon and what work/energy is needed to sustain that. Sustain as in actual sustainability (mostly closed loops).

                    • pat

                      "I'm not sure what your point is here exactly Pat."

                      What is the question posed in your OP?

                      "What if all New Zealanders had enough to live on?"

                      The ability to produce outputs in needed quantities is fundamental to that question. Dismissing (or ignoring) the role energy plays in our ability to do that is aptly described in the article……energy blindness.

                      “Ecological economics acknowledges that real economies are completely dependent on energy. However, orthodox economic theory remains blind to this reality. As a result, so do our institutions and our citizenry. The disconnect has massive implications for our future. This is so critical it deserves reiteration.”

                    • weka

                      @Pat

                      "I'm not sure what your point is here exactly Pat."

                      What is the question posed in your OP?

                      "What if all New Zealanders had enough to live on?"

                      Well, that's the title of the post, the post was about the values underpinning that question.

                      The ability to produce outputs in needed quantities is fundamental to that question. Dismissing (or ignoring) the role energy plays in our ability to do that is aptly described in the article……energy blindness.

                      I haven't ignored or dismissed the role energy plays in our ability to make sure everyone has enough, I've said that if you count it in a reductionist way you will miss the important solutions. So I agree with you about the important of energy, and I disagree with you about how to assess that.

                    • pat

                      What happens to values in a triage situation? There are no absolutes.

                      Attempting to seperate values from the environment is reductionist from where i'm sitting.

                    • weka

                      again, I'm not separating values from the environment. I'm saying let's have a conversation about values in context.

                  • pat

                    and non industrialised societies were exactly that….and considerably smaller because of that fact.

                    And I may add they still had hierarchies and slavery.

                    • weka

                      We have hierarchies and slavery too, not sure what your point is.

                      I gave an example of where humans aren't inherently work shy.

                    • pat

                      "We can look at non-industrialised societies to see that people worked for the common good eg Māori pre-colonisation."

                      Not all had a choice about the level of contribution/reward is the point….the non industrialised societies faced the same issues and used similar mechanisms to address them.

                      They are hardly utopian or even necessarily superior in that respect.

                    • weka

                      I'm not talking about utopia though. I'm talking about whether humans are inherently work shy. I don't think they are. If you expect people to do wage slavery in a neoliberal economy then you will get patterns of people not wanting to do that because it's soul destroying and dehumanising. But if we created a different kind of economy, that valued people and looked at how to utilise their skills, then they're more likely to want to take part in the collective needs to get some specific jobs done.

                  • pat

                    How to measure security of output needed

                    Establish what is required

                    Distribute your resources in order to meet those requirements

                    E.g.

                    You have a population of 100

                    You have a potential 100 strong workforce

                    How many are going to be responsible for food production?

                    How many will take care of the ill and elderly?

                    How many will build/maintain the infrastructure?

                    How many will teach/care for the children?

                    How many will organise/administer?

                    And ultimately what do you do if those 100 people cannot provide all of those requirements for 100 people?

                    There is no money/recompense involved in the equation.

          • Tiger Mountain 4.1.2.1.2

            Well it is highly unlikely that those who have managed to accumulate more material wealth than they need for their immediate (or lifetime) needs will agree to share voluntarily! Look at the squeals when a CGT was talked about for multiple property owners.

            So we have an NZ where 50% of the people own 2% of the wealth. Where there is an abrasive split between owners and renters.

            ACT types say state tax is theft (from individuals), marxists say capitalist ownership and appropriation of surplus value is theft (from wider society). That is the major value clash right there. The social democrats like Savage and Kirk’s Labour used to lean to the working class, whereas Douglas/Clark/Ardern Labour were captured by the employing class (cough, market).

            Values not fought for remain aspirations.

            • pat 4.1.2.1.2.1

              How is that wealth disparity measured though?….it is measured by money, not work.

              Owning shitloads of property does nothing to resolve the issue of food production/distribution, nor does it build shelter or staff EDs, or teach future generations the skills they need to continue a functioning society…..as said money is a poor proxy.

      • Populuxe1 4.1.3

        Who says we're not a poor country? The pre-1973 golden age was a very long time ago now, several of our OECD rankings are looking none to flash and economically we're probably comparable to some of the smaller agricultural EU economies without the benefit of a massive trade bloc.

  5. Byd0nz 5

    Nationalise everything then call it Aotearoa inc, dump the money system, we can all then work as we are, but for the wellbeing of the country and inhabitants' needs. Needs then is the question. What do we need for ALL to live in modest comfort.

    • Janet 5.1

      We need UBI.

      We need education to be free and unrestricted again.

      Eg: I know of a 16 yr old , who won,t return to school, who would do well in a trade but can,t get underway because he doesn’t have a school “qualification “ to start to become qualified at something. This is one way we are creating a pool of “poor” people. Then we bring in people from overseas to do the jobs that people like this one could have been trained to do.

  6. Nic the NZer 6

    The political issue is the abandonment of full employment as a political goal. In the absense of a government employer of last resort there will from time to time be insufficient jobs to employ at least some (called involuntary unemployment).

    In theory (but obviously not in practice) the RBNZ can always set an interest rate which achieves full employment and price stability. The assumption they are doing so is the justification for accepting 4 or 5% unemployment and claiming further employment would lead to unbearable inflation. This invariably leaves some at the margins dependent on low level incomes on the welfare system.

  7. vto 7

    fwiw, when looking at the bigger picture things like this I like to think of society as a small village of 100 people living in an isolated place, so they have to get along to survive.

    I find when looking at it like this those values become paramount. For example, John Key in his obscene mansion on the hill above the village wouldn't last long while the bottom 20 villagers are sleeping on dirt floors. And those lazy ones would be given a kick up the butt and not be allowed to slack. And everyone would be given a task – a task useful to the village's survival. And everyone feels valued and useful. And the village survives. Otherwise the village fails – like our world today, where all these values are discounted and lost.

    The isolated village of 100 people quickly highlights the required parameters and values imo

    • weka 7.1

      we could add to that too that it's likely that at least some of the time in some places, humans have lived in situations like that and not had to work themselves to death, that the working together gives an efficiency that allows free time from which innovation and culture evolve.

      • vto 7.1.1

        Yep. I think the small village thing actually went on all over the place through most of human history. The requirement to simply have to get on and support one another by sheer proximity means there is no escape if one is up to no good, and it means the health of the village and all of its people is top of list all the time. It makes for a most healthy community

        I think all government and other policies should be put through the small village test. If the proposed policy would be rejected by that small village then it should be dumped.

        Maybe I'll send Wellington a note…

    • pat 7.2

      And that is the benefit of small scale

      • vto 7.2.1

        it is far more than just that pat

        • pat 7.2.1.1

          "The isolated village of 100 people quickly highlights the required parameters and values imo"

          As I said the other day, theres nowhere to hide in a small community….the scale and overcomplexity of modern large mobile modern population groups facilitates the inequality

          • vto 7.2.1.1.1

            Yes of course, that is one factor. Another is that the expanded scale has also allowed the dregs and the nasty to find a gap to slither through and peddle their evil wares.

    • Janet 7.3

      Multitaskers – as the 3 old tradesmen brothers from Wyndham who featured on Seven Sharp earlier this week are – would largely replace undue specialisation in smaller communities and that 16 yr old I mentioned before would find rewarding pathways.

    • Molly 7.4

      Bigger scale but village concept, real world example:

      Mondragón

      "The town is best known as the birthplace of the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC), the world's largest worker cooperative, whose foundation was inspired in the 1940s by the Catholic priest José María Arizmendiarrieta. In 2002 the MCC contributed 3.7% to the total GDP of the Basque Country and 7.6% to the industrial GDP.

      The valley of the High Deba where the town is located enjoyed a high level of employment in the 1980s while the rest of the Basque industrial areas suffered from the steel crisis.

      Noted poverty expert and sociology professor Barbara J. Peters of Southampton College, Long Island University, has studied the incorporated and entirely resident-owned town of Mondragón. "In Mondragón, I saw no signs of poverty. I saw no signs of extreme wealth," Peters said. "I saw people looking out for each other…..It's a caring form of capitalism.""

      • vto 7.4.1

        Thanks for that Molly – makes total sense.

        This last line is interesting though "It's a caring form of capitalism". Capitalism isn't a form of society. There is only one form of society and that is a socialist society.

        Humans are nothing but social. People come together to achieve an end. It is the only thing we humans do. We achieve nothing, absolutely nothing, without others. All we do is undertake socialist activity. Being on here is social, going to a party is socialism, rugby is a socialist undertaking, it just goes on and on and grabs at every single thing we do. Going to school, raising a family.. and get this… all business is a socialist undertaking too – shareholders coming together to achieve a goal is socialism, owners of farms coming together to supply fertilisier (Ravensdown e.g.) is socialism, New Zealand's two biggest businesses (Fonterra and Foodstuffs) are cooperatives ffs, Federated Farmers is a socialist organisation.

        The only activity humans undertake is socialist activity. There is no other.

        Capitalism is not an equivalent form of structure. Capitalism is merely a bunch of cold hard tools which limpet onto the great mound of socialist human activity, and suck it dry (sound of milking machine…).

        Capitalists are laughing all the way to the bank with this great swindle… latching their milking machine capitalist tools onto our socialist butts and sucking away until we are dry…. all the while taking full advantage of the whole of the socialist structure of the world… it is the world's biggest hypocrisy…

        This understanding must form the basis of everything. But it doesn't. And here we are. So says my 2c..

  8. Patricia Bremner 8

    I may be wrong, but I feel our values have begun to shift back to more community thinking.

    One thing this pandemic has highlighted among many, is our need to cooperate. Those societies who value cooperative efforts have fared better.

    Individual efforts gain praise if they assist the herd goals, those seeking personal betterment at the expense of others are now viewed with disdain.

    The Maori values of 'he tangata he tangata he tangata' (the people the people the people) and the ecological values of working with natural cycles rather than against them appear to be gathering a following.

    In our agricultural sector, in spite of those who feel pressured enough to protest with tractors, regenerative and organic farming is on the increase, as the customers want less pesticides nitrates and ploughing.

    Many in agriculture are facing unexpected scrutiny, which has rocked their fiefdoms and made them aware their cheap labour practices are not in favour.

    Many employers during the pandemic in Aotearoa NZ have reassessed their relationships with employees and customers and government, with a greater scrutiny of safety and fairness.

    Our values come from our experiences and beliefs. Some as we have discovered, push mistaken beliefs in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to their detriment or demise.

    On a personal level, a greater appreciation of face to face contact in person and via technology.

    A greater appreciation of the complexity of the interrelated decisions cabinet have to face to keep us on an even keel.

    Realisation of how tenuous our safety is in a virus ridden world.

    We really do need to work together for better lives for those who are struggling in any way, and live good human values.

    We need to do our best and above all be kind. That is a fundamental to good human relations.

    • Janet 8.1

      "I may be wrong, but I feel our values have begun to shift back to more community thinking."

      Maybe there is a shift . People shifting away from the cities ? The tide that emptied out the rural townships may have turned.

      Centralisation of so many services to the larger towns and cities of NZ has been very detrimental. Starting with schools. Schools were the core of the rural communities I have lived in.

      • Descendant Of Smith 8.1.1

        Nah I expect capitalism to fight even harder to maintain the status quo. As soon as things look like switching they dig in deeper with more destruction.

        Think about that CEO who gave up his salary to pay his staff much more – boycotted by business people, lost contracts and so on.

        Think about Obama relaxing the rules on trade and travel with Cuba – bang Trump puts them back on. (I've never understood how people can say communism or socialism doesn't work when it is continually attacked by capitalism) I mean what did the Russians ever do for us for instance (cardiopulmonary bypass technique, first human vaccine, first artificial heart, multi-stage rockets, mobile phones in 1963, nuclear power plants, LED's, underwater welding, microwave ovens, cornea transplants, first programmable computer ……).

        Think Helen Clark's government moving things forward a little – bang John Key with punitive actions against the unwell and sole parents in particular.

        Those with power don't give it up easily and they know time is on their side. They tend to destroy – think railway buildings and workshops pulled down, hospital wards pulled down, state housing pulled down – anything to make it more costly to put back.

  9. Ad 9

    New Zealand is now one of the most unequal societies in the world.

    Our wealth distribution is shocking, our wages are terrible, and our social welfare system is miserable.

    Even at 4% headline unemployed it will take several years to get people out of hard core disability and dependency and into autonomy for their lives.

    This state is reflective of our nationally-held values, because it's what we've enabled to develop over decades from one large majority to the next.

    It makes New Zealand great for about 5% of us, but otherwise we need to face that we are a mean, poor, hard little country for the great majority.

    • Patricia Bremner 9.1

      So Ad, after that negative blast, what are the values we could foster? What would help? We know great damage has been done by our past errors, but which values will shift the dial?

      • Ad 9.1.1

        This is as good as it gets.

        We have the most socially liberal leadership we have ever had, or are likely to ever have.

        We have the most interventionist government we have had in 40 years.

        We are, right now, about as proud as we can be, and as united as a common community.

        We have the least unemployment and most assured welfare system we've had in 30 years.

        Values have shifted as far as they are going to go for some time.

        And with all of that, these are the results we have.

        • Patricia Bremner 9.1.1.1

          Ad, are you saying "that's all there is"? I feel they have just started. I hope for two more terms to lock things in.

          Perhaps some of us could pay locals to carry out jobs or services, as those 4% are allowed to earn more now. ($160 per week before tax before it affects the benefit)

          We have a lady who lost her job, who does the heavier house work for us, a lawn guy, a handyman painter and a hairdresser, most changed from other work or had to find additional pieces of employment.

          At 80 we feel this keeps us connected to those working in joined up patchwork jobs, and we feel we are contributing to their welfare by paying above the going rate. We are part of their community and have found other clients for them.

          Many in this position want trust and an opportunity. It has always worked for us and I wish more who could would do this.

          Perhaps we need to alter the systems to allow people to flourish. Really free health care and education, and provide some workplaces with housing? Value people above profit?

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.2

          The idealist in me posted at 14.0 below – but the realist acknowledges your comment here Ad.

    • Nic the NZer 9.2

      If we leave employment ultimately up to the market then the last percentages of people will never come off the benefit, let alone disability. To correct this the government needs to guarantee enough jobs are available to employ everyone who wants one. Ultimately this allows near universal access to the longer term benefits of employment, those which come in addition to wages, such as career development, positive self perception, sense of belonging and a social network. In the absense of this we have decades of experience to show these outcomes simply won't occur.

  10. Janet 10

    The value of the ability to preceive NEED over the things you think you need. (remember Dr Seuss's The Lorax " )

    The value of getting to know thy neighbour – love thy neighbour, being inclusive not exclusive ….

  11. McFlock 11

    I tend to think we're slowly improving, but our regard for long-term unemployed is still pretty low.

    I think a large chunk of the country hasn't moved on from the idea of people choosing to be poor, and there are others who view it as some sort of Darwinian selection.

    But another reason people bring up why the poor should be punished is that they jealously hate the thought of someone else having a nice life for free. I reckon that's them projecting. Most people want to work, contribute, participate. I know people who would make the world a considerably better place if left to their own devices. Some of them contribute here. Helping some corporate boost sales by 0.3% is regarded as more valuable than advocacy or cleaning up waterways, unfortunately.

    • RP Mcmurphy 11.1

      most people in NZ do have enough money but they all want more. look at the disposable income wasted on overseas travel and unlimited toys for the bombidyboms.

      and besides they resent anybody who needs a handup.

  12. Adrian Thornton 12

    The first step towards a having country where real world 'values' are just a normal part of the fabric of everyday life, is to somehow extract ourselves from the Free Market Neo-Liberal duopoly (National/Labour) that controls our trajectory at this moment…keeping in mind that the Centrist Free Market Liberal political parties that keep us locked single mindedly on this path of endless growth and consumerism in the face of of the Climate disaster that is closing in on us right now, because they (Ardern, Robinson, Collins, Seymour etc) are extremists fundamentalists who are the real defenders at any cost of their pointless, destructive economic ideology, and are in-fact nothing more than leaders of a death cult at this stage.

    No, we need new ways of higher thinking about our economy, our country, our environment, ourselves and our neighbors…like this….

    Manfred Max Neef, Barefoot Economics

    "we need cultured economists again, who know the history, where they come from, how the ideas originated and so on. Second, we need an economics now that understands itself very clearly as a subsystem of a larger system that is finite, the biosphere. Hence economic growth is an impossibility. And third, a system that understands that it cannot function without the seriousness of ecosystems. And economists know nothing about ecosystems. They don’t know anything about thermodynamics, anything about biodiversity. In addition, we must bring consumption closer to production. If you bring consumption closer to production, you will eat better, and you will have better food. You will know where it comes from. You may even know the person who produces it. You humanize this thing. But the way the economists practice today is totally dehumanized."

    https://olbios.org/barefoot-economics/

    • Tiger Mountain 12.1

      Well said Adrian.

      Structurally embedded neo liberalism in the NZ Parliament, State and finance capital, has to be rolled back as a prerequisite to making any real progress for the working class people, of whom 50% of the population own just 2% of the wealth!

      It will happen and the 2023 and 2026 elections will give an indication I guess of how soon.

  13. RP Mcmurphy 13

    some people here believe in the tooth fairy. a friend of mine was in Ethiopia during operation hope. people would be given supplies which they ate on the spot and then destroyed the rest that they could not carry. the millenium is not round the corner when all men are brothers just yet.

    • Adrian Thornton 13.1

      "some people here believe in the tooth fairy" and then goes on the describe some sort of negative human interaction that some friend told them about…you sound like a person who has never has an original thought cross through their cranium during their entire life, so obviously no one will be coming to you for any new or interesting ways of thinking about the dire mess humans have made of our countries and the planet…thanks for clarifying that for everyone.

    • weka 13.2

      "a friend of mine was in Ethiopia during operation hope. people would be given supplies which they ate on the spot and then destroyed the rest that they could not carry"

      Shouldn't be too hard for you to find something online to support that. Otherwise I'm going to take it as out of context rhetoric.

      The post is about values. What are your values here?

      • joe90 13.2.1

        In a region with long standing religious/clan/ethic tensions and rivalries, anecdotes of refugees destroying food lest others prosper are entirely credible.

        • weka 13.2.1.1

          Yes, I'm sure. This is what I meant about context. It's not something we can extrapolate to humans generally. War and starvation turn humans societies into something else.

          But even so, the post was about values. What does it say about us if we believe that humans are inherently selfish and work shy? How does that impact on our politics? On how we expect our government to manage the country's resources?

  14. RedLogix 14

    My sense is that NZ by itself scarcely stand alone in the world. The primary idea I constantly lean on is the unity and solidarity of the human race – regardless of colour, culture or condition. We've moved past the pre-agricultural age of tribe, through the age of empire and are now on the cusp of a highly connected global civilisation – with both common values and purposes.

    The second idea is that each of us is unique, individual and has the right to seek truth independently. In this manner the diversity the human race enables the greatest possible range of talent and capacity to be brought to bear on our future.

    Thirdly uniting of both the material, the philosophic and the spiritual dimensions of our experience in this world. As a species we have an immense legacy in all three of these categories, through science, literature, art and religion – and that ultimately these do not conflict. It is my view that there is but one reality, and while science sees one facet of it – we also know there are many other ways to experience life in all its fullness and mystery. That these ways of looking at reality seem to contradict each other is only the result of our currently limited understanding and vision.

    One of the great moments of our recent history was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – an achievement that deserves revisiting far more often than we do. Within the scope of this declaration are important elements such universal access to education, health care and legal rights and protections. The ability to communicate globally with a common language (and retain of course your cultural one of choice), combined with unfettered communication across all regions of the world must be valued and protected.

    Our long evolutionary history imprints on us echoes of our tribal, communal and nationalistic loyalties, and while these do have a place in our life – all too readily in our past these have been inflamed into irrational prejudice and conflict. A unified global humanity will slowly let these ancient passions go. We will learn to look past the outward and largely immutable characteristics we all have – and value much more the inner capacity, character and potential that we too often lack the insight to see clearly.

    And finally it's my sense that the economic challenge of inequality – as much as we might measure them in material terms – is at root a moral and ethical challenge. The unexamined assumption behind many a debate here is the question of the true nature of human welfare and progress. It clearly has a material dimension, the provision of sufficient food, shelter and access to the basic dignity of life is a bare minimum for all. But equally we are psychological creatures as well, with a deep need for social connection, respect and reciprocity. Nor should we lightly discard our extraordinary capacity for faith, hope and our collective capacity to believe in something much greater than our very limited selves.

    In a post squarely intended to be about values – I trust this is considered relevant. cool

  15. georgecom 15

    "To me the issue here isn’t how to manage the economy, but is more fundamentally about values."

    • pat 15.1

      Our values are reflected in our political economy, not the rhetoric.

      Collectively they are on display….we can make all the individual declarations we like.

    • georgecom 15.2

      whoops, the rest of my post got lost here. For me any discussion about values, when linked to income and work and equality, implicitly includes how we manage the economy. it is of course more than the economy, it is also about the norms and mores we expect and impose within society. It's society and the economy, the political economy.

      "Here I’m not talking about whether Labour can change how it juggles the economy and the repressive forces in society within a neoliberal system. I”m talking about the values in New Zealand society, and whether we can imagine something better."

      "What if decided that everyone in New Zealand should have a certain standard of living?"

      We of course did have a situation like that within the living memory of many. We had it for roughly 40 years – 1945 to 1985 – and it was well formed and served us well for 2 decades or more – roughly 1950 to 1973 or so. You can place a number of labels on that period, depending on what frame you apply – the Long Boom, Golden Age of Capitalism, the Fordist era, The historic Class Compromise, era of Corporatism, era of Keynesian economics etc. It was essentially a period where the needs of Labour and the needs of Capital were more or less balanced to yield a time of prosperity and a certain standard of living for all. Or at least, pakeha and some extent maori and particularly males.

      If you chart a history of this development you will see that it was not constructed like one might construct a house or something from lego blocks. There was not a grand plan from the outset that was simply enacted to yield a final result. It was as much the result of contestation of ideas, seizing opportunities, broad visions and intentions and a degree of luck.

      Industrial Relations for example, you can trace some of the strands back to the 1890s and the introduction of awards and the Conciliation & Arbitration Act. That Act more or less formed the basis of the postwar Industrial Awards system. The Labour government of the 1930s added the idea of a 40 hour week and compulsory unionism. Efforts by both Capital and Labour over decades to shape or break the system ultimately concluded with the 1951 water front dispute and the ascendancy of the corporatist wing of the union movement over the radical wing which still retained ideas of claiming the means of production. Within the system was the notion of a 'family wage' premised on a male wage being sufficient to sustain a wife and 2-3 children and a fairly complex set of wage relativities.

      Alongside this was a strong social wage which was consolidated and expanded by the first Labour government. A commitment to full employment, free public education, a public health system and public housing. Means tested social welfare benefits introduced in the 1930s were replaced with a universal family benefit post war which from the late 195os could be 'cashed in' to provide a deposit on a state built home and a state mortgage. More of less a 'wage earners welfare state' as Fred Castles described it.

      Work was seen as the means to prosperity and well being. This is an adage often trotted out by neoliberals over the past 30 years and it was recently expressed by national party mp Louise Upston and reported in a post on this website. What underpinned that economic pathway to ‘well being’ was of course quite different to what Upston and others would construct.

      • Descendant Of Smith 15.2.1

        Yeah the notion of being able to raise a family on one income was strong.

        In the banking industry where I worked people with families to support got an extra allowance, over and above their salary, until their salary reached a certain level. It wasn't left to the state alone to support people who had children.

        As a single person at the time I along with my colleagues had no problem with this at all. It was seen as normal.

        Then rogernomics came along……

      • georgecom 15.2.2

        All of this of course had to be paid for and our economic settings allowed this to be achieved. We were Britains farm and had preferential access for agricultural exports. Full employment and the countrys balance of payments account was achieved through regulation and controls. The provision of consumers goods was subject to import licenses and later tarrifs. The way around both of these was to base manufacturing of consumer goods within new zealand, domestic and foreign capital could establish manufacturing or final assembly plants within NZ and were given exemptions for placing in regional areas where employment was needs. As examples we had vehicle assembly in places like Thames, Wanganui and Nelson and Pye radios and tv's made in Waihi. The government also embarked on a process of post war import substitution industrialisation with the likes of steel, pulp and paper, aluminium and oil refining. some may also remember the difficulties in taking currency in and out of the country.

        • Descendant Of Smith 15.2.2.1

          The point though was that we accepted that employers should pay people supporting families a sufficient amount to support their family. I never once heard a word against this.

          In some ways it was probably also representative of what was seen as a patriarchal responsibility but it is easy enough to supplant that with parent.

          The value of raising a family was seen as important for the countries future.

          Today's attitude is much more selfish and more along the lines of "don't have children if you can't afford them" which ironically, and not surprisingly given the rise of the conservative religious right, is much more representative of a patriarchal plus class system that treats poor women as whores who can't keep their legs closed.

          • georgecom 15.2.2.1.1

            A point of contrast I have spent some time looking at is Cuba. It has it's own political economy, it's own values but their are common strands. Castro's revolution triumphed in the late 1950s and took a handful of years to reveal its socialist nature. The earlier rhetoric of Castro spoke of a return to fairness and democracy, Cuban for the Cubans, left and nationalistic. Nothing much implied a socialist agenda. Not too long after coming to power Castro decided to nationalise various strands of the Cuban economy which of course upset the US and was met with a ban of cuban sugar imports, their biggest export. A wee matter of an failed invasion and other events lead to the 'socialist aspect' of the revolution being revealed and strong ties with the USSR being formed.

            Over the next 30 years the USSR became the main trading partner with Cuba. The soviets poured 10 of billions of rubles into Cuba, sugar and other agricultural products were exchanged for oil, consumer goods and military supplies. The soviets also contributed significantly to the updating of cuban industry and infrastructure. The economic deal was highly favourable and slanted in Cubas favour, at the peak the soviets pay 10 times the global market price for cuban sugar.

            The generous economic largesse of the USSR provided Cuba with the golden decades of the 1970/80s. Standards of living rose and employment guaranteed, social service were expanded even whilst monthly wages remained relatively low by international standards and quite uniform. A doctor would not be paid excessively more than a labourer of factory worker. A strong social wage substituted for relative low wages.

            The project to create a 'socialist new man' , as I understand it, reached it's zenith during this time. The economic largesse of the USSR underpinned living standards and consolidation of values of collectivism and socialismo. This all started to unravel with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the Special Period in a time of peace and a decade or more of tough economic and social conditions for Cuba. Foreign trade and exchange dropped 80% within the space of months and living standards plummeted. The ability of the cuban state to deliver it's social programme was tied intimately to it's economic fortunes.

            • Tiger Mountain 15.2.2.1.1.1

              To this day Cuba exports teachers, doctors and paramedics to other nations, rather than imperialism one way or another like many larger blocs and US Imperialism in particular do. Cuba has an effective medical research sector which is developing its own COVID vaccines, and various leading edge cancer treatments.

              What I take from your comment is Cuban socialism had to subsidised? Which it clearly was by the USSR. What needs to be taken into account is the US blockade and trade embargo. Cuba was strangled from birth by US Imperialism and whatever supporters it could organise. So it was never a genuine environment for Cuban socialism to prosper or otherwise.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                Aye capitalism fears that socialism works and reveals that capitalism has indeed no clothes.

                • RedLogix

                  What is this capitalism that you hate so much? In my view it's much less a political philosophy (although the neo-libs of the 80's attempted fatally to do this) – and rather a set of economic tools that have evolved over time. It's really based on a handful of simple ideas, fractional reserve lending, private property, sanctity of contract, the formalism of double entry bookkeeping, rule of law and the pricing efficiency that arises from competitive markets when applied in the right context.

                  Capitalism never stood on it's own as system, it only ever worked in the context of a wider society. The libertarians and neo-libs who turned this simple set of tools into an ideology were every bit as wrong as the marxists who attempted to turn natural human ideas of reciprocity and solidarity into a totalitarian system.

                  Put quite simply, the system we have at present – while clearly far from what we might imagine as ideal – has nonetheless delivered an unprecedented level of human development and welfare globally. And like all evolved things it's patchwork mix of markets and non-market mechanisms, of innovation and conservation, of personal liberty and collective responses. It’s my sense we should be a lot more cautious about ‘smashing the system’ before we understand what we might replace it with.

                  The challenge I'm thinking about isn't about relitigating the stale battles of the past century. Right now the human race is on the cusp of a demographic tide toward ageing and relatively stable populations. Up to this point in our history we've tried capitalism, socialism and fascism with mixed degrees of success – but crucially it's not at all clear any of these are applicable in this new demography. Re-framing the debate in this light opens up a far more interesting discussion.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    I think we should have a mixed economy with the best aspects of both.

                    The poorer aspects of capitalism are that wealth disproportionately remains and/or moves to the top, that it produces significant excess, builds in obsolescence unnecessarily, and consumes resources exploitatively.

                    Been arguing the demographic changes for a while suggesting that as the baby boomers retire spending will reduce and businesses will notice that. The era of no kids, no mortgage and double income that many of them have enjoyed for the last 30 years are, if not coming to an end, are certainly slowing. The growth off the back of the baby boomers simply won't be there. Have seen very few people talk about housing being freed up as the baby boom population dies off – something I would have thought is more easily forecastable than most things.

                    In NZ capitalism as practiced by the holders of capital is incredibly racist and that is one of New Zealand's big challenges. How to transition the knowledge and skills from an older European workforce to the future Maori work force.

                    Internationally I suspect the biggest challenge will be climate induced dislocation – both internal movement as in Syria as rural crops failed, and external as movement away from war zones and changed climate occurs.

                    The problems with capitalism are not going away any time soon. I see them continuing to bed down – just look at the escalation in house prices that continues.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yup – that's a considered response. Appreciated.

                      Two small points occur to me; one is that capitalism really isn't a white thing, Maori have demonstrated a perfectly good facility with it too.

                      The other is to underline how the ground is shifting under us on multiple fronts. Not just the demographic shift, or even the impacts of climate change. In addition we face a destabilisation of the global rules based trade order as the US pulls back from it's security engagement of the past 70 odd years, and the shifting of supply chains back into configurations that are more localised and defendable.

                      Since the end of WW2 we've lived in a world where virtually every nation could trade with any other – some with more success than others – and everyone had the opportunity to lift their prosperity as a result. What I'm seeing is a reversion to something that looks a lot like the era of empire before the two great wars – siloed trade blocks dominated by a central nation that sets the rules to suit itself. And worse the treatment of competitors as an existential enemy. This is massive step backward in my view.

                      But I still return to my last para above – what might evolve from this position? It won't be just a doubling down on capitalism, socialism or fascism. There needs to be a fresh insight and I'm genuinely curious about this.

                  • Tiger Mountain

                    Is being a tailgunner for capitalist swine everywhere really necessary on the Standard blog given its stated focus? If you support minority ownership and control and private appropriation of socially produced wealth–just say so, please…

                    Capitalism is part of historic development of human society–it is not the end game–though it is getting close with Climate Disaster and tipping points.

              • georgecom

                yup seemingly 3 effective covid vaccines to date, or 2 if you consider Soberana plus as the third dose of Soberana 2, although it was developed apparently as a booster for those who had caught the virus. And yes Cuba sent a large number of medical staff off shore. Hugo Chavez built a health system off the back of this, Cuba got valuable guaranteed oil imports in exchange. That kept the country afloat through the mid 2000's and 2010's. Never replaced the patronage of the Soviets however. Living standards never recovered to pre 1990 levels. So very much Cuban state socialism depended on Soviet largesse. Cuban socialism did prosper, but due to it's integration into the Soviet bloc. Post USSR it has struggled. It did seek to retain vestiges of its social wage, by example the food ration 'libreta' was continued but over time items were gradually whittled away. In more recent years Cuba has focused more attention on liberating some small business/sole traders and freeing up assets for worker run/collective enterprises. It remains to be seen how successful that will be.

  16. Stuart Munro 16

    It's pretty achievable I should think, and our third rate economic shamans have fallen down on the job as usual.

    The 5% unemployment figure is a shibboleth – a number conjured up ad hoc by a bunch of charlatans left unsupervised for too long – so they ceased to check or validate their assertions. They might as easily have chosen 3%, or 10%, and having arbitrarily impoverished a large number of the people they are so massively overpaid to enrich, it really is time they sought more productive employment, commensurate with their skills – dairy farming has plenty of room for entry level workers.

    But I don't see this government doing anything so sensible, unhappily. I have a trade, a post graduate degree, and I'm on the living wage & living in a motor camp. Time was Labour stood for the working people, the strivers. But they cuddled up to the reptilians, swallowed Rogergnomics, and we've been paying the price ever since. Hate speech laws aren’t going to make life better.

    The only reform that would begin to set things right would be to strip the neoliberals out of the public service. They will achieve nothing worthwhile until they do. If they don't understand the consequences of leaving them in place, they need only consider the decline of RNZ – a couple of far-right hacks are wrecking the whole institution.

  17. Michael 17

    It will never happen under a Labour government wedded to neoliberalism. Therefore, I am almost certain it will never happen at all.

  18. RP Mcmurphy 18

    look at the obesity in New Zealands lower socio economic strata and tell me people dont have enough to eat.

    • RedLogix 18.1

      Poverty isn't narrowly defined as 'not enough to eat'. NZ really doesn't have any meaningful level of absolute poverty, except perhaps in a few isolated rural areas or the homeless.

      It's relative poverty that's the challenge we've got. Too many people living hand to mouth, insecure jobs, homes and unstable family lives – people who struggle to stand up and participate in society because the rug keeps getting pulled out from under them.

      Addressing your comment – obesity isn't the result of 'too much food' – it's mostly a question of 'too much bad food' that's cheap and addictive, combined with chronic social stress that causes metabolic imbalances.

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    6 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    7 days ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    7 days ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
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    1 week ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
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    1 week ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
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    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
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    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Additional Resurgence Support Payments to support business
    Businesses affected by higher Alert Levels will be able to apply for further Resurgence Support Payments (RSP). “The Government’s RSP was initially intended as a one-off payment to help businesses with their fixed costs, such as rent. Ministers have agreed to provide additional payments to recognise the effects of an ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • More Dawn Raids scholarships announced
    Details of the ‘Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships’, a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, were released today by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. “These scholarships that are targeted to the Pacific will support the kaupapa of the Dawn Raids’ ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starting in October
      One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Govt boosts Pacific suicide prevention support
    Applications have opened for the Pacific Suicide Prevention Community Fund as the Government acts to boost support amid the COVID delta outbreak. “We know strong and connected families and communities are the most important protective factor against suicide and this $900,000 fund will help to support this work,” Health Minister ...
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    2 weeks ago