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What’s wrong with asking people for their ideas?

Written By: - Date published: 2:26 pm, August 29th, 2018 - 78 comments
Categories: labour, national, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

Labour and New Zealand First Ministers under the first term of the sixth Labour government sitting in the Cabinet office.

There’s been this strange commentary coming from the National Party opposing the Labour-led coalition Labour’s setting up of working groups, inquiries and councils around future change, including big issues such as tackling NZ’s mental health problems, the future of work, important things like holidays and tackling climate change.

Of course, Simon and his Natbots exaggerate the numbers and cost.  Many of the things they include are the normal day to day process of government decision-making.  They are being too cute with this.

I get that this is their political purpose, shallow though it is.  But why is it such a problem asking others for input into ideas?   After all, it is our government regardless of how you voted.

As as an ex politician I know that wisdom doesn’t reside only in the minds of politicians or those you agree with.

In fact it’s arrogant to say otherwise.  The ILO and various other important international actors advise that tripartism is essential for recognising that there is more than one party in the employment relationship.

I’ve been at ILO conferences where our business leaders have strongly supported this model.  It requires that everyone, including business has to step up and engage.

I remember that the biggest change for working people in the 1990’s was the Employment Contracts Act, that has lasting negative changes to this day. The newly elected Natz Government managed to introduce this in just 19 days.

My question to Mr Bridges is when you talk about getting on with governing and criticising a government that thinks good ideas don’t necessarily reside in the minds of politicians, are you saying that a huge number of people’s view don’t count?  Is your model government by fiat?

Because that’s how I see it as I work with yet another group of workers who are facing their breaks being cut from three to two, where their layoff is the second with a possible third in the season and Wairoa workers are still waiting for compensation after their unlawful lockout in 2015.

Darien Fenton

78 comments on “What’s wrong with asking people for their ideas?”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    I agree that the process of democracy ought to be consultative. Crowd-sourcing wisdom (as well as funding) is a suitable trend nowadays.

    Garner on the AM Show this morning was making a thing out of Labour having set up 170 committees so far, quite a productive effort in 18 months. About one every three days. However it’s really the coalition so one could interpret the NZF hand on the handbrake of Labour’s Morris Minor as somewhat lax.

    Guess it hinges on the cost/benefit ratio. True, past Labour performance has been woeful, generally speaking. But we ought to acknowledge the techical possibility that the current govt may break with Labour tradition & force these committees to actually generate suitable outcomes. At which point general astonishment in the public mind would become so widespread that even the media would become muted, too busy marvelling at the innovation. Antique leftists could even be reduced to catatonia…

    • dukeofurl 1.1

      The election was 11 months ago, not 18. It roughly took 6 weeks for all votes counted and new government formed. I would say they have only had 9 months.
      Garner never said a thing about Nationals list of ‘groups’

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1f6wGvy1KkR08oFeNx97VKfOmHSHL-ZehnuACutUvNRo/edit#gid=0
      This is just one Month Dec08
      Review of Customer Guarantees Act to cover vehicles through online tender

      Review of Import health standard for horses

      Taskforce to speed up emergency departments

      Investigation into load bearing timber frames

      Windfarm Board of Inquiry

      Planning for new police

      Overhaul of RMA & Aquaculture

      RMA Technical Advisory Group

      Taxi Industry Safety review

      Criminal Procedure (Simplification) Project

      NCEA standards review

      Review the Sentencing Act as it relates to violent crimes against children

      Ministerial Inquiry into the disclosure of the funding shortfall in ACC’s Non-Earners Account

      select committee to review the Emissions Trading Scheme

      Auditor General initiate an inquiry into the Ministry of Education school bus transport tendering process

      Regulatory review programme to identify and remove inefficient and superfluous regulation

      Review ECE regulations

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        Jeez, where did I get 18 months from?? Must’ve had a senior moment. If anyone tots up a total for the Nats, would be interesting to see if there’s a semblance of parity, eh? Ah, I see Wayne’s already onto it.

      • Darien Fenton 1.1.2

        Great reminder. Thanks

  2. UncookedSelachimorpha 2

    National aren’t big on actually thinking things through.

    Sound bites and dirty politics are more their modus operandi

  3. dukeofurl 3

    Remember this: No I didnt either

    Statement to Parliament
    Hon. John Key Prime Minister
    9 February 2010
    “The Government has had a number of review groups and taskforces looking at these different aspects of the economy.”

    “The Government agrees with the Tax Working Group that New Zealand ..

    “Accordingly, this year the Government will appoint a working group of experts to recommend ways in which we can reduce long-term welfare dependency..”

    “We will be introducing legislation this year to amend the Holidays Act, following the report from the Advisory Group ….

    “We are concerned that in some parts of New Zealand people who have been assessed as being most in need of a state house cannot get one….This year the Government will establish an advisory group to provide us with advice on these issues.

    “This year will also see the establishment of a group to consider constitutional issues, including Maori representation.”

    That was just one speech

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/raw-data-john-keys-speech-118260

  4. Wayne 4

    Any government is going to have some consultation groups. They are a necessary part of good government. Some are very important, others much less so.

    The issue is how many and for what purposes. National has added up around 170 established by this government in 9 months. I wonder how many were established by National in its first 9 months. Presumably some researcher in govt or opposition has got the figures.

    A proper comparison would be useful.

  5. Molly 5

    The other consideration, though, is that it is quite right to expect that any opposition party would have some ideas in mind, and be prepared to go with them after revision and adjustments as necessary when they get into power.

    Labour have shown the ability to do that when it suits – ie. first year tertiary free (flawed), the signing of the re-packaged TPPA. (don’t even get me started on that one…)

    So, from some perspectives it looks like a wooing process, rather than a democratic one. As Monbiot writes in his latest article, It’s my way or the highway, there is a deliberate choice to promote the idea of consultation while not relinquishing any control over the final decision. Worth the read.

    We need to be selective about what we accept as true democratic processes, as opposed to those actions that for all intents and purposes “look” like it, but at the heart of it all, are not.

    Small to medium businesses in New Zealand need consideration and encouragement, and consulting with multi-nationals is not going to help them. I suggest an adoption of a lower tax rate for small to medium businesses, with a move towards lower rates for businesses depending on their scores for a system such as B-Corp where social, environmental and community contributions are measured. That’s an immediate relief for many who are in the business and struggling, and having to meet the same tax rates as bigger companies who have ways of deferring tax that are not available to the smaller organisations.

    Given the technical advances – which seem to have increased pointless paperwork and duplication rather than simplifying it – we could invest in providing a centralised accounts system for all small to medium businesses in NZ to use that streamlines processes, and meets all current NZ guidelines.

    There is a time and place for inclusive consultation, but I am not convinced that is what happens with all these committees. There is also a time and a place for decision making which can then be reviewed, assessed and adjusted or discarded at later stages – eg. removal of benefit sanctions, carbon taxing, investment in mental health, paying family carers, review of GCSB legislation etc.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Small to medium businesses in New Zealand need consideration and encouragement

      Do they? Why? What do you mean by small to medium business?

      Small businesses are nowhere near as efficient as large ones, they usually can’t do research to advance themselves and having lots of small businesses increases inefficiency. In fact, about the only place a small business works is in providing services that are simple such as mowing lawns, hair dressers, dairies and washing dogs. The ones where an increase in size doesn’t have an increase in efficiency.

      Given the technical advances – which seem to have increased pointless paperwork and duplication rather than simplifying it – we could invest in providing a centralised accounts system for all small to medium businesses in NZ to use that streamlines processes, and meets all current NZ guidelines.

      I’ve been thinking that including compulsory full tax accounting for all businesses into the IRD’s new computer system would be of massive benefit to businesses and NZ for some time. But I’m sure that many businesses will complain.

      The first would be the developers of MYOB and Xero who will suddenly find that they don’t have any customers.
      Right after them will be the businesses that have ‘interesting’ ways of not paying tax.

      • Molly 5.1.1

        Small to medium businesses are most likely to provide local benefits to community. They rely on social contracts with community to keep trading, and are often personally invested in the local community and environment. To ensure this, using a framework such as a B-Corp would ensure that those who contribute to NZ in ways other than pure employment numbers, would benefit from lowered taxes.

        Also, larger businesses often distribute profits and benefits across wider regions – often not locally, and commonly, not even within NZ. Those profits are not recycled through NZ communities and businesses. It is more likely that that would occur with smaller businesses – but – once again, you’d use a certification framework to ensure that was the case, business by business before you lowered their taxes.

        “I’ve been thinking that including compulsory full tax accounting for all businesses into the IRD’s new computer system would be of massive benefit to businesses and NZ for some time. But I’m sure that many businesses will complain.”
        I’m sure that would be the case as well. But it could just be a service to opt into, and businesses such as Xero and MYOB, would just have to accommodate the loss, or improve their service and charging.

    • Incognito 5.2

      It sounds like I might have to read Monbiot again, after a long hiatus …

      The only democratic aspect I can see, generally, is when the public/community is invited to submit feedback. Membership of the various groupings is usually restricted to a fairly select group of so-called experts and like-minded people (people who know other people) and almost never, to my knowledge, includes lay-people (one notable exception is ethics committees but they serve a specific purpose and are here to stay and not called into being on a whim). There are reasons for this but it means that these groupings are not democratic by default; they are pre-selected (hand-picked) with no input whatsoever by the people. In addition, they are not elected nor are they accountable as they have no real power.

      • Marcus Morris 5.2.1

        So what do you suggest. All nominees names are published for public scrutiny and then selected on the feed back received.

        As long as those who are invited to go on review committees (and I applaud the concept) have expertise in their field I think the process is highly desirable. Of course the government of the day must make final decisions based the advice it has received. If it makes a decision that is contrary to advice received then the process is grossly flawed. Have we seen evidence f this. As I understand it, all subsequent legislation goes through committee stages when any member of the public is allowed to make submissions.

        • Dennis Frank 5.2.1.1

          Don’t pay them until they produce suitable results. Incentive structure is always the key to effectiveness of group process. The endless talkfest format that the left remain addicted to almost never proves to be effective in the outcome.

          If anyone is genuine about serving the public, they will demonstrate their public-spiritedness by volunteering to help. Reputation for competence will then be earned via successful collaboration. Actions speak louder than words.

          • Marcus Morris 5.2.1.1.1

            We are clearly living on a different planet. If specialists in whatever field are asked to give of their time for the public good of course they should be remunerated. The Government is not a Service Club.

            • Dennis Frank 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep, different planet. One trending towards a sustainable society. Voluntarism replacing greed as the prevalent social ethic. The monetary paradigm is too malignant to be tolerated as sole determinant of social policy and outcomes. The attrition resulting from tolerance of social ills is harming too many folks. If you want to defend social darwinism, ball’s in your court.

        • Incognito 5.2.1.2

          What I’m saying is that the makeup of these groups is important and has consequences for the outcomes from that review group or task force or whatever. That’s such an open door, right?

          The point is/was that there’s little about these groups that’s particularly or especially democratic. And to repeat myself, there’s no democratic component in the actual review process unless it goes out for public consultation and the (final) report gets released into the public domain (and not hidden behind the OIA).

          Some people may argue this but to have lay-people (e.g. ‘outsiders’ and/or non-experts) on these groups could be beneficial in the long run. Not all policy requires going through the formal Parliamentary Legislation process so this raises the question at what stage is the public going to have input? When it’s implemented (AKA forced upon them)? Bit late then, isn’t it?

          I think this is what Molly was saying @ 5, that it is a nice way of packaging it and selling it to the general public as a ‘virtue’. But we don’t have to accept everything at face value, do we?

    • Incognito 5.3

      Have just read that piece by Monbiot and it was good, thank you.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    It’s a fundamental function of the Gnats, as spineless toadies of corporate and foreign capital, to decrease public representation and involvement in every level of governance decision making. So of course they object to Labour consultations – it’s their raison d’etre – and it lets the coalition know that are on the right track.

    The time to worry is if they start agreeing with you.

  7. adam 7

    Woohoo middle class house negro “experts” tell the rest of us folk how to live. Seems it don’t matter much if they Tory muppets or the Liberal muppets – it’s the same show.

  8. Hanswurst 8

    It’s interesting framing, though, isn’t it?

    You’d think that, if you wanted to nail someone for doing bugger all, you’d point out that they were doing bugger all, i. e. in this case passing no legislation, not changing ministry /departmental policies, etc.. National aren’t doing that, though, they’re pointing out that the government is also doing something else (i. e. consultation and formulation of policy etc.) in order to imply that the government is doing bugger all. Beware of sleights of hand and straw men when National are involved.

  9. gsays 9

    Perhaps the 9years in opposition was the time for talking, consulting and listening.
    This would give the impression that the party is ready to hit the ground running.

    However, as pointed out above, this crowd appear to be similar to the last crowd in respect to the committee’s set-up.

    So like all tribalists, the theme will stick regardless of the facts e.g. no good with the economy, not pro business, the tail wagging the dog…..

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Perhaps the 9years in opposition was the time for talking, consulting and listening.
      This would give the impression that the party is ready to hit the ground running.

      Need resources to do that which opposition parties generally don’t have.

      • gsays 9.1.1

        Funny you should say that, perhaps Labour could ask the leader of the opposition how to wrangle a few bucks out of the money tree, he is good at it.

  10. John Fenton 10

    Tories only consult their mates and they do so covertly. Having more open and transparent discussions sounds pretty important to me (I.e. the difficult and very necessary Law & Order hui). Like it or not the three year policy tug of war can only be overcome if a critical mass of public support is reached. Bridges sounds increasingly unhinged and contradicts himself constantly – especially as he calls for fewer enquiries and then whines about wanting an enquiry into discovering his own leaker.

    • Marcus Morris 10.1

      I wonder how you would categorise focus groups. I understand that they can have a huge influence on political decisions. Not saying that either party is better than the other on this one but they are hardly democratic if that is the issue here.

      • Dennis Frank 10.1.1

        I get the impression that focus groups are merely for market research. They are not intended to be a task force or team. Neither Nats nor Labs use psychologists to design for the appropriate group psychodynamics, do they? Consequently, if either govt creates 170 groups, according to the law of averages half of them will accidentally produce a semblance of something useful.

        The important thing is to create an impression in the public mind that something is being done. Doesn’t matter if the group is inconsequential. It’s the contemporary equivalent of the old Ministry of Works roadside gangs, always leaning on shovels or standing around smoking & chatting, motorists cruising past hardly ever seeing work actually being done. Socialism.

        • KJT 10.1.1.1

          Funny that the old MOW managed to build so much while leaning on shovels.
          Maybe the costly and ineffective, private contractors we use now could take some lessons?

          • Dennis Frank 10.1.1.1.1

            Well you’re right, of course, in taking that long-term view. Socialism did originally have a positive impact for quite a while, but I was reminding everyone why the Rogernomes got so much traction at the time: it wasn’t neoliberalism per se that swung it, it was the crippling bureaucracy, culture of laziness etc. The negatives just got too overwhelming to ignore any longer.

            And I totally agree that the privatisation alternative has also alienated folks with its negative consequences. Prebble saving rail, flogging it off to some yank corporation for asset-stripping & running it into the ground being a classic.

            I have no problem with any attempt to reinvent socialism, whether by Corbyn, Ardern, Trudeau or all of the above. It would have to be a radical transform of the antique ideology to succeed (& democracy forces leaders to be timid).

            • KJT 10.1.1.1.1.1

              What culture of laziness?

              Ever tried to contact your power company, lately?

              Or watched a bunch of “Managers” at “work”.

              Not democracy that causes leaders to be timid. 80% of the USA want single payer health care. It is corporate Oligarchy.

              Watch NZ Labour retreating in the face of corporate blackmail.

              • Dennis Frank

                How young are you? Young enough to be unaware of the seventies?? I’ve only had to contact Mercury once in the nine years of my current usage & got a prompt suitable email response. If you’re trying to imply private bureaucracies can be just as diabolical as public bureaucracies, yeah, I’m aware they can. So what?

                • KJT

                  Older than you.

                  That workers having some control of their working day, is now considered laziness, says more about where you are coming from, than, them.

                  We have now replaced public bureaucracies, which did the job, kept employment and didn’t cost that much, with private bureaucracies, which are hugely more expensive, note your power price rises. often don’t do the job, and hemorrhage profits overseas. Simply because some idiots believe the myth that private is always more efficient. Well, it is more efficient at removing wealth from communities. It’s purpose!

                  • Dennis Frank

                    You’re just being silly. I agree workers ought to have some say in their working conditions, but that’s not the point. No excuse for laziness. No excuse for breach of contract.

          • Marcus Morris 10.1.1.1.2

            Couldn’t agree more Kit. The MOW frequently got a bad rap which was totally undeserved. Easy to stereotype though.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    But why is it such a problem asking others for input into ideas?

    Because if the average Joe & Jill in the cheap suburbs can come up with good ideas then it proves that National and their sycophants aren’t special and therefore not needed to govern or be paid huge amounts as CEOs.

    My question to Mr Bridges is when you talk about getting on with governing and criticising a government that thinks good ideas don’t necessarily reside in the minds of politicians, are you saying that a huge number of people’s view don’t count?

    That is exactly what they’re saying.

    Is your model government by fiat?

    National prefer government by the right people which excludes 99% of the population.

  12. Chris T 12

    Nothing wrong with it per se

    Except it makes them look to some like they did no thinking or researching for 9 years in opposition and to add to that like they can’t make decisions as a govt.

    And coalition or not when people think govt they think Labour

    • Kat 12.1

      Except they can and have made decisions, and some big ones in the last nine months. it’s just petty politiking and straw clutching by the opposition. People who have functioning grey matter don’t appear to have a problem with govt seeking specialist advice.

    • Timeforacupoftea 12.2

      To Chris T :

      ( Guest Post : Of course, Simon and his Natbots exaggerate the numbers and cost. Many of the things they include are the normal day to day process of government decision-making. They are being too cute with this ).

      And I say this is all that seems to worry labour.

      It seems to me the job is a bit to taxing for Taxcinda and requires plenty of time off for baby, and why not !!

      • Marcus Morris 12.2.1

        “too taxing” I think you meant to write. A very cynical comment that wouldn’t have required a great deal of thought.

  13. AsleepWhileWalking 13

    26 million for a flag alone is around 15% of the suspiciously high total.

  14. cleangreen 14

    Totally agree with you there Darien, – but here in HB we are having big trouble with labour minister Phil Twyford since November 2017.

    No meeting can be made with him; as we have been seeking a meeting with him, – but he is hidiong behind his staff who are saying he is ‘to busy’.

    But we got a shock when last friday he quietly arrived in Napier and no one was alerted to has arrival withiout contacting us to meet him,as he knew we have been loking for him to meet with us for 10 months, so after that shock I rung wellington today and asked his office today for a meeting with him and they said he was to busy yet again.

    Why am I getting the sinking feeling he is avoidiing our long standing community group that has formerly met every other Minister of Transport during the last 18 yrs except for him then?????

    Why is he hiding from us?

    Our final effort today was to request that our own MP in Napier Stuart Nash to request Phil twyford come back here to meet with our community group about the truck gridlock and noise vibrations and air pollution impacting on our 12000 residents who live alongisde the truck route to the Port of Napier called the ‘HB Expressway’ and it has over 2400 truck trips every day in every 24hrs.

    https://www.pce.parliament.nz/media/pdfs/Hawkes-Bay-Expressway-Noise-and-air-quality-issues-June-2005.pdf

    Are we to much trouble for him????

    So yes we want to have our consultation with this labour lead government alright.

    So far we have meet with Shane Jones and Winston Peters, but no labour MP’s will front here yet in Napier other than Stuart Nash; so far?

    Poor effort labour you get a D minus for your lack of effort.

    • Dennis Frank 14.1

      Huh. Still expecting a Labour politician to be authentic?? 🙄 To be fair, he’s probably over-loaded currently.

      I’d try a letter to the PM complaining that her portfolio allocation has resulted in Twyford being unable to fulfill his ministerial responsibilities. Cite all the evidence you’ve posted here to prove you’re right. Keep it as succinct as possible – if it doesn’t all fit on a single page keep editing the text till it does. Nobody willingly reads more than a page nowadays.

      You’re prone to spelling mistakes so get someone who isn’t to proof-read it before you send it! Is there a joint transport minister in this govt? If not, suggest she create one and despatch that person to meet with your folks as their first job. Good luck!

      • dukeofurl 14.1.1

        part of the issue seems to be thinking ‘talking to a minister’ will solve your problems.
        Ministers look only at policy or the ‘big picture’. Thats why all your previous meetings have gone nowhere.

        The group you need to present your case to is the Regional Land Transport Body, who are the actual decision makers in this instance.
        https://www.hbrc.govt.nz/our-council/council-committees/regional-transport-committee/
        The reality is the myraid of smaller projects to do is covered regionally not ‘by the Minister’. You sound very organised and a capable advocate for the residents so this is the way to go and ignore just trying to button hole some one at the ministerial level.

        Just some facts about Napiers port
        ‘The port is the North Island’s second largest export port by volume at 3.2 million tonnes in 2014, and New Zealand’s fourth largest container terminal at 204,000 containers.’

        You cant turn back the clock but some remedial factors may help provide noise control.

    • Dennis Frank 14.2

      Just drawing your attention to Dukeofurl’s response (looks like it accidentally went to me) @ 14.1.1 if you haven’t already noticed…

  15. Darien Fenton 15

    The 172 claimed groups are overhyped numbers. As I said much of it is normal government business. And thanks for the reminder of the Key government’s work in just one month in 2008. It’s curious that when a decision like the oil and gas change (with a huge lead in) the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the lack of consultation is heard from the rooftops. But then consultation and working groups “create uncertainty” according to Business.

    Look don’t get me wrong. I would rather we just drive on home the stuff I want to see change for workers but I also get that we have to build consensus or at least public support for the kind of big change we need or it won’t last beyond an electoral cycle.

    The line about doing nothing in opposition is crap. Labour had skimpy resources in the last parliament ; remember their parliamentary finances are based on how many MPs there are. Their research unit was basically gutted after the awful 2014 election result. Oppositions don’t have access to government departments and advice but I know that MPs work hard to come up with ideas and research the issues as well as they can; after all what else is policy? The difference is of course that National has access to big business resources ; hence my reference to the Employment Contracts Act, where the Employers Fed wrote the legislation.

    in the end, policy, as we all know can only be implemented with votes. Labour doesn’t have them without NZ First and the Greens.

  16. Ad 16

    None of these groups have any relation to each other.

    None of them have anything resembling a coherent direction for the country.

    They are responding to a series of poorly described state managerial problems.
    None of their answers are binding upon the government, so it’s democratically fake.

    The country deserves more than this from a Labour-led government.

    • Blazer 16.1

      Are you advocating for straight referenda instead of advisory/working groups?

      • cleangreen 16.1.1

        Thanks for that question Blazer,

        Blazer 16.1
        30 August 2018 at 9:03 am
        “Are you advocating for straight referenda instead of advisory/working groups?”

        Our group is the most senior Communitry NGO transportation ‘advocate group in HB and we have recognition with many agencies for our untiring public advocacy role of volunteers that submits verbal/written submissions to all government/local and agencies for matters relating to a better transport system but so far this new Labour laed government now not even approached our NGO offereing us a spot around that table of “advisory/working groups”, so we are now concerned that this government are not acting in the promised “open and inclusive, and transperant manner they ran their election campiagn on.

        We remain condfussed and bewildered that they are not being “inclusive”and giving us all a vioce thay promised us before the election.

        Dennis Frank offerd some suggestiomns to send a copy of our lack of “inclussion” in this Labour Government policy imput and we have sent 25 emails to Jacinda Ardern since november so she is keenly aware we need to doscuss transport related issues we laid out in our post above at; “cleangreen” 14
        29 August 2018 at 8:24 pm .

        If Labout want to be successful for 2020 election; – they need to skill up their ‘ministers and support staff’ to be more inclussive and supportive to meet with the groundswell of communities around the country such as our community NGO a purely volunteer organisation for the good of the community and treat us all with that respect it deserves and not just ignore us as to be a successful Government you need to take the people with you.

        We hope Darrien Fenton sends our suggestions spelled out above to Jacinda and Phil Twyford also at least for a start since she is respected among the cabinet of Labour as a past labour MP.

        Our founding NGO Goup was established in Napier as an incorporated society in December 2001 and is called Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre and is well and alive today.

        Labour/NZ First Greens all recieve weekly emails on issues and know all our contact details so theuy need to contact us and meet with us as soon as they are able.

        • Dennis Frank 16.1.1.1

          Well, there’s a big difference between 25 emails & a written letter. Do you have any proof Jacinda did actually read your emails? Sending a written letter is still free – no stamp required. The recipient can put it in her bag to take home & read it at her leisure, to absorb the details. Even if her secretary does pass her the emails, how much of those will stick in the mind of a busy PM?

          Just think how few people still send personal letters. Email is normal, so she must get a deluge of those every day. Being old-fashioned and sending a personal letter could secure you a real advantage. I did it, to get the waka-jumping bill to the second reading – explained the electoral contract as an integral part of our democracy, did it in a single page. Appealing to the intelligence of the reader on a common-interest basis is always likely to work well.

          • cleangreen 16.1.1.1.1

            Hi Dennis.

            We have been constantly advised by the minsters Parliamentary staff after phoning them that the Ministers both recieve and read all emails.

            if you have doubts please advise us as it may be helpful here?

            After your last advice, we have already sent my comments this blog site to the PM and ministers this morning so we will recheck with jacinda’s office to see if she reveiws ours at home.

            I have suggested that Darrien exculate our issue of a lack of ‘inclusin with some ministers expecially phil Twyford as he is truly not responding to our repeated request to meet with him here as all other transport ministers have dione since 2000 and even Steven joyce met with our Committee at national PM Chis tremain’s office in march 2011. So I am at a loss as to why this minister will not meet us now.

            Our First meeting in Napier was with Labour’s ‘fifth’ Government under Helen Clark, who had then as Minister of Transport Mark Gosche then later with Paul Swain and later with Pete Hodgson who was our best minister.

            Maybe you are right Phil Twyford being an aucklander is to busy to deal with the provinces.

            Mark Gosche 10 December 1999 – 27 July 2002
            Paul Swain 15 August 2002 – 26 February 2004
            Pete Hodgson 26 February 2004 – 19 October 2005

            • Dennis Frank 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Obviously you are being diligent & I share your scepticism re Labour. There probably are good Labour MPs though so it may just be a matter of eventually making the right connection – either using local MPs as liaison or any list MP with a local connection. Many undoubtedly are busy enough already so using the old logic that the squeaky wheel gets the oil could help move you up the queue.

              Another possibility is framing your concerns as local government & regional development (rather than transport specifically), and giving Shane Jones a try. If you included a summary of how your ngo has tried & failed to get help from Labour he may see advantage to NZF in helping you.

              • cleangreen

                Thanks again dennis,

                Yes we have met with Winston and Shane already as they are both involved with restoring regional rail.

                They are also on our MP curculation roster list and aware of the truck gridlock in napier todaty also.

                NZ First have an excellent rail policy called “Rail of national Importance” (RONI) it is the best of all parties transport policy.

                we could do very well adopting the NZ First transport policies.

                • dukeofurl

                  Just repeating what I said earlier which may have added after someone elses comment. Hope it helps.

                  “The group you need to present your case to is the Regional Land Transport Body, who are the actual decision makers in this instance.
                  https://www.hbrc.govt.nz/our-council/council-committees/regional-transport-committee/
                  The reality is the myraid of smaller projects to do is covered regionally not ‘by the Minister’. You sound very organised and a capable advocate for the residents so this is the way to go and ignore just trying to button hole some one at the ministerial level.

                  • cleangreen

                    Dukeofoul,- Done this already.
                    “The group you need to present your case to is the Regional Land Transport Body, who are the actual decision makers in this instance.”

                    Thanks for that;

                    Yes we are submitting to the HBRC Land transport meeting next friday at 1020am thanks;

                    We aready do this; – but sadly the government only sits back and sadly often lets the usless NZTA managers spout their rubbish as they are only minions of Government poiicy, and while under national were told to cut expensses we were told.

                    We are now moving for ‘inclussion’ into our NGO now asking to being part of the “HB regional Land transport comittee” now as “community representatives” to give the public input to planning on this committee as we need ‘buy-in’ so the community has some say in how transport is now planed.

                    Remember we were promised “inclusion” by the new government.

                    “now lets do this”

    • veutoviper 16.2

      Bald blanket statements without any backing for them, Ad.

      Where is your proof (citations, links etc) or argument for stating:

      – “None of these groups have any relation to each other.”

      – “None of them have anything resembling a coherent direction for the country.”

      – “They are responding to a series of poorly described state managerial problems.”

      • AB 16.2.1

        Although Ad has deliberately phrased his comments to be provocative, I think he has a point.
        I would like some sense of underlying principles that determine an acceptable range of outcomes for these investigations – otherwise they are susceptible to being watered down and also to interest group capture.
        I get an alarming sense that part of the motivation behind these investigations is to not offend anyone – that somehow consensus-based, technocratic tinkering with the status quo will get us out of our current predicaments. If you have been around long enough to have a true sense of human venality, then then you know that there is no way out without seriously pissing off some powerful, wealthy people.

    • Darien Fenton 16.3

      How do you know that? I think you just made that up. Would you prefer just to be told how these problems (and there are many) should be solved? Working people get that every day in the workplace, where the boss knows best and they are never asked their opinion. Im over it.

    • Incognito 16.4

      I agree with this to a point …

      It’s up to the central Government (often together with local/regional government) to join and pull it all together but all I can see is a highly fragmented disjointed approach.

      To be fair, they are trying but they’re not bold enough and it will be more of the same and BAU.

    • KJT 16.5

      Only in your mind.

      It is a huge task repairing the effect of National’s vandalism.

  17. cleangreen 17

    Dennis,

    I called the prime ministers office just now and asked if Jacinda would recieve our email and read/review/consider our issues and she said she was sure jacinda does get and read mostly all of them.

    So then asked her to ensure that a copy is printed to her and a copy placed in a letter and given to her presonally and marked urgent!!!!

    So we shall see where that goes (as Jacinda’s PA was a pleasant caring individual)

    We still have faith in humanity here.

    Hope they dont make a fool out of me.

    • Dennis Frank 17.1

      Good try. You ought to get an acknowledgement of her getting your letter (although they are signed by private secretary). Let’s hope it works, but expect a delayed substantive response (if any) due to the neglect of infrastructure by National nationwide causing a lot a catching up necessary in various places…

  18. cleangreen 18

    Dennis Frank was right when he advised me to be careful when relying on ‘Ministerial staffing duties;’ over ensuring that the minister wouild recieve every email sent by any community member for consideration.

    We see today that the Government is in trouble with “Ministerial staffing issues” again as I seemed to be at Phil Twyford’s Ministerial office in Wellington as when I was trying to get clarity out of Twyford’s staff member ‘she slamed the phone down and cut me off before the discussion ended, and now we want an enquiry into why this ‘Ministerial staffer felt it was appropproate that she can terminate a phone call before answering questions from a constituent public member.

    Just as a Labour Minister is allegedgly charged with puishing a staffing member out of an office in Parlaiment perhaps we need to review the actions and performance of the “ministerial staff” and have the Minister of Internal affairs to open an enquiry into “Ministerial services” also now??????.

    Dennis Frank 16.1.1.1
    30 August 2018 at 10:00 am
    Well, there’s a big difference between 25 emails & a written letter. Do you have any proof Jacinda did actually read your emails? Sending a written letter is still free – no stamp required. The recipient can put it in her bag to take home & read it at her leisure, to absorb the details. Even if her secretary does pass her the emails, how much of those will stick in the mind of a busy PM?

  19. cleangreen 19

    This is the current issue with ‘Ministerial services’ botch-up again;

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/365337/labour-mp-accused-of-manhandling-press-secretary

    We see today that the Government is in trouble with “Ministerial staffing issues” again as I seemed to be at Phil Twyford’s Ministerial office in Wellington as when I was trying to get clarity out of Twyford’s staff member ‘she slamed the phone down and cut me off before the discussion ended, and now we want an enquiry into why this ‘Ministerial staffer felt it was appropproate that she can terminate a phone call before answering questions from a constituent public member.

    Just as a Labour Minister is allegedgly charged with puishing a staffing member out of an office in Parlaiment perhaps we need to review the actions and performance of the “ministerial staff” and have the Minister of Internal affairs to open an enquiry into “Ministerial services” also now??????.

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  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago