web analytics

Whitcoulls

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, February 20th, 2011 - 30 comments
Categories: books, business, unemployment - Tags: ,

Whitcoulls (or its earlier incarnation Whitcombe & Tombs) has been here since forever. I don’t know how many hours I spent browsing books in their shops as a youngster, or how many Christmas and birthday presents I brought there – not to mention the school stationary, art supplies, and all the rest. There’s lots of competition these days, maybe there always was, but from way back I remember Whitcoulls / W&T as the only game in town.

So it’s particularly sad for me, and I’m guessing for others of my generation, to watch the current wreck of “one of New Zealand’s most famous and enduring retail chains”. Administrators have been called in to take over management, there is to be an “urgent assessment” of the company’s financial status, closures (and of course staff losses) are likely. Holders of Whitcoulls vouchers are being advised to redeem them quickly – but with extra conditions that are causing a lot of ill feeling.

What went wrong? I don’t know the details, but I note that a staff union claims that this is “yet another example of an iconic New Zealand company being bought out and loaded up with debt”. Obviously there has been increased competition in general, but in particular the emergence of Amazon and the whole new category of e-books is changing the way that we buy, distribute and consume the written word. Finally, our currently stalled, possibly in recession economy, was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Let’s hope that Whitcoulls can still be saved. If not it will be a sorry end. Not good news for National, it will be hard to convince the punters that all is well in election year if an institution like Whitcoulls can go under. Not good news for workers and families in NZ, if hundreds more of them lose their livelhood.

30 comments on “Whitcoulls”

  1. Pilgrim 1

    Whitcoulls fall started when the Brierly group bought them.
    We had to make shelf space available for a range of v.poor quality toys at the expense of books.
    That’s when the accountants started runing the fir rather than book people.

    • andy (the other one) 1.1

      Whitcoulls has a few issues, the first and most major was too much debt and falling revenues in a recession and very competitive market. Red group made the classic error of buying an overvalued asset that they thought was ‘Cheap’ and then levering up the debt and taking the cash for other ventures. Saddling the company with high cost debt repayments in which a small drop in revenue (recession) does not give them enough wiggle room to keep heads above water. So they have to cut, cut, cut which makes the experience worse and revenues fall further.

      Second, the purchase of Borders in a falling market. They started to compete with themselves in certain areas and sometimes on the same street. At the Same time trying to compete with all others in market.

      Thirdly, Whitcoulls was neither a book store or stationary store. They sucked at both. I think the online book stores did take a chunk of revenue, but most people I know like the tactile experience of books and nooks, kindles and ipads suck to read in bed as they really hurt your head when you fall asleep and it hits you on the nose.

      But if your not delivering a coherent message to customers they will go elsewhere. Me for instance i go to Borders because they do books only and warehouse stationery because they do stationery well (post restructure). My example is the Whitcoulls at St Lukes Westfield, narrow opening very busy, cramped magazine rack, higgledy piggledy book shelf layout with lots of books but nothing to read. The stationary section looks a collision of a barbie doll collection and art supplies. Then you have to try and pay in a sheep drafting type operation (down the chute, left or right, pay here), while not getting your ankles smashed by Pushchair SUV’s navigating the narrow isles and bargain bins.

      Its painful to say but going to Whitcoulls in St Lukes makes going supermarket shopping almost a pleasant experience.

      • just saying 1.1.1

        I agree the extreme commercialisation, for want of a better term, of the layout of the shops, was an issue (amongst others). Not being able to get out of the store until you have completed a maze designed to expose you to more merchandise, may work for supermarkets (you’re less likely to be trying to buy one just one or two items anyway). But it doesn’t seem to have occured to these marketing boffins that the extra and unnecesary 5-10 minutes is spent by most feeling pissed off and frustrated. And even if you do happen to pick up something else during the search to find what you went in for, or the tills, or how to get out, you’re still likely to be vowing to avoid the place in the future, for wasting your time and pissing you off.

      • NickS 1.1.2

        Yeah, I pretty much only go to the university book store, Borders and Scorpio books when I’m after a book I can’t find on trademe. Whitcoull’s selection is pretty much pulp and nothing else and their non-fiction section is utter crud, even compared to Paper Plus’s.

      • Angus & Roberston and Borders in Australia are both in precisely the same position (owned by Red Group and in receivership. Even down to the deal on vouchers) so I doubt the NZ economy played much of a role, if any.

        And there’s a lot said here and elsewhere about e-books, the changing market etc. But I think the factors andy has identified above are perhaps more relevant, at least at this stage of the evolution of printed matter. I use iPads (though I refuse to buy one till they have a USB port into which I can plug my wireless modem, and thus use it truly anywhere) and have looked at Kindle and other e-book readers. But I simply don’t like them, despite being a geek for every other gadget.

        I’m staying with a professor friend at present who has an iPad, a Mac with a huge screen, a laptop… and a library. And it’s to his beloved books he turns for relaxation and pleasure. I can see the non-fiction market taking a hammering solely due to technology, but fiction, I’m not so sure.

        I think it’s more due to the factors andy has identified… the dilution of book stores into books / stationery / DVDs / CDs, when there are perfectly good specialists in those other things. The consequent dimunition of shelf space and the marketer’s insistence that it be devoted to “best sellers”. And (warning: I’m about to sound snobbish and elitist) the fact that these changes flooded the stores with people whose interest wasn’t quality fiction but getting a colouring in book to keep junior in the pram busy (the same pram you get absent-mindedly rammed into your ankles).

        I frequent a few second hand bookshops. One (Elizabeth’s) is even a mini-chain, with three stores in Perth and some in NSW (and online ordering, so bookmark it folks!). Others are stand-alones. One is miles from the city, in a small village surrounded by craft shops and coffee lounges, so hardly an ideal retailing site.

        But, if the number of customers inside when I visit is any indicator, they’re doing well. Of course they have lower overheads etc. And lower prices.

        But fundamentally I think they’ll survive because they’re offering what a small but loyal section of the market wants – a good selection of (mainly) quality literature, in a form that’s durable, portable, tactile and, above all, familiar.

        At least until some markets a flexible screen device that fits in your pocket… and even then…

  2. ianmac 2

    Witcombe & Tombs Christchurch had a second hand book table and my Dad would often bring me home a book from that table. Magic. Now a bit sad but……………………

  3. higherstandard 3

    Hmmmmmm buy a book from Whitcoulls at $65 or from the book depository at $30 delivered to my door.

    Dying business model.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    They simply can’t compete with online bookstores, that even delivering from around the world are often 1/2 the price. I guess the high NZ $ has a lot to do with that, though.

    I needed some technical books for work – $200 from Amazon including shipping, or $450 from fishpond.

    captcha: lesson

    • lprent 4.1

      Yeah I had noticed that as well. Never anything in the book stores I wanted. Online was much better. It was a lot cheaper and almost as fast to get books from the US or UK.

      Now I have stopped all of that. If I cannot get a book as a ePub (screw the DRM crap – my tech library has to be accessible from all of my machines and without trying those horrible movement potocols) then I keep looking for the next best until I find it on ePub format. ePub is a standard long life format that runs on all systems and delivers the book within seconds of purchase. Drop into calibre on the server and then pull to whatever device I am using.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    lprent – it looks like the auto numbering is screwed up here. My post above and Pilgrims are both #3, and my one has appeared above his. Maybe his was moved over from open mic or something? I’m expecting this post to be #4.

    Edit: Yep, this one become #4 and Pilgrim’s dropped down and became #4 also.
    Edit2: Yep, rob posted in open mic saying he moved Pilgrim’s post.

    • lprent 5.1

      I will have a peek at it..

      Updated: Ok – fixed at the database by removing its parent comment.

      Ummm….. Rather than fixing the move system to correct this type of issue, maybe I can fix the presentation in the theme.

  6. Ed 6

    Consensus seems to be that the position in New Zealand was not as dire as in Australia. The problem is largely one of debt – arising from repeated sales and management by ‘financial experts’ looking for short term gain. Yes there is a problem with low sales levels, but they are thought to arise mainly from our recession (yes Bill English confirmed on radio recently that we are in the middle of a recession – and for once I believe him) than to sales of ebooks, although that is a factor for all booksellers.

    Hopefully some of the stores will be sold to New Zealand operators, but in Wellington for example I suspect that there is not a large enough market for both Whitcoulls and Borders to survive.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Peeps are spending more time reading online material rather than books.

      • There’s still a lot of debate round that CV.

        [Link is to a NY Times set of articles debating e-books and related topics by an English professor, an author, a professor of child development, a computer scientist and a professor of informatics. Well worth a read].

        While they’re talking more of quality than quantity, my first inclination upon reading your comment was to agree. I love books, yet I spend far more time in front of a computer. But then I wondered how much of that time replaced the time I give (or gave) to books. The answer: none.

        I read online what I would once have read in printed form, certainly. But that material would have been research reports, policy papers, letters, faxes, even (in the mists of time somwhere) telexes. Not books.

        So while I agree with the first half of your sentence, I wonder whether the “rather than books” part is true?

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          I agree with your point that there is doubt. People may indeed be stealing time from a lot of different activities to spend it online. I suppose that everything from time in the gym to time watching TV might be curtailed.

  7. Kevin Welsh 7

    We have recently had the Dymocks book store close in Napier and now it looks like Whitcoulls will be gone too. Dymocks was great because it was almost entirely books and not all the other crap you find in book stores today. It had a great New Zealand section.

    I see that once again the parent company was backed by an equity group. These equity groups (in actuality, someone else’s retirement savings), have been front and center at a number of retail and manufacturing debacles in the last few years.

    Another one which is just hanging on by the skin of its teeth is Gresham Private Equity (Australian) who stumped up the cash to buy Pacific Print Group, which was a group of New Zealand printing companies put together in the min 2000’s, and turned into GEON. The plan was to amalgamate, rationalise an flick off in an IPO. Unfortunately the GFC happened and then Gresham had to start running a printing group which it has clearly not ben equipped to do. The red ink has been flowing like a river and I suspect March 31st will be a day of reckoning. There are thousands of jobs at stake in New Zealand and Australia and a mountain of debt.

    GEON group, along with Bluestar and PMP (all backed by private equity), through their own greed have raped and pillaged their way through the New Zealand and Australian printing industry in the last few years and completely destroyed what was a vibrant, innovative and profitable business for hundreds of companies.

    If you went to a bank today and said you were starting a printing company, you would probably still hear them laughing when you got home.

    I know this has diverged from the original Whitcoulls post, but it just shows that they are not an isolated example. It would be interesting to know just how many national chains are backed by private equity.

    captcha: reasons – yes indeed.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I’m aware that you can get stuff printed in China (and Hong Kong) at ridiculously cheap prices. Including freight. Just send them the proof from your graphic artist and your other specifications. And there’s every chance you’ll receive the job faster than from your local printers.

      • Kevin Welsh 7.1.1

        If it was small enough to FedEx, maybe. But then you would only go to China for economies of scale and when you are talking pallet sized print runs, NZ will still be a quicker turnaround time. The Chinese have really got their shit sorted these days with quality though.

        I used a Chinese printer around 5 years ago for a niche project when I was production manager at an advertising agency and it was a bloody nightmare. It had to be printed three times before it was right. These days, the quality is the same as you would get in New Zealand.

  8. Anthony C 8

    I think it has more to do that the recession than online sellers.

    People have less money and books are one of the first things to go.

  9. Sookie 9

    Whitcoulls range is crap, and their books cost double the price of Mighty Ape and Fishpond, the local net-based outlets, which are getting better and better these days. And I don’t believe the overheads justify charging 40 bucks for a new book, instead of 20 something. Unless they can offer a broad range, slightly cheaper prices and a pleasant browsing experience, like say University Bookshop in Dunedin, booksellers are doomed. Which is sad, because we don’t need more empty space on the High St.

    • QoT 9.1

      Don’t forget Goodbooks! Consistently cheaper, no delivery fee, and you get a warm middle-class-charity buzz along with your purchase.

  10. infused 10

    Because there stuff is so expensive. Why shop there when Warehouse stationary is like 1/2 the price? Books from Amazon.com. NZ hardly has any of the books I want and/or take ages to actually get them…

    They just didn’t change with the times. Simple as that.

  11. kultur 11

    So – was it the natural outcome of the market and its intelligent benevolent energies and drivers that caused this – or was it that the new type of acquisition and Management model (under the new neo liberal thinking) is just too darned limited to really adapt to the requirements of living, breathing human beings? After all Theresa Gattung singlehandedly with a little help from Rod Deane, set Telecom up to fail (now – is that this highly intelligent set of incredible market forces at play again – or just bad management – again – who dont understand what really drives human beings etc?). Maybe – just maybe – the left wing / socialist / holistic approach might have some business and bottom line benefits? Or are we doomed to get blakes horror vision of “dark satanic mills” – guess not much chance of that in NZ – we got rid of our potential to manufacture real physical valuable things – its all ex-china now boys and girls. The “dark satanic mills” here in this country – will be metaphorical – but still destructive to people, families and our kiwi culture and future.

    Whitcoulls went from being a no-barriers interesting destination – to being a cattle pen with poor merchandising and promotion and staff training and development – and very poor identification of what it actually did (in the end). And it wont be the last – the new type of John Key style ride into dodge – do the deal pardners – get it “cheap” create “efficiencies” – take out what isnt nailed down – is sort of perhaps/maybe going to be seen in such other biggies like the Warehouse for instance. Remember Qantas NZ – some of NZs greatest neo-liberal freemarketeers and captains of industry were involved in running that …. result … titsup bigtime.

    Its all just my opinion – i hope im not right – but we are on a repeating revolving wheel and we need to learn how to get off it – at least thats what i think anyway. What seems to happen is that this nonsense starts to accelerate in tough times – and the Key Mafia will only say _ “but its the global recession” – pull the other tit johnny boy – where are your old employers now … thought of putting your CV out again prior to November big guy.

  12. Tanz 12

    I worked for Whitcoulls back in the days when Graeme Hart owned the chain, and in the original Queen Street, Auckland, store. They were great to work for then, talk about the good old days. Lots of events were put on for the staff and the management really cared about us. Fun times, good times and a very cool shop. The books were expensive then too, but people seemed to have more money for jam, and the atmosphere in general was lighter. Funny that. Good memories to have, anyway.

  13. Jum 13

    Call me bitter if you like, but having seen the huge number of people supporting John Key who intends to sell the rest of our assets (has already legislated to do so, so there’s no delay come 2012) then those people losing their jobs may rue the day they still support Key.

    Given Brierley who was involved with Whitcouls, and is known as a corporate raider, meaning someone who stacks debt on to businesses and actively seeks to downgrade or liquidate them, is a ‘Sir’ and the people of NZ love a knighthood, no matter what damage they may have done to achieve said knighthood, I really don’t care.

    • Tanz 13.1

      It’s nice to have the Knighthoods back, but I agree, quite often they are given out far too easily and for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps the title of ‘prime minister’is somewhat overrated, with a free ride of easy credit attached to the role. Cynical perhaps, but it gives otherwise ordinary people such prestige, but is it always warranted?

      • Pilgrim 13.1.1

        To be fair knighthoods have been awarded for the “wrong” reasons ever since they stopped giving them for belting Frenchmen(or in the case of my family,Englishmen) over the head with large lengths of sharp iron.
        I do however feel nauseous every time I hear “Sir Ron” or “Sir Roger”.
        A more appropriate reward for these men would have been penal servitude.

  14. iniquity 14

    This is a failed private equity buyout.

    A few years back before the crash, everyone was looking for better returns on loans, which led people that make loans to make riskier and riskier loans. We all know this..or should.

    The part private equity pays is that there were studies/papers/whatever produced in the last couple of decades that pointed out that how your company was financed made no difference to how profitable it was.

    That is, if your company had an enormous mortgage lumped on it, or it was funded by a generous benefactor, or it simply lived off its yearly earnings, it made no difference to the likelihood said company would thrive.

    Private equity was the result of both factors, and also the (ech!) tipping point.

    Basically Private equity firms would buy companies -BankUnited, Whitcoulls, Yellow, US Department stores and various other “low hanging fruit”. These were companies that generally paid for themselves with their own earnings- “traditional” type businesses that had good cashflow.

    The idea was that the private equity frim could buy them, like a “fixer upper” house, with an enormously expensive loan.

    Loans were getting cheaper year by year, so they could refinance those loans to lower and lower interest rates, while making efficiencies in the businesses they bought.

    Debt, until the crash, was cheap, and getting cheape, while outlets for near interest-free loans were getting fewer and fewer.

    After about 5 years, they would be able to float or sell the business to pay off the loan and pocket the cash that was left over.

    For a simile try:

    It was like going around retirees with a comfortable income, and low expenses, and buying their houses at credit-card rates. The hope being that Myrtle and Bert’s house, could be made a bit more attractive to a buyer in five year’s time. You’d smarten things up the way the fuddy-duddys couldn’t and the mortgage you took out would be gone by lunchtime.

    So what went wrong?

    First, as a lot of these businesses were “traditional” they were diversifying, or gradually losing income in markets they dominated. The exisiting owners knew this, and were content to keep fighting for their piece of the pie as long as they could, but cashflow was likely to go down rather than up.

    Second, most “traditional” businesses had already made the majority of their efficiencies. They had already been corporate raided, and managed to have close to the best efficiency they could manage.

    Thirdly, as businesses (for, example Whitcoulls) were in rapidly changing markets, they often needed a lot of investment to keep their business moving with the Web, ebooks, globalisation, multiethnic customers etc. The private equity firms could not and could not afford to move these businesses to where they would need to be. Especially if it meant giving up the five-year plan.

    Finally, and most importantly, the debt got really, really expensive. No one wanted to refinance their loans. Interest rates went up as finance got trikier and trickier. The people buying “traditional” products got poorer and poorer. “Traditional” businesses had staff that were hard to replace cheaply.

    The refinancing on more favourable terms didn’t happen. Nor did the selloff or float.

    Eventually, the private equity, the banks that loaned the money to them,and the businesses they “owned” had to take a massive haircut.

    And that, folks, is what happened to Whitcoulls. For shame.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Week That Was: Another week of major progress
    This week we moved into the second half of 2020 - and our Government delivered another week of big changes and major progress for New Zealanders. Read below for a wrap of the key things moments from the week - from extending paid parental leave, to making major investments in ...
    2 days ago
  • Green Party opposes RMA fast-track bill that cut corners on environmental safeguards and public cons...
    The Green Party has opposed the COVID-19 Recovery Fast-track Consenting Bill which shortcuts normal consenting processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), reduces public participation and narrows environmental considerations. ...
    2 days ago
  • Site of new freight hub revealed
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development A regional freight hub for the lower North Island will be built just northeast of Palmerston North, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Government is investing $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to designate and buy land and design ...
    3 days ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    3 days ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    3 days ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    3 days ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    4 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    4 days ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    5 days ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    5 days ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    5 days ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    7 days ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    1 week ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    1 week ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    1 week ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    1 week ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    1 week ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    1 week ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    1 week ago
  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters has today welcomed the Racing Industry Bill passing its third reading, creating the legislative framework for revitalising the racing industry while limiting the need for future government intervention. “For too long our domestic racing industry has ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party seek amendment to ensure all prisoners can vote
    The Green Party has today put forward an amendment to the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill to ensure all people in prisons can vote in general elections. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party welcomes new approach to delivering light rail
    The Green Party welcomes the decision to not proceed with Public Public Investment (PPI) delivery of Auckland’s light rail project and to instead run the process through the public service. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes PGF investment in Wairarapa Water
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First List MP Hon Ron Mark welcomes the announcement of Provincial Growth Funding investment of $1.4 million to help secure the Wairarapa’s water supply. The funding boost will allow the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson selected as candidate for Taieri
    New Zealand First list MP Mark Patterson has been selected to represent the party in the newly formed Taieri electorate at the upcoming election. Mr Patterson, his wife Jude and two daughters farm sheep and beef at Lawrence and Waitahuna. He previously stood in the Clutha-Southland electorate however boundary changes ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground-breaking on NZ Post depot
    Hon Shane Jones, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises A new ‘super depot’ to be built for NZ Post in Wellington will create around 350 jobs during construction, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises Shane Jones says. Shane Jones today attended a ground-breaking and blessing ceremony for the parcel-processing depot ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Putting our economic plan into action
    Our strong economic management prior to COVID-19 - with surpluses, low debt and near-record-low unemployment - put us in a good position to weather the impact of the virus and start to rebuild our economy much earlier than many other countries. Now we're putting our plan to recover and rebuild ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fleeing drivers hit new record-high yet again
    Darroch Ball MP, New Zealand First Spokesperson for Law and Order Recently released Police fleeing driver statistics have shown yet another increase in incidents with another record-high in the latest quarter. “This new quarterly record-high is the latest in a string of record-high numbers since 2014.  The data shows incidents ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fletcher Tabuteau selected as candidate for Rotorua
    New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau is pleased to be confirmed today as the party’s candidate for the Rotorua electorate. Speaking at the Rotorua AGM for New Zealand First, Mr Tabuteau said this is an election that is incredibly important for the people of Rotorua. “The founding principles of New ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Government office to address Rainbow issues following Human Rights Commission report
    The Human Rights Commission’s PRISM report on the issues impacting people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) provides an excellent programme of work for future governments to follow, say the Greens. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters continues push for trans-Tasman travel as military take control of operations
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the trans-Tasman bubble had not been jeopardised after a border botch-up resulted in New Zealand having two active cases of COVID-19. On Friday, Mr Peters told RNZ's Morning Report he had heard from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that borders for trans-Tasman travel would open by ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters on the Government’s Covid-19 border blunder
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said today he was pleased the army was now running the quarantine and isolation process - up until now it has been the Ministry of Health. Peters told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that the army knew how to introduce and follow protocols and instil discipline. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First’s Ron Mark confirms bid for the Wairarapa seat
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First MP and Minister for Defence and Veteran’s Affairs Ron Mark has confirmed his bid for the Wairarapa seat.“The Coalition Government has done a lot of good work throughout the Wairarapa, but many constituents have told ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes second tranche of candidates
    New Zealand First is pleased to release the names of its next tranche of candidates for the 2020 election. We’re proud to announce these hardworking New Zealanders that have put their hand up to fight for a commonsense and resilient future.Jamie Arbuckle – Kaikoura Mark Arneil – Christchurch Central Jackie ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joint effort under way to repatriate stranded Vanuatu nationals
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence A massive joint effort between New Zealand Government agencies, employers, and the Vanuatu Government is underway to repatriate over 1000 Vanuatu nationals stranded in New Zealand, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $40m for regional apprenticeships
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development Reprioritised funding of $40 million from the Provincial Growth Fund will support up to 1000 regional apprenticeships, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today. The Regional Apprenticeship Initiative is part of the wider Apprenticeship Boost announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens welcome new ACC zero carbon plans, call for ruling out any future fossil fuel investment
    The Green Party welcomes the ACC’s announcement to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but emphasises the need to go further, and faster to truly meet the climate change challenge. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Farmers pleased with NZ First amendments to firearms bill
    Farmers are rejoicing after Labour agreed to an amendment pushed by New Zealand First in the firearms bill that will allow the use of restricted guns for pest control.  Concessions on gun control mean farmers will be able to apply for a licence to use restricted firearms for pest control. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
    A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PGF funds tourism boost in Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing more than $7.5 million in Northland ventures to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment is going to the Northern Adventure Experience and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Four new projects announced as part of the biggest ever national school rebuild programme
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced significant funding for Auckland’s Northcote College as part of the first wave of a new nationwide school redevelopment programme to upgrade schools over the next 10 years. The $48.5 million project brings the total investment in Northcote College to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19: Support to improve student attendance and wellbeing
    The Government has opened an urgent response fund to support schools and early learning services to get children and young people back on track after the Covid-19 lockdown. “While we are seeing improvements in attendance under Alert Level 1 Ministry of Education data shows that attendance rates in our schools ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Fast-track consenting law boosts jobs and economic recovery
    The law to boost the economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by speeding up resource consenting on selected projects has passed its second and third readings in the House today. “Accelerating nationwide projects and activities by government, iwi and the private sector will help deliver faster economic recovery and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Whanganui Port gets PGF boost
    Five port-related projects in Whanganui will receive a $26.75 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to support local economic recovery and create new opportunities for growth, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is a significant investment that will support the redevelopment of the Whanganui Port, a project governed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More support for Sarjeant Gallery
    Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery will receive an investment of up to $12 million administered by the Provincial Growth Fund to support its redevelopment, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The project is included in a $3 billion infrastructure pipeline announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones yesterday. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for training and upskilling
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $2.5 million into three Te Ara Mahi programmes to support Manawatū-Whanganui jobseekers and employees to quickly train and upskill, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Up to 154 local people will be supported into employment within the first year by these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
      This morning I have formally tendered my resignation as Minister of Health, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. Serving as Minister of Health has been an absolute privilege – particularly through these extraordinary last few months. It’s no secret that Health is a challenging portfolio. I have given ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists doubles
    Scholarships for 57 early-career agricultural emissions scientists from 20 developing countries is another example of New Zealand’s international leadership in primary sector sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Mr O’Connor, announcing the scholarships today, says hundreds of applications were received for this fourth round of the CLIFF-GRADS programme (Climate, Food ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for Foxton regeneration
    A project to help rejuvenate the Horowhenua town of Foxton will receive a Provincial Growth Fund investment of $3.86 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This funding for the Foxton Regeneration project will be used to make the well-known holiday town even more attractive for visitors and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Plan to improve protection of moa bones
    Moa bones and other sub-fossil remains of extinct species are set to have improved protection with proposals to prevent the trade in extinct species announced the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. “We have lost too many of our native species, but these lost species, such as moa, remain an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Free lunches served up to thousands of school children in the South Island
    The Government’s free and healthy school lunches programme moves south for the first time creating jobs for around 30 people in Otago and Southland. “Eighteen schools with 3000 students are joining the programme – 11 have already begun serving lunches, and seven are preparing to start during Term 3. This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Screen Sector recovery package protects jobs, boosts investment
    Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced today by Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Minister for Broadcasting Kris Faafoi. The package also includes investment in broadcasting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New fund to help save local events and jobs
    The Government has established a new $10 million fund for the domestic events sector to help save jobs and protect incomes as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. This funding from Budget 2020 follows talks with the event sector designed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill to improve fuel market competition
    The Government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The fuel market study that this Government ordered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand joins global facility for pre-purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine
    New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Right to legal representation in Family Court restored today
    From today new legislation takes effect to both restore the right to legal representation at the start of a Care of Children (CoCA) dispute in the Family Court, and allow parties to those proceedings to access legal aid where eligible. During a visit to the Family Court in Auckland today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Transitioning to a fully-qualified home-based ECE workforce
    Home-based early childhood education (ECE) subsidised by the government will transition to a fully qualified workforce by 2025 to ensure better and more consistent quality, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “Quality early learning helps provide children with a strong foundation for their future,” Chris Hipkins said. From 1 January ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission gets to work
    The new Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture (CCRC) has started work and can now independently investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “Even though we have appeal rights and safeguards against unsafe convictions, from time to time our justice system does get things wrong. The design of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou Ki a koutou Te Āti Awa, Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei, tēnā koutou Ko Te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa ki ngā take o te Ao (NZIIA), Ko te Rōpū Tohu Tono ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents
    The Government’s increase to paid parental leave kicks in today with another 4 weeks taking New Zealand up to a full 6 months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20pw, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Infrastructure investment to create jobs, kick-start COVID rebuild
    A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today outlined how the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today expressed the New Zealand Government’s deep disappointment at the passage by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee of a national security law for Hong Kong. “New Zealand has consistently emphasised its serious concern about the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong without inclusive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • July 1 marks progress for workers, families
    More jobs and more family time with newborns are the centrepiece of a suite of Government initiatives coming into effect today. July 1 is a milestone day for the Government as a host of key policies take effect, demonstrating the critical areas where progress has been made. “The Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
    Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.  The call-in means the application has been referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, including resultant border restrictions, had been the major factor in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Matakana Link Road construction kicks off and drives jobs
    The start of construction on a new link road between Matakana Road and State Highway 1 will create jobs and support the significant population growth expected in the Warkworth area, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced today. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said construction of the Matakana Link ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
    The Government is prioritising its latest investment in PPE for frontline health workers, including staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Health Minister David Clark says. “With no community transmission of COVID-19 our response now has a firm focus on keeping our border safe and secure. “We must ensure that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PGF funding for Parihaka settlement
    The Parihaka Papakāinga Trust in Taranaki will receive up to $14 million for a new visitor centre and other improvements at the historic settlement that will boost the local economy and provide much-needed jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Protections for workers in triangular employment
    Protections for workers who are employees of one employer but working under the direction of another business or organisation have come into force, closing a gap in legislation that  made the personal grievance process inaccessible for some workers, says Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “This Government is working hard to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government strengthens managed isolation system
    A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify and understand current and emerging risks to ensure the end-to-end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Whakatāne to go predator free with Government backing Ngāti Awa led efforts
    The important brown kiwi habitat around Whakatāne will receive added protection through an Iwi-led predator free project announced by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. “The Government is investing nearly $5 million into Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa’s environmental projects with $2.5 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing Goodwood: Expanding wood waste recycling plant in Bay of Plenty, Waikato
    An extra 4,000 tonnes of offcuts and scraps of untreated wood per year will soon be able to be recycled into useful products such as horticultural and garden mulch, playground safety surfacing and animal bedding as a result of a $660,000 investment from the Waste Minimisation Fund, Associate Environment Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
    The Governor-General has referred Scott Watson’s convictions for murder back to the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Mr Watson was convicted in 1999 of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. His appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2000 was unsuccessful, as was his ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Protecting Kiwis with stronger financial supervision
    A new five-year funding agreement for the Reserve Bank will mean it can boost its work to protect New Zealanders’ finances, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand has a strong and stable financial system. Financial stability is an area that we are not prepared to cut corners for, particularly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Forgotten funds and missing money
    A law change has been introduced to make it easier for forgotten funds in institutional accounts to be returned more easily to their rightful owners. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has introduced an amendment to the Unclaimed Money Act 1971. It will update the rules controlling forgotten sums of money held ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers on mental health commitment
    The Government is delivering on election commitments and a key recommendation of He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction with the establishment of a permanent independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. Legislation enabling the establishment of the fully ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand privacy law modernised
    A Bill to replace New Zealand’s Privacy Act passed its third reading in Parliament today, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced. “The protections in the Privacy Bill are vitally important. The key purpose of the reforms is to promote and protect people’s privacy and give them confidence that their personal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tourism operators provided extra support
    Extra support is being provided to tourism businesses operating on public conservation land announced Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today.  The Government is providing $25m worth of support to tourism operators impacted by COVID-19, with a decision to waive most Department of Conservation tourism related concession ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago