web analytics

Why Can’t The Ministry of Works Just Build Houses Like 1935?

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 am, October 23rd, 2020 - 32 comments
Categories: housing, labour, Social issues, uncategorized - Tags:

We don’t have a government like the Labour government that formed in 1935. And back in the day the Ministry of Works were peripherally involved at best.

So while plenty of lefties prefer to soak their marching feet in a warm steaming vat of nostalgia, let’s take a moment to separate out what the Ministry of Works was really like, and where all the new housing under Labour really came from.

For those who believe that there was a time in which the levers of the state were strong enough and reflexive enough to be operated like a steam shovel or a moniac machine, in fact in early 1935 the Ministry of Works that was very weak, next to useless, and close to closing down entirely. In the 1920s it was renowned as an organisation widely respected for its technical expertise. But by 1931 it was down to 5.5 million Pounds, in 1932 cut to 1.2 million Pounds, and any future works for Relief purposes only. All railway construction had stopped by October 1931 with the exception of a bit in Stratford and Wellington’s Tawa deviation. All electricity generation construction had stopped except Waitaki.

From June 1931 the MoW cut wages for all labourers. This was also right across the board: Premier Forbes had made big cuts to all public servants in 1930, with the National Expenditure Act imposed cuts on all staff members between 5 and 12.5%. os putting workers at MoW on “relief” rates meant a general reduction of 20% for them. Yup: austerity.

The National Expenditure Commission made itself really clear to all including MoW: “We are definitely of the opinion that the time has arrived for a halt to be called in public works expenditure. We consider that a return to the contract system of carrying out public works is of prime importance, and that the Public Works Department should be reduced to a staff of Advising and Inspecting Engineers, as was intended when the Departments was first inaugurated.”

By 1932 the head of the Ministry of Works was getting roasted in the Legislative Council for the way the MoW was even running its work camps. The Hon. C. J. Carrington was quoted as saying of the GM Mr Furkert that:

It has become evident to many observers that the department has become top-heavy, and it is suffering from what might be called departmental blight … There are many young engineers whose efforts are stultified through the fact that everything has to go through the under-secretary, who, by the aid of an electronic button and a rubber stamp, can control the department”.

Furkert “retired” a few months later.

By that point in 1932 the department’s activities consisted almost entirely of back country roads, bush felling, stumping and logging, marram grass planting, hedge cutting, and clearing boulders from farms. It had been reduced completely to being a relief agency soaking up the unemployed with something – anything – to do. You can get a lot of this historical detail in Rosslyn Noonan’s history of the Ministry of Works “By Design” (1975).

So for the next few years what the MoW did was organise relief camps. By mid-1934 things began to pick up and they started surveying out new aerodromes in places like Wigram and Westport. In 1935 construction was underway on 30 of them. But not housing.

Yes, a lot changed for the Ministry of Works in mid-1935 with the election of Labour and Bob Semple as the new Minister of Public Works all the way through to the end of 1949. He was an improver, not a revolutionary in any sense.

But we have to be really clear how deep a low point the Department was in, and all the steps that had to be taken to get it even functioning. His first step was to abolish relief work, reclassify all Public Works Department jobs as standard works, so everyone got a big pay increase. By 1936 he had an agreement with the New Zealand Workers Union that they would get a 40 hour week, 5 days a week, and some holidays. And compulsory unionism on all public works projects. Again that wasn’t particularly radical – it was endorsing the cooperative contract system as it had operated for 40 years previously. But it was reversing austerity.

You get a sense of the stuff they then started to attempt if you look at the Mohaka Viaduct job. In that link there’s a nice little historical film as well.

Another typically hard example of their work is the construction of the Homer Tunnel in Milford Sound. To give you an idea of what that meant: vehicle access stopped 18 kilometers away, the site was over 1,000 metres above sea level, surrounded by mountains 2,300 metres high, subject to heavy snowfall, picking and blasting a tunnel that sloped hard down into granite.

The first public car didn’t go through until 1954: yes, 19 years.

By the end of 1936 as a result of improvement in conditions of employment on public works projects, complaints were being received from the private sector that the department was attracting workmen who had jobs elsewhere. That’s the spirit team.

So other than preparing sites for construction, the Ministry of Works didn’t build masses of housing.

No, this was under the auspices of the Housing Construction Department, in turn controlled by the State Advances Corporation. Now, this was a corporation that got the power of the market working with the state. It’s widely believed that this housing programme earned James Fletcher the founder of Fletcher Construction a fortune. In fact Fletchers initially incurred heavy losses on the contract as a result of tendering too low and were saved from financial collapse only by the Government’s willingness to guarantee a company overdraft. You can get a lot more detail on James Fletchers’ role in housing in this era in Brian Easton’s The Nationbuilders (2001).

Here’s a quick potted timeline of our state housing.

It was also from 1936 after a survey of New Zealand houses that it was found that 15% were classed as unsatisfactory or totally unsatisfactory. In the 1935 election Labour had highlighted the grim details of the central Wellington slums and corrugated-iron shanties. But its manifesto didn’t talk much about housing construction and concentrated mostly on protecting existing mortgage holders and protecting tenants.

But when they got their feet properly under the desk, what the Labour government did to improve housing was a complete social revolution, and W. B. Sutch’s Poverty and Progress in New Zealand (1941) has as good a summary as any concerning their effect on housing demand and supply:

As many more people were now getting a living wage and those who had deliayed marriage could now afford to get married, the demand for houses increased rapidly, so much so that the Government had to set up two state factories to increase the rate of supply of joinery. The quality of materials in the houses was improved and New Zealand sources were, as much as possible, used for these materials and the necessary equipment. This in turn assisted New Zealand industries to provide kitchen stoves, baths, roof tiles, wallboard, paint, fibrous plaster, and bricks; and the housing contracts meant continuous jobs for contractors and building tradesmen in place of alternations of unemployment and employment.” (p. 239).

Private building for those wishing to own their own home was encouraged by expanding lending by the State Advances Corporation. For every one house built in 1933, three were built in 1937. By 1940 2 out of every 3 houses were built by the state and a substantial part of private housing was financed by the state, and the builders were really getting the hang of quick builds.

The real magic occurred between the new government led by Michael Savage with an urge to eradicate poverty, and the intelectual drive to make markets in housing and in finance work more efficiently, spearheaded by the Secretary to the Treasury Bernard Ashwin who was a fiscal and political conservative and the permanent undersecretary for housing Arthur Tyndall who got a lot of the institutional mechanisms really cracking.

The real test for housing quality was totally egalitarian. Bill Sutch writes:

Ministers decided what they and their wives would like for a house would seem a reasonable standard for New Zealanders as a whole.” In doing so they set a floor for quality for all new Zealand-built houses, right there.

This full social effort is nicely rounded off by by Margaret McLure in her history of social welfare in New Zealand ‘A Civilized Community” (1998):

The vision of the state’s responsibility for the welfare of the many and security for all was paralleled in the anti-class ethos with which Labour advocated for the design of state houses which ‘should not look like “workers dwellings”‘, and health benefits which should provide ‘a service for ourselves and for our equals’. Labour therefore planned a co-ordinated range of schemes in education, health, pensions and employment to achieve a ‘pervasive’ welfare that would symbolise citizenship and unite all citizens.”

While it wasn’t the Ministry of Works that got New Zealand housing rolling out the new nappy suburbs, there’s no doubt Labour invented new institutions that enabled a lot of market actors to work together to achieve all of this.

Do excuse my own slide into sickly nostalgia for a moment, but this Archives NZ film shows the difference that government made in housing for that young nation:

Aye, that was a government.

32 comments on “Why Can’t The Ministry of Works Just Build Houses Like 1935? ”

  1. dv 1

    Thank you Ad. That is a fascinating story.

    The final line is still relevant now

    We know we can plan the future away from the concussion of the past.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Another centrist apologia. A lot of this history is known to those that do some research. The private sector was well involved in the original state house builds too–unlike the recent Kiwi build where they basically went on strike, wanting to concentrate on higher margin builds.

    We, as in the NZ people, can still rewrite the end of “the housing story” by kicking speculators, developers, exploitative neo rentiers, building suppliers and Real Estate bludgers in the nuts. How?–with a massive state house and apartment build, with tiny houses for homeless, and relocatable emergency housing. Such housing scattered from one end of the country to the other would over a decade incrementally start to deal with supply, home ownership rates, and exploitative rents.

    If the private sector play hard ball again–cut them out until they decide to participate, or not–import flatpacks from off shore suppliers who have been doing this for years, set up publicly owned modular building units, and throttle back the raw log exports.

    New gen state housing could be tenancy effectively for life, rent to own, or even transferable between tenants for varying periods for vacation, study or employment purposes.

    • Brendan 2.1

      Nat voter here.

      I agree, Special Housing Areas(Nats) and Kiwibuild(Labour) did not disrupt the industry, so house prices kept going up. It is no wonder that developers look at higher end homes – more profit – when land is so expensive they follow the incentives.

      I agree with playing hard ball – but unless you are able to disrupt the industry, the councils, and everyone else don't bother – Labour will just look stupid – just as it did when Jacinda helped a rich doctor* move into a Kiwibuild house and then the policy totally failed a few years later.

      *He was not a rich doctor – but to the Joe Public he may as well have been.

      And the only way you will disrupt housing supply is to have real plans which are realistic which will deliver a huge housing surge to the NZ market. And then do them.

      PS: Make sure to sell the secondary benifits of housing – right wing voters are much more happy with public spending when it saves them money in the long term.

      • gsays 2.1.1

        Hi Brendan, your PS resonates although most Kiwi seem to be too cheap and mean to invest well now and save money in the long run e.g. housing quality and crowding contributing to 3rd world diseases, focussing on a wellness system rather than waiting for things to go wrong healthwise.

    • greywarshark 2.2

      TM Your comment shows the way. And Ad your extensive housing post is a treasure and I would imagine that there haven't been many that have covered the times and the activities in such detail It sounds factual to me, and if anyone does pick up something wrong, please comment and give the correct version, quoting the mistake. Because after that Ad's should go into national archives. It's a tipping-point matter for the country's direction, the citizens and of course for Labour.

      And TM – tiny houses. People are getting very energised about them, how to build them efficiently, the best effective way of planning for small space, and decor. There is a well-spring of creativity bursting forward about them and many people would welcome a start of life in a tiny house, and also later on in life post-children, or larger property, or uncongenial neighbours, of a regular house in the 'burbs.

  3. Brendan 3

    NAT voter here.

    Do it.

    If you put your mind to it you will succeed. But you have to be committed. No wavering. Top leadership. You start yesterday. Fire bad ministers who don't achieve.

    And cut out fluff.

    Want garage? Not included. Private sector will do it, in fact already consented.

    And set price point to cheap. ( No rentals, owner occupied only), cheap leasehold.

    If Singapore can do it, New Zealand can do it like we used to.

    Now stop reading and build us some houses. 10'000 a year please.

  4. Adrian 4

    It was the start of a huge number of iconic NZ companies from Sleepyhead to Watties in that era. But it still took 4 years to get up to speed.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      People do have a tendency to miss/ignore the physical constraints that comes with an economy.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.

    The moral and the physical forces are inextricably linked, and cannot be separated like a base metal from its ore ~ Clausewitz.

    But ineffectual neoliberals should pause and think: if you cannot do the job, what possible excuse is there for employing you?

    Those who want to remain employed will find a way.

  6. RedLogix 6

    Another reason why it worked was that the demographics of NZ was a lot younger. I can't find a population pyramid for 1935 but here it is for 1950 and it's fairly easy to project back from there.

    You can see that at this time NZ, like most other similar nations in the world, was dominated by young adults who are in their growth/consumption phase of their life. They're busy forming families and building their lives; it's spend, spend spend.

    If you look at the same data, less than 100,000 people were over the age of 65, barely a quarter of them made it over 70. In those days ordinary people in old age were either looked after by their families, or died in dire poverty. The idea that somehow you had to invest in order to provide 20 – 30 years of independent income to survive old age was decades into the future. Housing as an investment was not yet a thing.

    Another reason why it worked was that it while MoW built the homes, it was largely local councils who provided the subdivided land. Not only was there still lots of easy land to subdivide, councils could fund the works very cheaply and rely on future rates income to repay the interest costs into the future. Essentially local councils were investing into their own future, and land costs could be smoothed out over time.

    It was only in the 90's that govt prevented them from doing this, giving the private sector a monopoly on the subdivision game. And between 1935 and 2020 engineering standards have dramatically lifted, and the land is generally more challenging to work with. Planning and consent processes are a lot more complex and time consuming. All of these impose real costs onto private developers who have no option but to load these directly onto the first-time buyer of the sections.

    Instead of the section price being some small fraction of a new build, it's often now the equal or even dominant cost.

    While it wasn’t the Ministry of Works that got New Zealand housing rolling out the new nappy suburbs, there’s no doubt Labour invented new institutions that enabled a lot of market actors to work together to achieve all of this.

    Indeed. Markets respond to incentives, and that Labour govt believed in it's ability to impose them with vigour and vision.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      In those days ordinary people in old age were either looked after by their families, or died in dire poverty.

      Actually, NZ has had a government retirement income since the 1890s. Sure, it wasn't great, but it did prevent dire poverty for most.

      The idea that somehow you had to invest in order to provide 20 – 30 years of independent income to survive old age was decades into the future.

      That was brought about by the failed monetary systems being used. And that investment for a retirement income is now causing massive poverty to the young of the country.

      It was only in the 90's that govt prevented them from doing this, giving the private sector a monopoly on the subdivision game. And between 1935 and 2020 engineering standards have dramatically lifted, and the land is generally more challenging to work with.

      Despite the increase in population and all the investment there hasn't been an increase in land.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        That was brought about by the failed monetary systems being used

        Actually the main driver has been increasing life expectancies and mobile families no longer all living in the same locations. Instead of retired people living maybe 5 – 10 years in the care of close relatives, we're now facing 20 -30 years of non-working life, often with our now much smaller families living too far away to care for us.

        This has created an unprecedented challenge to societies everywhere; and we've been adapting. The way we're doing it is that the now smaller generation of working age adults are paying higher rents or mortgages, but can look forward to inheriting substantially larger fractions of their parent's estates, or leveraging their capital in various ways.

        Like most evolved responses to changing circumstance, it's a less than 'ideal' muddle, but it works for the time being. If NZ wants to reduce it's unbalanced dependence on housing to fund retirement age incomes, then it needs to start thinking about alternatives.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          Actually the main driver has been increasing life expectancies and mobile families no longer all living in the same locations.

          Nope, failed monetary policies that saw money as limited.

          Instead of retired people living maybe 5 – 10 years in the care of close relatives, we're now facing 20 -30 years of non-working life, often with our now much smaller families living too far away to care for us.

          That may be true but it doesn't need investment by those people to ensure that they have enough money to live on. Again, failed monetary policies that, through ownership, induce poverty for the many to support a few through bludging.

          …then it needs to start thinking about alternatives.

          The alternative removes capitalism. That is, of course, necessary so as to bring consumption into line with reality so that we don’t destroy the environment that sustains us as well as to eliminate poverty.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    From June 1931 the MoW cut wages for all labourers. This was also right across the board: Premier Forbes had made big cuts to all public servants in 1930, with the National Expenditure Act imposed cuts on all staff members between 5 and 12.5%. os putting workers at MoW on “relief” rates meant a general reduction of 20% for them. Yup: austerity.

    And you're surprised by this why?

    It was, after all, a National government in power and they really haven't changed their spots even if they did change their name.

    By the end of 1936 as a result of improvement in conditions of employment on public works projects, complaints were being received from the private sector that the department was attracting workmen who had jobs elsewhere.

    Exactly like what they were doing in the 1970s and 80s then. Although, by then they were also blaming the government for the unemployed being able to choose a lifestyle of poverty rather than being forced to work to be in poverty instead. Unfortunately, the 4th Labour government listened and we ended up with Rogernomics and increasing poverty ever since.

    The quality of materials in the houses was improved and New Zealand sources were, as much as possible, used for these materials and the necessary equipment. This in turn assisted New Zealand industries to provide kitchen stoves, baths, roof tiles, wallboard, paint, fibrous plaster, and bricks; and the housing contracts meant continuous jobs for contractors and building tradesmen in place of alternations of unemployment and employment.

    Yes, it's amazing what happens through flow on effects when the government pushes to develop the economy rather than leaving it to the whims of the capitalists.

    While it wasn’t the Ministry of Works that got New Zealand housing rolling out the new nappy suburbs, there’s no doubt Labour invented new institutions that enabled a lot of market actors to work together to achieve all of this.

    And its also well known that they used printed money to do it.

    That is the big part. That Labour at the time understood a fiat currency and that the government spending would boost the entire economy and leave no loans with interest to be repaid.

    The Bretton Woods agreement after WWII really screwed that up for all nations as it pegged all currencies to the US$.

  8. UncookedSelachimorpha 8

    " … There are many young engineers whose efforts are stultified through the fact that everything has to go through the under-secretary, who, by the aid of an electronic button and a rubber stamp, can control the department "

    I hope this isn't making the argument that the private sector is any better. Having worked in very large corporates – I can testify they can have every bit as much stultifying bueracracy and inefficiency as any government department.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      You should probably look at who you're quoting there:

      The Hon. C. J. Carrington was quoted as saying of the GM Mr Furkert that:

      Who was part of the very-right-wing government at the time – the government that saw in the Great Depression and then deepened it in NZ. They were the fore-runners to National and they were fully against what Labour did in 1935.

      The idea that the private sector is better goes all the way back to Adam Smith.

      But the research is coming in loud and clear:

      By now privatization has been thoroughly scrutinized – there are numerous studies, surveys and, indeed, surveys of surveys of its effects. The consistent conclusion: there is no evidence of greater efficiency.2 So, the best outcome one can hope for is that private-sector ownership or involvement is no worse than what the public sector provides – hardly a turn-up for the books. The largest study of the efficiency of privatized companies looked at all European companies privatized during 1980-2009. It compared their performance with companies that remained public and with their own past performance as public companies. The result? The privatized companies performed worse than those that remained public and continued to do so for up to 10 years after privatization.

      My bold.

      • mikesh 8.1.1

        The idea that the private sector is better goes all the way back to Adam Smith.

        Competition was considered the key to efficiency, but this required so many firms that no individual firm could influence prices; price would then be determined by "supply and demand". These days, however, as has been pointed out by economists such as Joan Robinson and J K Galbraith, markets are mostly dominated by oligopolies, where competition is not a major factor in performance.

        This means that government agencies, which were never subject to competition, are really similar to private firms in that respect.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          So many firms that competition was impractical and, in fact, impossible.

          Then there's the fact that competition is highly inefficient as each firm would need its own bureaucracy on top of which the society would then need more regulations and the ability to enforce those regulations.

          The reason why competition was considered optimal was because it would, through profit, push firms to be better than the competition while also decreasing profits thus proving the dead-weight loss of profit. This contradiction is considered normal and part of the self-regulation of capitalism but as large firms dominate the market instead of many small firms with none having dominance then the assumed self-regulation doesn't apply either.

          Practically we end up with an oligopoly that morphs into a plutocracy as the politicians listen to the capitalists while ignoring everyone else.

          A capitalist free-market as envisioned by Adam Smith was always an impossibility and definitely not the panacea to society's ills as we've come to believe. Considering his obviously socialist bent one wonders how he could believe that capitalism was the answer but I suppose he saw it as a better alternative than the aristocracy that he saw around him at the time:

          As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.

          Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality.

          And now we're at the point where we need to find a replacement for capitalism as its proven no better than the aristocracy that preceded it.

    • Pat 8.2

      lol…the 'tax' is private or public, never non existent

  9. Mark 9

    State housing is mostly a failure in NZ.

    I never understood why they built two bedroom bungalows with garages.

    wouldn't it make more sense to build long houses to facilitate thousands of years of tribal living?

    A positive side effect would be the reduction of domestic violence for a start.

    In my view All prior NZ governments have been failing Māori and Polynesian people for too long by forcing white people lifestyles and solutions onto them.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      I never understood why they built two bedroom bungalows with garages.

      Because that's what we were told was the dream of every Kiwi and we believed it.

      From what I can make out though, that was a lie and what the government was really after was higher profits for the capitalists and such inefficiency as detached housing makes higher profits as it forces higher consumption.

      … white people lifestyles and solutions onto them.

      They weren't always white people solutions either.

    • Pat 9.2

      That mistake may be being remedied…the financing of building on Maori land could facilitate the provision of self determined needs, something that was obviously neglected in the past.

      It is such an obvious solution its hard to understand why it has taken so long.

  10. Brigid 10

    And just as it was in New Zealand post WW2, a form of Keynesian economics was practised in Australia.

    This is a white paper, published in 1945, titled FULL EMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIA (The 1945 White Paper). It's an interesting read.

    http://www.billmitchell.org/White_Paper_1945/index.html

  11. greywarshark 11

    Meanwhile some Councils have no desire to assist people into housing with reviews of their regulations to make them more appropriate.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/429066/converted-shed-not-fit-for-human-habitation-now-certified-after-ruling

  12. NZJester 12

    When we had a Ministry of Woks the roads where better maintained and it was way cheaper to build new ones.

    When they disbanded the MOE to save costs, the costs actully went up and we got less for paying more.

  13. greywarshark 13

    This is a really good big article in Saturdays The Nelson Mail Oct.24/20. It's title is 'The Corolla answer to home-building' (drawing on the effect that mass production of a good car model like the Toyota Corolla I think.) https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/the-press/20201024/282144998838112

    About prefabricated housing being imported from Japan – one house to two containers. It's a way to break through our lack of everything to get houses built here. The wood particularly, which our feckless government has sold off to private companies. This of course follows the outward direction of their gaze – exports are all, internal is with resources that are limited or not able to be exported.

    It could be good for the country, if we reduced our imported cars and our expenditure flowing this country for them, and spent that money on importing houses instead. That would result in a neutral balance on our country's trading with Japan.

    One thing though, the Asian hornet. In exporting from Asia we will eventually get a few of these ferocious insects into this country. They have made their way to the USA which is trying to keep tabs on them. I did a comment on them with a number of links but it was too much for TS system or something. They are nasty, much worse than wasps, and like to eat honey and bumble bees. The bees in Asia have found ways to kill individual hornets but it is a learned action, and in new countries the bees would be helpless. And people get hospitalised, and can't work outside, and schools can't play outside if there is a nest near. So our scientists who have been working on wasps need to have a cohort who are interacting with a number of nations looking into this horrible problem. Whether we import houses from Japan, the research needs to happen ahead of the flying fury!

    Other links on prefabricated houses in NZ etc.

    https://www.westpac.co.nz/rednews/property/the-ins-and-outs-of-buying-a-prefab-home/

    https://www.latitudehomes.co.nz/build-options/

    https://www.geniushomes.co.nz/

    https://fraemohs.co.nz/kitset-homes/

    Interesting – https://webecoist.momtastic.com/2013/04/29/build-your-own-eco-house-cheap-10-diy-inspirations/

    • Phillip ure 13.1

      That last link you posted has some very cool stuff…luv that container home..and the floating one…(I'll pass on the hobbit one..)…one hopes that labour will come up with options to fund such low-cost solutions to the housing mess….

    • Gabby 13.2

      So it would be much simpler and more direct for the government to secure local timber supplies by purchasing forests and mills, or shovel readying some new ones. Robbo'd like that.

  14. Scott 14

    Didn't see any mention of John A Lee.

    Learnt a lot from reading Erik Olssen's biography of him last year.

    The housing program of the first Lab government was undermined by the same things that have undermined this one.

    Managing the expectations of the private sector, both the boys Flecther and the smaller building suppliers, along with the different factions of Labour caucus representing different electorates who were leaning on the Labour executive, coupled with a bureaucracy who knew all the things that couldn't be done and none of the things that could be.

    And as Housing Under Secretary John A Lee just smashed through the lot of them.

    He hated Flecthers and thought we would be better off without them but he got them out of the way first so he could then deliver for the smaller suppliers, providing them with an opportunity – the housing program was delivered in spite of Fletchers, not because of.

    And he hated the Unionist and intellectual-pacifist arms of the party who never wanted to get anything done.

    The first Labour Government was a coalition of interests, not just a socialist dream, led by, ultimately, a very centrist Christianised expression of Social Democracy.

    Whether what Lee did then is possible now I don't know, but we should recognise that we are comparing Twyford and co to an exception within that government rather than Labours achievement begot from their innate purpose of social justice.

    If you want to do what Lee did then you gonna have to take them head-on and defeat them with share bloody-mindedness, possibly putting yourself, or your PM, close to the grave

    If my take doesn't ring a chord with people, then surely we should be in agreement that looking at the success of Labours housing program in the 30s deserves some discussion of Lee

    • greywarshark 14.1

      Great comment Scott. I have some books about Lee which I was getting round to – faster now. And good points that ring true.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Over $300m returned to COVID-hit travellers
    The Government’s Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme has helped return over $352 million of refunds and credits to New Zealanders who had overseas travel cancelled due to COVID-19, Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says. “Working with the travel sector, we are helping New Zealanders retrieve the money owed to them by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Hundreds more schools join free lunches programme
    An additional 88,000 students in 322 schools and kura across the country have started the school year with a regular lunch on the menu, thanks to the Government’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako Healthy School Lunches programme. They join 42,000 students already receiving weekday lunches under the scheme, which launched last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Govt’s balanced economic approach reflected in Crown accounts
    New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected. The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU). The operating balance before gains ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Over half of border workforce receive first vaccinations
    More than half of New Zealand’s estimated 12,000 border workforce have now received their first vaccinations, as a third batch of vaccines arrive in the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. As of midnight Tuesday, a total of 9,431 people had received their first doses. More than 70 percent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Boost in funding to deliver jobs while restoring Central Otago’s lakes and waterways
    The Government is significantly increasing its investment in restoring Central Otago’s waterways while at the same time delivering jobs to the region hard-hit by the economic impact of Covid-19, says Land Information Minister, Damien O’Connor.   Mr O’Connor says two new community projects under the Jobs for Nature funding programme will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next stage of COVID-19 support for business and workers
    The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend. Following two new community cases of COVID-19, Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt committed to hosting Rugby World Cup
    The Government remains committed to hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2022 should a decision be made by World Rugby this weekend to postpone this year’s tournament. World Rugby is recommending the event be postponed until next year due to COVID-19, with a final decision to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Support Available for Communities affected by COVID-19
    Community and social service support providers have again swung into action to help people and families affected by the current COVID-19 alert levels. “The Government recognises that in many instances social service, community, iwi and Whānau Ora organisations are best placed to provide vital support to the communities impacted by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt announces review into PHARMAC
    The Government is following through on an election promise to conduct an independent review into PHARMAC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The Review will focus on two areas: How well PHARMAC performs against its current objectives and whether and how its performance against these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Impressive response to DOC scholarship programme
    Some of the country’s most forward-thinking early-career conservationists are among recipients of a new scholarship aimed at supporting a new generation of biodiversity champions, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has awarded one-year postgraduate research scholarships of $15,000 to ten Masters students in the natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to ANZLF Virtual Indigenous Business Trade and Connections Event
    I acknowledge our whānau overseas, joining us from Te Whenua Moemoeā, and I wish to pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you all today. I am very pleased to be part of the conversation on Indigenous business, and part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Main benefits to increase in line with wages
    Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today that main benefits will increase by 3.1 percent on 1 April, in line with the rise in the average wage. The Government announced changes to the annual adjustment of main benefits in Budget 2019, indexing main benefit increases to the average ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Deed of Settlement signed with Ngāti Maru (Taranaki)
    A Deed of Settlement has been signed between Ngāti Maru and the Crown settling the iwi’s historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The Ngāti Maru rohe is centred on the inland Waitara River valley, east to the Whanganui River and its ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support in place for people connected to Auckland COVID-19 cases
    With a suite of Government income support packages available, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni is encouraging people, and businesses, connected to the recent Auckland COVID-19 cases to check the Work and Income website if they’ve been impacted by the need to self-isolate. “If you are required to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Statement on passing of former PNG PM Sir Michael Somare
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed her condolences at the passing of long-serving former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. “Our thoughts are with Lady Veronica Somare and family, Prime Minister James Marape and the people of Papua New Guinea during this time of great ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the National Māori Housing Conference 2021
    E te tī, e te tā  Tēnei te mihi maioha ki a koutou  Ki te whenua e takoto nei  Ki te rangi e tū iho nei  Ki a tātou e tau nei  Tēnā tātou.  It’s great to be with you today, along with some of the ministerial housing team; Hon Peeni Henare, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Drone project to aid protection of Māui dolphin
    The Government is backing a new project to use drone technology to transform our understanding and protection of the Māui dolphin, Aotearoa’s most endangered dolphin.    “The project is just one part of the Government’s plan to save the Māui dolphin. We are committed to protecting this treasure,” Oceans and Fisheries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New water regulator board announced as major Government reform moves forward
    Major water reform has taken a step closer with the appointment of the inaugural board of the Taumata Arowai water services regulator, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says. Former Director General of Health and respected public health specialist Dame Karen Poutasi will chair the inaugural board of Crown agency Taumata Arowai. “Dame ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • North Auckland gets public transport upgrade
    The newly completed Hibiscus Coast Bus Station will help people make better transport choices to help ease congestion and benefit the environment, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said today. Michael Wood and Phil Goff officially opened the Hibiscus Coast Bus Station which sits just off the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Supporting work to protect Northland reserve
    New funding announced by Conservation Minister Kiri Allan today will provide work and help protect the unique values of Northland’s Te Ārai Nature Reserve for future generations. Te Ārai is culturally important to Te Aupōuri as the last resting place of the spirits before they depart to Te Rerenga Wairua. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Critical step to new housing deal for Pacific communities
      Today the Government has taken a key step to support Pacific people to becoming Community Housing providers, says the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. “This will be great news for Pacific communities with the decision to provide Pacific Financial Capability Grant funding and a tender process to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Consultation opens on proposed Bay of Islands marine mammal sanctuary
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on a proposed marine mammal sanctuary to address the rapid decline of bottlenose dolphins in Te Pēwhairangi, the Bay of Islands. The proposal, developed jointly with Ngā Hapū o te Pēwhairangi, would protect all marine mammals of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Three District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.    Two of the appointees will take up their roles on 1 April, replacing sitting Judges who have reached retirement age.     Kirsten Lummis, lawyer of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government announces list of life-shortening conditions guaranteeing early KiwiSaver access
    Government announces list of life-shortening conditions guaranteeing early KiwiSaver access The Government changed the KiwiSaver rules in 2019 so people with life-shortening congenital conditions can withdraw their savings early The four conditions guaranteed early access are – down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder An alternative ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank to take account of housing in decision making
    The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into account government policy relating to more sustainable house prices, while working ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investment to reduce cochlear implant waitlist
    The Labour Government will invest $6 million for 70 additional adult cochlear implants this year to significantly reduce the historical waitlist, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Cochlear implants are life changing for kiwis who suffer from severe hearing loss. As well as improving an individual’s hearing, they open doors to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Māori wards Bill passes third reading
    The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill passed its third reading today and will become law, Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta says. “This is a significant step forward for Māori representation in local government. We know how important it is to have diversity around ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers 1,000 more transitional housing places
    The Government has added 1,000 more transitional housing places as promised under the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan (HAP), launched one year ago. Minister of Housing Megan Woods says the milestone supports the Government’s priority to ensure every New Zealander has warm, dry, secure housing. “Transitional housing provides people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech doses arrives safely – as the first vaccinations take place in the...
    A second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived safely yesterday at Auckland International Airport, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “This shipment contained about 76,000 doses, and follows our first shipment of 60,000 doses that arrived last week. We expect further shipments of vaccine over the coming weeks,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $18 million for creative spaces to make arts more accessible
    The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni has today announced $18 million to support creative spaces. Creative spaces are places in the community where people with mental health needs, disabled people, and those looking for social connection, are welcomed and supported to practice and participate in the arts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Moriori Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading
    Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little today welcomed Moriori to Parliament to witness the first reading of the Moriori Claims Settlement Bill. “This bill is the culmination of years of dedication and hard work from all the parties involved. “I am delighted to reach this significant milestone today,” Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government action reduces child poverty
    22,400 fewer children experiencing material hardship 45,400 fewer children in low income households on after-housing costs measure After-housing costs target achieved a year ahead of schedule Government action has seen child poverty reduce against all nine official measures compared to the baseline year, Prime Minister and Minister for Child Poverty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Entries open for the 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards
    It’s time to recognise the outstanding work early learning services, kōhanga reo, schools and kura do to support children and young people to succeed, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins says. The 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards are now open through until April 16. “The past year has reminded us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature benefits three projects
    Three new Jobs for Nature projects will help nature thrive in the Bay of Plenty and keep local people in work says Conservation Minister Kiri Allan. “Up to 30 people will be employed in the projects, which are aimed at boosting local conservation efforts, enhancing some of the region’s most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improvements to the Holidays Act on the way
    The Government has accepted all of the Holidays Act Taskforce’s recommended changes, which will provide certainty to employers and help employees receive their leave entitlements, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood said the Government established the Holidays Act Taskforce to help address challenges with the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ’s credit rating lifted as economy recovers
    The Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and faster than expected economic recovery has been acknowledged in today’s credit rating upgrade. Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) today raised New Zealand’s local currency credit rating to AAA with a stable outlook. This follows Fitch reaffirming its AA+ rating last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to National Remembrance Service on the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake
    Tena koutou e nga Maata Waka Ngai Tuahuriri, Ngai Tahu whanui, Tena koutou. Nau mai whakatau mai ki tenei ra maumahara i te Ru Whenua Apiti hono tatai hono, Te hunga mate ki te hunga mate Apiti hono tatai hono, Te hunga ora ki te hunga ora Tena koutou, Tena ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government reaffirms urgent commitment to ban harmful conversion practices
    The Minister of Justice has reaffirmed the Government’s urgent commitment, as stated in its 2020 Election Manifesto, to ban conversion practices in New Zealand by this time next year. “The Government has work underway to develop policy which will bring legislation to Parliament by the middle of this year and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New creative service aims to benefit 1,000 peoples’ careers
    Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni today launched a new Creative Careers Service, which is expected to support up to 1,000 creatives, across three regions over the next two years. The new service builds on the most successful aspects of the former Pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Honey exporters busy meeting surging demand
    Overseas consumers eager for natural products in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic have helped boost honey export revenue by 20 percent to $425 million in the year to June 30, 2020, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.   “The results from the latest Ministry for Primary Industries’ 2020 Apiculture Monitoring ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago