Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials

On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by firms on average, either overall or into employment that lasted beyond the trial period” – which is what National said it would do. It also had no effect on the number of “disadvantaged jobseekers” being hired. In short, 90-day trials have failed to do what National said they would do.

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Step 1 to changing the Government: The MOU

Green Party and Labour announcement

Yesterday we told New Zealanders thirsty for a better country that change is on the way. Yesterday Labour and the Greens announced an historic agreement to work cooperatively to change the Government at the 2017 election. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between us commits us to working more closely together in Parliament and includes […]

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Blog – Budget 2016: What about ordinary working people?

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Ordinary working New Zealanders don’t fare very well from this Budget. Setting aside the spin from the Government, it contains a lot to be concerned about and a fudging of the numbers. For example, the forecast is that the average wage is set to increase to $63,000 per annum by 2020, but when you consider […]

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Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto

tiwai-electricityprices

New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system so we have a single provider, a monopoly called Transpower, which is meant to be […]

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Mega media merger is bad news

Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips paper” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Australian media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their New Zealand businesses (NZME. and Fairfax NZ) which could lead to what’s being […]

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Peering through the Huntly coal smokescreen

Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of renewable electricity. Was it ignorance or a smokescreen? Responding to Genesis Energy’s decision to backtrack […]

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Trillion dollars wasted on coal

Huntly Power station - New Zealand's last big coal-fired power plant

If you had a trillion dollars to spend on energy, would you invest it in burning coal for electricity? Well that’s exactly what is slated to happen internationally, according to a new report. The report, published by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm, explains that coal-generating capacity equal to 1,500 coal plants is either in […]

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Time for a change – Selecting a Governor-General for all New Zealanders

Metiria-Governor-Generals-House

We’re calling for a change to the way that Governor-Generals are selected. At the moment the Prime Minister decides, without needing to consult with any other party in parliament. This is a pretty old fashioned system that doesn’t reflect the modern MMP environment. It’s hard to see why we shouldn’t have a new, more democratic […]

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TPPA people power protests

The protests against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yesterday were an energetic show of people power. It was great to see such a big turnout – at least 15,000 in Auckland by some estimates. That’s a lot of people not buying the National Government’s spin on the TPPA. I was at the Auckland protests […]

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What you need to know about Paris in five minutes

From November 30 to December 11, the governments of more than 190 nations will convene in Paris and try to reach a global climate agreement. The generally agreed aim is for that agreement to limit global warming to 2°C. Paris is the very best chance we’ve got to formalise an agreement of weight and ambition, […]

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Political leadership needed to end rape culture

When Prime Minister John Key shouted that opposition parties “backed the rapists” on Tuesday, he not only tried to distract people from his failure over the Christmas Island detainee issue, he trivialised rape and was deliberately offensive to many MPs. What’s more, the Speaker allowed him to do it. We asked the Speaker to hold John […]

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Why a fair go for solar isn’t hot air

Geoff Simmons, who works with Gareth Morgan, has published a blog post about my Fair Go For Solar Bill. I welcome the debate. I hope tomorrow Peter Dunne will break the 60/60 vote tie in Parliament so we can continue the solar conversation and hear from all those involved around a select committee table. Simmons […]

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Environment misses out under National’s science investment strategy

Environmental research continues to be the poor cousin in the Government’s National Science Investment Strategy (NSIS) receiving the least of the five major science sectors in 2014 with no commitment to increase future funding for the sector; in contrast with all the other major research sectors. The NSIS promises increased spending on research in manufacturing, […]

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Will New York divest from coal before New Zealand does?

New York City is going the way of California, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut by moving to divest from coal and reconsidering its investments in oil and gas. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week called on his city’s $160 billion pension fund to divest from coal. Divesting from coal posed little risk to […]

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Coromandel rallies against the TPPA

  On Wednesday, John Key visited the southern Coromandel area with local National MP Scott Simpson and was challenged by citizens who spontaneously organised protests against the Government position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). I went down to Waihi expecting a handful of people but in fact there were 50 locals, many of […]

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The latest equal pay case – Go the Midwives

Good on the midwives taking their case straight to the High Court. Of course, it’s for the Court to decide if this is a case of gender discrimination, but the public arguments sounds pretty compelling. I’m not sure how anyone would think a midwife, after three years of training, with significant legal and medical responsibilities, […]

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Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act

In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote. National and ACT consistently voted for it because they all thought the same. Since then, […]

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Will the Super Fund now follow its own advice and divest from coal?

Whenever we’ve asked the New Zealand Superannuation Fund what they’re doing about climate change, they’ve said they’re waiting for the Mercer report they’d backed to come out. Well it’s now out and it’s unequivocal about the impact of climate change – investing in fossil fuels is objectively bad for your returns. Mercer has made one […]

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Govt managing our money for political ends

Treasury papers released under the Official Information Act show that it is providing advice on short-term measures the Government can employ to help it post a surplus this year. The advice includes possible savings from delaying the rebuild of Canterbury; delaying foreign aid expenditure; holding back ACC savings; and new taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and […]

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Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda

James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election proved to be a major milestone for accessible voting. For the first time, telephone dictation […]

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Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement

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The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there was John Key’s “peaceful settlement” revisionism which he is now trying to defend. I and […]

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Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee

Fair-society-BLOGFEATURE

Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle when they grow up. Let’s break that cycle, lunchbox […]

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