We need to talk about Bill English’s repeated accusations that planning is responsible for stratospherically high house prices and inequality, and about the opportunity the Auckland Unitary Plan has to get housing back on the right track. Ever since he wrote the forward to Demographia’s 2013 annual housing affordability survey, our Minister of Finance has […]
Margaret Spencer, a family carer who has looked after her son who has Down’s Syndrome for 47 years, has finally won backpay after years of struggle. Family members such as Margaret who care for their disabled children should be paid the same as non-family carers, otherwise it is discrimination. She has finally beaten the Ministry […]
Kiwis are going solar in record numbers to escape rising power bills and get a degree of energy freedom, but the electricity industry is using a host of tactics to try and discourage them.
The Labour Party launched its package of ideas to fix the housing crisis over the weekend. Their ideas match ours in many ways. This is good news, because it means that when we change the government we’ll be ready to hit the ground running with a common policy programme to tackle one of the most […]
Threats by the Aviation Security Service (AvSec) that striking workers could be locked out are a classic example of a public service employer playing hardball, backed by an anti-worker government.
Currently, some NZ Bus drivers in Wellington earn up to $5 per hour more than the drivers at some rival bus companies in other parts of the country. Those rival companies are likely to be able to bid for the Wellington bus contracts at a lower price, because they pay their drivers less.
This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was looking forward to an interesting and informative day, and I wasn’t disappointed.
News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail.
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.
The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather than lag behind it.
This week SAFE and the SPCA presented a very strong, well-researched submission to the Primary Production Select Committee in support of their petition signed by over 62,000 people calling for an end to rodeo. They pointed out that rodeo relies on the use of a range of painful devices and practices in order to force […]
I’ve been hearing an increasing number of stories about how hard it has become for people to get the help they need, and are legally entitled to, from Work and Income. I’ve heard of people who are have become homeless because of Work and Income decisions, people who are homeless who are sent away without […]
Budget 2016 once again left our only public broadcaster, Radio NZ (RNZ), worse off. After eight years of funding freezes, you have to wonder if RNZ is being iced-out for ideological reasons.
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 […]
There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment statistics for new New Zealanders.
To paraphrase Justin Trudeau – “It’s 2016”. Money needs to be in the budget to deliver equal pay this year to caregivers at the very least and that may require widening the tax base, which in turn if done well would help reduce inequality in our society at the other end.
On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the role of government to ensure that everyone has a warm and safe home to live in. Our announcement outlined how Housing New Zealand […]
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 […]
A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things had arrived at the point where this woman was faced with taking her children […]
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 […]
The government may not get its way on relaxing the restrictions on Easter Sunday shopping hours after all. Today the Commerce Select Committee reported back to the House on the Shop Trading Hours Amendment bill but – unusually – the amendments the Government members wanted to make to the bill couldn’t be included because they […]
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 […]
The National Government surprised almost everyone this week by announcing that NZ Post, which owns 100 percent of Kiwibank, is likely to sell 25 percent of its Kiwibank shares to the Superannuation Fund and 20 percent to the ACC Fund. This comes shortly after the Green Party launched a new policy to strengthen Kiwibank so […]
This week, Fonterra’s application to expand its milk-drying factory and burn more coal at Studholme, in South Canterbury, is being put to the test. The local council is considering the application and hearing from people who’ve asked to make submissions. It might come as a surprise to many people that Fonterra is one of New […]
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 […]
These caregivers are paid the bare minimum wage and it would be very easy for them to be grumpy and resentful. It is a testament to the good of people that after 16 years Dilani and others are still fully engaged and focused on caring for their “extended family”. They bloody well deserve to be paid and valued a whole lot more than they are now.
I challenged Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse in the House yesterday on his complacency over frightening levels of tax avoidance by multinational corporations —
This Easter I’m at home reading papers on urban development and social development, in between trying to catch up on Masterchef and make up time away from my partner. It’s a peaceful time, but I know many people are spending this Easter waiting in trepidation to find out if they’ll have a job in a […]
This Sunday could be the last Easter Sunday holiday for many New Zealanders who work in retail shops. National is planning to change the rules to allow local councils to let shops open on Easter Sunday, with the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill. This will hit people who work in retail jobs hard. Even though […]
Yesterday the Minister of Justice announced a new better public service target to reduce family violence. She has created two new supporting measures of violent crime namely “Violent offences in private dwellings (a proxy for family violence); and Violent offences in public places.” I applaud the Ministers focus on family violence but I have two […]
Yesterday the government released the summary of submissions to their consultation on family violence law reform. I was stoked to see domestic violence workplace leave in there because I have a bill that’s ready to go to deliver that. Domestic Violence leave and workplace accommodations are a simple way to support women in violent relationships […]
During the recess week, I’ve been focusing on my ethnic communities and immigration portfolios. I managed to combine hanging out at O-Week at Canterbury University with our wonderful Greens on Campus with an extended trip to visit people working with diverse communities and multicultural organisations in the South Island. In Christchurch, I had coffee […]
On Friday, about 70 percent of Auckland’s buses will be off the road for 24 hours as drivers from NZ Bus and Howick & Eastern Buses strike over the breakdown in the negotiations of their employment agreements. While this is a major inconvenience for bus users, it is not a decision that the drivers make […]
Yesterday in Parliament I asked the Prime Minister if he is planning to change our laws to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), even before it is clear if the US Congress will ratify it. The Prime Minister said he was going to push ahead with changing our laws and wouldn’t wait to see if […]
It’s been a busy summer for AFFCO Talley’s as they toil away tirelessly in their attempts to bust the union at their Rangiuru site in Wairoa. Not content with locking out some of their employees who belong to the Meat Workers Union as they did last year and continue to do so, or refusing to […]
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 […]
Chief Investment Officer for AMP Capital Investors, Keith Poore, has said today that crashing prices for coal and oil could present attractive buying opportunities for investors who want to make money from a fossil fuel industry that is destroying our climate. There’s money to be made by gaming climate change. Back in the real world, […]
The National Government today announced long-overdue support for an earlier start to City Rail Link (CRL) project. The CRL will double the capacity of the entire rail network, allowing trains every 5 minutes at peak times and enable the extension of rail to the airport and to the North Shore. But the CRL hasn’t always […]
There are many shortcomings a committed climate hawk (of which, I am one) could find with the COP21 Paris agreement. There is no legally binding commitment to reduce climate pollution, for example. But the agreement is nonetheless a landmark event. All the countries of the world have signed up to an agreement to limit global […]
The Ministry for Social Development was in front of the Social Services select committee on Wednesday reporting on their performance for the 2014/15 year. I asked them how many people had claimed for the day owed due to MSD misapplying the law. They told us over 28,000 claims were made. They did note though that […]