Targeting the next generation: National’s version of a brighter future

Back in 2011, John Key’s Government headed into the election campaign with National’s plan to build a stronger economy and a brighter future for Kiwi families. The Plan included protecting communities, supporting the primary sector, creating jobs, and protecting the environment. Last Friday, the Government announced its latest version of a brighter future for Kiwi […]

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Nail in the coffin of state housing in Sandringham

Last month I blogged about the sale of Housing New Zealand land in Haverstock Road, Sandringham, where – instead of redeveloping its land into a groundbreaking mixed housing development – Housing New Zealand was flogging off a huge parcel of land to the highest bidder. I visited the site on 25 March, and this is […]

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ACC: what we really need to ask

There’s nothing quite like a ministerial resignation to send political insiders and journalists into a frenzy. There are big issues arising from Nick Smith’s interference in Bronwyn Pullar’s ACC claim. Such as: Are the four letters that Nick Smith wrote concerning Ms Pullar’s claim the extent of his interference in her claim, or is there […]

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Climate change post-Durban: Still “punching above our weight”…?

Yesterday was just one of those days. I experienced, yet again, one of those apocryphal exchanges with Dr Nick Smith on climate change. Those who perceive global climate change as a competitive sport will be heartened to hear Minister Smith assure Parliament that New Zealand is punching above its weight in the negotiations. This is […]

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Experts debunk National Policy Statement on Freshwater

This week Environment Minister Nick Smith released a long awaited and long overdue National Policy Statement on Freshwater. Unfortunately he took the teeth out of what was a sound draft policy statement and removed the parts which would have made the most progress towards cleaning up our seriously polluted rivers and lakes. The governments’ announcement […]

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ACC disentitlement saga a shameful exercise from start to finish

Four years ago the District Court decided that ACC claimants who were not earners at the time of their original injury, but who later became incapacitated from subsequent employment due to that injury, were not entitled to weekly compensation. Irrespective of the legal technicalities, it was an anomalous decision for a compensation scheme that is […]

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Questioning Nick Smith on climate change

Last week I attended a seminar on climate change and the prospects for the Cancun summit in December.  I know that in our post-Copenhagen catatonia we all prefer not to think of climate change, but that will not solve the problem. The seminar was comprised mainly of government officials, academics and think tank experts.  There […]

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The Forestry NES: Robert Guyton thumbs up, Nick Smith rotten

Congratulations to one of our regular commenters, Robert Guyton, on his election to Environment Southland last weekend. I really hope Robert can make a difference in stopping the “Double Dipton” plan to double Southland’s dairy herd numbers, and stopping Gerry Brownlee’s Lignitemare. I was pondering a post on Nick Smith’s proposed National Environment Standard on forestry.

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More questions than answers over ACC cost shifting

A couple of months ago, following ACC Minister Nick Smith’s u-turn on counselling for ACC sexual abuse claimants, I called for an independent review of the wide-ranging cutbacks to ACC imposed by the Government. I have now asked some questions about people being moved from ACC to welfare benefits. What really disturbed me about the replies is the huge increase in the number of people being shifted from weekly compensation onto welfare benefits since March 2009.

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ACC “crisis” was all in Nick Smith’s head

Remember the financial crisis with ACC? Remember Nick Smith describing ACC as “technically insolvent”, a claim that was rubbished at the time by NZ Herald economics editor Brian Fallow and actuary Jonathan Eriksen? Guess what? ACC is set to make a $2 billion surplus, and that’s before the levy increases and entitlement cuts have any impact, as they are only now beginning to phase in!

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Rules for freshwater management? Never!

Kiran Chug has a great story in this morning’s Dominion Post: the sorry tale of the proposed National Policy Statement on Freshwater management. Our rivers are getting dirtier and dirtier while this document languishes. A quick history: National policy statements are tools that can be developed under the Resource Management Act to guide local and […]

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ECan Act “constitutionally repugnant”

… constitutionally repugnant … contains elements of subterfuge … a constitutional affront … simply unacceptable … failed the legal requirement that the law should be general and forward-looking, not retrospective … denied all the equal protection of the law … either gratuitous or disingenuous … does nothing to promote respect for the law … a disproportionate response to the issues. Pretty strong words from a Professor of Law

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Global concern at Nats’ plan to mine national parks

Scrutiny of Government plans to mine our conservation lands is deepening internationally. And it’s got people hot on Facebook too. The Sunday Star Times ran a powerful feature on the weekend called “Picture imperfect”. It looks at international concern at New Zealand’s environmental performance, including National’s plan to mine conservation land: IT’S JUST a stock-take […]

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ACC: Mirrors smashed and smoke dispersed

Crisis! What crisis? ACC’s reserves are now above forecast by $739 million (5.4 percent), a further improvement over last month, said CTU Economist and Policy Director Bill Rosenberg. The main problem is the full funding of future claim payments which means ACC accounts will always be susceptible to large apparent variations which in reality may have little practical consequences for the ACC scheme.

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