Friday, February 25, 2011

Welfare reform is disgraceful...

Sue Bradford, former NZ Green Party MPImage via Wikipedia

Welfare reform report is 'disgraceful'...

Beneficiaries advocate Sue Bradford has called a report suggesting at least 100,000 people on welfare benefits be forced back to work within 10 years a "disgraceful, dirty attack" on beneficiaries.

The Welfare Working Group's final report was released yesterday, giving the Government 43 recommendations to reform the welfare system.

The report focuses on lowering the number of people on welfare benefits from about 360,000 to 260,000 within 10 years by setting work obligations and harsh penalties if people do not comply.

Welfare Working Group chairwoman Paula Rebstock said she was confident the reform package would have a positive impact on people, their families and the wider community.

But Ms Bradford said the report was a "disgraceful, dirty attack" on welfare recipients, and the Government should throw it in the rubbish.

"I'm begging to think they've been looking to Nazi Germany for inspiration, with their underpinning 'work makes free' philosophy, attempted eugenic control of a portion of the population, and its potential racist implications for Maori."

The former Green MP said the new system would subject beneficiaries to punitive work testing and sanctioning, including the sick, injured and disabled.

One of the many recommendations in the report was merging all existing categories of benefits, including the sickness and invalid benefits, into a single Jobseeker Support payment.

The additional costs of other benefits would be converted into supplementary payments, meaning overall payments would not be cut.

The group also suggested solo parents work 20 hours per week when their youngest child reached three years old.

Solo parents would receive assistance aimed at covering the costs of childcare for the first six months, or two years of study.

The Government has already ruled out a radical recommendation to send mums who have a subsequent child while on welfare back to work when the child turned 14 weeks.

Recipients who do not meet their obligations would get a 25 percent payment cut for the first failure; 50 percent for the second; 100 percent for the third; and a 13-week stand-down for a fourth or any subsequent failure.

The establishment of a single crown agency, Employment and Support New Zealand, which would administer the system, was also recommended.

Ms Rebstock said the proposed changes would reduce the number of people looking for work from 37 percent to 77 percent, and the Government's forward liability would go from $47 billion to $34b by 2021.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the changes would spell a disaster for vulnerable children.

"Forcing solo parents to work when their youngest child is three and cutting off their benefit if they don't comply will punish children and entrench the growing gap between those who have the most and those who need the most."

Ms Turei said work testing people with chronic illness, and moving to a single benefit were equally unacceptable.

Unicef NZ said it was concerned small children may not receive the best care and be at risk of inadequate childcare arrangements when parents are forced to work.

Unicef NZ executive director Dennis McKinlay said he hoped the Government would follow through with its commitment to ensure no child was placed at risk.

The Public Service Association (PSA) said the proposal to create a new crown entity to look after welfare was a return to the failed model set up in the 1990s.

"Work and Income New Zealand (Winz) was a byword for corporate excess and lack of direction," national secretary Brenda Pilott.

"If we've learnt one thing from the failed state sector reforms of the 1990s it's that policy and operations have to work closely together."

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the Government would consider the report.

"This will take time and we'll keep talking to New Zealanders about the kind of welfare system they want, that is fair and effective."

She said the 2021 target sounded ambitious, but other recommendations were not extreme.

Acknowledgements: National Business Review

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Earthquake opportune for National - but won't save them from oblivion...

Satellite image showing Christchurch and surro...Image via WikipediaJohn Key and his merry men have been sidetracked by the terrible second earthquake in Christchurch. They will have to spend millions of tax dollars to get the city running again.

I find it rather ironic that during the same week the fascist National Party Government announced its attacks on beneficiaries, thousands of Cantabrians will need significant social welfare to recover from the effects of the second and terrible killer earthquake.

Employers will again need financial support to get their businesses back into operation. While many business premises were  damaged and repaired, and eventually able to get back working after Sept 4, many of these have totally  lost their  buildings and will have to find alternative premises to get back into operation. Tens of thousands of Christchurch people will need a job to be able to support their families, or else sign up for National's  'hated welfare'

Key and his merry men will strut their stuff around Christchurch and up in Wellington, but all Kiwis know they are false and don't represent the interests of a majority of New Zealanders. They will kick people off the dole and other benefits when it suits them. Its all about votes in November.

The earthquake has come at an opportune time for National - the opposition will find it difficult to gain traction for some considerable time. But National will be on their own after the elections without a coalition partner. They will become dog-tucker! Then Key will leave New Zealand to live in his affluent Hawaiin properties and count his tens of millions of dollars without the glare of an expectant media.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

National down in the polls - turning green...

Anne Tolley, Current East Coast MP And Ministe...Image via Wikipedia  Goodbye Anne Tolley.
Support for National down:

Support for National has taken a hit in the latest Colmar Brunton poll..

It's survey of over a thousand voters shows support for the National Party's dipped four points from last December to 51 per cent.

However its loss has been the Green Party's - and not Labour's - gain.

The Greens are up three and a half points to eight percent while Labour remains static on 33 per cent support.

The other mover is New Zealand First.

Its support has been increasing since August and is now at 3.6 six per cent, a half point rise since Christmas.

KR says:

NZ First received 4.5% at the last elections - they are nearly there again 9 mths out!

I don't think Labour is too concerned that the Greens have taken back some of their election vote. Labour has not lost any support. Labour will take seats from the Maori Party and South Island general electorate seats. Act will lose their only seat and into oblivion! Peter Dunne could also lose his seat to Labour. National is nearly gone already on paper. Add Anne Tolley to that list too!  And Labour still attracts a majority of potential  Maori voters.

National is losing the key to power!

Acknowledgements: © 2011 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Don't cry over spilt milk - its all to do wth the elections...

Federated FarmersImage via Wikipedia
Farmers cry foul over milk price freeze...

Federated Farmers claim they're having to foot the bill for the move to freeze wholesale milk prices in New Zealand

Federated Farmers is crying foul over Fonterra's decision to freeze wholesale milk prices for the rest of the year.

The dairy giant made the decision after a week of public scrutiny at how much the price of milk is hitting consumers in the pocket.

But Federated Farmers dairy spokesperson Lachlan McKenzie says the news that farmer-shareholders would foot the bill came as a surprise to him.

"We seem to now have a desire for a small sector of 10,000 people to subsidise food for the other 4.5 million people" he told Newstalk ZB.

Mr McKenzie says some serious questions need to be asked as to why the supermarkets haven't had the same pressure.

Its all to do with the coming elections you thick headed  farmers! Do you want price controls?

Acknowledgement© 2011 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Key the great helmsman, didn't know about the new government fleet of cars...

John Key, leader of the New Zealand National PartyImage via Wikipedia The great helmsman, John Key...
Public outrage' at government's new fleet of flash cars. Key the great helmsman didn't know about the fleet of new cars? yeah right!

The Prime Minister says he knew nothing about his department buying 34 new BMWs.

John Key says it was the department who signed off on the multi-million dollar deal and he only found out about it last week from a crown car driver.

A spokesman for Internal Affairs has said there was no requirement to inform the government about its decision to choose the option of buying new vehicles.

"It's our contract, we administer it. Our assessment was it was the best value for money to replace the vehicles now and we got a good deal in the first place and we got a good deal now," the spokesperson said.

Key says it's too late to send them back at any rate.

"Those cars are going to turn up in New Zealand," he said, adding that to stop that now would incur high costs.

Internal Affairs, however, has confirmed to ONE News that replacing the fleet was actually "optional", with no penalty for ending the contract.

The cars - the BMW 7 series - sell commercially for about $200,000 each but the government gets a discount for bulk buying, and the actual cost hasn't been revealed for commercial reasons.

The government says the price it will get for selling the 'old' ones is very close to the purchase price of the new cars.

Public condemnation

Despite that, there has been widespread condemnation of the decision to upgrade the fleet. readers expressed their outrage on a messageboard about the purchase.

'lazza25784' said the move was fiscally irresponsible.

"[It] goes against everything they have been telling us about what we should do with our money! They didn't need replacing, they are only 3 years old for goodness sake!"

The condemnation was echoed on the ONE News Facebook page.

Rebecca Walden said: "Is buying new cars gonna bring NZ out of debt, supply jobs and stop child abuse? I don't think so."

But some people laid the blame on Labour.

'dancingqueen' said on's messageboard: "Look at who took out the contract for this fleet of cars in the first place. Yes, your beloved Labour Party, who seem hell bent on spending to the cows come home. The National Party are simply honouring the contract that Labour bestowed on us."

Greens say no

The spending has also been slammed by the Green Party.

"Everyone else is having to tighten their belts and John Key is cutting staff, and creating unemployment in order to apparently tighten the belt of government," Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said.

But English told Radio New Zealand that argument is a "bit rich".
"One of the reasons the Labour government bought the BMWs was because they were meant to reduce carbon emissions. They were meant to be the most fuel-efficient cars even though their capital cost might have been higher than other options," he told Radio New Zealand.

English said when the contract next came up for renewal the government would see if there was a better deal and probably a "more mainstream model of car".

Before 2008, ministers, the leader of the opposition and guests of government were driven around in Ford Fairlanes.

Turei said the contract should be cancelled or evidence provided that it was value for money.

English said the electorate "always thinks that politicians are pampered, overpaid, and far too well looked after and I don't think that's going to change".

The fleet change is expected to happen within the next few months.

Acknowledgements:  NZPA

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Fonterra claims about milk prices are exaggerated

Fonterra factory in Stanhope, VictoriaImage via Wikipedia

Fonterra claims raw material costs lifting milk price - these are exaggerated.

Fonterra says milk prices are a result of increasing global commodity prices leading to a rise in raw material costs for all diary manufacturers, following outrage from health authorities about milk price

Fonterra is responding to claims it should drop the price of milk.

Northland health authorities claim it is a national outrage that a country that produces 15 billion litres of milk a year cannot supply cheap milk to the domestic market.

But Fonterra's managing director Peter McClure says prices are a result of increasing global commodity prices, leading to a rise in raw material costs for all diary manufacturers.

He says despite trying to absorb as much of these increased costs as possible, the company is continually facing tight margins, with costs going up between 30% and 150% over the last year.

Peter McClure says the final price is set by the supermarkets.

KR says:  Was he talking about the price of grass in NZ? McClure was talking through an orifice in his posterior. If Fonterra and the farmers were not so damn greedy and had some consideration for the average New Zealander, some consideration could be given to a domestic market price for dairy products, especially milk.Domestic  prices are set by how much the overseas market price is set - prices increase by how much they can get on overseas markets.

Acknowledgements: © 2011 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Maori Party leaders ban discussion on Hone Harawira...

Tariana and Pita at the Maori Party Launch 200...Image via Wikipedia
Maori Party leaders ban discussion on Hone Harawira...

Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples. (Right)
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the ban on discussing matters involving MP Hone Harawira comes from their party organisation.

Party president Pem Bird has announced a complete media ban until the disciplinary process for Mr Harawira is complete next week.

Mrs Turia says she's had nothing to do with that process or whether it needs to be open and accountable.

"To be honest with you, I haven't given it any thought given that I haven't been party to any of that process," she said.

Acknowledgements:   Newstalk ZB

So this is what a dead dwarf star looks like?  No wonder Hone Harawira questions his future there?

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Maori Party faces new rebellion - are they dog tucker?

Māori PartyImage via Wikipedia

Maori Party faces new rebellion  -  are they dog tucker?

Tamaki Makaurau elders have moved a vote of no confidence in the party's support for the Marine and Coastal Area Bill

Maori Party leaders are facing a rebellion from some of their strongest supporters, over the new Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

Tamaki Makaurau elders have moved a vote of no confidence saying the party's support for the new legislation, in the face of substantial objections is like trampling on the mana of their ancestors.

Spokeswoman, Ngaire Te Hira, says the new bill isn't what people marched the length of the country for back in 2004."This is not just about the Maori party" she told Newstalk ZB, "This is about the bill that has violated against every Maori and every New Zealander."

Meanwhile, the Maori Party's also moving to clarify how it'll handle the complaint against Hone Harawira.

Its disputes and disciplinary committee began proceedings in Wellington this week, but adjourned to allow Mr Harawira the weekend to discuss issues with his electorate.

Committee Chair, Te Orohi Paul, says the disputes committee won't be present at a hui in Te Tai Tokerau, but it's hearing for Mr Harawira will continue early next week.

Acknowledgements: © 2011 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Key's speech more about politics than governing...

David Cunliffe, Charles Chauve (politician), A...Image via Wikipedia

Key's speech more politics than governing...

A politics lecturer thinks John Key's statement to Parliament yesterday was short on detail and more about politics than governing.

John Key's speech outlining the government's plans for the year is being described as more politics than governing.

Otago University's lecturer in politics Dr Bryce Edwards says the speech was short on detail.

"This is really directional stuff, it's the Prime Minister standing up trying to look visionary, trying to show the public that this Government is going somewhere, but for anyone looking for more substance they would've been left wondering quite a bit," he told Newstalk ZB.

He says it's more about positioning the government to protect it from attacks in the coming election campaigns.

"You can see this in terms of quite a strong approach towards children in need, vulnerable children," he says. "Most of this is mainly rhetoric but it's trying to take off some of the heat that they might be expecting from Labour in the campaign."

But former National Party president Michelle Boag told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning that they're not ideas designed to win an election.

"Our long term strategies which have to be addressed for the sake of New Zealand's sustainability as an economically well off nation."

She says John Key has identified what needs to be done in the welfare sector.

"It has been shown over many decades throwing money at it does not fix the problem because we're no better off for all the money that's been thrown at it."

Labour Party president Mike Williams thinks Mr Key is putting a gun to the heads of state housing tenants.

"The vast majority of statehouse tenants, believe it or not, don't bother to vote and when they get off their backsides and do vote, they don't vote National as happened in 2005." he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking. "I think that's a mistake Labour can work on."

He says if he was John Key, he'd fire his speech writers.

"There's no poetry, there's no passion, there's no sense of humour, there's no sens of history."

Mr Williams says John Key's been saying the same things for two year, but nothing's really happened.

Meanwhile Labour MP Grant Robertson says shuffling the chairs around the deck of the public service will do nothing to boost our economy or create jobs.

He says there are lots of rumours going around about restructuring in various departments.

"Everybody wants a more efficient public sector that's responsive to the community needs," he says. "That involves actually sitting down with public servants and working out how we can help them to do their jobs better."

"Just reorganising causes more disruption and more difficulty for people in their jobs."

Grant Robertson says that does nothing to make the public service better for everyone.

Acknowledgements: © 2011 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Key signals a focus on welfare beneficiaries return to work - but where are the jobs says Goff...

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 17:  Labour Pa...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
PM John Key signals the future of welfare delivery in NZ  -  focus on a return to work - but where are the jobs says Goff.? Over 700 jobs are being lost every week.

Changes to the way welfare is delivered are on the government's agenda this year, with the focus on getting beneficiaries back into work.

Prime Minister John Key signalled the government's intentions in his statement to parliament yesterday, saying having more than 220,000 children in benefit-reliant households was not good enough.

While his comments about the future of the public service gained most attention, Key also focused on welfare in his scene-setting statement on parliament's first day.

"New Zealand should be proud to be a country with a social welfare system that looks after its most vulnerable citizens and that supports people when they can't find work, are ill or aren't able to work," he said.

"But we should be ashamed that others remain on a benefit for years even though work is available to them."

Key said the government was waiting for the final report of the Welfare Working Group and anticipated changes in three main areas.

The first would be changes to better support beneficiaries with children back into paid employment "and to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities to their children", he said.

The second would be new approaches to better support sickness and invalid beneficiaries into work, and the third would be new approaches that ensured young people had the skills to avoid the benefit system.

The bottom line was "if you can work, you should work".

Key's commitment to a leaner, more efficient public service was a clear signal that there will be more mergers and staff cuts this year and it drew a response from the Public Service Association (PSA).

"Three years ago John Key promised there would be no wholesale restructuring of the public sector, no cuts to public services and that tax cuts would not come at their expense," said PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff.

"The National government has done all of the above. It's time it admitted it's not working."

Labour MP Grant Robertson, who was Labour's state services spokesman until last week's reshuffle, said wholesale changes often didn't deliver the benefits some people thought were going to be achieved.

"We have already seen 2000 jobs go in the public sector and that is starting to have an impact on the kind of services that are going to be offered," he said.

"Further cuts mean further reductions in the quality of services."

Roberston said it was very difficult to deliver more at less cost, as Key was promising.

"The public sector has been pared back significantly, there are fewer people working in it than there was even in 1990," he said.

"We're in a position now where I believe the quality of service is in danger."

Labour leader Phil Goff asks where the jobs are.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Taita women earn reprieve from Housing New Zealand stupidity...

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 02:  New Zealand...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Lower Hutt women win reprieve from eviction therough the stupidity of Housing New Zealand...

Three Lower Hutt women given 24 hours to vacate their homes by Housing New Zealand on Monday have won a reprieve.

Robyn Winther, Huia Tamaka and Billy Taylor were first issued with 90-day eviction notices in March 2009.

Notices mistakenly attached to the orders described the women as partners of gang members who were facing charges of burglary or intimidation, which were later dropped.

The women claimed Housing New Zealand acted unlawfully by terminating the tenancies in the suburb of Taita and in doing so breached the Bill of Rights.

The Tenancy Tribunal upheld the eviction notices, but the women appealed to the District Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which dismissed their appeal in December last year.

Earlier, bailiffs with a police escort served them with notices to leave within 24 hours or be forcibly evicted.

However, on Monday afternoon they were granted an interim injunction, pending the full hearing of their case by the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

KR says:
The women actually live in the Pomare community of North Taita a  suburb in Lower Hutt city and have only survived through the stupidity of Housing New Zealand staff. The so-called gang members were not tenants of the properties and as a consequence the women involved were not treated fairly under the 'law'. They are entitled to be protected under the Bill of Rights. That shows how stupid this government is as well. And the 'mincing'  PM John Key as well. This is the stupid sort of things being experienced in the liberal conservative regime of New Zealand.

Acknowledgements: © 2011, Radio New Zealand

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

John Key accused of backtracking over TPPA...

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark shaking hands w...Image via Wikipedia
John Key accused of backtracking over TPPA...

Key Backtracks, Says Foreign Firms Can Sue NZ Government Under TPPA

In November last year, Prime Minister John Key described as "far-fetched" the idea that investors could sue the New Zealand government directly in a secret international tribunal to enforce rules in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

This week, US trade negotiator Barbara Wiesel said that was no longer New Zealand's position, according to TPPA critic Professor Jane Kelsey.

In response to questions about New Zealand and Australian positions during a briefing to civil society in Washington on 31st January Ms Wiesel said "New Zealand had retracted the Prime Minister's statement. It is not their position."

Under standard US terms for such agreements, investors can claim millions in compensation from governments on the grounds that new regulation has adversely affect their investment. Under a TPPA that would apply to investors from all participating countries, including our largest sources of investment, the US and Australia, Jane Kelsey said.

"In other words, the Key government is happy for pharmaceutical firms in the US, Australian banks or Singapore-based Brierley Investments to sue the New Zealand government for millions in compensation if they think new laws or policies are unfair or unreasonable or erode their profitability", said Professor Kelsey.

"We saw with the Hobbit, just a threat from a foreign investor is often enough to see a government cave. The leverage of Warners over our labour laws and taxpayer subsidies will pale into insignificance with a TPPA."

Professor Kelsey speculates on three explanations for the flip-flop.

"Either John Key did not know what his negotiators were proposing to do when he described investor-state enforcement as "far-fetched"; or he was lying to the New Zealand public; or he has buckled to pressure from the US, and possibly his own Minister and officials, to agree."

"This proposed bill of rights for foreign investors is even more frightening when government has announced assets sales and privatisation of ACC, policies which failed in the past and required the government to step back in."

"The Prime Minister needs to be upfront about the government's real position before the next round of negotiations begins in Chile on 14 February and explain why he is prepared to give foreign firms the legal power to override New Zealand's sovereignty and extract settlements of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars".


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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

John Key announces election date for New Zealand...

New Zealand National Party leader John Key and...Image via WikipediaJohn Key has announced that the general elections will be held on November 26 2010, at the end of this year. He also stated he would not consider any coalition with Winston Peters and NZ First.

Well Winnie hasn't actually said that he and NZ first will stand this year, but you can bet they will announce their future some time.

Is he contemplating another another alliance and coalition with the (Fascist) ACT NZ Party and the brown middle class in the Maori Party?

Act is totally dependant on Rodney Hide winning his electorate seat, and the Maori Party actually surviving to the elections, let alone getting elected. There is now the spectre of Hone Harawira hanging there above them like some New Zealand version of the Sword of Damascus.

What does this do for Phil Goff and Labour? Despite the earliest call for an election date ever, Goff will have the best possible preparation by an opposition ever. Has he the nous to pull this off?  The wider electorate is quietly hoping he can - surely Kiwis have had enough of the separatist policies of the last couple years.

Key's announcement to partially privatise four state energy companies has to benefit Labour, any way you look at it. Kiwis don't want their assets/family silver privatised.

Reducing taxes for the rich and increasing GST by 2.5% to 15% hurts the lower paid and those on fixed incomes.

We don't know of or can think of any surprises he could have at present. The SAS will have one more rotation in Afghanistan, although these special forces super-stars will have their numbers reduced by half.

Key wants cuts to the defence budget and all other public service departments. Really?  But the other half of the present rotation in Afghanistan is being saved for the Rugby World Cup tournament - what dangers is he expecting for world leaders who attend the RWC?

I presume Johny Key will announce massive increase in the number of jobs created by his bicycle - ways; this was his pet project when first elected? Yeah right!
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