More Winston bottom lines

Yesterday Winston Peters implied that a Northland rail link to Marsden Point was a bottom line, or at least was an election promise.

Newshub:  Northland rail ‘going to happen’, Winston Peters promises

Winston Peters says the Northport rail project at Marsden Point is his bottom line for any coalition deal.

NZ First has been strongly advocating the connection, which may cost up to $1 billion.

Mr Peters says it’s the first thing both National and Labour will have to concede if he’s the kingmaker.

“I can say for the people of Northland and Whangerei this is going to happen,” he told The Nation on Saturday morning.

“We’ve got the corridor, it’s been designated – the only thing it lacks is the commitment from central Government, and that’s one of the first things we’re going to be doing straight after the election.”

Today he had another promise/bottom line: Winston Peters delivers bottom-line binding referendum on abolishing Maori seats

Winston Peters promised “explosive policy” at his party’s convention on Sunday but it was a tried and true pledge of referenda on abolishing the Maori seats and reducing the number of MPs that he delivered.

Speaking to media following his speech, Peters said the size of Parliament needs to reduce because there was a referendum in 1999 where 80 per cent of the country wanted to reduce the overall number of MPs but it wasn’t binding.

“The public should be asked again now whether they want the 120 or 100.”

A binding referendum on the two matters would be held on the same day in the middle of the next election term.

Peters said both issues were “explosive” but in particular the Maori seats because “Maori progress economically and socially has been massively sidetracked, detoured and road blocked by the Waitangi industry”.

“How could that possibly happen when we’ve got all these new members of Parliament coming from the Maori world?”

Peters said he wouldn’t use “silly phrases” like “bottom lines” but he made it clear the referendum wasn’t negotiable.

“My strategy is to tell everybody out there that you won’t be talking to NZ First unless you want a referendum on both those issues at the mid-term mark of this election.”

So it’s not a ‘bottom line’, it’s non-negotiable.

Peters is clocking up a few non negotiable policies. Unless he doesn’t have to negotiate:

Peters’ interview with media was interrupted several times by members of his youth wing yelling “Make New Zealand great again” but when asked if he thought his supporters using a Donald Trump slogan was helpful, Peters said he had never heard Trump say that.

He talked about a “great political upset coming” and signed off with a promise – “we will be, most definitely, the Government.”

That’s fairly ambitious to say the least, unless it’s just hot air.

I wonder if he would agree to a referendum of MPs in the next coalition on whether a referendum on Maori seats should happen?

 

Hard out on housing hand ups

The Government went hard out yesterday promoting it’s $1 billion housing infrastructure fund. Housing has been one of National’s weaknesses heading into the election.

$1b infrastructure fund accelerates housing supply

The allocation of the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund today is another milestone in the Government’s plan to increase housing supply for a growing New Zealand, Prime Minister Bill English says.

“The infrastructure projects announced today will speed up the delivery of 60,000 houses across our fastest growing population centres over the next ten years,” Mr English says.

“This is another major step forward in our plan to permanently lift the capacity of the construction sector to support a more confident, expanding New Zealand.”

The funding will be allocated across nine projects in five different council areas, Auckland, Hamilton, Waikato, Tauranga and Queenstown.

“I want to congratulate the Councils in these areas for their positive engagement with the fund and the quality of the infrastructure projects they have proposed,” Mr English says.

“These projects will make their contribution to lifting housing supply alongside the Government’s own Crown Building Project, the Special Housing Areas, our planning changes, and the already record levels of new home construction taking place across New Zealand.”

The successful proposals are in critical high growth areas including:

  • Auckland Council – $300 million – 10,500 houses

 Greenfield development (North-west) at Whenuapai and Redhills.

  • Hamilton City Council – $272 million – 8,100 houses

Greenfield development (Peacockes) on southern edge of Hamilton.

  • Waikato District Council – $37 million – 2,600 houses

Te Kauwhata (new development on the shore of Lake Waikare).

  • Tauranga City Council – $230 million – 35,000 houses

Greenfield development at Te Tumu (eastern end of Papamoa) as well as a capacity upgrade to the Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant and a new (Waiari) water treatment plant (at Te Puke).

  •  Queenstown Lakes District Council – $50 million – 3,200 houses

Two new greenfield sites (Quail Rise South and Ladies Mile) on the Frankton Flats and an extension of the Kingston township.

They kept the PR flowing through yesterday:

 

Government may do more on historic state care abuse

It’s amazing what an impending election and a downturn in the polls can do.

But on this issue no matter what circumstances prompts common sense and decency this is a welcome shift in position.

RNZ:  Govt softens stance on abuse inquiry

Between the 1950s and 1990s, more than 100,000 children were taken into state care, most of them Māori.

The government set up a Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) in 2008 to hear from victims. It wound up in June 2015.

It also introduced an optional fast track process to resolve the backlog of claims where survivors can receive a personal apology and financial settlement.

More than 1000 have told CLAS they were physically and sexually abused, and the government has paid out $17 million and apologised to 900 people.

Survivors of abuse last week presented a petition and an open letter to Parliament, calling for a public apology and full inquiry.

Prime Minister Bill English has previously rebuffed such calls, but today said he wanted to hear more about exactly what they want.

“If there are additional steps to be taken which can help them, then we’re interested in that.

“Have we got an accurate view of the scale of what happened historically? It may be possible to find out more about that.”

But Mr English stressed that any action must not be “a large distraction of resource and focus” from the work that was already underway.

“If we can find something that doesn’t get in the way of what’s happening, then we’re looking for it.

So they are open to offers – in other words they would welcome a way out of the dead end of denial that they had stuck themselves down.

Mr English said the government would also consider offering a wider apology to the survivors.

“That wouldn’t be a problem at all.”

So do it. Soon. And do more to repair as much of the damage as possible.

Bills relying on Barclay’s vote

By not standing down until the election Todd Barclay’s vote is still available in Parliament so the Government can pass legislation. The Labour Party has pointed out their are three bills that are relying on that vote if they are to be passed before the election recess.

Bill English has said that it is Barclay’s decision as to whether he remains in Parliament until the election. A party leader is not able to force an MP to resign, for good reason.

NZ Herald: Three law changes hinge on National MP Todd Barclay’s vote, Labour Party says

The National-led Government would be unable to pass three pieces of legislation including major child, youth and family reforms if MP Todd Barclay had been sacked immediately, the Labour Party says.

Without his vote, the National Party would need support from two out of three of its coalition partners to pass legislation.

Labour said there were three bills before Parliament which were either opposed by the Maori Party or by both Act and United Future, meaning they would not progress without Barclay’s vote.

Government Bills which are remaining to be passed this term which will depend on Barclay’s vote (based on known party position)

  • Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill
  • Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
  • Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill

Bills which passed by one vote since the end of February 2016 when the Barclay incident happened

  • Housing Legislation Amendment Bill
  • Social Security (Extension of Young Persons Services and Remedial Matters) Amendment Bill
  • Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill
  • Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill (National Party members bill – still before the House)
  • Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill (National Party members bill – still before the House)

(Source: Parliamentary Library/Labour Party)

Is what Barclay has done (not being truthful) and is alleged to have done bad enough to justify stopping the elected Government from continuing with it’s legislative programme?

Should he have resigned in February last year? This would have effectively hung the Parliament in the middle of the term.

Pay equity for health care workers

A major win for Kristine Bartlett, her union and 55,000 health care workers after the Government has agreed to a major boost in pay rates.


$2 billion pay equity settlement for 55,000 health care workers

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today announced that some of the health sector’s lowest paid workers will share in a $2 billion pay equity settlement over five years.

The wage boost follows the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū (previously the Service and Food Workers Union) on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett.

“This settlement recognises the work carried out by the 55,000 workers in our aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services across the country,” says Dr Coleman.

“From July 1 this dedicated and predominantly female workforce who are mostly on or around minimum wage will receive a pay rise between around 15 and 50 per cent depending on their qualifications and or experience.

“For the 20,000 workers currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour, it means on July 1 they will move to at least $19 per hour, a 21 per cent pay rise. For a full-time worker, this means they will be taking home around an extra $100 a week, which is over $5,000 a year.”

For these 55,000 workers this funding boost will see wages increase to between $19 to $27 per hour over five years. Existing workers will be transitioned to positions on the new pay scale which reflect their skills, and their experience. For new workers employed after July 1 wages will be based on an individual’s level of qualifications.

A care and support worker on the minimum wage with three years’ experience and no qualifications will receive a 27 per cent increase in their hourly wage rate moving from $15.75 to $20 per hour from July 1. That rate would progressively increase to $23 by July 2021 and would rise further if they attain a higher qualification.

The $2.048 billion settlement over five years will be funded through an increase of $1.856 billion to Vote Health and $192 million to ACC.  ACC levies are set for the coming years, but may possibly increase over the next decade to support this. However, that is not definite. There may also be an increase in costs for people in aged residential care facilities, whose assets keep them above the subsidy threshold. This will be determined through the annual Aged Residential Care contract negotiations.

“To ensure the pay rises happen in the agreed manner, I will be introducing legislation to Parliament shortly,” says Dr Coleman.

“I would like to thank E tū, Public Service Association, New Zealand Nurses Organisation, and the Council of Trade Unions for their constructive and positive approach throughout the negotiations. I would also like to acknowledge the New Zealand Aged Care Association, Home and Community Health Association, and the New Zealand Disability Support Network for the vital role they have played in reaching this agreement over the past 20 months.

“I would also like to recognise the employers who will implement this new wage structure and pass the rates onto their staff.

“Home and community support, disability and aged residential care workers are widely seen as amongst the most deserving of recognition as a pay equity case. It is an historic moment for the Government to address this undervaluing with Ms Bartlett and the unions.”


Some background from RNZ: Govt settles historic pay equity case

In 2013, Kristine Bartlett – a professional caregiver – successfully argued in the Employment Court her low hourly pay rate was a result of gender discrimination under the Equal Pay Act.

Health care workers, including age care and disabled  care workers, were grossly underpaid through the Government for doing demanding jobs largely done by female workers, so this is a big step up towards pay equity.

Not only will this pay health care workers what they deserve, it will also boost the incomes of a lot of low waged households and families.

 

 

Nutrition Finance and Government

By Duncan from Sustainable Life NZ

A glance at Nutrition Finance and Government.

As well as regenerating the degraded ecosystems of the world we also need to regenerate the health of the human genome. To understand nutrition today you almost need to be a biochemist It wasn’t always like that.

To achieve regenerating or at least trying to protect the human genome as a species there are many things we have to understand and accomplish, but you can make a difference the moment you choose to wake up. We have been indoctrinated into social systems with diets that favour the acidic spectrum. Any food that is acidic, contains the chemical binding agent starch. Any food that was made by nature, has a complete molecular structure, made by nature, no starch(or less), instead natural enzymes are present. Genetically modified foods are genetically modifying animals and us!

On one level our bodies are electro chemical entities, as such we require a certain electro chemical coherence to efficiently operate mentally, physically and emotionally. Natural alkaline food is bioelectric. There are states of energy within food, dead or alive, distorted or natural, and natural food plays a role in supporting immunity. Part of this immunity is combatting mucous and preventing further inflammation at an intracellular level.

So personally what can you do? Switching to a 70+%alkaline 30-%acid diet including large servings of leafy greens, and a nutrient dense Base Element diet, consisting of a delicious variety of natural foods will provide numerous wonderful health benifits! Detoxifying your body and ridding yourself of as much of the distorted information as you can will allow you to operate more efficiently and decisively. All this is important if you wish to have more clarity and longevity.

Also if you are able to produce your own renewable organic produce or even just purchase from organic local suppliers you will; reduce your waste contribution, not support corporations that put profits over people and environments, grow the industry of local organic produce which arguable has more transparency, improve your health, and potentially provide food security through sustainable organic home production! So while there are a myriad of problems if we can begin to understand the problems we can start working towards effective solutions.

Part of the problem here, is the elite agenda for a hostile corporate takeover of the biosphere. There is a systematic poisoning of the human genome AND the earths ecology. World banks, the federal reserve, International law, world conflict, media, the W.H.O, the U.N, the W.T.O, the industrial military complex and a web of transnational corporations are coercing to centralise control of all W.T.O countries, New Zealand included. Part of the agenda is to use the highly effective control mechanism of money to further instigate the economic slavery of individuals and remove the sovereignty of nations furthering the dissolution of democracy. In part, effectively creating a corporate global agricultural control grid.

We can made a difference! Money is an illusion. I call it creative wealth. Think of it like this, you reside on the earth, you want to build a house build anything physical, you need produce from your environment. So effectively you are not creating anything new you are manipulating products of the environments natural capital into a more effective use. With money, you are creating something from the non physical because you have bestowed a concept, a set of rules. It is an illusion! Nature doesn’t follow our rules! The Federal Reserve itself which controls the supply and production of money isn’t government owned but owned by a private entity! This technocratic, globalist agenda uses money and control of natural resources to manipulate people and nations, we can use their weapons against them! Create our own resource security and nationalise our assets, whilst boycotting corporations! These systems are the real terrorists, they just hide behind suits and logos.

The point is, the deception of our perceptions that we have undergone requires us to stay blind and adhere to the social norms and control structures that exist in place, so the agenda can be implemented. Through corporate control and deception of our perceptions, almost anything can be instigated, effectively with human ‘permission’.

We need to reclaim our political system. I don’t have all the answers, but I know it can be achieved. We are facing an election in NZ and I’m buggered if I know of any political party that does represent us and isn’t already in the pocket of corporate interests with a healthy amount of conflict of interests (or is controlled opposition). The whole political system has been manufactured to only advance those who don’t make a lot of noise, and are not policy based. The legalised bribery that is campaign contributions needs to end. Otherwise this dissolution of democracy and oppression of rights will continue. Instead of supporting parties support social movements or people with policy that makes sense.

Get engaged! If you can do your own research do so. While the government has you focused on terrorism and whatever other constructed issue, things are being implemented behind the scenes!

If we can’t rely on ‘our leaders’ to represent us we need to represent ourselves, more than a revolution we need an evolution of thought. Much love

People, ecosystems and future generations

OVER

Profit

The Nation – trade

On The Nation (9.30 am Saturday, 10:00 am Sunday):

Patrick Gower talks to Todd McClay MP about what happens next for New Zealand trade now the TPPA’s been Trumped.

Yesterday the Government launched a trade policy onslaught:

PM launches ambitious trade agenda

Prime Minister Bill English has today launched New Zealand’s updated trade strategy, Trade Agenda 2030, and reiterated the Government’s commitment to free trade.

The Prime Minister has also announced the Government’s ambitious goal of having free trade agreements cover 90 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports by 2030, up from 53 per cent today, as well as investing $91.3 million over four years through Budget 2017 to help achieve this.

Also:


McClay is doing a good job of talking knowledgeable and reasonably frank about the prospects of future trade agreements.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Government still wants to do a trade deal with Russia, even if Vladimir Putin is in power.

Trade Minister Todd McClay on a plane to meet Trump administration “within the month”.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Saudi Arabia/Gulf states free trade deal will be signed this year.

 

 

Government battles crime targets

The National Party has been trying to portray successes in dealing with crime, but the Government looks likely to fail to meet it’s own targets on reducing crime.

Yesterday on Twitter promoting less bad crime statistics:

But RNZ: Govt likely to miss violent crime target

The government looks unlikely to meet its self-set target for reducing violent crime, under the latest information released for its ‘Better Public Services’ targets.

It might also miss its target for lowering reoffending rates.

The government said it was on track to meet seven of its targets for the delivery of public services, but said four needed “more work” if those targets were to be met.

The Better Public Service targets, which were set in 2012, include welfare dependency, immunisation rates and violent offending.

One of the targets was to reduce the rate of total crime by 20 percent by June 2018, violent crime by 20 percent by June this year and youth crime by 25 percent by June this year.

Total crime is down by 14 percent since June 2011, and youth crime by 32 percent.

However, violent crime has only been reduced by 2 percent since 2011.

Another target was to reduce the reoffending rate by 25 percent by this year, but that has only fallen by 4.4 percent.

The government had earlier signalled it would change the way this was measured because the total number of reoffenders, as opposed to the rate, had dropped by 26 percent.

So some improvements, but more challenges on crime reduction.

One oddity – if crime is reducing as much as is claimed – 14% – why is the Government increasing Police numbers by about a thousand?

Larger surplus

A larger than forecast surplus has been announced by the Government.

This will help National with their budget in a couple of months, and shouldn’t do their election chances any harm, but do they usually announce 7 month results? Or are they just want to get a bit of good news out there?


BREAKING: Seven month surplus better than expected

Even the Government misuses ‘Breaking’.

The Government’s books are better than expected, with a $1.1 billion OBEGAL surplus for the seven months to January, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Stronger tax revenues as a result of a healthier economy are flowing through to the Government’s financial performance,” Mr Joyce says.

Tax revenues year-to-date are 3.8 per cent more than they were predicted to be in Budget 2016.

“Company tax in particular is higher than expected, and that reflects the good performance of New Zealand companies in what is still an uncertain world,” Mr Joyce says.

The $1.1 billion OBEGAL surplus compares to Treasury’s forecast of a $517 million surplus at the start of the fiscal year.

Core Crown expenses for the seven months to January were $234 million lower than the Budget forecast, reflecting the Government’s ongoing commitment to prudent spending.

Mr Joyce says that a number of variables made the final out-turn for the full financial year hard to predict.

“The biggest variable at this stage is the cost of the Kaikoura earthquake and how those are allocated between this year and next year,” Mr Joyce says.

“The good news is that this Government’s strong economic management means we can afford to step in to help these communities and support them when they are most in need.”

 

“Reached the limits of what Government can do”

Comments made by Bill English in his speech at Ratana suggesting that Government had “reached the limits of what Government can do” have been criticised, but I think he makes a valid point.

ODT reported:

In a 10-minute speech which included a brief Te Reo introduction, Mr Little also criticised Prime Minister Bill English’s comments at Ratana yesterday. Mr English told Ratana members to “reawaken the spirit of enterprise” among Maori because Government had “reached the limits of what government can do – government grants, programmes, more public servants.”

Mr Little responded: “I come here to say that’s an abdication of leadership and an abdication of the responsibility of Government.”

But Andrea Vance at 1 News reported more detail: PM Bill English tells elders at Ratana the Government isn’t abandoning Maori

Andrea Vance: Both Mr English and the church seem to be in tune over pulling Maori out of poverty.

Bill English: Somehow along the way we have reached the limits of what Government can do, the limits of Government grants, programmes, more public servants.

englishratana

And what I see around the country, and I think it’s obvious now to every New Zealander, is this burgeoning spirit of enterprise.

Piri Rurawhe (Ratana Church Secretary): That’s always been a whakauru (?) of Ratana. We need to help ourselves before we can help anyone else, and we like that whakauru.

Andrea Vance: Mr English says the Government isn’t abandoning Maori.

Bill English: Government is learning much better how to work with the people who know the people.

Apart from the overdone platitude ‘every New Zealander’ I think English makes a lot of sense here.

We can’t sit back and expect the Government to fix everything. It is often far more effective if the Government helps and encourages communities and families to help themselves as much as possible.

Obviously some Government assistance, funding and interventions are necessary, but people – individuals, families and communities – need to take responsibility for their own problems.

Solutions cannot easily or effectively be imposed, they have to be wanted, and those with problems (with some exceptions) ultimately need to address and resolve them themselves as much as possible.

There is only so much Government can do. Recognising this is important. I think English is on the right track here.