Archive | February, 2013

Question 21: One of the other claims made by the right wing economists in the 1980s was that New Zealand needed the type of neoliberal reforms they advocated because the economy was performing poorly and deeply in debt. How have the changes made affected New Zealand’s economic position internationally?

28 Feb

The changes have actually left the economy more deeply in debt than ever before. The only change is that the overseas debt is “private” rather than held by the government under a controlled currency and exchange rate system. But in the end working people will be paying the bill.

This question is dealt with very well in the CTU Alternative Economic Strategy which explained that the reforms were “unsuccessful even in neoliberal terms”. In terms of national output per person (GDP per capita) “New Zealand has steadily fallen further behind in its OECD rankings”. (See Graph 10)

Graph 10

The CTU paper does note one “success” – attracting foreign investment. New Zealand “now has one of the highest concentrations of foreign direct investment (investment where control of the company is intended) in the developed world, equivalent in 2008 to 42 percent of GDP compared to an average of 25 percent in the other developed economies and the world as a whole. …. But the direct investment into New Zealand has been of low quality, usually in the form of takeovers rather than new ‘greenfield’ investment introducing new technology and creating employment.”

In the decade 1986 to 96 almost half of the foreign direct investment was associated with the sale of privatized state assets. From the late 1990s it has been associated with Private Equity and investment company buyouts “with many of them quickly resold in highly indebted conditions.” Even the cheerleaders of foreign investment in the Treasury felt compelled to acknowledge in a 2008 paper that “some analysts argue that New Zealand receives substantial foreign direct investment inflows but has yet to benefit from spillovers [of expertise and new technology
into the rest of the economy]”

The CTU paper also notes that “Another part of the overseas investment has been the exceptionally high levels of international debt. The cost of paying the dividends and interest on those debt and equity investment liabilities has given us one of the highest current account deficits in the OECD…..About one dollar in five from exports of goods and services goes on servicing liabilities: the financial debt alone ($256 billion at March 2009) would take four and a half years to pay off. Bank debt accounts for over 70 percent of the international debt, and has been used largely to finance mortgages, contributing to the property price bubble of recent years and encouraging excessive investment in property compared to productive investment by firms. Related to this, and a direct result of the opening of capital markets is the exchange rate which is chronically over-valued as far as the balance of trade is concerned, burning off exporters through both the high value of the New Zealand dollar and its volatility. The dollar – the 11th most traded currency in the world in April 2007 according to the Bank of International Settlements – is largely driven by international capital movements rather than the ‘real economy’ of goods and services trade.”

The end result is that New Zealand now has a much larger overseas debt and servicing costs than existed before the economic “reforms”. The economy has also suffered from the decimation of manufacturing and other productive sectors to be replaced by low wage service jobs.

New Zealand Herald columnist Brian Fallow pointed to the dangers of the high debt in a column on April 1, 2010:

We are up to our chins in debt to the rest of the world and this, the International Monetary Fund warns, remains a key area of vulnerability for the economy.

Net foreign liabilities at the end of 2009 were $167 billion, equivalent to 90 per cent of the economy’s output last year.

The increase in the external debt mirrors a big increase in household debt – a legacy of the last boom.

Whether a wariness of debt will be an enduring legacy of the recession that followed remains to be seen.

Right now, at least, households are decidedly debt-averse and businesses even more so.

Reserve Bank data out on Tuesday showed business sector debt in February was nearly 8 per cent lower than a year earlier.

Households, which find it harder to shed debt than businesses do, had increased their debt levels by just 2.7 per cent over the year ended February, and the annual increase has been no higher than that at any stage in the past year. Consumer debt is down 4 per cent on a year ago.

All this is despite the fact that interest rates are at cyclical lows.

ANZ says the effective mortgage rate – the average rate people are paying on their home loans – is 6.7 per cent, down from 8.8 per cent at the peak in September 2008.

Floating mortgage rates are around 5.85 per cent, compared with an average 8.2 per cent since 1999.

BNZ estimates debt servicing costs are running below 10 per cent of household disposable income, from a high of nearly 14 per cent two years ago. (If this looks low, remember most households have either paid off the mortgage or are renting).

Enjoy it while it lasts. The Reserve Bank expects to start raising the official cash rate “around the middle of the year”.

It does not expect it will have to push it as high in this cycle as it did in the last one – an eye-watering 8.25 per cent. But the reasons for that carry little joy for borrowers.

One is that wholesale interest rates now incorporate a much wider risk margin than in the lax years before the crisis. This is expected to persist.

It means a higher cost of funds for the banks, and higher lending rates for borrowers, for any given level of the OCR.

The other factor is that the wholesale yield curve is positive again – that is, longer-term interest rates are higher than short-term ones. As deputy governor Grant Spencer put it last week, “borrowers have nowhere to hide”.

Borrowers have piled into floating rates or short-term fixed ones, so a higher OCR will bite harder and sooner.

By contrast, during the boom borrowers could effectively dodge, or at least delay, the impact of ever-higher official cash rates by taking cheaper longer-term fixed-rate mortgages.

This imparted what Governor Alan Bollard called a “sponginess” to the monetary policy brakes to the extent that he had to just about stand on the brake pedal for years, with serious spillover effects on the productive sectors of the economy, before it had the desired impact in the mortgage belt.

A key factor in avoiding another destructive housing boom, of the kind which seems to be emerging across the Tasman, is whether people’s expectations of house-price inflation (or capital gains as we prefer to think of it) come down.

They ought to. It is fantasy to imagine double-digit annual rises in house prices can be sustained indefinitely when the incomes out of which mortgages and rents are paid increase much more slowly than that.

The effective real interest rates that apply in the housing market are nominal mortgage rates deflated not by the consumers price index but by expected house-price inflation. The higher the latter is, the more attractive any given nominal mortgage rate is.

So more realistic expectations of house-price rises should mean monetary policy does not have to work as hard, and less pressure on the cost of capital for businesses.

Right now sentiment in the housing market is on the grim side. Having more people out of work than at any time in the past 16 years does not help, but perhaps the bigger factor is nervousness and uncertainty about tax change in next month’s Budget.

The changes are expected to reduce both the incentive for people to shelter taxable income in rental property investments and the ease with which they can do so.

How much and for how long that weighs on house prices generally remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, business borrowing is likely to recover with the economy.

After contracting for five straight quarters, business investment in plant and machinery rose in the December 2009 quarter with imports of capital goods.

They need to. Much of the productivity and income gap with Australia is explained by capital shallowness – significantly lower levels of physical capital employed per worker.

What then of the third component of national savings, the Government?

Next month’s Budget might paint a slightly rosier picture, but the half-year fiscal update delivered last December projected another six years of fiscal deficits, pushing the Government’s net debt from just 6 per cent of GDP in 2008 to 30 per cent in 2016 before it starts trending town again.

On its own that is not a scary number. Net debt was that high as recently as 1998 and 30 per cent is downright modest compared with where many advanced economies’ governments are heading.

But it cannot be looked at in isolation and when set alongside the parlous state of the external accounts it does not present a reassuring picture.

Net external debt of 90 per cent of GDP is conspicuously high by international standards. We have got away with it so far in part because almost all of it is private-sector obligations, much of it held by the banks and backed by vanilla mortgages.

But with the Government having switched from saving to debt accumulation, and with household savings rates still negative, the increase in Crown debt will have to be funded by foreign savers.

Competition for their funds will be fierce, from larger governments with bigger deficits to finance and higher credit ratings, and increasingly from corporate borrowers as the world recovery gathers momentum.

Bond yields are bound to rise and the combination of mounting debt and higher interest rates will pre-empt a growing share of future tax revenues.

The current account deficit is a measure of the extent to which national savings fall short of funding investment spending within the economy. For 2009 it was $5.5 billion or 2.9 per cent of GDP, or 3.8 per cent if you ignore the impact of Australian-owned banks losing a tax case.

That could well be as small as it gets. The IMF expects it to be back at 8 per cent of GDP by 2015, heaping ever more debt on the mountainous – nay, alpine – pile already there.

(Part of a series of extracts from “Exposing Right Wing Lies” by Mike Treen, Unite National Director)

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NEW ZEALAND LABOUR LETTER (February 2013, Vol. 4 No. 2)

28 Feb

Published by AIL NZ as a service to the labour movement

National Labour News

Creation of a Crown stand-alone health and safety agency, a key recommendation of the Royal Commission on Pike River, received universal praise from New Zealand’s unions. “Creating a stand-alone agency will also give health and safety the more singular status it deserves,” said Public Service Association National Secretary Richard Wagstaff. Council of Trade Unions President Helen Kelly welcomed the announcement and pledged “the union movement is committed to working with the Government to improve the health and safety of our workforce”. She noted New Zealand has an accident rate at work that is twice that of Australia and seven times worse than the United Kingdom. Minister Simon Bridges said the new Crown agency will enforce workplace health and safety regulations and work with employers and employees to promote and embed good health and safety practices. He said the new agency would set a target of a 25 per cent reduction in workplace fatality and serious injury rates by 2020. Legislation to establish the agency is expected to be introduced to Parliament in June and the agency will be in place by December.

Pike River mine entrance

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union expressed disappointment that the government will not conduct an inquiry into a deal between KiwiRail and a Chinese firm to purchase rolling stock. Auditor-General Lyn Provost will not look into the purchase because KiwiRail made the decision for “normal business and commercial reasons.” The union’s general secretary Wayne Butson said an investigation should have been held to determine whether KiwiRail considered its obligations as a state-owned enterprise operating for New Zealand’s best interests. He charged this decision is the latest example of the Government’s lack of interest in using KiwiRail to support jobs. KiwiRail last year purchased freight wagons from China Northern Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corporation because its price of $31 million was the cheapest. KiwiRail’s own workshops in Dunedin at the time put in an unsuccessful tender for $37 million.

New Zealand’s dollar is overvalued and the government must take action to achieve a balanced exchange rate, said the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union. The union responded to Finance Minister Bill English’s claim that bringing down the New Zealand dollar would mean a cut in real wages. “Workers and employers are united in calling for action on the exchange rate because we see first-hand the damage the high dollar is doing to New Zealand’s manufacturing sector,” said EPMU National Secretary Bill Newson. He said a high wage economy needs a balanced exchange rate and a strong manufacturing sector. “The reality is imported consumer goods don’t drive wage growth. High wages come from having a strong productive sector and good employment laws that ensure the benefits of growth are shared with workers,” he said.

National, Economic & Political Events

A new report released by the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit identified $18.40 an hour as the living wage for New Zealand. The report was prepared by Charles Waldegrave and Peter King, who are best known for their work in establishing the New Zealand poverty line. “The report establishes a minimal figure for a worker in New Zealand not only to provide the basic necessities but to have a decent, but modest family and community life,” said Waldegrave. The report received strong support from across the community. “The report confirms what workers have increasingly been saying. They can’t live on the minimum wage and this provides evidence that workers need at least $18.40 just to get by in New Zealand,” said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary, John Ryall. Labour Leader David Shearer said the Labour Party would champion the living wage alongside community groups “to do what we can to support the movement.” The campaign for a living wage is a joint community and union effort.

NZ Labour Party charged the national government is failing young people after releasing information that shows more young workers are claiming the unemployment benefit in every region of the country than when National took power in 2008. According to figures collated by Labour, the biggest increases were in Nelson-Marlborough-West Coast, Taranaki-Whanganui-King Country, East Coast, Bay of Plenty and Northland, all up more than 100 per cent between December 2008 and December 2012. Labour MP Jacinda Ardern said National pledged youth unemployment was a main priority but both the youth unemployment and NEET rates are higher than when they took office. “Every young person should have a plan when they leave school,” she said. Instead the Government was restricting youth transition services, which offered support to young people looking for training or employment, a select group of 16 and 17-year-olds, Ardern said.

International Labour

Canada’s unions called for higher pension payments from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and other pension reforms as federal and provincial officials recently gathered for a week-long national summit on pensions to address the nation’s retirement crisis. In recent years, tens of thousands of Canadian retirees have seen their pensions wiped out during bankruptcy proceedings. Under the current rules, working people who’ve paid into pension plans have little protection when their employer goes under. Meanwhile, fewer than 40 per cent of Canadian workers are covered by an employer pension plan while the CPP covers only half the average wage of the public pensions that exist in most high-income countries. Canadian labour has called for doubling CPP benefits over the next seven years and protecting employee pensions in bankruptcy proceedings.

Tens of thousands of Greeks took part in the first general strike of 2013 on February 20 in a fresh round of protests over austerity measures. The strike shut schools and left hospitals with emergency staffing. Domestic flights and long-distance train services also were cancelled. The 24-hour walkout was called by Greece’s two biggest trade unions, representing half the four million-strong workforce. According to news reports, crowds marched towards parliament in Athens where minor clashes broke out at one stage when police fired tear gas at hooded youths throwing stones. Demonstrations also took place in Crete and in the second largest city of Thessaloniki, where some 17,000 people protested peacefully. Ilias Iliopoulos, Secretary-General of Adedy public sector union, said the strike was an attempt to “get rid of the bailout deal”. “A social explosion is very near,” he said. The strikes came days before international lenders are due in the capital to discuss the next instalment of a bailout.

Eleven major Indian unions waged a two-day nationwide strike February 20-21 that paralysed banking and transport services across India, according to news media reports. Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) President A.K. Padmanabhan and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said the action drew an “overwhelming response” and was “unprecedented.” The unions have demanded concrete measures for containing inflation, job creation policies, universal social security, and raising the minimum wage to Rs. 10,000 per month. “All the central trade unions congratulate the working people of India for their overwhelming and magnificent response to the united call for two-day country wide strike,” Dasgupta said.

The U.S. International Association of Auto Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAWA) entered into a formal alliance with the Australian Workers Union to take on multinational companies and “union-busting” political parties. The alliance, similar to the one entered into with the U.S. United Steelworkers eight years ago, was recently approved by the AWU’s 500 national conference delegates. AWU National Secretary Paul Howes said his union would learn from industrial bodies in the U.S. how to campaign and engage with communities. IAWA President Thomas Buffenbarger told the conference that the alliance “could not come at a more critical time.” “Above all, it … means taking it right to those companies that are hell-bent on union busting and their political cronies who make it easy for them to think that they could be successful,” he said. The AWU is the nation’s oldest and largest blue-collar trade union representing more than 135,000 working men and women and their families.

Regional and Local Union News

FIRST Union reported ANZ in New Zealand plans to send 36 Auckland jobs to Bangalore. The jobs will be in the financial institution’s lending services unit. Union representative Robert Reid said bank officials recently met with the union and staff over the proposal. Reid said 14 news jobs will be created, “but that still leaves a net loss of 22 jobs.” He was told the proposal will take effect from mid-July if approved. FIRST Union went public with the proposal after reports that ANZ in Australia planned to offshore 131 back office jobs mostly from Sidney. Sixty staff would be redeployed while 71 others would lose their jobs. “In both the New Zealand and Australian cases, these job losses caused by offshoring are completely unnecessary, given the profitability the bank is enjoying,” Reid said. ANZ in New Zealand is one of the country’s biggest companies, employing nearly 20 per cent of all employees in the New Zealand finance and insurance sector work.

After 130 years in operation in the North Otago town of Oamaru, Summit Wool Spinners closed. The plant’s 192 staff will be made redundant, although some jobs could be rehired by new owners, according to news reports. The workers are represented by the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU). Sumitomo, the company’s Japanese owner, has been trying to sell the plant for two years due to falling demand for wool carpet in New Zealand and the high exchange rate. Canterbury Spinners, a subsidiary of Godfrey Hirst, made a conditional offer to buy the plant at the end of February, provided the business can be made viable. “Sumitomo has treated the people extremely well. The fact that we’re able to negotiate some enhancements to the people who stay till the end is an indication of the good faith that is between both Sumitomo and the employees,” said EPMU’s John Gardner.

Small rise in Minimum Wage doesn’t address needs of low paid

27 Feb

“The decision by the Government to raise the minimum wage by just 25 cents from $13.50 an hour to $13.75 – less than 1.9 percent – does nothing to address the increasingly obvious needs of low paid workers”, says Peter Conway, Council of Trade Unions Secretary.

CTU Secretary Peter Conway

The minimum wage is inadequate to keep low income families out of poverty, as the research on the Living Wage has shown. A significant rise is overdue. It would help reverse rising income inequalities as well as help those on or near the minimum wage. “The evidence from New Zealand and internationally is that it would not increase unemployment,” Conway said.

He said that “the Government should make much better use of the minimum wage to address the problems of low incomes. The so-called ‘Starting Out Wage’ which discriminates against young people by allowing employers to pay them 20 percent lower wages is a step backward.”

“Instead, the CTU considers that a much more positive step would be a concerted plan to lift pay levels. That includes a higher minimum wage, more firms and organisations adopting the living wage, expanded collective bargaining, and support for workplace collaboration between employers and workers to increase productivity with assurances that the benefits will flow through to higher wages.”

ENDS

Fast food employers to use minimum wage rise to restrict wage increase for workers

26 Feb

“Fast food employers will use the miserly 25 cent rise in the minimum wage to restrict thepay increases for thousands of workers” said Unite Union National Director Mike Treen.

“Over the next few weeks we will be beginning negotiations for workers in McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Burger King. These companies have about 20,000 employees and in the past they have been very reluctant to pay above what they are legally required to.

Mike Treen on port workers picket line

“Some companies like Burger King still have the big majority of their workforce on the minimum wage despite some of them working for the company for a decade or more. All of them use the minimum wage as the entry rate.

‘We will be fighting for steps to get all workers off the minimum wage as quickly as possible and able to progress to a livable wage. In addition workers need much better security of hours with most fast food companies refusing to guarantee hours despite years of service.”
cleardot.gif

Mike Treen

National Director
Unite Union
09 8452132 ext 20
029 5254744

Matt McCarten: Time to expel education minister

26 Feb

By Matt McCarten Email Matt

Except for Prime Minister John Key, does anyone disagree that our current Minister of Education is becoming even more of a liability than she was before he decided not to sack her?

She’s out of her depth. When you didn’t think it could get worse for her, three Christchurch intermediate school principals this week claimed she had promised their schools would stay open for at least two years, no matter what, so they could plan for certainty.

Education Minister Hekia Parata. Photo / Ben Fraser

Education Minister Hekia Parata

It turns out she had proposed to the Cabinet that the schools close. Any wonder the principals were questioning her integrity?

If that wasn’t bad enough, we also watched her embarrassing contortions this week when she stubbornly refused to apologise to teachers over the Novopay debacle.

She is on constant defence as teachers and their unions pile on the heat.

Rodney Hide on this page last week tried to whip up an attack to help her. According to him, the teacher unions’ crime is that almost every teacher in the country voluntarily joins, giving them the power and resources to effectively oppose policies of Government.

He laments that the education unions have more members and a greater income than all the political parties put together. Ten times the income and twice the membership, actually.

That more teachers will become a member of a union than citizens join a political party says a lot about our politicians.

Just as a reminder, during the last election National did not mention education policies such as charter schools, yet the great educationalist John Banks insisted it become government policy as part of Act’s coalition deal. Act’s entire electoral nationwide vote was less than the membership of just one of the education unions.

The education unions have the legitimacy and mandate to raise concerns about charter schools. They actually have an obligation to blow the whistle over this covert campaign to privatise our schools.

The teachers’ concerns are mirrored by the Treasury, Ministry of Education, the Auditor-General and even the Ombudsman, who all have expressed reservations about charter schools.

Yet our Education Minister continues selling us a system where businesses can get paid by taxpayers to run for-profit schools with unregistered and unqualified teachers. These charter schools could be exempt from any Ombudsman oversight or the Official Information Act.

I wonder what our former Act leader and perk-buster would have made if Labour had tried giving taxpayers’ money away without accountability? It drives the Government and its private education business supporters crazy that teachers are winning the public opinion battle.

They claim teachers unfairly influence parents against government policies. It never seems to occur to them that maybe teachers choose a career in education because they care about teaching and their students and are right.

And maybe parents trust teachers because they reflect the needs of their children. And maybe Parata and Act leader Banks aren’t the most credible representatives when it comes to selling education ideology.

This Government hates the education unions because they are controlling the debate on education.

The Novopay fiasco and an error-prone minister make it easier. The education unions are powerful. More importantly though, they are smart. That’s why they’ll win.

Surely the minister can’t keep hanging on?

By Matt McCarten Email Matt

Herald on Sunday

Workers News 24/2/13

26 Feb

LIVING WAGE CAMPAIGN

Tapu Misa: Moral pressure drives fight for living wage http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10865952

Living Wage Campaign Launch 2012

Matt McCarten: Living wage a moral entitlement http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10865825

Helen Kelly: Working for a Living http://thestandard.org.nz/working-for-a-living/

Battle for a living wage: Campaigner says mindset shift needed to accompany monetary leap http://www.nzherald.co.nz/employment/news/article.cfm?c_id=11&objectid=10865279

Chris Trotter: Low-paid staff need solidarity http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/columnists/chris-trotter/8320836/Low-paid-staff-need-solidarity

WORKRIGHTS

Big job losses worry union bosses http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10867528%20

Women paid less than men need better law http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1302/S00316/women-paid-less-than-men-need-better-law.htm

Call for enquiry into forestry deaths http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/calls-inquiry-into-forestry-deaths-video-5344662

What killed Ken Callow http://onebigvoice.com/campaign/whatkilledkencallow

ANZ to cut jobs, outsource work to India http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10866669

Foreign vessels bill should have more for NZers http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbnat/798653682-foreign-vessels-bill-should-have-more-for-nzers

FIRST: Secure and safe jobs would help attract primary production workers http://firstunion.org.nz/content/secure-and-safe-jobs-would-help-attract-primary-production-workers

‘Les miserables’ fight for bigger payout http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10862224

Picket outside Event Cinemas

POVERTY AND WELFARE DEBATE

CPAG: Government deserves D for child poverty http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1302/S00137/government-deserves-d-for-child-poverty.htm

Gordon Campbell on the latest spasm of welfare bashing http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/02/21/gordon-campbell-on-the-latest-spasm-of-welfare-bashing/

Poor Kiwis left behind, says Salvation Army http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8295161/Poor-Kiwis-left-behind-says-Salvation-Army

Salvation Army Report http://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/research-media/social-policy-and-parliamentary-unit/state-of-nation-reports/shell-be-right/

Persecuting the poor http://nzagainstthecurrent.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/persecuting-poor.html

A press release we will never see by Andrew Geddis http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/a-press-release-we-will-never-see%20

Gareth Morgan: Benefits system needs to evolve http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10866463%20

Beneficiaries treated as guilty, says advocacy group http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/128646/beneficiaries-treated-as-guilty,-says-advocacy-group

Ministers accused of downplaying income in measure of child poverty http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/14/child-poverty-ministers-downplaying-importance-income

Poverty strikes at home, children first victims http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/8306750/Poverty-strikes-at-home-children-first-victims

Guilty of being a beneficiary http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1302/S00199/guilty-of-being-a-beneficiary.htm

NZ ECONOMY

100 jobs cut at Datam http://www.epmu.org.nz/news/show/173449

Govt won’t let Solid Energy fail, looks to banks to wear their share http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/govt-wont-let-solid-energy-fail-looks-banks-wear-their-share-bd-136286

Nats’ fossil fuel bet & culture of excess bankrupted Solid Energy http://thestandard.org.nz/nats-fossil-fuel-bet-culture-of-excess-bankrupted-solid-energy/

Hero to zero in two years, and the kitty’s empty http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10866943

Think tanks & global-local networks http://thestandard.org.nz/think-tanks-global-local-networks/

Dame Anne Salmond: Separating free market wolves from the lambs http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10866154

TPPWatch Bulletin # 28 http://www.indymedia.org.nz/articles/687

TPP: a gateway to GE? http://www.idealog.co.nz/blog/2013/02/leaders-or-followers?c=168940

Housing: Watching the dream disappear http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8344246/Watching-the-dream-disappear%20

STATS OF THE WEEK

Incomes rose more than 11 percent for the top 1 percent of earners during the economic recovery, but not at all for everybody else, according to new data. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/business/economy/income-gains-after-recession-went-mostly-to-top-1.html

Facebook is getting a multi-billion-dollar tax cut for paying co-founders like Eduardo Saverin, who renounced his U.S. citizenship to avoid paying income taxes on his capital gains…income he made from stock options and dividends. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-02-15/facebook-gets-a-multi-billion-dollar-tax-break

UNION ORGANISERS WANTED FOR SOUTH ISLAND (1) AND SOUTH AUCKLAND/WAIKATO (1)

20 Feb

UNION ORGANISERS WANTED FOR SOUTH ISLAND (1) AND SOUTH AUCKLAND/WAIKATO (1)

Unite Union is looking to employ two full time organisers. Both organisers will have a primary repsonsibility for visiting, recruiting and representing workers in the fast food industry, cinemas, hotels and security.
Organisers need to have some experience as a union delegate, advocate for workers and beneficiaries or organising experience in community movements. A knowledge of current industrial law would be an advantage.

Applicants need to be computer literate. A current drivers licence is essential as substantial travel will be required.

The South Auckland/Waikato organiser would be based in the Auckland office. The South Island organiser could be based in either Christchurch or Dunedin. The South island organiser would also be working with a part-time organiser based in Christchurch.

Applications should be sent by email to Unite National Director Mike Treen (mike@unite.org.nz) by 5pm, Friday, March 1.

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