Is some work too hard to do when you are in your 60s? Yes, according to Labour which, trying to soften the edges of its push to raise the general retirement age to 67 has said that manual workers should get the opportunity to retire at 60. Maori, because of their shorter lifespan, should also be able to retire at 60 according to the Maori Party – see: Duncan Garner’s Labour says retirement age should be 60 for manual workers. United Future blogger Pete George advocates his party’s flexible system with increasing rates for those that hold off retiring until later but also points out the complications of defining who actually would be entitled to retire when, in Should women be eligible for Super later than men? [Read more below]
A cross party consensus on superannuation may be as far off as it has ever been it seems, and simply raising the age looks like a very blunt solution that will be difficult to get agreement on. Duncan Garner is really applying the blowtorch to Key over his refusal to admit change is required now – see: Key's superannuation position must change. But maybe John Key knows something we don’t speculates Scott Yorke in his blogpost, Key's Secret Super Plans.
Many may ask whatever happened to the ‘leisure society’ that growing wealth, extended lifespans and new technology once promised? Technology seems to have actually lengthened the day for many workers. Joanne Black has a very good article in the latest Listener which uses TV3 political editor Duncan Garner to exemplify how work pressures have encroached into our non-work lives – see: Are New Zealanders overworking?. She points out that official statistics measuring work hours may undercount the increasing demands jobs make of employees while at home. Within the same feature, John Daniel has an accompanying article looking at France’s 35 hour week, which saw a boom in DIY (and associated injuries) and seems to have benefited workers in industrialized jobs but hasn’t created the expected number of new jobs.
It seems we work an average of 1758 hours a year – just above the OECD average. But this is one league table that it appears to be desirable to be at the bottom – the Dutch, Germans, Norwegians, French and Danish work the least hours, while South Korean, Chilean, Greek and Russian workers work the longest hours – see: Idealog’s Kiwis work more hours than those in the US (but less than Greece).
The reassuring noises being made to intermediate school principles yesterday may only be good until the next election as John Key will not give any assurances that deeper cuts to staffing won’t be implemented – see: Key won't rule out future school cuts. The article also tries to quantify the difference in class sizes between private and public schools. A PPTA survey in 2011 calculated the average class size in state schools at 25, while the main private school association said the maximum class size of it’s members was 16 and the average was 12 – less than half the state average. It seems parents who send their kids to private schools (including most cabinet ministers) are spending a huge amount of school fees on what the government claims is not educationally important.
Class sizes will be the focus of teacher’s collective negotiations and industrial action next month – see: Teachers' industrial action next month.
Other important or interesting political items today include:
- Clearing Shane Jones’ name (or ending his political career) may take the Office of the Auditor-General up to a year – see: Jones faces year-long wait for inquiry. You can read the full terms of reference here. Meanwhile Cameron Slater predicts that Jones will not hang around that long (Jones to leave, Beaumont packing her bags), while Rob Hosking says on the NBR website that if Jones is found to have acted wrongly then a number of other Labour Party figures will also be in trouble – see: Shane Jones not the only target of auditor-general inquiry.
- The Government’s Budget was a ‘barely qualified disaster’ according to Vernon Small, because it turns out that the supposedly ‘good news’ return to surplus is not based on credible figures, and National has created ‘a mountain of political heartache for less than $90m in a $70b Budget’ – see: The Budget PR disaster.
- Housing New Zealand is frustrating the Porirua Council which claims the department can’t even tell how long residents have been on waiting lists and that many of it’s houses are damp and poorly insulated – see: Crammed families waiting for state homes.
- Peter Lyons goes into bat for smokers in an entertaining piece in the ODT –see: Nicotine addiction- said to be gold?
- With the increasing debate around making marriage available to same-sex couples, New Zealand for Marriage Equality has created an online Spreadsheet of where MPs stand on marriage equality. As the No Right Turn blog explains, ‘So far, it shows 46 in favour, 19 against, 4 undecided, and 52 unknowns’ – see: Where MP's stand on marriage equality. Further interesting items on this topic include the Listener editorial, Gay marriage: we do and the Queen of Thorns’ Next stop on the slippery slope: bestiality.
- Finally, the Maxim Institute has crunched the Government’s tax and spending numbers to produce some interesting and useful figures about where everyone’s income tax is actually spent – see: the Maxim Institute's Income Tax Tracker. There will be plenty of disagreement with the methodology used. One particular objection is that the Maxim methodology under-measures the contribution that low-income workers make to the tax system, because much of their productivity is actually converted into profits and the higher incomes of the wealthy.
Below are the internet links to all the NZ politics material from the last 24 hours that are either informative, insightful, interesting or influential. This list and the links are taken from a fuller document, NZ Politics Daily, which is emailed out, Monday to Friday, to various researchers, academics, journalists, MPs and so forth. The document is purely for private/research purposes only, and if you would like to be on the subscription list, please email: [email protected]
Retirement and work
Duncan Garner (TV3): Labour says retirement age should be 60 for manual workers
Duncan Garner (TV3): Key's superannuation position must change
Pete George (Your NZ): Should women be eligible for Super later than men?
Eloise Gibson (Stuff): Net returns key for KiwiSavers
Joanne Black (Listener): Are New Zealanders overworking?
Gordon Campbell (Wellingtonian): Rest home care quality a hot issue [Not online]
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): Key's Secret Super Plans
John Ryall (Dom Post): Carers deserve respect and decent pay
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Jones faces year-long wait for inquiry findings
Claire Trevett (Herald): Auditor General to investigate Jones
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Shane Jones investigated over passport scandal
Katie Bradford-Crozier (Newstalk ZB): Inquiry into Jones' decision by Auditor-General
Ele Ludemann (Homepaddock): AG to investigate Jones’ immigration decision
Office of the Auditor-General: Inquiry into citizenship decision
Rob Hosking (NBR): Shane Jones not the only target of auditor-general inquiry
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Jones to leave, Beaumont packing her bags
The Standard: Banks’ vote protects him from Jones-like accountability
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The Jones inquiry
Jim Chipp (Wellingtonian): Wgtn schools hit in the wallet
Newswire: 'Heck No Hekia', teachers tell minister
Danya Levy (Stuff): Education minister heckled by teachers
Kate Shuttleworth and Claire Trevett (Herald): Key won't rule out future school cuts
Newswire: Teachers' industrial action next month
Kate Shuttleworth and Matthew Theunissen (Herald): Class size changes: Funds to help schools
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): A tactical retreat
Press: Editorial – Editorial: Funding for teachers
Stuart McCutcheon (Herald): International students not answer to uni funding
Newstalk ZB: No end to Whanau Ora questions – Shearer
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Winston may be right on this one
No Right Turn: Where MP's stand on marriage equality
Mark Blackham (Political Business): Conscience votes on gay marriage
Listener: Editorial – Gay marriage: we do
No Right Turn: Progress on same-sex adoption
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Adoption law reform
Queen of Thorns (Ideologically Impure): Next stop on the slippery slope: bestiality
Economy and Budget
Claire Trevett (Herald): More muddy faces pop up as Key’s rolling maul broadens the options
Vernon Small (Stuff): The Budget PR disaster
Jane Clifton (Listener): The painful art of extracting answers
Philippa Howden-Chapman (Dom Post): Cold comfort in Budget omission [Not online]
Brian Fallow (Herald): Don't count on OCR fall as Bollard exits
Michael Cullen (Herald): List option has plenty of positives
Will de Cleene (Gonzo): Last chance to tweak MMP
Sam Sachdeva and Rachel Young (Press): Report on councillors for $10,000
Eric Crampton (Offsetting Behaviour): A sense of priorities
Paul Walker (Anti-Dismal): Council asset sales
Steve Braunias (Pead PR): Meaningful protest changes world
Roy Morgan: Latest poll
Maria Slade (Stuff): Super ministry not behind axing of unit
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Crammed families waiting for state homes
Taranaki Daily News: Editorial: Carers deserve better from PM
Sarah Daniell (Herald): Twelve Questions with Judy McGregor
Adam Bennett (Herald): Sensitive claims sent to branch offices – ACC
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): Who Is To Blame For The Collins Suit Farce?
David Farrar (KIwiblog): Collins seeks a declaration, not damages
Robert Winter (Idle thoughts): Ms Collins in a no-win situation
Jared Savage (Herald): Immigration NZ staff gathering costs taxpayers$191,000
Shane Cowlishaw (Stuff): Clean water for jails could have $1.2m price
Peter Lyons (ODT): Nicotine addiction- said to be gold?
Eric Crampton (Offsetting Behaviour):A sense of priorities
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): NZ celebrates 25 years nuclear free
Claire Browning: Beyond Today: The Green Party’s Story
Newswire: Hydro-power laws need overhaul - report
Jan Wright (Dom Post): Wild rivers versus clean power
Richard Swainson (Waikato Times): The smiling political survivor puts on fine Hamilton show
Danya Levy (Stuff): Employment Court delay frustrates firm
Clare Curran (Southland Times): The last dance for TVNZ 7
Annabel Reid (Newstalk ZB): Treaties could compromise NZ's smokefree goal
Tracy Neal (Stuff): Smith denies alcohol law reforms lack bite
Peter Aranyi (The Paepae): Hollow Man Matthew Hooton recites his creed