About Our New Zealand Flag…

It is ironic that New Zealanders are holding a discussion about our national flag, the symbol of our sovereignty, when our government is handing our country to multi national corporations, quite literally on a plate.

The recent push by crown entity Health Benefits Ltd to have all hospital and community food services such as Meals on Wheels provided by Compass Group nationwide is part of a concerted effort to open up public services to multi national corporations. Continue reading

Compass Group – Pointing Us In The Wrong Direction?

Why is Health Benefits Ltd hell bent on installing transnational corporation Compass Group as sole provider of food services nationwide for our health sector for the foreseeable future and beyond?

So far Health Benefits has, according to the Otago Daily Times 1 May, spent an eye-watering $4.1 million of district health boards funding on this proposal. Ironically, much of it on trying to persuade the cash strapped district health boards that outsourcing food services to Compass will save them money. Continue reading

Housing 101 – Back to Basics

The United Nations Charter states in article 25 of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services”.

Any discussion on housing needs to start from the premise that adequate housing has been identified as a basic human right. Housing, whether rented or owned, needs to be affordable for everyone. Houses are for people to live in, to provide shelter, not a way to make money. Continue reading

What’s Cooking in Our Hospital Kitchens?

What’s cooking in our hospital kitchens? Not much if Compass Group has anything to do with it.

Compass Group has convinced the now-disbanded crown entity, Health Benefits Ltd, that outsourcing hospital food services to them nationwide will result in substantial savings for inadequately funded District Health Boards. Health Benefits Ltd in turn put pressure on District Health Boards to outsource to Compass Group. And apparently charged them for the privilege of doing so. For example Southern District Health Board will have to pay $230,000 towards the cost of developing the proposal even if it decides not to outsource. Continue reading

GST Is Past Its Use By Date

GST was first introduced in 1986. Most workplaces used typewriters. Businesses were coming to grips with the fax machine. EFTPOS was still in its trial phase.

There was no internet in New Zealand. Share trading and currency speculation were not a significant feature of the economy. Personal overseas shopping had to be done in person, overseas.

Three decades on GST is no match for the global marketplace that is now accessible to everyone with a PC and an internet connection. No amount of tinkering will change that. Continue reading

Mass Surveillance – Our 13c Worth

It is estimated that the total annual surveillance budget for Five Eyes is $120 billion. Five Eyes is the intelligence operation New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Canada, and the US has teamed up on. It apparently costs 13c (US) a day for surveillance costs per internet user.

By comparison, Oxfam calculate that it would take around $60 billion per year to eliminate extreme poverty worldwide. Continue reading

Should the Left Take One for the Team in Northland?

According to recent polls, Winston Peters has an odds on chance to take Northland from National. Labour and Mana are sadly well off the pace, though both are fielding excellent candidates.

If New Zealand First were to win Northland, that would given them 12 MPs. National would go down to 59. Crunching the numbers, that means that all opposition parties apart from ACT combined would have 61 votes, to National and ACT’s 60. Continue reading