Mean(s) Testing

Everyone deserves a liveable income whether in paid employment or not; our society relies on a great deal of unpaid labour to function. A liveable income for everyone is only fair. And being fair is something that most New Zealanders pride themselves on.

The flip side of this is the amount of time spent worrying about unfairness. It is good to worry about unfairness if it is confined to worrying about people missing out on basic entitlements and taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately these days it seems to have gone the other way. The focus is on people getting things others don’t think they are entitled to. Mainly directed at those who get very little by those who have already got a lot. Continue reading

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