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External articles (39)

Workers at large community nursing and homecare provider on strike

Members of the Public Service Association have gone out on a week-long strike to protest “a decade of erosion of their pay rates,” says Kerry Davies, PSA national secretary. The Nurse Maude Care Coordination in Porirua and the Hutt Valley, where they work, is managed by a nonprofit, “The situation for administrators is so dire that many of them are on pay levels below the Living Wage. Their colleagues are standing together to fight for the recognition and pay they deserve,” says Davies.

Source: The New Zealand Public Service Association - Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi

Whangārei Hospital staffers walk off the job to demand better pay and conditions

As the pay gap between private sector and public sector anaesthetic technicians widens, Whangārei Hospital staffers walk off the job to demand better pay and conditions. “Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (APEX) union representative Dr. Deborah Powell told Morning Report 20 surgeries had been cancelled over the last two months because of short staffing. "At the moment surgery is getting cancelled to a population that deserves better, so we're taking a stand to get the situation rectified,” she said. "We have to retain our guys and we need to recruit more." She said it was up to the DHB to bridge the gap between what it was paying its anaesthetic staff and what the private sector was offering, which at present amounted to a $30,000 difference.”

Tararanki District Health Board has finally put the brakes on its attempt to privatize its hospital laboratory

Senior doctors are relieved that the Tararanki District Health Board “has finally put the brakes on its attempt to privatize its hospital laboratory after dragging its heels on the matter,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS). “ASMS was taking legal action against Taranaki DHB on this matter with the Employment Relations Authority because the laboratory service is so critical to clinical decision-making of hospital specialists and the provision of quality care to patients. In trying to push privatization through, the DHB breached its engagement obligations under our national collective agreement.”

Source: New Zealand Doctor

“A discredited means of financing major projects”

The New Zealand Herald criticizes the government for choosing a ‘public private partnership’ model (“a discredited means of financing major projects”) to build Penlink, a proposed alternative route between the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and State Highway 1 at Redvale. “These are inevitably more expensive and often fail. Governments and local authorities sometimes see these as useful because the debts do not appear on their balance sheets. They will also be subject to the requirements of the TPPA and the General Agreement on Trade in Services, (GATS) allowing international corporations to force their way to gaining such contracts. More importantly they are seen to be a form of privatization. The fears and concerns are heightened because PPPs are normally focused on large publicly owned infrastructure, and it is the public who stand to lose control of vital assets, or eventually, the effective ownership of the assets.”

Source: www.pressreader.com

Senior doctors welcome the government’s policy decisions not to sell off public assets

Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has welcomed the government’s policy decisions not to sell off public assets. “These two positive statements follow the Government's responsible decision to halt the move to privatize public hospitals through the development of Public Private Partnerships for redevelopment projects in Dunedin, Christchurch and Westport,” said Powell. “These decisions meant that it would be impossible for the dubious and foolish attempt of Taranaki DHB bosses to fully privatize the public hospital laboratory to proceed. The work done by hospital laboratories affects around 70% of clinical decision-making. Minister of Health David Clark's express approval is required for that to go ahead. (…) Taranaki's health bosses surely must realize now that this explicit direction of Government policy on public assets and privatization means that the Health Minister can't possibly approve their laboratory privatization push. We welcome this thwarting of their short-sighted and high risk ambition.”

Source: www.scoop.co.nz

Despite the ending the privatization of public housing, the sector is still facing a crisis

Despite the government’s ending the privatization of public housing, the sector is still facing a crisis, says Mike Treen, the National Director of Unite. “The new government has stopped the planned privatization of large parts of the state housing stock of around 70,000 homes. At least another 30,000 had been built but these were sold off in previous years. But the current stockpile hasn’t increased in decades. The state housing stock has been starved of support for decades and become simply the place of last resort for the destitute.”

Source: thedailyblog.co.nz

New Zealand: Government announces end of charter schools

The government has announced the ending of charter schools, with Minister for Education Chris Hipkins calling them “a failed, expensive experiment.” The announcement was welcomed by the New Zealand Educational Institute(NZEI) and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association, both affiliates of Education International (EI). NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter said that charter schools were a "failed experiment—integrating them back into the state school system is good for kids and teachers because kids in mainstream state schools do better.”

Source: Education International

Half a million hectares sold

A wave of privatization of public lands in the high country is being driven by foreign investors. “The capital gain over a decade was roughly 37,000 per cent, none of which was realized by the taxpayer, and has ultimately put a prime piece of land into the private ownership of an America-based billionaire while the public is confined to a thin strip of land circling around it. And because capital gains from property are not generally taxed, the taxpayer sees very little of the money that accumulates like a snowball as the value of magnificent land rises and rises—land it once owned.”

Source: interactives.stuff.co.nz

Greens force rethink of public housing privatisation

The Greens have forced a rethink of the policy of privatising public housing. “The Greens are committed fixing our rundown public housing and building significantly more public dwellings. We have said repeatedly that the Labour government's plan to sell off public land to private developers does not provide enough additional public housing, and only benefits property developers at the expensive of public housing tenants and our community,” said Greens housing spokesperson Ellen Sandell.

The new government is expected to reverse school privatization trends

The new government headed by Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is expected to reverse school privatization trends. “Reactions among education groups ranged from celebratory champagne breakfasts to anxious uncertainty about who will fill ministerial roles and the policies they might pursue—or have dropped—following the coalition negotiations. (…) Teachers' unions and other professional bodies, so far in the dark about the new government's plans, were anticipating big changes in education based on common ground in the parties' policies and Labour's election campaign to ‘put the 'free' back into free education.’ Charter schools and National Standards are out, to the joy of teachers' unions that have spent nine years railing against what they saw as chronic underfunding, growing privatization, and the devaluing of the teaching profession under National.”

Flawed Public Private Partnership model

Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS), says the flawed public private partnership model needs to be ruled out for the new Dunedin Hospital. “The Government's foreshadowing of a PPP as a real option for Dunedin is part of a wider pattern of privatization by stealth, which we're seeing signs of in both Westport and Christchurch, and this is of great concern to senior doctors and others," Powell said. “If the Government does go down this track in Dunedin, then it would essentially be handing over the keys for one of the country's biggest public hospitals to private investors to maximize extracting profits for themselves. Much of these profits would come from repayments Southern DHB would be forced to pay out of its increased annual operating expenses. The winners are private investors through profit extraction and the Government's financial books.”

Source: www.scoop.co.nz

Progressive Thinking: Ten Perspectives on Housing

The Public Service Association releases a booklet, “Progressive Thinking: Ten Perspectives on Housing.” Several authors argue that the private market will not provide affordable housing of the type and volume that we need, and that the government needs to step in to fulfil this function.” It includes a chapter by Alan Johnson on “the soft privatization of state housing.”

Source: The New Zealand Public Service Association - Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi