The Business of Fast Fashion

‘Fast Fashion’ refers to clothing and accessories that are designed to reflect current industry trends, yet produced using less expensive materials to ensure a low price tag

Saving our Mothers

In honoring Mother's Day, Save the Children released the 14th annual State of World's Mother report.

Stop Coca-Cocal trashing Australia

Greenpeace Australia made a new coke ad with a twist. It exposes how this drinks giant is willing to let plastic pollution trash our ocean and kill our marine life.

Thanks a Million Australia

The New Zealand tourism industry is saying a big "Thanks a Million"to Australian visitors to celebrate the record of welcoming a million Australians in a 12-month period

People! Zara commits to go toxic free

Zara, the world’s largest clothing retailer, today announced a commitment to go toxic-free following nine days of intense public pressure. This win belongs to the fashion-lovers, activists, bloggers and denizens of social media. This is people power in action

Monday, March 31

New workplace protections bill to cut huge cost of domestic violence


New research released today reveals that domestic violence costs New Zealand  
businesses $368 million a year and demonstrates the need for workplace  
protections, the Green Party said.

Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie has today launched her new  
Member’s Bill to protect victims of domestic violence alongside the release  
of new research commissioned by the Public Service Association (PSA) showing  
the very high cost of domestic violence to New Zealand businesses.

“This research released today outlines the huge cost to victims, and to  
businesses of domestic violence.  It also sets out the solutions needed to  
address the huge need,” said Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie.

“With one in three women experiencing domestic violence in New Zealand, we  
need to take action now to reduce the impact and help these victims rebuild  
their lives.

“My Bill will make the changes we need to help employers support their  
workers to stay safe and employed, and will also save New Zealand businesses  
hundreds of millions of dollars a year.”

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Bill will make four  
main changes:

* protect victims from discrimination on the basis of domestic violence,
* allow victims of domestic violence to request flexible working
  arrangements from their employer if needed,
* allow victims of domestic violence to take up to 10 days leave a year
  related to the violence, and
* clarify that domestic violence is a hazard in the workplace that needs to
  be managed like other hazards.

“Victims of domestic violence often lose their jobs because they may not be  
able to focus on their work, are unable to show up to work, or are stalked by  
their abusers while at work,” said Ms Logie.

“My Bill will let them ask for help and will give employers the tools they  
need to support their workers and keep them in employment – giving the  
victim a secure path out of violence and saving the business money in terms  
of productivity and staff turnover.

“Employers are in a great position to make a difference, and their whole  
workplace will benefit as a result of having the changes this Bill puts in  
place.

“This is a win-win solution that will benefit domestic violence victims,  
wider society and businesses at the same time.”

CBA lodge Financial System Inquiry

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (the Group) has today lodged its submission to the Financial System Inquiry.

The Group welcomes the opportunity to work with the Inquiry to develop constructive ideas and tangible outcomes to address the opportunities and challenges faced by the financial system.

The Group believes the Inquiry should focus on three priorities to build on the inherent stability and resilience of the Australian financial system:

·         Support a strong banking system to fund Australia’s growth;
·         Harness the potential of the digital economy while protecting customers’ information; and
·         Ensure security in retirement with a sustainable superannuation system.

The future will be shaped by the role that technology plays in our globalised lives, the opportunity offered for an ageing population by a growing pool of retirement savings, and the influence of offshore forces. The Group recommends:

·         Increase the depth and liquidity of domestic debt markets by supporting both supply and demand;
·         Apply consistent regulatory standards to rapidly developing digital financial services to protect customers and system stability;
·         Clarify superannuation regulatory boundaries to improve efficiency and support the ability of savers to prepare for a self-funded retirement;
·         Improve the efficiency and adaptability of the regulatory system;
·         Improve financial literacy to help people make informed decisions about their future;
·         Review financing options for important segments of the economy, in particular small businesses and infrastructure projects; and
·         Address issues related to the understanding and affordability of insurance.

The Commonwealth Bank looks forward to working with the Inquiry over the next few months as the panel works through the various issues.

Monday, March 24

Jetstar decision to suspend Auckland – Singapore services

Auckland Airport is disappointed by Jetstar’s decision to suspend its Auckland – Singapore services from 21 July.

Jetstar started flying the route three years ago and announced it was suspending the route because the service was not performing as the carrier would have liked and its capacity could be better put to use on other routes.
Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, says, “We are disappointed Jetstar has decided to remove almost 100,000 low fare seats from the market and reduce the travel choices of 85,000 passengers every year.”

“The cost of this announcement to the New Zealand tourism industry is over $70 million every year, so it’s important we secure capacity in wider Asian markets to replace this loss. Auckland Airport is actively working on replacing this value.”

“Today’s announcement confirms the concerns we expressed to New Zealand’s Minister of Transport that the proposed alliance between Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand could have detrimental impacts on the growth and promotion of competition in international air services.”

“Today’s decision from Jetstar is a reminder of the importance of the airport continuously marketing Auckland as a destination to other airlines.”

Message to UP profs on calendar shift: Don't fail us!

Concerned UP Diliman (UPD) professors, students, staff renew their opposition to the shift in the academic calendar as the UPD University Council (UC) discusses the result of the faculty referendum on the issue on Monday (March 24), 9:00 a.m. at the auditorium of the GT Toyota Asian Cultural Center, located near Romulo Hall (Asian Center) of UP Diliman, Quezon City.

It may be recalled that the UPD UC already voted against the proposed shift at its meeting last December 2. There was also an agreement to organize a forum on the proposal which was held last February 10.

The UPD Executive Committee, however, at its special meeting last February 17, decided to hold a referendum from February 24 to 26 where majority of faculty members voted in favor of the shift in the academic calendar.

At present, questions are being raised as regards the holding of the referendum which was not sanctioned by the UC and which negated what was decided upon at the December 2 UC meeting.

At the UC meeting, organized UPD students and staff are expected to hold a rally as the UC meets on the issue.

As the meeting is held on the first day of finals week at UPD, concerned students send a strong message to their professors: "Don't fail us! Oppose the shift in the academic calendar!" 

In a statement, the concerned members of the UPD UC stressed the need to protect and defend the integrity of the UC decision-making process. "Is it now the case that when decisions emanating from the UC does not conform with those in Quezon Hall, a referendum can be resorted to?" the concerned members asked.

They added that ignoring decisions made by a quorum of the members is to belittle if not disrespect the UC itself. "The referendum in question is definitely not `more democratic' than the UC since all those who voted in that referendum have the right and the responsibility to attend regularly, deliberate, debate and vote in UC meetings."

They also exposed the deception of the UP administration as regards ASEAN integration which is supposed to be the reason for the academic calendar shift. The concerned UPD UC members cited a study in 2013 by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) which cincluded that the ASEAN has no prospect of coming close to a single market by the 2015 deadline, or even by 2020 or 2025.


WHAT: Picket at the University Council meeting and press conference after the meeting

WHEN: March 24 (Monday), 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: GT Toyota Asian Cultural Center auditorium (near Asian Center), UP Diliman, Quezon City

WHO (Organizers): Concerned UP Faculty Against Academic Calendar Change

Wednesday, February 26

L’Oreal commits to end role in deforestation

 L’Oreal, the world’s largest beauty and cosmetics company, has committed to remove forest destruction from its products by 2020. Greenpeace expects other companies to follow with more ambitious timelines.
“In a win for consumers around the world, L’Oreal has committed to ending its role in forest destruction. Thousands of people in Indonesia and around the world who have signed up demanding forest-friendly products will be turning their eyes to companies such as P&G, the producer of Heads & Shoulders, and Colgate Palmolive to guarantee that they too are not peddling dirty palm oil from forest destruction,” said Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesia Forest Campaign at Greenpeace International.
L’Oreal now joins Nestle, Unilever and Ferrero, which have committed to No Deforestation policies. Other palm oil giants are starting to move too, with the largest palm oil trader in the world, Wilmar International, committing to a No Deforestation policy late last year due to public pressure from NGOs and consumers.
“While L'Oreal' and Unilever's No Deforestation commitments send a strong signal to the sector, they still allow their suppliers six more years to clear forests. With global warming and rapid biodiversity loss, we urge these companies to guarantee consumers that their products will be free from forest destruction before their 2020 deadline,” said Bustar.
Committing to a policy is just the first step to guaranteeing consumers are not made part of forest destruction through the products they consume daily. Greenpeace will continue to push L’Oreal and other companies in Greenpeace’s Tiger Challenge to take their policies from words to action.
The palm oil sector is the greatest single cause of deforestation in Indonesia. Ministry of Forestry maps show that Indonesia is losing some 620,000ha of rainforest every year (an area greater than the size of Brunei), and is pushing iconic species such as the as few as 400 Sumatran Tiger to the edge of extinction. Palm oil’s expansion into New Guinea and Africa is already threatening forests, sparking controversy and conflict with local communities.

Tuesday, February 25

Greens would have lifted minimum wage to $15 an hour immediately

National’s small movement of the minimum wage is too little for the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis working for low pay and their families. The Greens would have immediately raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
The National Government has announced an increase in the minimum wage to $14.25 an hour. This represents an increase of just $2.25 an hour in six years under National, or $4,500 a year for a full-time worker. That compares to the $35,500 a year increase in the Prime Minister’s salary over the same time.

“The Green Party would immediately raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and work quickly towards a living wage for all workers,” said Mrs Turei.

“Around 125,000 kids live in families where the adults earn less than the living wage. It is in the government’s hands to end poverty for working families and improve the lives of those kids.

“National is offering too little to hard-working New Zealanders in low-wage jobs. 200,000 working New Zealanders and their families would be better off with an immediate lift in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Hundreds of thousands more workers will gain from lifting the minimum wage towards the living wage.

“Well-paid CEOs might claim that a fair minimum wage would cost jobs but evidence from around the world shows that is just not true.

“A higher minimum wage puts more money in families’ pockets, giving them more money to spend, and that creates jobs.

“Waiting for the wealth to ‘trickle-down’ to low-income workers has never worked and will never work; government leadership is vital.

“The Greens will ensure that New Zealanders are paid a decent hourly rate for their hard work and get enough to support their families” said Mrs Turei.

GE Food should be labelled

New Zealanders should be able to choose not to eat GE food, the Green Party said today.

Parliament's Regulations Review Committee has tabled a report on GE Free NZ's complaint about the approval of a GE soy breed. The committee didn’t act on the complaint.

“This report leaves consumers who want GE food safety properly assessed, with no choice but going to the High Court,” Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.
 
"There is no other appeals process for bad food safety decisions.

“The current process doesn’t serve New Zealanders well, it even side lines the Food Safety Minister, making it all the more important that GE food be assessed independently in New Zealand and also be labelled.

“Leaving decisions like this application for a herbicide drenched GE food up to Food Standards Australia New Zealand means we have effectively given up New Zealand's ability to ensure food safety.

“This shows we will need an independent New Zealand approach to food safety in the Food Bill,” said Mr Browning.

Bilateral Local Currency Swap Agreement with the Bank of Korea

Today, the Reserve Bank of Australia signed a bilateral local currency swap agreement with theBank of Korea. The agreement allows for the exchange of local currencies between the two central banks of up to A$5 billion or KRW 5 trillion. 

The effective period of the facility will be three years, and could be extended by mutual consent of both sides. This agreement is designed to promote bilateral trade for the economic development of the two countries.

 In particular, the agreement will ensure that trade between the two countries can continue to be settled in local currency even in times of financial stress. The agreement can also be used for other, mutually agreed, purposes. This agreement was signed today by Governor Choongsoo Kim and Governor Glenn Stevens in Sydney.

Sunday, February 23

Ambassador Benavidez is Lying, Public Apology is in Order

Ambassador Virginia Benavidez is now claiming that she never made anti-union statements during a meeting with the Canterbury Pilipino Assistance Group (CPAG) last weekend. Leaders of the Filipino community group Migrante Aotearoa are calling on the Philippine Embassy to offer public apology and be open to all groups engaged in efforts to assist distressed Filipinos instead of advising Filipinos to stay away from unions.

“Kapag may problema kayo sa trabaho, huwag kayong lumapit sa unions at sa media lalo na yung nagpo-post sa New Zealand Herald.” (If you have problems with your job, don’t approach the unions and media especially those posting stories in the New Zealand Herald.” Thus was the Ambassador’s statement as recalled by Migrante officials present in the CPAG meeting.

Marty de Lima, coordinator of Migrante chapter in Christchurch, says, “As one of Board members of CPAG, I was present at the meeting and was seated at the front. I heard exactly what Amb. Benavidez said about discouraging distressed Filipinos to approach the unions especially those who post stories in the New Zealand Herald. I was shocked and dismayed with her statement considering that the unions have been very helpful to Filipinos and other migrants needing assistance which the Embassy could not provide. Filipinos who have problems also approach me as I am the Migrante coordinator and a delegate of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU).”

“It is regrettable that some officials of CPAG bowed down to pressure from the Philippine Embassy to hide the truth about Benavidez’ anti-union remarks. CPAG loses its credibility as some officials echoed the lies and denials of a government official who failed to promote and uphold Filipinos’ right to join unions. We urge other officials and members of CPAG to refuse to be accomplices in covering up the Ambassdor’s booboos against NZ unions,” de Lima added.

“We stand proud to be active members of unions that are campaigning against migrant workers exploitation in New Zealand. Several Filipinos working for Christchurch rebuild are among those who have grievances are now seeking support from Migrante and the unions to ensure they get a fair deal,” Migrante noted.

“A formal public apology is definitely in order. The Philippine Embassy must stop any more lies and attempts to cover up Amb. Benavidez’ anti-union remarks. We believe the Ambassador’s anti-union and anti-media remarks are likely in reference to a particular case headlined in the New Zealand Herald that was handled by the First Union and Union Network of Migrants (Unemig) last year,” Dennis Maga, Migrante Aotearoa national coordinator and First Union organiser, stated. [related story onhttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10912087]

“Instead of giving negative remarks against unions, we urge Amb. Benavidez to be open to all groups assisting Filipinos in distress. If she cannot appreciate the efforts of unions and community groups like Migrante to assist our distressed compatriots, the least she could do is refrain from discouraging people to join and support such groups that exist precisely because of gross lack of protection from the Philippine Embassy in NZ and around the world,” Maga concluded.

Friday, February 21

Greens will defend defamation case, if it happens

“The Green Party will vigorously defend any case of defamation brought by Colin Craig because we believe in the freedom of political speech and we believe in an inclusive and tolerant society,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.

“The freedom of political speech and an inclusive and tolerant society are core values of the Green Party. We don’t roll over on those values just because someone with deep pockets sets their lawyer on us. 

“Colin Craig hasn’t actually said he is filing a defamation case, despite setting himself a deadline of today to do so.

“Today’s announcement that Mr Craig is instructing his lawyers to look into the matter further is far from a conclusive decision to pursue a defamation case.
“Maybe it would be better if Mr Craig chose to quietly climb out of the legal hole he has dug for himself and give up on this misguided action.

“It feels like Colin Craig is attempting to gag people who disagree with him. Differing views are part and parcel of politics. Maybe Colin Craig just isn’t suited for this line of work.

“Colin Craig claims he wants to raise the standard of political debate, while labelling gay relationships abnormal and describing his political opponents as having a mental illness. I think those views lower the tone.

“John Key is planning on gifting Colin Craig an electorate seat in a dirty deal arrangement. The real question is does John Key back Colin Craig’s statements and actions?

“Mr Craig’s statements and action give us a taste of what a John Key/Colin Craig Government would be like in terms of stifling political disagreement. You can’t bring your lawyers to parliament every day.

“The Green Party is proud of the work we have done to extend rights and freedoms for women and the gay community. We will continue to stand up for a tolerant and inclusive society.”

Wednesday, December 4

New laws create stronger regulations for covered bonds and non-bank deposit takers

Parliament has passed one law to strengthen the regulatory regime for non-bank deposit takers and another to regulate covered bonds issued by banks.

The Non-bank Deposit Takers Act 2013 introduces a licensing regime for Non-bank Deposit Takers (NBDTs) – which include finance companies, building societies, and credit unions. The Act also gives the Reserve Bank new powers to detect and intervene should an NBDT become distressed or fail.

The Act substantially retains the existing prudential requirements covering credit ratings, governance, risk management, capital, related party exposures, and liquidity requirements. However, it introduces a licensing requirement for NBDTs, which includes the requirement for an NBDT to have suitable directors and senior officers.

The Act does not eliminate the risk of a NBDT failing. Rather, it aims to reduce this risk, and to prevent significant damage to the financial system if a failure occurs.  It will come into force by Order in Council, and the date for this is expected to be 1 May 2014. Existing NBDTs will then have 12 months to comply with licensing requirements.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Covered Bonds) Amendment Act 2013 provides greater certainty and transparency for covered bonds issued by banks. The ability for banks to issue covered bonds helps improve financial stability by broadening banks’ funding base.

The Act provides for covered bond programmes to be registered and monitored by the Reserve Bank. It also provides legal certainty that if a bank fails, the covered bond holders will have access to the cover pool assets.

Covered bonds are a type of debt security where bondholders have a secured interest over a specific pool of assets set aside by the issuing bank, known as the cover pool. To protect the interests of other creditors, including depositors, the total size of the cover pool will be limited to 10 percent of a bank’s assets. The legislation received the Royal assent earlier this week and will come into effect on 10 December 2013.