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A matter of “confidence”

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, January 21st, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: capitalism, cost of living, economy, employment, greens, labour, news, poverty, same old national, spin - Tags: ,

Many MSM news outlets have been running National Party election promos, talking up the rising “confidence” in economic indicators.  I have heard it said that the economy often responds positively to a belief that it is working OK, while lack of public and “market” confidence can result i n some financial nose dives.  Apart from making economics looking more like astrology, and snake oil “power of positive thinking” promotions rather than a science, the question is , “Whose confidence is being heeded to?”

A press release and a “Business Desk” article on Scoop yesterday highlight that it is the confidence of the banks, “neoliberal” economists, corporates and middle income groups that tends to be highlighted most in the MSM and by those on the right wing of politics.

From the Scoop Business Desk, Suze Metherell’s article: ‘NZ employment confidence rises in 4Q, wary on wages‘ shows a division between confidence in “business growth” and confidence in employment conditions for workers:

While the latest index remains at the second highest level in the past two years, the reading remains subdued with on-going concern around labour market conditions and earnings growth, Westpac said.

She also reports on indicators that job seekers are finding it a little easier to find jobs. However, the increases tend to be in Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland, with job decline in many rural regions.  The real kicker is in the last line of the article:

The rise in confidence was focused in middle-income groups, those earning between $30,000 to $70,000. Confidence rose for those aged 30 to 50, while the under-30s felt pessimistic about future employment options.

A press release from Andrew Little of the NZ Labour Party is more circumspect, although it curiously accepts the faming of a “booming economy” with the headline, ‘Booming economy will test labour market‘: after all the “labour market” is part of the economy.  And I’d also question referring to workers as a “market”: this dehumanises their struggles for fair wages and working conditions.  Missing also from that headline is any reference to those unable to participate in paid employment.

However, the main content of the press release does move a bit away from such framing.

“But a survey released by Westpac today suggests less confidence amongst workers, however, with many feeling less job security and fewer expecting a pay rise.

“The economy isn’t just investors and business owners, it is working people too – whether they are on a wage or salary or a contract fee – and in a properly functioning economy they should also see decent pay rises and better incomes this year.

The press release goes on to criticise Bill English’s faux concerns for workers.

Bill English reviews the economy

In contrast the government’s changes to employment legislation during the last 6 years have made employment more precarious and less well paid.

“The real test of how fair our labour market rules are is the level of pay increases working New Zealanders will get this year, especially those not under a collective agreement.

On 17 January, Sue Moroney also questioned the way Paula Bennett has talked up the decrease in those on benefits, when people’s benefits are being cut whether or not they have paid jobs.

“We know that less than half of people coming of benefits each week are going into jobs. Unless the Minister can show that these 17,000 people have got decent jobs we have nothing to celebrate,” says Sue Moroney.“There are still 35,700  more people on benefits now than there were in December 2008, when Labour was the Government.”

Also on January 17, Green MP Jan Logie put the focus on another aspect of the economy that “rock star” reports ignore, the inequality gap.  She begins with a reference to a World Economic Forum’s risk assessment that cites income inequality as having the potential to cause serious damage globally during the next decade.

stop robbing poor to feast rich

Logie rightly blames right wing economic polices for the increase in the income gap in NZ between the mid 1980s and the mid 2000s. She argues that inequality is not a “natural state” but the result of choices made by politicians.  And the National government is doing nothing to decrease income inequalities.

New Zealand had a proud history of being an egalitarian and relatively equal country. However that has changed and we now have big income gaps which are now acting as a barrier to most New Zealanders getting ahead.

[...]
“The average New Zealand is not getting a fair return on improvements in the economy. The wealth is going to only a few, otherwise wage growth would be better.

As Logie says, a strong economy is not indicated because the benefits will go to the wealthiest, while wages are expected to rise only by 1%.

If an inclusive, relatively egalitarian and sustainable future for New Zealanders hangs on the “confidence” of banksters, corporates, mainstream economists, right wing politicians and the comfortable middle classes – well, not a lot to inspire the confidence of the large number of people on meagre incomes and in precarious circumstances.

41 comments on “A matter of “confidence””

  1. shorts 1

    “A confidence trick (synonyms include confidence scheme and scam) is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, in the classical sense of trust. A confidence artist (or con artist) is an individual, operating alone or in concert with others, who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty, honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, naïveté, or greed.” Wiki

    you nailed it at astrology – unfortunately many see these sorts of stories as indicators of good governance, rather than PR fluff pieces

  2. Skinny 2

    I heard Bill English talking to Garner recently. English said something along the lines that with a stronger preforming economy that we are now seeing, workers can expect reasonable pay rises this year. Ok Billy boy as Minister of Finance you start the ball rolling for the public & state sector workers. You walk the talk by not offending these workers with anything under 4%. a

    While your in such a upbeat mood for the welfare of workers incomes, how about you implement the living wage into these sectors, talking and then walking the talk in election year shouldn’t be that difficult even for a snake oil merchant such as yourself.

    • Ad 2.1

      Well said

    • MrSmith 2.2

      Fuck 4% because by the time they negotiate it down to 2% and then piss around working out a date for the rises it will all be gone, gobbled up by inflation, 20% sounds like a better starting point.

      Who came up with 4% ? Let me guess the employers and tories most likely, but if it came from Labour then you make up your own mind.

      Leading you down the garden path with the promise of an ice cream that’s melting in the sun.

    • David H 2.3

      Sorry. Billy boy’s got selective deafness.

  3. Armchair Critic 3

    The fact that a significant proportion of the population accept that either economics is a science or climate change is a religion, or both (when the evidence suggest the opposite is true) shows how far we have yet to go.

  4. Bill 4

    Apart from making economics looking more like astrology, and snake oil “power of positive thinking” promotions rather than a science, the question is , “Whose confidence is being heeded to?”

    erm..economics is basically astrology. Well, it has the same scientific foundation at any rate – ie, none.

    Better than that, given present day realities (AGW etc) seeking to apply classical economics (the discipline economists adhere to these days) is akin to trying to tackle/explain the field of quantum physics with newtonian physics. (So I’ve heard say)

    Still – all power to the astrologers. Where would we be without them? ;-)

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    As you have identified, the confidence of the corporate, financial oligarchic elite is the only confidence which matters. The “middle class” are only brought along to the extent necessary to engage their instincts of self interest and of course, their block vote. (In the US the middle class is already being roundly sacrificed however, as their votes are no longer important).

    S&P’s opinion of how well NZ treats foreign bondholders is seen as far more important to the political class and NZ’s deep state than the confidence of those million or more working class and precariat who are losing (or have lost) their jobs.

    This can be seen over and over again, and very obviously, in countries like Greece, Spain, and France. Where the “socialist” Hollande has said that state spending must be cut back even further.

    In fact, to win over the confidence of banksters and their ratings agencies, a country absolutely MUST suppress government spending, suppress wages, suppress employment, and suppress worker organisations.

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      A lot of what is called the middle class in the US and A would be more accurately known as working class, e.g. autoworkers, plumbers, and teachers. They gained the name not by any change in their relationship to the means of production, but by being able to buy houses and cars, and by having pension funds. Now their mortgages have been foreclosed, their pension funds have been stolen, and I don’t know what has happened to their cars, but they were not really middle class. They were working class in a booming economy with Keynesian policies, albeit based on exploitation of most of the rest of the world.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        You point to the simple fact that almost everyone, from accountants to web developers to mechanics to chiropractors are more correctly considered working class, even if that’s not the way they see it themselves. They are primarily paid through the labour hours they put in during a day, and cannot depend on investment income from capital assets to live on and pay the bills.

        • Murray Olsen 5.1.1.1

          I like my facts simple, CV. It comes with being a physicist – we try to explain everything as simply as possible, unlike politicians, economists, and poets, who like to make everything far more complicated than necessary. With poets, at least, there is sometimes an aesthetic payoff.

          Or maybe I’m just thick.

      • karol 5.1.2

        Yes, exploitation of the rest of the world – offshoring the working clases that keep the US industries in profits. It remined me of this wikileaks, then withdrawn and leaked by others, about Obama working to suppress the minimum wage in Haiti. Obama was apparently bending to the will of some major multinationals, like Hanes and Levi Strauss, in doing this.

        I’m a little confused by the timing – the latest post/article on this from Jan 2014, makes it seem vlike a very recent leak – but it links to some articles about it in 2011.

  6. Jan 6

    As far as I have been able to understand it, the economic success is in large measure due to the Christchurch rebuild. In what parallel universe do we live when fixing up a horrible mess like that can be considered a positive – was the study of economics developed by martians?
    The huge problem the left faces in trying to establish a government which is more likely to create a just society is that what we may call ‘ordinary citizens’, the most vulnerable, are easily persuaded to vote against their own best interests. This article is very interesting on that subject, especially keeping in mind the current Colin Craig circus:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/jun/05/why-working-class-people-vote-conservative

  7. greywarbler 7

    There has just been a spirited comment on Radionz about the need to change from the present sequestering of billions of tax free dollars by the few. There’s a meeting about this in Dohar or somewhere. Another excuse for the few to gather and act important and have some fine drinks and nibbles and entertainment, or make contact with other pharoahs so they can buy bits to decorate their pyramids, while they are still able.

    They should know said the Indian sounding speaker that the filthy rich are being hurt by their own behaviour depressing business, enterprise and earnings, as well as the poor being deprived of earnings giving enough money to buy their needs and so provide jobs.

    (Concerning the media there was a comment that the Bauer magazine vacuum machine is likely to buy the rights to NZ Listener and NZ Womans Weekly and will probably combine them. Sick making – I’m sick of inspecting women’s white teeth and round firm breasts or indeed their sagging ones – accompanied by fault-finding by the scurrilous women’s mags – on the front of mags available to the masses.)

    • Jan 7.1

      Hardly matters what happens to the Listener now anyway – it’s last decent days were when Finlay McDonald was editor – it’s been sneaking, not so subtly, to the right ever since. Now (see latest headlines) it has descended into pop-psychology American-style and articles by Richard Prebble and Josie Pagani – whoopee!

  8. greywarbler 8

    Jan +1 Whoopee! But I must note something worthy of gratitude. The help that Pamela Sitrling and the Listener gave Rebecca Macfie (excuse spelling?) in preparing her book on The Tragedy of Pike River. That was a sterling effort to a good end!

  9. alwyn 9

    I guess one could say, Karol, that you are calling John Maynard Keynes an astrologer and a snake oil salesman. Perhaps you are right but I don’t really think so.

    There are two groups actions one can look at when looking at “Confidence”

    It can be said, as a very, very potted version on Keyne’s economics, that because the future is basically unknown the people who are investing do so based on their confidence in the future.
    As Keynes put it “Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as a result of animal spirits – a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities”.
    This animal spirits is what investors, who are not the same as savers, see as the future prospects for what they are investing in. If their confidence is high they will invest. If it is low they will not. They cannot of course KNOW what the outcome will be.

    Confidence for workers operates in a different manner, although the results are similar. If they are confident that their employment is safe, and that their purchasing power will not drop they will consume more, rather than increase their savings.

    Thus, if these groups are confident about the future, output is likely to increase and people will become better off. If people, of either group, have their confidence destroyed they will withdraw from the market and jobs will be lost and firms be unable to sell their goods.

    It is people’s confidence that can, to a limited extent, be boosted by politicians. On the other hand it can, to a large extent, be destroyed by politicians. Would a company expand, and make investments, if they thought that the Government would destroy their business in the near future?

    There, a view of what Keynes said in 200 words. (Note Keynes not Keynesian)

    • karol 9.1

      Thanks, alwyn. This then.

      Animal spirits is the term John Maynard Keynes used in his 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money to describe the instincts, proclivities and emotions that ostensibly influence and guide human behavior, and which can be measured in terms of, for example, consumer confidence. It has since been argued that trust is also included in or produced by “animal spirits”.

      Well, the whole “animal spirits” thing does sound very subjective to me and open to interpretation – kind of like astrology.

      And the “consumer confidence” these days tends to be measured by amount of spending people do – even though there may be little evidence of why people are spending. e.g. a spending boom during the sales last December/January may not be an indication of confidence, but just the opposite – getting some bargains when they are available because there’s no certainty re- the future.

      • alwyn 9.1.1

        Blimey, reading that does make one think of it as Astrology.

        Keynes did think that the future, in any detail, was essentially unpredictable. Thus he was at odds with what became known as Keynesian economics which had its genesis in John Hicks’ work. Hicks’s approach was more that the future was uncertain, rather than that is was largely unknowable.

        There is little evidence, at least that that I can remember, that would support the view in your last column that spending shows a lack of confidence. Studies have certainly shown that people on the same level of income spend a greater proportion of it the longer they have been receiving it. That is they spend a greater proportion as their confidence that they will continue to get it increases.

        Incidentally if you have never read Keynes, and in particular “The General Theory” as it is often abbreviated you should do so. He was a wonderful writer. If you have no Economics background just ignore any of the (few) formula and anywhere where he gets a bit too technical.

        Who could not enjoy such gems as
        “The game of professional investment is intolerably boring and over-exacting to anyone who is entirely exempt from the gambling instinct; whilst he who has it must pay to this propensity the appropriate toll”.

        There is a sample chapter at
        http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/keynes/general-theory/ch12.htm
        for anyone who is curious.

        For Bill, whose commment follows I would have to say that I think that Economics has vastly more to offer than Astrology. Mumbo jumbo by the high priests of economics indeed!

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1

          Incidentally if you have never read Keynes, and in particular “The General Theory” as it is often abbreviated you should do so. He was a wonderful writer.

          Gah, I haven’t managed the first chapter because his writing style is too flowery. IMO, It’s actually worse than reading the dust dry Capital.

          I’ve actually been looking for his 1937 essay which he wrote after he realised that everyone had actually misinterpreted what he’d said. It explains the whole thing in far simpler terms. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find it and have only heard it mentioned by a few economists such as Steve Keen.

          I would have to say that I think that Economics has vastly more to offer than Astrology.

          Well, it would have if the present theory was based in reality and explained economics rather than being based upon delusion (assumptions that aren’t even close to reality and the idea that you can always get more out if it than you put in) and is nothing more than a justification for capitalism.

          • Macro 9.1.1.1.1

            Well, it would have if the present theory was based in reality and explained economics rather than being based upon delusion (assumptions that aren’t even close to reality and the idea that you can always get more out if it than you put in) and is nothing more than a justification for capitalism.

            Yep! QFTT

          • Macro 9.1.1.1.2

            Well, it would have if the present theory was based in reality and explained economics rather than being based upon delusion (assumptions that aren’t even close to reality and the idea that you can always get more out if it than you put in) and is nothing more than a justification for capitalism.

            Yep! QFTT

          • alwyn 9.1.1.1.3

            The Cambridge University Press published the complete works of Keynes and if you are near a University they may have a set in their library. I thought about buying a set once but it is in 30 volumes. I forget what it cost then but it is about 550 pounds sterling these days.
            I read Marx in an edition that was published in a USSR Government subsidised edition. As you say it was dry as dust.
            I consider you have insulted “The Master”. A duel throwing sets of GDP figures at a range of 10 metres is called for.

    • Bill 9.2

      So okay, outside of scientific predictions, the future is basically unpredictable.

      But confidence in terms of economics would seem to be more about boosting belief in the integrity of the entire facade, rather than in individual events/trajectories (though sure, there is an element of that – thinking dutch tulips)

      I could have confidence in astrology and be encouraged to have confidence in astrology. That individual events didn’t always materialise as predicted wouldn’t necessarily mean that I lost confidence in the entire system of astrology. I could comfort myself by believing that some things within the field were unpredictable or subject to external factors while retaining an overall belief in the efficacy or predictive nature of the thing.

      Which would be delusional – madness.

      In economics, just the same as in astrology, patterns are discernible. The only difference is that most of us order our lives according to the mumbo-jumbo about patterns and cycles spouted by the high priests of economics, while far fewer of us do likewise in light of the comparable mumbo-jumbo spouted by astrologers.

      Strange creatures, we are.

      • Stuart Munro 9.2.1

        The problem is not in our stars but in our current accounts deficit.

        • Bill 9.2.1.1

          And what is the ‘current account deficit’ without the belief that sustains the economic jiggery pokery that produces such ‘crises’ as ‘current account deficits’ in the first place?

          Put another way – the problem of me having no money left in my pocket is less to do with ‘Number 34′ not coming up on the wheel, then on my continued belief that roulette is ‘the way to go’.

  10. Will@Welly 10

    Sadly, we have no one but ourselves to blame, myself included. When Labour lurched to the right, many of us were spell-bound by Lange, or else did not want to appear divided, so we let many of the “reforms” happen until we realized too late, that these were not just simply reforms, but the wholesale destruction of the New Zealand way of life.
    John Key, et al, are just continuing the path that Ruth Richardson/Jim Bolger carried on after the Langer/Douglas partnership terminated.
    The question that has to be asked of the left, and it has to be re-iterated time and again till they get the message, are they prepared to undo many of these so-called reforms that has seen New Zealand be transformed into one of the most unequal societies in the western world?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The question that has to be asked of the left, and it has to be re-iterated time and again till they get the message, are they prepared to undo many of these so-called reforms that has seen New Zealand be transformed into one of the most unequal societies in the western world?

      Good question: h/t to SHG (not CV)

      http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2014/01/nothing-left/

  11. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 11

    Thanks [again] Karol for another brilliant article – highlighting the casuistry of the term ‘confidence’ – a term which I am starting to despise and shudder when I hear it – for the reasons you articulate.

    I do wish to note that Andrew Little’s press release was not ‘curiously circumspect’ in my view.

    He was highlighting the issue of distribution of wealth – a major problem – how the economy may be said to be ‘booming’ however there is a problem with ‘state of economy’ ratings having no connection to the conditions or prosperity of New Zealanders – prosperity is not being shared. The wealth or poverty of the country as a whole makes no difference to large swathes of New Zealanders.

    Note the first line of the media release “If recent economic forecasts of a “rock star” New Zealand economy are correct “ – he is not even stating that our economy is ‘rock star-like’ -[ sigh]- just making the point that if it is then we still have a major problem that requires addressing.

    • karol 11.1

      bl, thanks,

      I think Little is being kind of diplomatic, and giving some credence to the “booming economy” headlines, using booming in his headline without quote marks.

      In an earlier draft of the post, I did make the same point about “rock star” being in quote marks, meaning he was less accepting of it – “circumspect” is this conflict in meanings, plus being a little diplomatic in saying “if these reports are true”… kind of thing. – but the post was getting too long so I deleted the “rock star” bit.

      But in the guts of the statement, Little is more directly critical of the “rock star” reports, the inequalities, and the lack of confidence among workers, etc.

  12. fambo 12

    Popped through Palmerston North a couple of weekends ago and it certainly wasn’t looking/feeling as prosperous as it has in the past.

    Make your opinion “the norm” and then paint those who disagree with you as being “negative”

  13. bad12 13

    ‘Rockstar economy’???, only if you consider it a two hit wonder, take out the Christchurch rebuild and the Auckland house price inflation, both areas of economy which will soon prove to be merely transient anomalies and the ‘real’ growth figures will be shown to be 1-2.5%,

    One of those extolling this rubbish,(a bank economist on National Radio this morning),gushed over unemployment coming down from 6 to 5%,(a victory of the pathetic), i had to wonder listening to such gushing, if this is an indicator of rock-star status for the economy would this have made the previous Clark Government’s economy with far lower unemployment a ‘super-nova’…

  14. tricledrown 14

    I have talked to a lot of business
    People and they are saying its no where near pre 2008 levels of economic activity this is a beat up by a few elite.

  15. Macro 15

    What’s all this bullshit about a “rock star” economy! According to the latest set of statistics our 1% ers are back in 8th place in gaining control of the world’s wealth – this is NOT good enough!
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/20/oxfam-85-richest-people-half-of-the-world
    More incentives are required!

  16. MrSmith 16

    “New Zealand will be the “rock star” economy of 2014, says a leading global bank.
    HSBC chief economist for Australia and New Zealand Paul Bloxham says New Zealand’s growth is set to outpace most of its developed markets peers, American news channel CNBC reported .”

    Should we trust HSBC? No we bloody well shouldn’t, but don’t take my word for it.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/hsbc-case-senators-prosecution-free-zone-big-banks/story?id=18678686
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/may/23/hsbc-court-threat-money-laundering-charges
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/dec/11/hsbc-fine-prosecution-money-laundering
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/08/08/hsbcs-1-9-billion-money-laundering-fine-and-the-somalian-cost-of-bank-regulation/
    http://sevenpillarsinstitute.org/case-studies/hsbc-money-laundering-case-too-big-to-fail-does-not-mean-too-big-to-jail

  17. dave 17

    yeah man bullshit bills super book cooking house of cards full speed ahead straight off the cliff.

  18. Tracey 18

    Is the gfc and the crash of the 80′s evidence of a failure of socialism or capitalism?

    • karol 18.1

      Maybe the failure of corporatism?

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.1

        Not a failure at all, in fact a very successful rouse to suck trillions out of governments into private hands. They are great at turning crisis into capitalist triumph. Which the big banks have deftly done.

  19. philj 19

    If Labour are serious, they must get serious with the banks. Kiwibank has a major role to play. Why do we put up with billions going out of NZ to Ozzy banks in profits. Sure, The BNZ was an utter fiasco, that was never clearly explained to the masses. Time for a major change in our financing. They are rorting NZ, big time.

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    So, Shane Jones is quitting politics.  The reasons given, according to Polity, are because he wants the Labour Party to embrace a wide range of opinions, and that that too many people have opinions he doesn't agree with, like forming...
    Left hand palm | 24-04
  • Australia welches on open government
    Last year, Australia announced that it was joining the Open Government Partnership. But now that Tony Abbott is in charge, they're backing out:THE Abbott government is reconsidering Labor’s pledge to sign Australia up for a major international transparency and citizen...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • A counterproductive waste of money
    That's the quick assessment of Britain's participation in the "war on terror":Britain's military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to an...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Shane Jones Nationalised
    Shane Jones is on Radio Live as I type this, explaining that he quit politics because he just couldn't be arsed etc.  "No reservoir of energy to..." as he put it.  Ridiculous.  Retirement at 54.  A career beginning and ending...
    Tumeke | 24-04
  • The ICJ orders Australia to stop interfering with witnesses
    Last year, in what was clearly the actions of a guilty government, the Australian government detained a former ASIS agent who was going to testify against them over their bugging of the government of East Timor, raiding his house and...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Here’s what a real bloke sounds like
    Kelvin Davis3 hrs ·...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • So long Shane, thanks for all the ‘fush’
    So Shane Jones is off. Retired from politics he says. Couldn’t give 100 percent to the cause so he did what he thought was best for the Party.Shane Jones has always been a polarising figure and never more so when...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 24-04
  • The benefits of transparency
    Ministerial expenses were released today, and as usual, I spent an hour trawling through the credit card statements hoping to find evidence of Ministers rorting us. So what did I find? Nothing. No $1,000 a night luxury hotel rooms. No...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Christchurch to use Auckland’s old trains?
    As the new electric trains roll out over the coming year or so, a question we don’t know the answer to is what will happen to the old diesel trains Auckland no longer needs. Of course we will need to...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • Access: Defective, deficient, deviant and delinquent
    As many NZ babies do, I developed eczema and asthma. My mother took me to various clinicians. I have vague impressions of kindly doctors with strange accents. In retrospect they were probably part of the Jewish diaspora - educated at...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • An FPP politician in an MMP world
    So, now that Shane Jones has gone, he's come clean about the reason: he didn't want to work alongside Russel Norman and the Greens. Which I think emphasises just how much of a throwback Jones was, and how unsuited he...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: News from talented women
    As I may have noted once or twice, Janine and the Mixtape's Dark Mind EP is one of last year's overlooked local gems. Or perhaps not-so-overlooked now, given that her new video for 'Hold Me' was premiered this week on...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • Focus on housing costs, raise wages not interest rates
    "The increase in the Reserve Bank's interest rate, while expected, shows little imagination and will raise mortgage costs for home owners," says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg. “The focus should be on getting housing costs down, and raising wages to make...
    CTU | 23-04
  • One year on: progress made to prevent another Rana Plaza tragedy
    Date of Release: Thursday, April 24, 2014Body:  An official from one of the two global union bodies that negotiated the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, currently visiting New Zealand, says that the Accord continues to make big steps forward to ensure...
    First Union Media | 23-04
  • Update from Dr.Gevil
    We wanted to share with you a little fun....
    Gareth’s World | 23-04
  • Matauri Bay: There are certain stories that get under your skin
    There are certain stories that get under your skin, stories that no matter how many times you hear them somehow strike you in a way that you never forget, stories that become a very part of you. The story of...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-04
  • Anit-fluoridation advertising deceptive
     Looks like the scientific fight-back against the misinformation coming from anti-fluoridation groups is having some success. This press release from the on-line Making Sense of Fluoride group. Anti Fluoridation Advertisements Rejected by The Advertising Complaints Authority Over the past week,...
    Open Parachute | 23-04
  • The Art of Letting Go
    via Porcupine Farm   While the big news with regard to the rebuild has been the scaling back of the Arts Precinct, this is just one part of a wider narrative that sees the grand plan unravelling. Since I wrote...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 23-04
  • Joyce tells Otago to ship in more students
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 11 Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is using threatened changes to university councils to bully the University of Otago to take more international students, says TEU national secretary Sharn...
    TEU | 23-04
  • New money for Māori innovation won’t cover cuts to Māori research
    Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori centre of research excellence is welcoming the  government’s decision to invest up to $2.5 million a year over the next two years in Māori-led science and...
    TEU | 23-04
  • UCOL staff given holiday but not pay rise
    UCOL staff got two extra days’ holiday they did not bargain for this week between Easter and Anzac Day, but what they really want is a pay rise. The polytechnic’s chief executive Paul McIlroy said...
    TEU | 23-04
  • Workers Memorial Day 2014
    Please be advised that there are three events planned to commemorate Workers Memorial Day (28 April) in Wellington. The media are invited to attend all three events.What When Photo:  ...
    CTU | 23-04
  • Shane Jones speaks out
    On 3news last night, Shane Jones gave a staged interview where he got some things off his chest. Not exactly a graceful exit, but there you go. Two of the things he said were especially interesting to me. Shane said:...
    Polity | 23-04
  • No Economic Rationale for $760m Warkworth Toll Road
    This is the fifth in a series of posts based on the Campaign for Better Transport’s submission to the Puhoi to Warkworth Board of Inquiry. The full presentation is over at bettertransport.org.nz In this post we look at the economic...
    Transport Blog | 23-04
  • iPredict Ltd 2014 Election Update #15
    Column – iPredict iPredicts 7000 registered traders continue to believe Winston Peters NZ First party will hold the balance of power after the election and allow National to govern. There has been a small gain to Act and the Conservatives...
    Its our future | 23-04
  • Photo of the day – Vulcan Lane
    Vulcan Lane alive with people Photo is credited to oh.yes.melbourne...
    Transport Blog | 23-04
  • Have your say on what Internet rights should look like
    Today I launched my Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill – NZ’s first ever bill crowdsourced by a political party. The launch happened live on Reddit, and I was joined in my office Joy Liddicoat (former Human Rights Commissioner and present...
    frogblog | 23-04
  • Michael Porter on Social Progress
    via CNN, Fareed Zakaria has a fascinating interview with Harvard's Michael Porter, architect of the Social Progress Index that was launched to great fanfare a little while back. New Zealand won the top rank in that index, and Porter's main...
    Polity | 23-04
  • Time running out to save uni councils
    There’s only a week left to have your say on the Government’s changes to university and wānanga councils. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has put forward dramatic changes to the way uni and wānanga councils are made up – removing...
    frogblog | 23-04
  • Another reason why we need an enforceable BORA
    Back in 2003, the then-Labour government, faced with the "threat" of an unpopular child-sex offender being released from prison at the end of their sentance, enacted the Parole (Extended Supervision) and Sentencing Amendment Act, allowing them to be detained for...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Govt response to alcohol report simplistic
    The Government's response to a Ministry of Justice report on minimum alcohol pricing is simplistic and turns its back on those who are most susceptible to alcohol marketing promoting greater consumption, Labour's Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. "The Ministry's report...
    Labour | 25-04
  • Govt fails Southern Cross Forest workers
    The Government's failure to deal with problems in the wood processing industry has resulted in more needless job losses, Green Party forestry spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.Southern Cross Forest Products announcement of another sawmill closure brings the tally of closures...
    Greens | 24-04
  • Humiliation for Government in Chinese dictat
    New Zealand’s food safety systems should be respected by our trading partners, but instead the Government has been humiliated with the Chinese dictating the terms of our infant formula production, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.   “The Government...
    Labour | 24-04
  • Honouring our Pacific soldiers
    Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson and MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio, will pay a special tribute to the many Pacific Islanders who fought in the New Zealand Armed Forces during the First World War in a speech he is giving...
    Labour | 24-04
  • Government inaction on power and housing to blame for latest rate rise
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says today's interest rate rise, that will hit home owners and businesses, is a consequence of the government's failure to get a grip on electricity prices and the property market, particularly in Auckland."The Green Party...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Rate rise not needed if Government was doing its job
    Today’s interest rate rise wouldn’t have been necessary if the Government had been doing its job properly and targeting the sources of inflation, Labour says. “New Zealand interest rates are among the highest in the world, putting more and more...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Real independence needed in food safety
    The Green Party are calling for a truly independent body to regulate our food safety.Food safety Minister Nikki Kaye has announced the establishment of a Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council as part of the Government's resp