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Apocalypse Now

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, December 21st, 2012 - 56 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, disaster, film, sustainability - Tags:

Humans seem to have a paranoid fascination with our own demise.  Aside from the doomsday predictions like that for today, there’s numerous movies.  They show our fears and sometimes the realisation of the most destructive elements embodied by our species: social, environmental, behavioural, political.  Some of them are propaganda for some form of dictatorial political dominance.

Some of the causes come from out of space – though often these are a metaphor for the war within the planet: cold war (alien invasion movies for and against the cold war or McCarthyism), justifications for US imperialism (Independence Day).  Some are the result of human created viruses:  creating rampant rage, zombies, and other monstrous things.  Some are the results of human created machines or computers taking over (Terminator films).   And some are the result of climate change, with the world reaching a tipping point followed by a collapse of the natural world (The Day After Tomorrow).

Climate collapse as the result of climate change is more likely to be a long descent than sudden collapse of the eco-system.  But this is too political progressive for many, and involves preparing now by changing our lifestyles.  Too many apocalyptic moves put the blame on others: beyond individual, political or state control. In contrast, Bill’s post from yesterday gives some more realistic tips on how to adapt to and prepare for the impact of climate change.

One of my favourite apocalyptic movies is Children oi Men. There is a commentary by Zizek on the DVD, explaining the movie as portraying the collapse of capitalism.  In the movie human society collapses because women are no longer able to conceive children.  You need to adjust yourself to Zizek’s odd shlishing style of speech to watch the video where he explains the poltiical meanings in the background of the movie.

Naming today as the end of the world, is based on predictions related to the Mayan calender.   Some say it is going to be the end of the world, others that it is the beginning of a new era.  Apocalypse tourism is enabling tourists are flocking to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.  But in Guatemala, Mayans themselves are not panicking.  Al Jazeera has a video report providing a thumbnail sketch of the survivors of a once highly advanced civilisation: now living nearer to subsistence level, sensitive to their relationship with nature, and planning hopefully for the future.

Some peoples choices of best apocalypse movies: Stuff 25 best; shareranks top 20.

56 comments on “Apocalypse Now”

  1. just saying 1

    Thank you for this Karol (and for your post on poverty over there).
    I enjoyed the clip.
    Someone, a commenter on TS, said that it wasn’t until the great depression had been underway for some time, that most people gave up their denial about what was happening around them was actually happening. I think it is the same way now.

    My favourite tv show right now is the apocalyptic, ‘The Walking Dead’. Probably no coincidence.
    Anyone else watch?

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks, js.

      I have only watched an ep or 2 of Walking Dead. I’m not so great on horror, especially not schlock horror & zombie, though I can appreciate that such movies and are well done & significant. I did like the 28 Days/weeks later movies in spite of the grossness and one or two others.

      Walking Dead is probably better on many levels than Revolution. But, having been disappointed by the first 2 eps of Revolution, I picked up again on watching it when I found myfreeview had continued recording it. It’s gripping action, but politically very dodgy. I like the main premise of a world without electricity as the cause of the apocalypse. And I like that the women are as active and assertive as the male characters.

      Revolution is, however, too much of the glossy pretty people, and it is US imperialist propaganda: the resistance are people wanting the return of US governance, and their symbol is the US flag. Loss of electricity is caused by humans, by not because of resource depletion, and there is the hope that electricity use can be re–instated.

      Revolution is one of my guilty pleasures time-wasters.

      I did enjoy the UK programmeSurvivors, but it didn’t last long.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 1.2

      The comment about the depression being underway for some time was also evident during the dust bowl as well and the holding out because next year will be better.

      If you can get hold of or stream Ken Burns dust bowl documentary well worth a watch. I believe it was shown on arts channel recently if anyone has this.

  2. end o times viper shorts 2

    Walking Dead rules… wish Revolution had not be so crap in terms of apocalyptic vision and viewing

    and like Just Saying I’d like to say cheers for your insightful and thought provoking posts Karol

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Why do they never use bicycles? no need for petrol. And what’s with the roaring motorcycle attracting all the zombies. And have they never worked out a ship/boat is a great place to have a garden. A yacht marina, if deep enough, and the wharf removed/removal, would allow each person to have their own area and not be a threat to the group, each with their own vegies growing on the boat roof. Its just seems so boring, car oriented, any adapting to the new reality is forbidden.
      Even when they do come up with the sound making device, to trap zombies, they use the zombies for arena fighting, when they could just keep setting up these devices and traps for zombies to remove them entirely. Its just the same, fight or flight, with a lot of personal infighting, limited social adaption going on.

  3. Ennui in Requiem Mass for CV 3

    Down here in Purgatory we don’t much care for the concept of a mass influx of souls due to a Mayan prophesy. There is a spelling mistake in the translation, you earthlings have been sold a pup and you are staying aloft.

    As for the paranoid fascination with your demise, it all ends with a whimper and an inaudible death rattle. There is a bard up there in Heaven who put total perspective on it…Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • Anne 3.1

      Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day….

      Yes, my favourite quote from the bard.

      it wasn’t until the great depression had been underway for some time, that most people gave up their denial about what was happening around them was actually happening. I think it is the same way now.

      Sadly very true. The other day I met an old acquaintance in the hairdressers and the conversation turned to talk-back radio. It turned out she is an avid follower of Leighton Smith on ZB Radio and it wasn’t long before she was passionately decrying the Climate Change believers. I dared to suggest Leighton Smith was a fake and that he quoted ideologically driven pseudo-scientists and he was a dangerous man. Probably not very diplomatic in the circumstances. Anyway the hairdresser prevented blood on the floor by swiftly changing the subject to something more benign.

      This is the third time in 12 months I’ve come across someone who has fallen for Smith’s maniacal crap about Climate Change. He appeals to the middle-class voter who has done reasonably well in life but is neither well informed or overly burdened with grey cells.

      • Napkins 3.1.1

        People always believe convenient lies. Find those who have the courage to accept the inconvenient truths ;)

  4. fisiani 4

    Sadly the world will not end today so David Cunliffe can still conspire to mount a coup in February

    • Craig Glen Eden 4.1

      He may as well he was publically flogged for having a coup at conference which those of us who were present and support him didn’t know anything about. Though I have heard David sheare is actually the one who is bring about this democratic change in labour so maybe it was shearer who mounted a coup against himself.

    • Foreign waka 4.2

      He never had in the first place – this was just a chess move worthy of the roman senate.

    • Dr Terry 4.3

      fisiani – suggest you try to avoid emotive (prejudicial) language. How about “David Cunliffe can still plan to offer a challenge in February”?

      • RedLogix 4.3.1

        @ Dr Terry,

        fisiani is one of our regular trolls. He drops these creepy sycophantic little turds and then runs.

        I’ve considered banning him as a waste of pixels many times. But then most of the regulars here have learnt not to take his obvious bait and for the most part he’s pretty harmless.

  5. ad 5

    Curious this post revels in narrating the end of the world, and on others today it’s all about the end of the world through climate change.

    Too often the Left broadly reaches for crisis as an end-times scenario. Because then only extreme measures will save us.

    Which makes the state necessary both as the instrument of force and to exproporiate the private into the public and common good.

    I don’t believe in the necessity of crisis, to enable the Left to force its way in.

    And we need to be better than catastrophist. because we will only have hope in anything if we know it can be made real.

    To be made real we need a measure of control, even if that is merely leverage.

    I think that is the essence of agency within a Labour politics.

    • aerobubble 5.1

      Capitalism unchecked exploits. Now the argument for capitalism is that the cumulative effects of exploitation produce better outcomes than any other system. This however ignores the negative long term outcomes of capitalism, resource deplete, pollution, decline in quality of ecology, etc, etc.
      Is capitalism unchecked always to take us to the brink of some calamity? Or will the hero naysayers force checks upon capitalism, welfare to stop exploit of citizens, health cover to stop exploitation of disease people desperate for relief, taxation to stop exploitation of the weak by the economically strong. Will every ‘lefty’ have the correct right answer right off the bat? No. No, what we have is
      a pivot point, an inflection, where the denialists are desperate to cling on to their illusional reality and so invent the idea, that left progressives are always wrong, because they always want more stat control, and its always turned out bad. Sorry, but the insufferable left are here for a while, as people wake up the present over reach of crony capitalism.

      Oh, and no I’m not a lefty, I’m fed up with really stupid people who thing the right defends anything at all, rights, liberties, freedoms, economic efficiency. The right wing filled with zombies. Didn’t you get the metaphor of zombie movies, the billionarie grabbing his sacks of cash, getting in his limo as the last refuge of commercialism collapses in a zombie plague around him. Whose the zombie? The rich twit deluded about the nature of money without a soveign backer, or the zombies who destroy everything they despise?

      Take the walking dead, the governor gets two survivors to fight while four zombies try to bite them, in a ludicrous attempt to create the veneer of control over the plague, for the on lookers, while a sword wielding survivor meets up with a man gone mad with the reality of baby born into that hell, his anger at it for not being his, etc, etc.

      Nothing good comes from the Zombie plague, that’s you and your right wing delusions about the left.

      • ad 5.1.1

        It’s getting a bit late in the day for me today as i still have some shopping to do…

        But otherwise i would have a good old fashioned film argument with you.

        To me zombie films are generally only there to be enjoyed. The same attraction as popping pimples as a teenager.

        The only catastrophist film that has really stuck with me over the last year is Melancholia.
        The main lead actually has to rail firstly against a massive patriarchal order; weddings. And she does it in a wholesale trashing of every trope and liminal threshold she can get her hands on. barelay makes it through the vows. Shits on the golf course. Shags the houseboy. Smashes the plates. Stays asleep upstairs rather than do the speeches.

        Anyway without going through the entire list of every order sustaining humankind, she goes through all of them.

        It’s like Julia Kristeva, and Hardt and Negri, and Adorno and Horkheimer, all decided to write a script together.

        I don’t care whether it’s left or Right or anything else.

        If it takes the world apart and forcesyou to look at it afresh, and thrills you in the process wilfully and with skill, they’ve got me.

        And then it’s the end of the world. My kind of movie.

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    just an idea… :)
    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Word-Resisting-World-Paternoster/dp/1842270532

    Thanks ad, I hope you have a” bon mot” Christmas yourself.

    -John

    • ad 6.1

      You could also turn to the original Apocalypse by Ellul, which sifted through Revelation.

      But for Christmas reading I’m reaching for Vargas-Llosa, salman, and as much magic realism as I can find in Wanaka.

  7. karol 7

    I don’t believe in the necessity of crisis, to enable the Left to force its way in.

    The motivation for this post was seeing the item on Al Jazeera, as in the vid linked to. It’s a topical issue, and led me to ponder on the cultural fascination with End Times. It seems to be something embedded strongly in contemporary culture.

    However, I think such scenarios have different meanings for people at either side of the left-right spectrum. Right-wingers are as fascinated by it as left-wingers.

    On the right such scenarios usually represent the threats to their conservative (especially US imperialist) ideal of their “civilisation” (see Independence Day and various cold war movies). Usually they face the threats and survive, reassuring themselves that all is right in the world.

    Some on the left, like Zizek in the vid in the post, see Children of Men as graphically depicting the collapse of capitalism – a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy. I guess it serves as a dramatic way to focus our minds on the issues.

    However, I agree, we don’t need End Time scenarios, to realise our political world needs to change direction, and to develop a plan for it.

    • ad 7.1

      Probably I’m just theorising my desires; I want to be bourgeoise-comfortable, so I don’t want scary and messy things I don’t have control of. I’m a bit less Zizek or Ellul, and a bit more Adorno and Habermas.

      • karol 7.1.1

        I think Adorno was right to point out the ways “popular” (ie films etc using new technologies of the early 20th century) culture can reinforce capitalism and divert the attention away from class-based inequalities. However, he also had some old European snobbery about popular culture forms, and saw classic forms as being more able to critique society and the economy, as well as motivating to action.

        I think that some films, TV, non-classical music, etc, can critique the world, and be a motivation to activism. I am a bit more Walter Benjamin than Adorno.

        • ad 7.1.1.1

          I can see that. Adorno’s old European snobbery was something like that of Clive James; he liked it complex and serious and high-minded. And of course part fo a mythical canon that he made up.

          • Populuxe1 7.1.1.1.1

            If Clive James is such a snob, why does he also like Tony Curtis and Screwball Comedies?

            • Ad 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Can’t understand it myself.
              Have you had a look at his Amnesia? It’s got the elegant showiness of good ice skating. Definitely not petty in his summaries of his canon, but so clear that there is one.

              • Populuxe1

                I regard Cultural Amnesia as his masterpiece – but doesn’t everyone have a canon of personal taste? His is probably better than many – he got me reading in a lot of directions I might not previously have taken.

                • Ad

                  Yes, every home should have one. At least where one holidays. Clive – still hanging on – would be proud of his snobbery. A word to roll around the mouth not for braying ‘class’, but certainly for pronouncing ‘discernment’, ‘breadth’, likely for ‘entitled to a canon’, and probably for ‘deference to mastery of form’.

                  • Populuxe1

                    It’s hardly snobbery – he’s certainly not uncritical of the authors he likes. There’s nothing particularly elitist is his background, raised by a solo mother etc, and unlike John Key, he worked on his intellectual wealth over his physical wealth. I don’t have the faintest interest in sport, but only a total wanker would accuse those who do of snobbery.

  8. Rogue Trooper 8

    also, I enjoy cucumber (and cheese ) sandwiches just as much as they do at Downton Abbey;
    sandwich bread $1.48 and cucumbers, 98c ea. at Pak N Save.
    I tell you all what though…there sure are some cold-hearted, self-centred you know whose of what faith, about this Christmas. Ahhh, the paddock is broad yet the gate is narrow.

    -Shrek (where’s Flockie?)

  9. Ennui in Requiem Mass for CV 9

    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, and then its Christmas, yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Napkins 10

    Look at other screen hits e.g. Hunger Games, Battlestar Galactica. The tattered remnants of humanity trying to conduct society and civilisation after the apocalypse.
    Some people are waiting for collapse to be forced upon them by some external calamity eg. asteroid hit, zombie virus, killer cyborgs etc, so that they do not have to make hard, conscious, pro-active decisions themselves.
    The best advice I’ve read so far on the blogosphere for getting one’s own house in order: Collapse now and avoid the rush!

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 10.1

      With the obsession this government has with women and reproduction I’d be thinking Handmaid’s Tale.

      • Populuxe1 10.1.1

        ???? Please explain that one – cite some examples. Perchance you are confusing the Nats with the American Republicans, who genuinely do have some scary attitudes to women and their bits.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 10.1.1.1

          The changes to sole parent benefits, subsequent children policy, contraception push and the entire subtext around breeding for a business.

          You could achieve more sole parents into work without any of those changes simply by actually helping them find work and helping them through support and encouragement.

          The funding of parenting programs to religious fringe groups.

          None of those changes have a positive approach to women and reproduction.

          Next they’ll be looking to allow men to move all their assets into trusts – oops done that
          or making men pay less towards the cost of raising their children – yep they are thinking about that.

          • Populuxe1 10.1.1.1.1

            All relatively minor except for the revamp of the sole parent benefit – certainly not positive, but mostly not excessively scary stuff. The contraception was only ever optional, hardly enforced steralisation. And the assumption that only men can be deadbeat parents is a sexist one – women and whole families can just as equally take advantage of trust laws – some peopel abuse it, but then some people abuse welfare as well.

  11. Tim 11

    As a recent and intermittent interloper to TS….I figured this was a far less frustrating visit (online) than was listening to the very very very “agreeable” Jim Mora on RNZ. The guy agrees with everything and everyone whilst holding the right wing nice-man prejudice.

    Thanks all so far…..Karol for the post, and all others for the comments.
    You’ve saved me from an afternoon vomit.

    Where did people get the idea that RNZ National were a bunch of bleeding heart lefties? Nine-to-Noon with the delightful Rinni Roin and all her isssssssssyoos, a brief interlude of sanity, then everyman’s best friend, sage, rent-a-comment guests (all of whom Jim can agree with despite their diversity – unless of course they’re Bomber Bradley) on “Afternoons”.
    Thanks again people. It would have been more of a dry wretch than a vomit too.
    Such a nice man aye!
    Does anyone know if there are still some sort of media awards I could nominate Jim for? (Perhaps something like an OBE for services to broadcasting?)

    • Curran's Viper 11.1

      That’s OK, there’s always ‘Christmas with Noelle’ on RNZ .. which for a long long time seemed to me to be a play on ‘Xmas’. Save your eyes, enjoy ..

  12. TheContrarian 12

    “…Some say it is going to be the ned of the world”

    ned? Not the ned!

    Anyways, capitalism is not the problem. We are the problem. Every economic or societal problem we have transcends any system of governance we put in place. It is extremely naive to consider if we ditched capitalism everything would be fine.

    • karol 12.1

      ned? Not the ned!

      Heh! Thanks, TC. Fixed the typo. :)

    • Napkins 12.2

      “It is extremely naive to consider if we ditched capitalism everything would be fine.”

      Of course. What we do is ditch neoliberal forms of capitalism, and return to more localised, co-operative economies.

    • OneTrackViper 12.3

      But it worked for Russia, North Korea and Cuba. People are just desparate to move there.

      • Napkins 12.3.1

        Russia is capitalist. What is your problem with Russia.

        Cuba is socialist. With better employment, housing, education and healthcare stats than the USA. What is your problem with Cuba.

        North Korea. Well, its a great place if you are a rocket scientist, they like rocket scientists.

        • Populuxe1 12.3.1.1

          My problem with Cuba can be readily read on the website of Amnesty International among others. That’s what I fucking think of your Cuba.

          • RedLogix 12.3.1.1.1

            As can a whole bunch of other countries. A quick scan of their news page doesn’t seem to have Cuba as a stand-out country all on it’s own:

            http://www.amnesty.org.nz/category/story-type/international-news

            • Populuxe1 12.3.1.1.1.1

              Here, let me help you with that.

              http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba

              I’m ok with sausagefests about how great the Scandinavian countries are, because for th emost part they generally are. Cuba is still a dictatorship with a disgusting human rights record, so let’s not pretend otherwise.

            • RedLogix 12.3.1.1.1.2

              Snap:

              http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/usa

              Or a whole list of other countries; but none of which is especially relevant to point that Napkins was making.

              Indeed it’s pointed out somewhere in one of the later chapters of The Spirit Level that Cuba is the ONLY country of earth which has a GINI and development indexes which can be considered over the threshold for social stability … and at the same time has a carbon footprint considered below the threshold for environmental stability.

              That’s an interesting fact which can be quite reasonably considered alongside their human rights records. Indeed if we were to pre-qualify any observation about every nation on earth with the criterion you are applying here to Cuba, there would not be much we could say about a lot of other places either.

              • Populuxe1

                So? Who mentioned the USA? I certainly didn’t and few people would hold it up as a benchmark to aspire to. Aw it’s precious how some of the hard left can’t give up the precious sacred cow of Cuba. What is a little freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to elect one’s government when one can have sustainable GINI and development indexes (although what makes these two things exclusive eludes me). It’s also curious that in a book like The Spirit Level that argues that the more equal society is the more sustainable it is, would use Cuba as an example when the only people in Cuba with any real power are the Castros. And the figures throughout The Spirit Level are rubbery at best – so don’t hold your breath.

                • RedLogix

                  What is a little freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to elect one’s government when one can have sustainable GINI and development indexes (although what makes these two things exclusive eludes me).

                  Read what I said…. it’s not what you think I said. Nor have I for an instant defended Cuba’s human rights record; it’s certainly as bad as a whole lot of other countries.

                  It’s also curious that in a book like The Spirit Level that argues that the more equal society is the more sustainable it is,

                  Yes while it’s certainly true that in terms of political power Cuba is a very unequal society. But the case they made were in terms of income inequality and how the correlation was remarkably consistent across numerous countries independently of their political system.

                  And no I’m not overly precious about Cuba. In all the years I’ve been commenting here I think this is the first or maybe second time I’ve ever mentioned it.

      • Foreign waka 12.3.2

        Russia is an oligarchy, similar concept that is practiced in the West. Difference between the two: Experience that really nothing changes – just the players. The West beliefs Hollywood stories.

  13. Colonial Weka 13

    I happened to see a copy of the ODT today, and the front page had a headline with the acronym teotwawki. The article itself was idiotic (they seem to have missed that the world really is ending, just not today). Still, nice to see the acronym pasted into mainstream consciousness.

    The ODT also had an article and picture on the the proposed 18 storey waterfront hotel. I’m not sure how many stories the highest Dunedin building has, but this is much bigger and is in an incredibly obvious place. Eyesore is the word that comes to mind, but it was also hard not to see it as the welcoming beacon for teotwawki tsunami that will eventually charge up the Otago harbour. Would make a nice movie.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/240079/waterfront-hotel-how-big-would-it-be

  14. Viper73 14

    Walking dead and Y the Last man, The Road, Mad Max, Doomsday preppers, World War Z…its all good

  15. RedLogix 15

    Only one contender for me: Dark City

    I still haven’t a clue what it meant, but the cast is a collection of my favourites and the aesthetics unique.

  16. lenore 16

    I found Torchwood interesting whereby when the British Govt was deciding what children (became known as units) they would sacrifice to the aliens, someone said “it’s easy, what are league tables for?” – so got the low socio economic schools. Lots of uses for league tables obviously!

  17. Populuxe1 17

    The assumption that most people are ignorant of some of the subtexts is incredibly patronising and naive. A smattering for critical discourse entered the popular discourse thirty years ago and the last two or three generations of viewers are incredibly savvy to it. The trope that anything populist or entertaining has to be bad is just out and out snobbery, and Zizek is a hypocritical arseclown.

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    MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Government – Press Release/Statement Headline: $7.8m for new sustainable farming projects 29 new projects have been approved for $7.8 million in new funding over four years through the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Primary Industries… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    5 hours ago
  • MBIE takes enforcement action for dairy farm employment law breaches
    MIL OSI - Source: New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment MBIE – Press Release/Statement: Headline: MBIE takes enforcement action for dairy farm employment law breaches Enforcement action is being taken against 19 employers in the dairy industry for… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    5 hours ago
  • National looks after everyone but taxpayers – ACT Party
    MIL OSI – Source: ACT Party – Press Release/Statement Headline: National looks after everyone but taxpayers “National is parading its indexation of welfare payments while refusing to do the same with tax brackets,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. “Benefits were… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    5 hours ago
  • Many regions need by-election levels of support – Labour
    Source: New Zealand Labour Party – Many regions need by-election levels of support Labour MP, David Clark. Northland is not the only region struggling under the National Government, but unfortunately places like Gisborne, Whanganui and Tasman do not have… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Politics
    5 hours ago
  • No good reason for secrecy
    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee recently returned from Iraq with an impunity agreement enabling the deployment of New Zealand troops. But he's refusing to release it:Labour has attacked the degree of secrecy about the preparation of a New Zealand troop deployment… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 hours ago
  • New Zealand First’s Succession Plan
    Last time I met a New Zealand First MP, I decided to ask him about New Zealand First’s succession plan. He replied “why would we need a succession plan? Winston Peters isn’t going anywhere” “Well, Winston Peters is not as… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    6 hours ago
  • The importance of circulation workers in 21st century capitalism
    New Zealand disribution workers While the article below is about the United States, it is highly relevant to the New Zealand situation. by Joe Allen Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics,” US Army General Omar Bradley famously said. Bradley’s declaration was… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 hours ago
  • The cost of corporate tax cheating in Australia
    How much does corporate tax-cheating cost us? In Australia, A$25 billion a year - enough to eliminate two-thirds of the government budget deficit:Australia's biggest 900 companies claimed tax deductions and exemptions worth a total $25 billion last year – enough… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 hours ago
  • Union merger gives local government sector a stronger voice
    On 1 April 2015 the Southern Local Government Officers Union (SLGOU) and the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) merged. Already New Zealand’s largest union, the merger brings the PSA’s membership to nearly 62,000. ...
    7 hours ago
  • March ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    There are now over 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake, or get your stats wrong).… ...
    7 hours ago
  • the stone in Winston
    The Greens made a good choice in not standing a candidate in the Northland by-election but the win from Winston and NZF is not good news for them.I like the Green Party and I'd be happy if they were dominant… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Secret squirrel
    The New Zealand Herald reports: Labour has attacked the degree of secrecy about the preparation of a New Zealand troop deployment to Iraq. The ABC in Australia revealed yesterday that New Zealand troops had begun training with the Australian Defence… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    8 hours ago
  • A victory on freshwater
    Fresh water quality is one of the big environmental battlegrounds in New Zealand, with the government hellbent on destroying it for the profit of its cronies in the dairy sector, while the public understandably wants rivers which are safe to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    9 hours ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day. And the big question is what will the parties do in expectation of the shift in the balance of power when the Northland by-election results are finalised? Will they filibuster to prevent ballots or preserve… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    9 hours ago
  • Midweek lunch break
    Sit back and relax to these soothing, beautiful Wrestlemania 31 gifs. Best. Entrance. Ever. Dean. Fucking. Ambrose. Ronda. Fucking. Rousey. Super. Ladder. Plex. RKO. Outta. Nowhere. ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    9 hours ago
  • No spy, no fly
    A really disturbing report out of the US: The United States Justice Department has moved to dismiss a lawsuit in which American Muslims allege that that twenty-five law enforcement officials, particularly FBI agents, had them placed on the No Fly… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    9 hours ago
  • Will the Govt’s new HomeStarter scheme make it easier to buy a house?
    The Government is defending a new subsidy scheme for low and middle income couple who build a new home, but the Labour Party says it will add to the housing crisis. New Zealanders on the hunt for their first home… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Invercargill to become New Zealand’s Capital City
    At a specially called press conference this morning, Prime Minister John Key announced that Invercargill was to become New Zealand's new capital. The news was unexpected as there had been no awareness that moving the capital was even being considered.Key… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Not in my backyard!
    As we have written before on Transportblog, we think that choice in housing and transport markets is really important. In particular, Aucklanders need to be able to choose not to live in apartments. Therefore we must act now to ban… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    10 hours ago
  • The Nashing Of Labour’s Teeth: Why Being Green Ain’t Getting An...
    Red In Tooth And Claw: Stuart Nash, winner of the provincial seat of Napier, clearly intends to build Labour's vote by savaging the Greens. IF THE GREENS want a glimpse of their future with Labour, then they should listen to… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping
    When I was a lad, we didn't have your fancy smartphones. We didn't have mobile phones at all, which meant there was much greater need for public payphones and they were consequently more numerous. The funny thing was, there was… ...
    11 hours ago
  • The Age of Sustainable Development
    It is profoundly depressing to hear pundits and politicians talking about the prospects for economic growth with no reference to either equity or environmental constraints. In the case of New Zealand a “rock star” economy can apparently develop accompanied by… ...
    Hot TopicBy Bryan Walker
    11 hours ago
  • Asbestos needs a ban and a plan – petition presented
    Workers have today presented a petition signed by over a thousand New Zealanders calling on the Government to ban the importation of asbestos and develop a comprehensive plan for the removal of all existing asbestos in New Zealand.  Photo:  … ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    11 hours ago
  • Genius from google
    PacMan on google maps. I'm guessing for today only. Complete genius. Sweet! Just click on the PacMan logo on the bottom left and you're off. The Courtenay Place end of Wellington is easier to play than the Parliament end.… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    12 hours ago
  • Hard News: The GCSB and the consequences of mass surveillance
    Fewer whistleblowers, more corruption, less stability.That's the assessment of longtime Pacific journalist Jason Brown of the impact of the revelation that the GCSB has been conducting "full take" collection of communications in Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands and other Pacific nations… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Paid Parental leave increases – but more work needed
    Workers are pleased that, from today, paid parental leave increases from 14 to 16 weeks, but unfortunately New Zealand is still well behind the support that other countries offer to new parents, the Council of Trade Unions said. Photo:  … ...
    CTUBy Huia.Welton
    12 hours ago
  • QOTD: snark vs smarm
    From the epic On Smarm by Tom Scocca at Gawker: Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of… ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    12 hours ago
  • Birkenhead Transport orders triple-articulated double decker bus
    Birkenhead Transport announced today that it is planning replace its entire fleet with a single triple-articulated double decker bus. The bus is 57m long and over 4m tall. The Walfisch 57 double decker triple-bendy bus. Owner, managing director and part… ...
    12 hours ago
  • The X Factor NZ: That summer feeling
    Improvements have been made, true contenders are emerging and Dominic Bowden only grows in power.   X Factor NZ judges Shelton Woolwright, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Stan Walker and Melanie Blatt. Photo: The X Factor NZ A good X… ...
    12 hours ago
  • MPs back animal testing ban
    From left, owner of Crumpet the Rabbit Greta-Mae McDowell, Green Party MP Mojo Mathers and #BeCrueltyFree campaigner Tara Jackson. MPs have unanimously supported a ban on animal testing in New Zealand for finished cosmetic products and their… ...
    13 hours ago
  • The other missing mode
    Here at TransportBlog, we often write about “missing modes“. Auckland is shamefully underprovided with alternatives to driving, and that’s the situation that led to us developing the Congestion Free Network. The CFN calls for investment in rail, bus and potentially… ...
    Transport BlogBy John Polkinghorne
    14 hours ago
  • Why are young people in Europe joining jihadist groups?
    by Kenan Malik First it was Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, three schoolgirls from Tower Hamlets who smuggled themselves to Syria during their half term holiday. Then it was ‘Jihadi John’, the IS executioner who was unmasked by… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    21 hours ago
  • Sea Level Rise is Spiking Sharply
    Global sea level is rising because of warming from the industrial greenhouse gas emissions we humans keep pumping into the atmosphere. The expansion of seawater as it warms, and the addition of meltwater from disintegrating land-based ice, enforce a relentless rise… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the inadequate response to sexual violence prevention
    On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Judgment day for Planet Key (the song, that is)
    From Darren Watson's website:News@ 30 March, 2015read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    24 hours ago

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  • Many regions need by-election levels of support
    Northland is not the only region struggling under the National Government, but unfortunately places like Gisborne, Whanganui and Tasman do not have by-elections on the horizon, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “A desperate National Party has thrown money… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Real changes must come from CYF review
    A well-overdue revamp of Child, Youth and Family cannot be just another cost cutting exercise, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour has been pushing for a review for some time. It was part of our policy at the election. ...
    6 hours ago
  • Latest Air NZ plan carries on regional snub
    Christchurch Labour Members of Parliament have secured a meeting with Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon following the airline’s decision to cut its Christchurch to Tokyo summer flights.  They are also calling on the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Carmel Sepuloni back in Social Development role
    Andrew Little has reinstated Carmel Sepuloni as Labour’s Social Development spokesperson following the sentencing of her mother in the New Plymouth District Court today. “It has been a tough time for Carmel, but we both agreed it was appropriate she… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government taking Kiwis for April Fools
    Many Kiwis will be wondering if the joke is on them when a raft of Government changes come into effect tomorrow, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “First is ACC and National’s unwillingness to end its rort of Kiwi businesses which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time to show RMA housing affordability plans
    Labour is challenging the Government to reveal its plans to make housing more affordable through amending the Resource Management Act, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour remains willing to consider the proposals on housing affordability on their merits and… ...
    1 day ago
  • John Key now admits no broad support for RMA changes
    John Key has now been forced to admit that he never had the broad political support to gut the Resource Management Act, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “Cornerstone legislation such as the RMA should never be changed without genuine… ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s changes leave student bodies in chaos
    The chaos created by National’s scrapping of compulsory student association membership may force the 86-year old Union of Students Association to fold, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “National’s 2011 Voluntary Student Membership Act has left student associations with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    5 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    6 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    6 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    6 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    1 week ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    1 week ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 weeks ago

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