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Are we a caring country?

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, November 9th, 2011 - 123 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, labour, national, poverty, welfare - Tags: , ,

At the end of last Sunday’s Insight program on RNZ, which focused on the issue of poverty, one of the experts featured (Ruby Duncan from charity Oasis) left us with this:

Children are dying, children are being killed in their own homes, we know all about that, how much do we care?

It’s a very good question.  How much do we, as a country, care about the poor?  I think the answer is complicated, and I also think that it is the issue that most clearly distinguishes the political Left and the Right.  I wrote about this last year, but I’m going to repeat some of the words now.

Here’s a triplet of facts. 1) Every “developed” country needs a welfare system to take care of those who are, for whatever reason unable to support themselves. 2) The majority of welfare recipients are exactly the cases of genuine need that welfare systems are designed for. 3) A minority of welfare recipients are lazy bludgers who game the system to try and extract benefits when they could support themselves.

I don’t think anyone seriously questions point 1 anymore. The Left won that argument. What still separates us clearly into Left and Right today, it seems to me, is how we respond to 2 and 3. A Lefty will generously support a comprehensive welfare system to provide a decent quality of life for those in need (they accept the minority of bludgers as a cost of doing business). But nothing shrivels a Tory heart like the idea of sharing their wealth. While unable to deny the need, they become so obsessed with the small minority of bludgers that they can’t help but attack the system, and in doing so they attack the support for the overwhelming majority of perfectly genuine welfare recipients.

Now in the run up to the election, as both major parties have released their welfare related policies, we can see exactly this difference very starkly portrayed.

National’s policy is all about trying to drive people off welfare, all about trying to stamp out the bludgers. For that reason it is punitive and damaging to the majority of genuine welfare recipients.  National’s policy is divorced from reality because it fails to take any account of three important facts:

  • First, there are no jobs to drive people in to.  Unemployment is up 50% under National.
  • Second, since National took office there are 60,000 more people on benefits.  These people didn’t suddenly get lazy, they got shafted by economic forces beyond their control.  They’re already looking for jobs that aren’t there, so there’s no point in pushing them any harder.
  • Third, “The vast majority (81 per cent) of people on UB [unemployment benefit] have received it continuously for less than one year. Less than one percent of people had received UB continuously for 10 years or more”.  This idea that there’s a huge number of people sitting on the dole as a “lifestyle choice” is simply bollocks.  People want to work.

In contrast Labour’s policy accepts that we should simply help in cases of genuine need – the vast majority of welfare recipients.  In particular there are around 200,000 children living in poverty in NZ, and that is simply unacceptable.  Extending the WFF tax credit to beneficiary families with children under 18 will put an extra $60 a week in their hands (phased in by April 2018).  The cost of paying more to some small percentage of bludging beneficiaries is far outweighed by the benefit of lifting children out of poverty.

Oh and just by the way, Labour’s policy makes more economic sense no matter which way you look at it.  Child poverty costs New Zealand $6 billion annually by some estimates.  Spending to reduce child poverty has a massive return on investment.

So there you have it.  The classic split between Left and Right on welfare.  As ever the Left is working to help the majority in genuine need, while the Right is so obsessed with the small minority of bludgers that their only aim is to make the system more punitive for all.  Which approach better serves the children of New Zealand?  How much do we care?

123 comments on “Are we a caring country?”

  1. sdm 1

    No the split between left and right is not about ‘caring’, its about who should fix the problem. Many on the left wish to abdicate their responsibility to the state, so that ‘others’ are deemed to be responsible for fixing the problem. They can then sit back and sip their pinot, because they have voted in such a way so as the ‘rich pricks’ pay more money to help the poor. They havent actually done anything.

    You can always defer your responsibility to the state. We have a moral obligation to care for those less fortunate, rather than just relying on the state itself to do it

    • fmacskasy 1.1

      “You can always defer your responsibility to the state. We have a moral obligation to care for those less fortunate, rather than just relying on the state itself to do it”

      What does that mean?

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        They mean to ignore the economic savings by collectivizing aid and
        so recreate holes in the system so the few at the top can look down
        on others.

        Welfare is a program designed by the state, for the state, and of the
        state. Those who hate the state, those who want to game society
        for their own religious, economic, or personal reasons hate
        welfare.

        The state has a duty to the long term needs of society, as stated
        by its people, to save money and increase opportunity to make
        money, not for a select few of taxpayers(who it seems don’t pay
        their fair share) but for even those who legally claim benefits.

        Because the benefit is a direct response of the state to the problem of
        saturated supply, there is not enough work around for everyone.
        So the public and private sector work together to create work
        as idle poor hands have the tendency to take away power from
        those who fail to achieve this goal.

        But there are the few, back by the deluded, who believe that
        this balance is a opportunity to abuse the poor, and corner
        profits for themselves. The profits of the last three decades
        were always temporary, we were always likely to shrink
        back to old time government through concensus for
        the common good, a social community.

        The state has the duty to include everyone, its wrong for
        the left to susgest that there is anyone on welfare gaming
        the system, anyone lying to WINZ has a right to have their
        lies brought before them in a court of law. I find its
        disgraceful that 3.) is included above.

        Welfare recipients are no more or less criminal than anyone,
        and when they leave jail after serving their time they can
        claim welfare again. It therefore seems very silly to
        claim anyone without evidence to the contrary on
        welfare is criminal since any false positives will cost
        the state a hell a lot more money in jail costs and
        compensation later. The idea that we’d create
        a welfare system that manufactures criminals, those
        misleading WINZ falsely and so commiting fraud,
        is staggering, since this is in effect an error of
        management in creating a trap for the poorest.

        There are uncouth people who become powerful and
        justify their power by criminalizing and claiming those
        sane are insane, for their ownn needs.

        The courts fail the poorest, children, when the law
        cannot stop obvious discrimination against them, but
        the court can’t change the law, only government can.
        As i have said in the past, NZ does not respect human
        rights, ask any poorer person in NZ about consumer
        rights, or any migrant about how money grabbing
        NZ really are, money talks in NZ, no more obvious
        example could be provided that shows that basic
        dignity has a price in NZ – and so little protection
        for human rights..

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      “abdicate their responsibility to the state”.

      That’s so stupid it’s not even wrong. People organise a co-ordinated response and you call it “abdicating responsibility”. Your ‘moral obligation’ looks like a painting by Hogarth, we’ve been there, we’ve seen the revolting outcome of private charity as the only safety net.

      “Pay more money to help the poor”. Once again, a one-eyed mis-characterisation. We pay tax for the benefit of all, and the rich benefit the most of all.

      • aerobubble 1.2.1

        Exactly, the wealthy are not our rulers, the rich are rewarded by the legislative
        regime or the times, they are not owed continuity for the rest of time at the
        exense of child poverty, or any kind of poverty.

        we have enough to feed, cloth, provide health
        to everyone.We don’t bceause the system is gamed by those
        with too much wealth.

    • Tania 1.3

      sdm
      We are the state you idiot

    • Lanthanide 1.4

      sdm – how many ‘rich pricks’ are out there doing actual hands on work? Surely they’re all too busy Working Hard For Their Money that they don’t have time to help out those less fortunate.

      • seanmaitland 1.4.1

        I earn enough to be called a rich prick by people (even though I’m not even close to being a rich prick).

        I pay enough tax (around 50k of my income ends up as crown revenue) – however after that, my moral obligation is to provide and care for my wife and son, and extended family. The problem I have is the Left want to take more money off me and give it to welfare programmes and then they claim they have a social conscience and are “caring” for spending the money I earnt.

        I am fine with paying the amount I pay – I am not fine with more being taking off me under such hypocrisy.

        Oh, and after taking my money and spending it, the ‘left’ will still call me a greedy rich-prick and look at me with disdain – simply because I work my butt off.

        • r0b 1.4.1.1

          Yeah and the other side to that argument is that the right take tax money off me to spend on things that I don’t approve if (like pollution subsidies for business under the ETS, or enforcing national standards). So we all pay taxes for things we don’t like sean, taxes are the price we pay to live in a functioning society. [Huh – I shouldn’t comment just as I have to go off line – later!]]

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.4.1.2

          If you’re including yourself in the group Labour intends to tax more, you must be earning $150,000, and therefore by your calculations you have $75,000 pa to spend on whatever you choose. $205 per day. Poor puppy.

          • sdm 1.4.1.2.1

            He still earned it. Its his money to do with as he pleases. Not yours

            • McFlock 1.4.1.2.1.1

              Earned and retained and guaranteed as a means of exchange by virtue to living in this country, rather than hunkering in gated community somewhere hoping the extremists don’t put a firecracker under his arse.
                
              How much society chooses to extract for these services is up to the democratic process, not your syphilitic delusions of property rights.

        • mik e 1.4.1.3

          Go to Australia mate land

          • Reality Bytes 1.4.1.3.1

            Not really practical, Maitland would probably earn more in Australia and therefore risk paying up to 45% tax on income. Even if Labour comes back into power and reverses the National’s top-tier tax cuts back to 39%. Maitland may be better off in Australia economically, but the feeling of being punished for being successful would surely be more pronounced over there at 45%

            I do think Gareth Morgan’s 20/20/20 tax scheme is a good idea though. I agree we need to retain people and reward success for those who contribute and aren’t dodging tax! Good on you Maitland for not weaseling out of your helpful contribution. I appreciate it, and don’t think you should be knocked for your efforts.

            But on the other side of the fence, Maitland should appreciate that if his tax dollars are used well, it shouldn’t make him feel ripped off, the well-being of society and our shared infrastructure has intangible benefits for Maitland benefits too. I’d rather have sensible proactive (if a little bit more expensive at first) approach than a cheap ambulance at bottom of the cliff, pay for it later approach.

            Personally I think this is Labour’s Achilles heel, if they turned around and said we’ll do one better than Nats and further lower the top tier tax rate they would be unstoppable and virtually guaranteed electoral victory, as they would neutralize the only point of difference that the Nats can claim the high ground on in some circles.

    • millsy 1.5

      So you would dismantle our public schools and hospitals and have health services provided by charities who PICK AND CHOOSE who they help then?

      I dont see anything evil about taxing the wealthy to pay for things such as health services and schools. In fact the rich should have the shit taxed out of them. For years the rest of New Zealand have had to give up their services so the rich could enjoy lower taxes, and opt out of society by building gated communities and sending their kids to private school.

      Hundreds of hospitals were closed around the country so Bill Birch could cut taxes in 1996.

    • sdm is obviously a person who is lucky enough to have a job, how many people on welfare can afford to sip pinot. I bet there is many on welfare through no fault of their own who would live to sip a pinot.

      • sdm 1.6.1

        But I will say this Maggie, my charitable contributions including time and money are literally tens of thousands of dollars…..

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Fear of bludgers is a smoke screen. The left has not “won the argument” on the welfare state; it is quite clear that many on the right would vote to dismantle it.

    • felix 2.1

      How are you defining “winning the argument” though?

      If you mean bringing your opponent around to your point of view by appealing to reason, then you’re probably right. There is a hard core on the right who will never agree with sharing responsibility.

      But I reckon if your opponent is so ashamed of the vulgarity and selfishness of their beliefs that they won’t voice them in public, you’ve probably “won the argument” insofar as is possible.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        Well, to me winning the argument would mean that we could turn our backs and trust wingnuts not to attempt to destroy the gains society has made.

        • felix 2.1.1.1

          Know what you mean. I don’t think they’ll ever be convinced though, we’re going to need to figure out how to put safeguards around those gains so they can’t rip it all apart every time they get elected.

        • Ari 2.1.1.2

          Well in that case nobody ever wins an argument in politics. ;)

        • seanmaitland 2.1.1.3

          No offense, but these gains you talk of are rubbish.

          50% of families relying on government welfare (WFF)?

          ludicrous numbers of youth unemployed because they have been priced out of the job market?

          people getting paid to breed by the state in lieu of working?

          I could go on, but thanks to 9 years of welfare state activity from Labour, we have a shitstorm on our hands that we cannot get out of.

          And you guys sit around saying that the solution is to throw more free money at them and let them sort it out themselves…….

          I’m absolutely astonished at the stupidity and hypocrisy of the “Left”.

          The historical Labour party figures will be rolling in their graves at what a disgrace Labour has become.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.3.1

            SM no offense, but your biased mis-characterisations have no factual basis. Take your assertions on youth unemployment about people being priced out of the job market. You are aware that this is the subject of peer-reviewed study? Google scholar is your friend – substantiate your assertions, go on, find something current.

            When you fail, I’ll laugh, because you still will have no respect for the facts, and you’ll continue to regurgitate false attack lines you heard somewhere.

            Your beliefs are lies and until you’re prepared to confront that fact, you deserve them. But no-one else does.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.3.2

            “No offense, […] people getting paid to breed by the state in lieu of working?”

            Nope, much offense. Dick.

            BTW, Saint Key’s mum had state assistance to raise that sociopathic little scrote, but I still don’t begrudge her a single penny. Do you?

  3. SukieDamson 3

    Tax Avoidance vs Benefit Bludging. Compare & Contrast.

  4. National’s approach over the past three years has been little different to Labours had been previously.

    You can’t compare Labour’s current policy Hail Marys, they aren’t going to happen.

    • Which particular dimension do you occupy Pete?  In that dimension is John Key a sound financial manager?
       

      • felix 4.1.1

        The dimension in which the best way to create political change is to snuggle up to Peter Dunne and never voice an opinion?

        • Pete George 4.1.1.1

          I’m getting a good response to some of my opinions on the trail in Dunedin North.

          I’m offering something distinctly different, and not reciting the same old lines like some other candidates.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      National’s approach over the past three years has been little different to Labours had been previously.

      Only you have been an ardent supporter of National Standards and DoC staff firings.

    • Ari 4.3

      If this is a radical hail mary policy lineup, I’d hate to see what a mainstream boring Labour policy launch is like, because while this has touched a couple third rails, it hasn’t exactly proposed solutions to even a majority of what we need to fix about our society.

  5. Jenny 5


    Mana: Press statement 8 Nov. 2011

    “I might sound like a bit of a cynic but a promise to fund something in 2018 is really no commitment at all because so much can happen in the intervening period.”

    Sue Bradford

    • The Voice of Reason 5.1

      Quite right, Jenny. To quote the esteemed English philosopher Karl Pilkington, you won’t get anything done by planning.

    • Isn’t the ‘phase in’ to be completed by 2018 (rather than everything happening on that date and nothing before)?

      More generally, Labour’s policies on children/mothers/parents look like they will make a difference. People working in child-related agencies are supportive.

      The problem with National’s policies is that they increase stress in the family on the assumption that such stress motivates better parenting and greater efforts to find work. This shows an extraordinarily impoverished and simplistic understanding of human motivation.

      Because of that, National’s approach is likely to be counter-productive and produce more of the ‘dysfunction’ it is supposedly aimed at reducing.

      Sadly, I think that just this kind of poor and simplistic understanding of motivation is quite common in New Zealand.

      • bbfloyd 5.2.1

        100% agree with that statement…sad as that may be…

      • seeker 5.2.2

        @puddleglum

        Your comment was so well put, especially

        “The problem with National’s policies is that they increase stress in the family on the assumption that such stress motivates better parenting and greater efforts to find work. This shows an extraordinarily impoverished and simplistic understanding of human motivation. ”

        with “iimpoverished and simplistic understanding” being the unfortunate operative phrase of most of national’s undertakings-to our children’s detriment. Not a wisp of wisdom in sight.

  6. M 6

    Brilliant Anthony

    This stood out for me:

    ‘But nothing shrivels a Tory heart like the idea of sharing their wealth.

    That’s the nub of the problem which makes me think they haven’t been socialised properly.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      They are brought up to believe that the world is divided into good people and bad people (who you can identify because they look different). The idea that there are bad people all around breeds fear, which turns to hate and then becomes right wing policy.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Time for the undeserving wealthy to pay back into the resourcing of the society which enabled them to collect their wealth in the first place.

    • Dan hansen 7.1

      Do you see the irony / hypcritical nature of you implying that all wealthy are undeserving vis a vis a common complaint on this site that the right think that all poor are deservingly so?

      Or are your blinkers that opaque?

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        Feel free to demonstrate a link between deserving-ness  and material wealth or lack thereof.

        • Dan hansen 7.1.1.1

          Its not me that contended that there is a link – its a combination of hard work and good luck.

          Thats my point..the left thinking all rich are undeserving is just as silly as the contention that the right think all poor are deservingly so

          • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1

            If it’s a function that includes luck (and I would suggest that luck is not always sufficient to determine wealth, but it is always necessary) and luck is not determined by deserving-ness, then (to quote the great man Clint Eastwood) “deserving’s got nothing to do with it”.
             
            Nobody deserves poverty.
            Nobody deserves wealth.
            Everybody deserves a fair shake in life.
             
            No inconsistency whatsoever.

  8. Herodotus 8

    r0b in this post you conyinually refer to “Poverty” without ever addressing at what level is poverty applicable. Labour (Kings) basis of 50% of median wage is some removed academic novelity for me. If we follow this then the likes of Rod Pedrovic for the last few years has been living below the poverty line, if only those in real poverty could match Petrovic live style but his income was below the poverty line!!. If you want to put a financial measure in, then refer to disposable income, not gross, and have an understanding of cost of living and what we expect individuals and family groups should be able to experience.
    Here we go on about income- What about the jobs we close an eye to that are paid below this level and allow overseas workers to fulfil these jobs & be paid below the poverty line e.g. fishing boats, fruit pickers etc
    And why tinker with WFF and allow beneficaries to be eligible. If the benefit is inadequate then make it adequate- Or am I missing something with my KISS approach??

    • felix 8.1

      Your last paragraph is spot on.

      Apply it to wages as well and we could do away with WfF altogether.

  9. Tom Gould 9

    Not possible to have a serious debate in this country on the big issues of public policy, as Goff has just proven. Despite trying to have one, the media got bored after a day or two and decided headlines and sound bites are much easier, so that was the end of that. Today, the Labour health policy came out, aimed at trying to deal with causes rather than symptoms, and the Radio Live head of news, Kevin Hercock, says ‘a list a bullet points, where’s the detail, where’s the money coming from?’ Ryall says ‘borrow and spend’. Game over, folks. Tabloid MSM rules the day, and Key is their hero and patron.

  10. Excellent piece, Anthony – well sussed.

    I’ve detected a very real global resurgence of opposition to neo-liberal policies. The recent banking crisis and recession illustrates vividly that leaving things to the “invisible hand of the free market” is an invitation to abuse and disaster.

    It’s the ordinary folk who’ve paid for Wall St’s excesses, and this narrative is becoming stronger.

    More and more people now probably have a cleaere understanding that social welfare is all that separates us from being a civilised country looking after it’s vulnerable – to a Third World state where everyone is left to fend for themselvres.

    It strikes me as ironic that our neo-liberals condemn social welfare at every opportunity. But when it comes to which country they want to live in – NZ is #1. And countries with no welfare are not very desirable. No one wants to go live in India or Somalia.

    In effect, neo-libs want the benefits of living in a First World society – but don’t want to pay for it.

    Classic bludging.

    And when it comes to “bludging”, nothing compares with the highly educated and well-heeled who know precisely how to rort the system: http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/greed-is-good/

    • Gosman 10.1

      Weirdly though most developed nations are swinging to the right rather than to the left and pursuing traditional Right wing economic policies rather than left wing ones. I would suggets the left is good at b@tching about how terrible things are but less able to articulate an alternative which is attractive to the voting public. Simply Taxing, Borrowing, and Spending more doesn’t seem to be able to cut it anymore.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        neo-liberalism is failing all but the top 1% to 2%. The other 6.9B people in the world are being royally screwed.

        The fact that many major world governments have been co-opted by the Bankster Occupation is merely speeding up the process.

    • Galeandra 10.2

      In effect, neo-libs want the benefits of living in a First World society – but don’t want to pay for it.

      Very much in evidence stateside where antique infrastructure disintegrates on the altar of anti-taxation, a problem highlighted recently when powerlines came down everywhere in the unseasonally early snowfall.Some people faced 2 to 3 weeks without power.How they must love the neo-con revolution.

      • fmacskasy 10.2.1

        Galeandra,

        I seem to recall something similar about America’s roading and bridges – which came to public attention when a bridge somewhere in the US collapsed without any apparent cause, sending several cars hurtling into a deep river. If I remember the articles at the time, the collapse seemed to be blamed on aging infrastructure and land of adequate maintenance (much like our railways from 1992 to 2008).

  11. stever 11

    Good article, R0b.

    It’s a common phenomenon that, when you don’t want to do something, but also realise that your reasons for not doing it are things you don’t want to admit to, you look for “reasons” for not acting that look more principled, and you adopt those.

    Lots of people in this country don’t want to contribute to the state, because, in the end, they are selfish. But they don’t want to admit that. So, in the case of social security (and much better term than “welfare” I think), they cling onto the tiny, tiny minority of people supported by social security who are not keeping to their part of the contract, i.e. they are avoiding finding work etc., and use that as an excuse to attack the vast majority who are keeping to their side of the social bargain.

    Sadly, a lot of people in government and other powerful sections of our society appear, by their actions and words, to think this way.

    Pointing out at every opportunity just how small a proportion of the total the cheaters are is important, because it leads to the question: “Why do you insist on doing this?”—and the honest answer is: “Because I’m selfish, but ashamed to let you know it”.

  12. Tombstone 12

    Here’s a thought – JOBS? Is it possible that if we focused more on JOB CREATION rather than welfare reforms that people would naturally take up those JOBS thus exiting the welfare system without the need to have been bullied into doing so? I know it sounds crazy but to my mind it seems fairly logical to me. A good start would be …. let me think …. TRAINS. We can build those here and that would CREATE JOBS and put money back into the local economy which is a good thing right? So why don’t we say NO to the Chinese and build them here? How can National expect people to believe that they can create the thousands of JOBS needed to get people off welfare and back into WORK when they keep on sending those much needed JOBS off shore? That seems a little bit arse about face to me and if not then I can only but summize that Key is merely plucking feel good figures out of thin air in the hope that the sheeple of NZ will buy into them and vote National. Either way it’s all a little insidious if you ask me. The problem is the JOB MARKET – there are NO JOBS. John Key has indeed plucked a figure out of thin air but what he hasn’t done is explain in detail where those JOBS will be created and who will be creating them. Would Key care to elaborate? Thought not.

    • madagascar 12.1

      You’ve got it in one.

    • Afewknowthetruth 12.2

      Tombstone

      For the kind of ‘level playing field’ needed for trains to be built in NZ rather than in China the Chinese currency would have to be revalued upwards against the Kiwi by around 300%.

      The chance of that happeing within the present economic framework is exactly zero.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        Or the benefits of building them here also put into the accounting which, under this government, also has a zero chance of happening.

      • mik e 12.2.2

        Probably closer to 30% afew but the quality would be better given that all Chinese made so far has been substandard

    • Draco T Bastard 12.3

      Is it possible that if we focused more on JOB CREATION rather than welfare reforms that people would naturally take up those JOBS thus exiting the welfare system without the need to have been bullied into doing so?

      Well, if we want a rational economy what we’d be focussing on is two questions:

      What is the economy?
      What is the economy for?

      The economy is the environment around us and the resources contained within it. What the economy is for is to ensure that the Earth can continue to sustain life including us.

      Instead we focus on money and becoming richer (having more money) which can only be achieved by using up those resources at unsustainable rates (consumerism).

      The real point about increasing productivity is that there is less work, on a proportional basis, available. This isn’t a negative but it is being used as one – to take resources away from many people and give it to the rich/ownership class.

  13. JS 13

    There is a nasty vindictive steak in New Zealanders which is manifesting very strongly at the moment and is causing people to vote against their own best interests just because they don’t want their neighbour (or their neighbour’s child) to have a hand up.

    We can counter this and keep our own integrity by speaking up and helping out where we can on a one to one or local community basis. Little actions will become big movements for change (look at the Occupy movement). In this respect the election is a just a little blip as we are in a time of rapid change and it’s how we work together that will get us through it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      “Nasty vindictive steak (sic) in New Zealanders…” well to be fair the phenomenon is observable in many countries – a symptom of the systematic dismantling of the middle class – you don’t see the shit you’re being fed, so long as there’s someone more downtrodden to look down on.

  14. Oh, please. This isn’t a Labour Party policy, it’s an appeal to Labour’s voter base to get out and vote. The only reason they’re offering it is they know they won’t be in government and have to implement it. The cynicism of it is really quite insulting.

    • felix 14.1

      If they’re so resigned to not being in govt, then why are they so cynically trying to get their voter base out?

      Make sense, you don’t. Conflicted, your theory is.

      • madagascar 14.1.1

        So they can warm as many seats as possible in the opposition benches.

        At the moment they are bleeding votes to the Greens (hooray) and also loosing the battle for the swing voters to National – there may be quite a few sitting and list MPs from labour feeling quite uncomfortable about their job prospects come the end of the month – hence Psycho’s comment above.

      • Psycho Milt 14.1.2

        If they’re so resigned to not being in govt, then why are they so cynically trying to get their voter base out?

        Any organisation will attempt to minimise the extent of a loss. They’re cynical, not defeatist or just plain stupid.

        • felix 14.1.2.1

          So they’re resigned to not being in govt but they’re not defeatist?

          Clearer, you could be.

          • Psycho Milt 14.1.2.1.1

            I guess I could point out the difference between “resigned to not being the next govt” and “not bothering to try and minimise the extent of your loss and keep as many of your MPs as possible in Parliament,” but there’d probably be no point.

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.2.1.1.1

              A few weeks ago, almost everyone had written the French team off as underperforming and disorganised, and that the All Blacks would win by an easy 15-20 points.

              Haha.

            • felix 14.1.2.1.1.2

              Yeah PM, I doubt you’d be able to make a point either.

            • fmacskasy 14.1.2.1.1.3

              And yet, Milt, if Labour is consigned to defeat – why should you be worried? Or motivated to comment?

              It’d be like me posting shite-loads of commentary about NZ First. Care factor: zero.

              Perhaps those who support National/ACT are picking up on a real anti-Nat undercurrent? The question is, how strong is that undercurrent.

              Case in point. There is a family living in our street; very low incomes; they’ve never voted before.

              But this time, they will all be out voting. Every single one of them.

              They are the ones who are ‘invisible’ to pollsters – no landline.

              I wonder… is this the “underclass” that Dear Leader referred to? Because it appears that they are concerned enough about their (lack of) prospects to go out and vote.

              • And yet, Milt, if Labour is consigned to defeat – why should you be worried? Or motivated to comment?

                Because I have no enthusiasm for National govts and would prefer a Labour one, albeit only in the sense that one would prefer a broken arm to a broken pelvis. Labour won’t become the govt this time round, but might next time – which means, given that the people formulating policy now are quite likely to be still doing it three years from now, the honesty and integrity of those people does actually matter.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I’m fighting hard in my nearby electorates for a good turn out. I suggest you do the same. Or not. Up to you.

                • Galeandra

                  You might like to think about the impact of the 80’s & 90’s on people like me who were Labour and got burned off in the great reforms. What point is there in promoting policy which is so out of step with the discourse in the media and Joe Public’s mind if Labour’s purpose is electoral gain?

                  I’ve been Green for the last four elections,am by instinct anti-right, and I find myself now working for the local Labour candidate who is a former student of mine, and really competent and compelling candidate for leftwing views.During this I’ve met a significant number of people on their doorsteps who seem quite defeated by things as they are, and are in consequence politically ‘uninterested.’ Their last decades of political experience have simply shown them that political self-promotion and careerism trump their needs most of the time.

                  At what point can we say that cynicism has ended and that there is a genuiness in Labour’s spirit of concern and opposition to systemic selfishness & class-ism? A real commitment to policy and planning which will make a difference? Probably now, when a prescription which won’t win an election is put out there for the public to consider. The prescription will work its way through the body politic and over time reduce the effects of the narcissistic neo-liberal malady that afflicts it.

                  In the meantime, consider the paucity of people who work for the party, who are willing to flagwave, phone list or doorstep for the party. That infrastructure of committed workers takes time to repair. Surely the policy and political leadership being shown on the hustings is as much about infusing a new generation of workers for the cause, as it is about winning votes on the day?

                  • At what point can we say that cynicism has ended…?

                    I’m not sure, but on thing I am sure of is that a policy that amounts to “Vote for us, we’ll give you money” definitely does not mark the end of that cynicism.

                    • clandestino

                      It’s simple ya psycho. Wages aren’t meeting the cost of living. You want a civil society? Is it that hard to get that without significant redistribution life will become a hell of a lot more unpleasant for everyone.

  15. Roy 15

    “There is a nasty vindictive steak in New Zealanders which is manifesting very strongly at the moment and is causing people to vote against their own best interests just because they don’t want their neighbour (or their neighbour’s child) to have a hand up.”

    I think it’s a nasty racist streak actually, and it is causing people to vote against their own best interests because they assume most or all beneficiaries are Maori or Pasifika people, and they don’t want them to have a hand up.

  16. Tiger Mountain 16

    There are only two types of people in our society, beneficiaries and those that will become beneficiaries (barring perhaps several hundred super wealthy). Welfare including national super and WFF in work tax credits are part of the price of striving for a civilised society. Though personally I would like to see collective wage bargaining extended so the middle classes could try and obtain a better income from employers.

    The rest is wedge politics. But there surely are dark vindictive curtain twitching kiwis around.

    • King Kong 16.1

      I am not sure that someone who worked for 45 years paying taxes towards their retirement would appreciate being called a beneficiary.

      • Roy 16.1.1

        No, superannuitants don’t like being called beneficiaries but the reality is that they ARE beneficiaries, national superannuation IS a benefit, and they need to get over that fact and stop pretending otherwise. Most of them will not have paid enough in tax during their working lives to cover all the superannuation they are going to receive between age 65 and death, either.

      • mik e 16.1.2

        Thats what ACt calls them

  17. DavidW 17

    The one thing that sticks out for me is that with welfare, driving rules (speed limits, alcohol limits), drinking age, in fact many many areas of society that are subject to Rules of one kind or another, the old saying that the few who abuse a privilege will stuff it up for the many who don’t.

    It would seem that the only real difference between the parties is how you look at “the few”. Labour tend to ignore them or add to the bureaucracy surrounding the system (i.e. increase policing) while National tend towards creating incentives to change (and disincentives to not change). In the end it boils down to which approach you would prefer.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Simplistic BS. National’s “incentives” don’t work, being based on a false premise. All they do is fail, and usually make things even worse. How long do you think we can afford the luxury of “preferring” this approach?

  18. JS 18

    That economist Kim Hill interviewed on Saturday (who has seen most of predictions come true), predicts the end of capitalism in the next 3 or 4 years. It is going to be a bumpy ride but something more caring and sharing will come out the other side. So this election is not that important becuase the new government is likely to soon collapse under the crisis, and will have to move to a more cooperative model.

    • fmacskasy 18.1

      Something “more caring and sharing”?

      Or, something more akin to desperation?

      I keep thinking that the rise of fascism in Europe occurred because of the mass unemployment, poverty, and economic instability caused by the Depression…

      God help us if history is repeating. Because this time, atomic weapons proliferate.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.2

      Well of course he does: he writes lots of books that essentially make the same predictions; appearing on the radio to talk about it is his marketing strategy. So much for the man, what about his ideas? Well, it turns out they’re based on Hindu idealism, and rely on a society where everyone does yoga and is vegetarian.

      I mean, I’m all down with that, but I can see how a lot of folks are going to need persuading…

    • Gosman 18.3

      Ah yes the Economist who thinks the solution to the world’s problems is increasing production and productivity via some ill defined mixed ownership model. Sounds pretty much like Marx’s fantasy land vision for the world which proved to be such an unmitigated failure.

    • dave brown 18.4

      JS agree 100%. But the ‘other side’ may take some time, and we need to be prepared.
      The Egyptian spring got stymied by the SCAF. But it hasnt stopped the revolution. The Syrians are getting killed by the score every day. Yet more defectors from the military are now fighting back. The Libyans got drawn into a brutal civil war where the people’s cause got hijacked by the oil companies. It remains to be seen if the armed people can unite to defend a real independence from imperialism. In Greece and Italy the collapse is already on them. NZ cannot be far behind.
      Is OWS prepared for the state force that will be unleashed against it? Perhaps. The pacifism has quickly become justifiable self-defence and a move to re-occupy evicted sites. For every arrest, torture or killing the resistance redoubles again and again. There is a point where a movement takes over and individuals lose their fear. And the reason is that the movement captures all the legitimacy lost by the regimes of the 1%. You only have to listen to Danny Glover’s speech as Oakland to see that.
      But as people have commented here, there is a nasty dark side to NZ society – a lumpen petty bourgeois streak of inhumanity towards others who can be scapegoated as undeserving. Its the mark of a white settler racist society of mainchancers now hit by bad times and looking for someone to blame.
      So things are going to be much nastier before they get better and I am thinking that those of us on the left have to form a self-defence community to protect all of us who will suffer in this fight. In particular I am thinking of youth who are vulnerable to hard times without support networks. So whatever comes of this election, OcuppyEverywhere needs to keep going and provide the groundwork for the new society we want to build.

    • insider 18.5

      From what I heard his predictions were incredibly broad so as to not be useful, or brilliant in hindsight. Kim tried to point that out at one stage, but he didn’t note the irony.

  19. Afewknowthetruth 19

    ‘Are we a caring country?’

    That is a very odd question.

    A country is a designation for an area of land on a map, usually coloured to distinguish it.

    The word ‘nation’ does imply a group of people living in a politically designated region.

    The word ‘society’ suggests people interacting.

    Perhaps we could rephrase the question as:

    ‘Do we live in a caring society?’

    or

    ‘Do New Zealanders care about inequality and the suffering of the less fortunate?’

    or

    ‘Do NZers know what morality is/”

    Bearing in mind that NZers have been carefully trained over a period of many decades to be selfish, greedy and acquisitive, it is not too surpising that is how many of them have become. The natural tendency of communiites to care for those within the communities has been largely ‘beaten out’ by global commerical interersts: hence, many NZers were more concerned about the price of [fake] rugby jerseys than how many children in their community were (are) malnourished.

    It is intersting that the vast majority of ‘Christian’ churches have failed (miserably) to provide a role model based on the teachings of Christ.

    Ultimately, most of what we are witnessing is about social control and exploitation of the masses via brainwashing.

    We will start to see the REAL character of NZers shortly after globalised economic arrangements start to seriously break down, which will be some time between 2015 and 2020.

    It will make very little diference which bunch of ‘clowns and criminals’ gets into office after the coming elections, since none of them have any realistic strategies to deal with the economic, energetic and environmental meltdown which is underway.

    ‘The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the US department of energy has calculated, in a sign of how weak the world’s efforts have been at slowing man-made global warming.

    The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

    “The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing,” John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Programme on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said.’

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2011/11/201111402622633852.html

    Needless to say, the vast majority of candidates who are offering themselves for election don’t REALLY care about such matters (or don’t understand them).

    It will be the children who will suffer the dire consequences of all the stupidity and greed that have characterised western societies for decades …. in a few years from now.

    • Gosman 19.1

      “Bearing in mind that NZers have been carefully trained over a period of many decades to be selfish, greedy and acquisitive, it is not too surpising that is how many of them have become”

      Where exactly did this careful training take place? I can’t remember too many classes at Primary or Secondary school where ‘selfish, greedy and acquisitive’ were topics pushed on students.

      Also curious that over these many decades is the 9 years where the Labour Party under Helen Clark was in charge. I didn’t realise it was part of their policy mix to push ‘selfish, greedy and acquisitive’.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.1

        Truthiness can seem strange at first glance.

      • fmacskasy 19.1.2

        When 763,136 New Zealanders voted for Robert Muldoon’s National Party, in 1975, they effectively voted to end compulsory super-savings. They preferred to put superannuation “on tick”, to be paid for by future generations.Instead, they preferred to “spend up large” on property speculation (using borrowed money from overseas).

        If that isn’t shortsightedness and selfishness – then what is?

        By the way, Gosman, I expect you to pay for my retirement. Make sure you have deeeeeep pockets.

        (And no, I didn’t vote for Muldoon. Never have. Never would.)

        • Gosman 19.1.2.1

          Don’t worry Frank I have deep pockets and short arms ;)

          By the way I see your blog has been infiltrated by the leftist conspiracy theorist called Travellerev. I admire your scientific way of thinking Frank even if I don’t agree with your conclusions necessarily so be wary of her propagating her rubbish least you get tarnished by association. It is your blog so you can do what you want but she really is out there.

      • Puddleglum 19.1.3

        ‘Training’ in this instance is not quite as explicit as you seem to assume, Gosman.

        I presume what was meant is that changes to economic and social structures (including media discourse which follows economic restructuring as a reliable causal consequence) intersect with ‘human nature’ to make it more likely that self-focused behaviours (e.g., individual accumulation of resources and the corresponding emotions, like avarice and greed, to allow that and make it more effective) arise in the population.

        If you think at the population (social) level rather than at the individual level, it’s pretty clear how individuals get ‘trained’ by the contexts and circumstances in which they develop and come to act as adults. 

        Present structures encourage more individualistic approaches to living and, consequently, the assertion that others’ are morally inept or, at least, have no call on any other individual for their assistance.

        A repeated, longitudinal survey of attitudes in New Zealand (I think carried out by some North Island university business school?) shows just such a shift over the past 30 years. I thought that was part of what those on the right were ‘celebrating’? That we had become more selfish and self-concerned and believed that no-one had the right to expect assistance.

      • Afewknowthetruth 19.1.4

        Grosman.

        During the nineteenth century a small, but determined, band of selfish and greedy people managed to push the indigenous people off large tracts of land; once they acquired the land they sold it off to others at great profit or set up very profitable business prediated on extracting wealth from the land. The descendents of those sociopaths form the ‘upper’ echelon of NZ society.

        However, until the 1980s there was not a great disparity within most communities and the bulk of society was reasonably egalitatrian.

        The brainwashing phenomenon commenced in the US, where Edward Bernays, nephew of Freud, realised there were great profits to be made (for himself and others) out of manipating the masses. His first great success was to overturn the social stigma of woemn smoking by declaring cigarrets to be ‘torches of freedom’ [at a time when women were very much repressed]. Bernays and his associates were repsonsible for the painful deaths of hundreds of milions of people and the addiction ‘slavery’ of cigarette smoking. (excellent BBC documentary Century of the Self)

        The Second World War interrupted some of the social conditioning towards comsumerism, but in the 1950s consumerism went into hyper-drive in the via radio and television. The mission was to overturn the frugal make-do, reuse, recyle society that had existed from the dawn of time and create a society of ostentatious consumption by the masses. Think ‘Bewitched’, ‘The Beverley Hillbillies’, ‘Dallas’ ……….and all the advertisements that interrupted such programmes.

        It took a little longer for the global corporations to hook in NZers, but once television was set up primarily as an advertiser medium intterrupted with occasional content in the late 1980s it was open slather. Anyone who watches television is subjected to a near constant brainwashing to persudae them that owning and using stuff is meritorious…. bigger houses, bigger cars, higher performace cars, bigger and better utes, fly here, fly there, eat this, eat that, get rewards for buying stuff you don’t need and fuck the planet a bit faster via ‘Flybuys’. Add to all that the millions of tonnes of advertising literature put into mailboxes every day and plastered all over every city in NZ.

        All of this selfishness, greed and planetary destruction is because ‘you deserve the good life’.
        The fact that you are stealing from the next generation doesn’t enter into the equation, of course. Just keep consuming till you can’t.

        Then get dropped like a stone by ‘the empire’ when you are of no further use to ‘the empire’.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.4.1

          Your vision of the world is so backward,s AFKTT. Everyone knows the shadowy group you refer to is called “The Illuminati” not “The Empire”. Please try and keep up!

        • fmacskasy 19.1.4.2

          “Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.”

          – Andrew Maxwell, Irish Comedian (on the London riots)

          That has to be the summation of our consumerist societu.

          • Puddleglum 19.1.4.2.1

            Yep.

            I get the sense sometimes that the mentality of the ‘right’ operates something like this:

            Make a world full of temptations, injustice and grinding hardship as a test of ‘moral character’. When someone fails this ‘test’, grind them even deeper into the dirt – then repeat the test. 

          • Hami Shearlie 19.1.4.2.2

            Hey Frank, stop quoting the National Party Manifesto!!

          • Gosman 19.1.4.2.3

            “…Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise…”

            Interesting. So this is a bad thing is it according to left wing thinking?

            If so then the only solution seems to be that advertising should be retricted based on whether or not someone in the target group might be able to afford the item advertised. How will this be policed and what is the implications for freedom of speech?

            • Draco T Bastard 19.1.4.2.3.1

              Actually, advertising should just be banned due to it’s psychopathy.

            • clandestino 19.1.4.2.3.2

              How can you seriously believe that it’s a good thing a large proportion of your compatriots suffer constant status anxiety. But nah, you’ll just come up with some specious constitutional argument that requires less than critical thinking.

               

  20. randal 20

    of course we are a caring country.
    we care about, leaf blowers, horizntal planers, vertical grinders, motorbikes, speedboats, v8 races, trips to machu picchui. what do ya think we are. numbskulls or soemthing.

  21. Afewknowthetruth 21

    ‘The empire’ I refer to goes way beyond so-called secret societies. It is all-encompassing and includes banking institutions, corporations, politicians, courts, the police, the military, lawyers, the construction sector, the advertising sector, mainstream media, most of the education sector, most of the agricultural sector, fishing, forestry and local government.

    All of the aforementioned (and many other sectors of society) are constantly engaged in promoting the narrative of the industrial-military-financial complex which is destroying the habitability of the planet we live on. The bulk of the popuace self-censor to keep the narritive they have adopted intact.

    Anyone who challenges the narrative of ‘the empire’ is labelled ‘an extremist’, ‘a nutter’, ‘a conspiracy freak’ etc., and is generally ignored or ridiculed or persecuted; if the ‘offender’ persists or becomes effective he/she is incarcerated or murdered.

    However, after millenia of looting and polluting we have reached the point at which a significant portion of society recognises ‘the emperor has no clothes’ and that ‘the empire’ is dying. That portion must inevitably grow as the narrative of empire (you too can become a tycoon if you try hard enough) fails to an ever graeater extent

    The coming years will undoubtedly see numerous acts of profitteering and acts desperation on behalf of the elites, to ensure that they are the last to suffer as it all goes into decline.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1

      The fantasies you subscribe to have traditionally been associated with the Illuminati, who, if you remember, are omnipotent and invisible. They rule the world in secret, manipulating countries to their own ends. Sound familiar? Why yes, what a coincidence – it’s the exact same narrative you’re pushing.

      • Afewknowthetruth 21.1.1

        OAB

        Some of the the fantasies you subscribe to are predicated on ignoriung fundamental laws of physics and chemistry.

        I’d rather stick with irrefutavle facts than play ‘conspiracy theories’.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1.1.1

          You have a problem here, because the only areas on which we differ is that I find your fatalistic panic tiresome and your conspiracy theories laughable. So remind me which part of Physics and Chemistry you’re blithering about please.

  22. vanakast 22

    “The Left won that argument.”

    That “left” is closer to the contemporary right than the contemporary left. The contemporary left is a desperate joke, driven by jealously and entitlement.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 22.1

      Oh too funny. You think I’m jealous of the fact free zone that the right has become? Do you think I’m jealous of the right’s dismal economic record (dismal as in “nowhere near as good as the Labour Party’s – the party that doesn’t get ratings downgrades)? Or how about your utterly bankrupt education policies? Am I jealous of your fear of your fellow citizens? Or your racism?

      Worry about your own motivations, fool, ‘cos you don’t know shit about mine.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.2

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

      Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.

      Sums up the RWNJs perfectly. Not wanting to admit their own psychopathy they project it onto others notably those who they see as their enemies.

    • ropata 22.3

      Will Cain: “I find the one thing [the protesters] have in common revolves around the human emotions of envy and entitlement,” he said. “What you have is more than what I have, and I’m not happy with my situation.”

      Matt Taibbi: When you take into consideration all the theft and fraud and market manipulation and other evil shit Wall Street bankers have been guilty of in the last ten-fifteen years, you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money.

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/owss-beef-wall-street-isnt-winning-its-cheating-20111025

  23. johnm 23

    No We are not a caring society:
    1. We’ve allowed housing to be used as a wealth creator with easy finance grossly inflating the value of housing stock while wage slaves rent the same houses and pay of the owner’s mortgage which he/she cashes in on huge capital gains. Result housing is unaffordable for many young kiwis wanting to start a family. Those that buy have to pay the overinflated asset bubble price with all the additional interest to the banks! Whew!
    1a. The political class are cashing in to exploiting poorer kiwis that’s why they won’t impose a capital gains tax or if they do its when the asset bubble is long over as now!

    2.We burdened our young kiwis with crazy kiwi student loans, like a mortgage just to get off!
    3.We’ve done nothing about child poverty except Labour at this point.
    4. We have a wealth worship cult : We’re excepted to go WOW! when a billionaire appears like Oprah.
    5. Many of us think its great to elect a currency speculator from an American Shady Outfit now bust as Prime Minister!
    6.We are a divided society in terms of wealth and income and the richer lot love it!

    7.God Help Us! If the polls are right we are going to vote smarmy Key in again!! despite the grounded in reality offer from Labour: 1. Raise the minimum wage 2. Help beneficiaries with children 3. Keep our in common assets for the good of all kiwis

    But no the selfish greedy large minority don’t care they will vote Key in again

    No wonder young people can’t wait to get out!

    The bosses and the rich want it all their own way they were so greedy for money they ignored all safety procedures at Pike River. A Japanese mine expert was so shat scared of an explosion he couldn’t wait to get out! Typical NZ.

    • johnm 23.1

      Typical Wage Slave: ” I am desperate for a job to support my family at a minimum wage set by our beloved leader who dresses better than I could ever hope to do except at marriages and funerals If I am not good enough I will be dismissed after 90 days but if not I can then rent my Landlord’s house (He already has 8 of them) and pay and pay for ever and ever until I have paid his mortgage at which point I may be discarded as he cashes in his untaxed Capital Gain, selling the house, I will have done my lowly part to help make Master Key and his flash suited mates richer. I would have liked to have bought my own house but these clever business operators got in first with easy money and credit from the banks who cash in too! Me and my lowly kind were too slow our own home was taken from us by the greedy ones who worship clever smart tricks to cash in on a bubble bid up by their very own selves!

      From” the road to serfdom” There are now 47,000,000 serfs in the U$$$ surviving on food handouts beaten down they’ll probably work eventually for peanuts with about the same social status as tame monkeys!

  24. fender 24

    Debate with the right is futile. I’m disgusted with where our country is heading. A civil uprising is all the right will take notice of. Prepare for the” Mad Max” future ahead. No gates or walls will be strong enough to keep the 99% at bay. They say you get the leaders you deserve and I say they deserve the results their failed policies create.

  25. RedLogix 25

    The children and grandchildren of that same fell mob who loved Muldoon, are going to vote for a slicker, smarmier version of him this election.

    Although time will come with Key, as with Muldoon in the 80’s and 90’s, you couldn’t never find no barstard who ever said he voted for him.

    • I voted for Rob, got a problem with that? Thought not, at least he was fun and real, unlike the plastic people who run the country now.Key like Aunty Helen are so false thinking of them makes me vomit.

      Elections now days are socialist wankfests.  

      Appalling child abuse stats prove governments don’t care about kiwi kids.
      We have the world cup. 

      Who was charged with the murder of the Kahui twins Mr DumboKeystoneCop?     

      Children don’t matter bro we got control.

      Yeah right. What a sick country!

      Rant over.

  26. randal 26

    we are not a caring country.
    we say we are like little kids who think that if they say something then it is true.
    if children continue this behaviour in the face of reality testing then it becomes a serious mental illness and hey looky here we got one.

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    The slaughter of the children in Pakistan is incomprehensibly awful. On the side, it has thrown a spotlight onto something that’s become a pop cultural meme. Fans of the Homeland TV series will be well aware of the collusion between...
    Gordon Campbell
  • Cuba libre
    President Obama announced this morning: President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island. Apparently those opponents include...
    Polity
  • Find the perfect gift for the gender stereotype in your life
    Trademe has decided to make your holiday shopping easier with a handy-dandy gift finder. Just plug in the vital statistics of the person you’re shopping for, and voila! It’s the perfect tool to reduce the stress of the gifting season....
    On the Left
  • Auckland housing facts
    Statistics New Zealand has published a new study on housing trends in Auckland. It is sobering stuff. Here are the core findings: Since the mid 1980s, home ownership has plummeted in Auckland even faster than across the rest of the...
    Polity
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    frogblog
  • An economic comedy in four acts
    Scene IBill English bounces out of his Beehive bed with a surplus of energy, yet feeling rather lacklustre can only pour himself a glass of milk and drag himself to the balcony looking out over central Wellington. He glances over at...
    Pundit
  • Ten best paid bosses in tertiary education
    And their lowest paid colleagues Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 44 Last week the State Services Commission announced the total remuneration for chief executives and vice-chancellors at public tertiary education institutions. Prof Stuart McCutcheon earned at least $660,000. That is...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten most popular stories of 2014
    This Tertiary Update’s top ten most read stories for the year included, at number ten, the massive job cuts at Manukau Institute of Technology and at number two the petition opposing those job cuts. Two more of our most read...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten branches that recruited the most new TEU members
    Waikato Institute of Technology – of 142 members in September 41 joined in the last 12 months = 28.9 percent Tai Poutini Polytechnic – of 54 members in September 14 joined in the last 12 months = 25.9 percent NorthTec...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten rights the government will take away next year
    …but that TEU plans to protect Next year several new laws will come into force that will remove some of your rights. It is more important than ever that you protect your rights by being active in a strong union...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten Te Kaupapa Whaioranga wishes for the New Year
    For the tertiary education worker who has already got a partridge in a pear tree, and a pair of socks, here are other ten things they’ll be looking for. Sadly you will need to campaign for them rather than be gifted...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten of our favourite TEU photos for the year
    ...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • City Centre Priority Cycle Routes
    An update to the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (page 25) provides some new information about improvements to cycling planned for the CBD and include some artist impressions of just what they might look like – although unfortunately because it comes from a...
    Transport Blog
  • TISA text: US threat to privacy, civil rights, data security
    Press Release – AFTINET Leaked US proposals in the Trade in the secret Services (TISA) negotiations include rules that would threaten privacy and civil rights protections for digital personal data Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and...
    Its our future
  • 2014 will be the hottest year on record
    For those of us fixated on whether 2014 will be the hottest year on record, the results are in. At least, we know enough that we can make the call. According the global data from NOAA, 2014 will be the...
    Skeptical Science
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland.17...
    Its our future
  • Males only?
    Like Vaughan Rowsell I get asked to facilitate or be on panels and speak at events a fair bit. Actually not quite like Vaughan – he’s incredibly popular, and for good reason. Vaughan’s publicly announced that he will not accept...
    Lance Wiggs
  • An OTL milestone
    I have no idea how this happened, but this is the 100th post on On The Left! Things are probably going to slow down a bit around here over the holiday break, but thanks to all our bloggers and readers...
    On the Left
  • It’s nearly Foodmass
    Christmas is coming. The halls are decked with boughs of holly (plastic), and decorated with snow (artificial). Tips for Christmas (stress-free) have been appearing since November. Children are over-excited and desperate shoppers are looking for the perfect presents for people...
    Pundit
  • No justice in the UK
    Four years ago, G4S guards killed Jimmy Mubenga by restraining him inappropriately during a deportation - effectively asphyixiating him. But today, a British jury refused to convict them:Three private security guards who restrained the Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga have been...
    No Right Turn
  • John Key wants arbitrary detention
    That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from his comments today about the need to lower the threshold for detention:Prime Minister John Key said the Sydney siege gunman highlighted the conundrum for authorities over protecting citizens against potential terrorism...
    No Right Turn
  • Futility: Educating an IED
    Through this year, I have sadly been lured into spending energy trying to teach Martyn Bradbury about modern political science, and what it means for modern politics. He appeared misinformed about what polls are and how they work, so I...
    Polity
  • The OIA Review
    Yesterday, the Ombudsman announced that they had begun their review of OIA compliance. They'll be looking closely at 12 central government agencies, and surveying 63 more, as well as all 27 Ministerial offices. They'll also be soliciting submissions from the...
    No Right Turn
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    frogblog
  • Equality, Efficiency and Economic Theory (Social Journal Europe)
    Dani RodrikIn the pantheon of economic theories, the tradeoff between equality and efficiency used to occupy an exalted position. The American economist Arthur Okun, whose classic work on the topic is called Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, believed that public...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon
  • New Fisk
    Peshawar school attack: Massacre of the innocents born of ambivalence towards Taliban...
    No Right Turn
  • How we pay for a universal basic income – Whiteboard Wednesday.
    Lots of people like the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI), but can we afford it as a nation? In this Whiteboard Wednesday Geoff looks at the three parts of the Big Kahuna package – Unconditional Basic Income, Flat...
    Gareth’s World
  • This will go down well
    Back in September, Mexican police arrested a group of 43 student teachers who had been travelling to Iguala for a protest against the local government. They handed them over to a local drug gang, who murdered them. Since the massacre,...
    No Right Turn
  • AT Metro Launched
    Last week we mentioned about how Auckland Transport was launching a new PT brand. That occurred yesterday and as well as new look buses, they have also launched a new brand for their public transport operations – AT Metro. Auckland Transport has...
    Transport Blog
  • Whales, dolphins, and ‘gunshots’
    I've just returned from seven days on board SV Vega as part of a small team monitoring the impacts of seismic testing on marine mammals off the west coast of Northland. No research has been done in this area, so...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • Meat workers need Jobs that Count
    The CTU is supporting todays Meat Workers Union campaign to combat insecure work in a core New Zealand export industry. Photo:  ...
    CTU
  • 2014: A Venture Capital Odyssey
    Fresh off the wire from Hong Kong, from your friends and mine at io9: Hong Kong based venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV) has appointed a machine learning program to its board. Called VITAL, it's an "equal member" that...
    Polity
  • Buzzfeed takes the Herald
    Here's a Herald article this week, titled (I kid you not): 20 somewhat horrible things I do to my kids that I don't feel guilty about [Facepalm] I want the Herald to be good. I really do. I know some...
    Polity
  • Sad
    There's a lot of non-cheery news out there in the lead up to Christmas. There's the Taliban school massacre, the Sydney siege, the US Torture Report, and - at a much lower level, and closer to home - the Treasury's...
    Polity
  • “I said surface, not surplus”
    Here are ten explanations, excuses or distractions Bill English might like to employ over the coming days in response to news that his long promised budget surplus looks to have disappeared....
    Imperator Fish
  • Talking terror
    [Content note: discussion of terrorism and violence] Last month I wrote about the aims of ISIS as NZ’s terror legislation ramped up, how their structure and organisation has become almost impossibly fluid, adapted to social media and the internet in...
    On the Left
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement...
    Greens
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act...
    Greens
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki...
    Labour
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries...
    Greens
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    Greens
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It...
    Labour
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry....
    Labour
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    Greens
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its...
    Labour
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review...
    Labour
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining.   “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today so the...
    The Daily Blog
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban
    The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use ofglueboard traps in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today...
    Scoop politics
  • Review into Phillip Smith’s escape submitted to Government
    A multi-agency review on the escape of Phillip Smith to South America has submitted its initial report to the Government today....
    Scoop politics
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
    Scoop politics
  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
    Scoop politics
  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
    Scoop politics
  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
    Scoop politics
  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
    Scoop politics
  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
    Scoop politics
  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
    Scoop politics
  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
    Scoop politics
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
    Scoop politics
  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
    Scoop politics
  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
    Scoop politics
  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
    Scoop politics
  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
    Scoop politics
  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
    Scoop politics
  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
    Scoop politics
  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
    Scoop politics
  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
    Scoop politics
  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
    Scoop politics
  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
    Scoop politics
  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
    Scoop politics
  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
    Scoop politics
  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
    Scoop politics
  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
    Scoop politics
  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
    Scoop politics
  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
    Scoop politics
  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
    Scoop politics
  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
    Scoop politics
  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
    Scoop politics
  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
    Scoop politics
  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
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