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Steve shuffles off his mortal coil

Written By: - Date published: 4:14 pm, March 10th, 2009 - 56 comments

Protecting workers’ rights, protecting ACC, safeguarding jobs, public services, and SOEs, opposing privatisation. These are all important fights. But it’s a crime we’re having to fight them at all. While we are concerned with such things, the enviro/economic challenges to the sustainability of our society barely get a look in. Peak oil, climate change, depletion […]

The praiseworthy and the pitiful

Written By: - Date published: 1:59 pm, March 6th, 2009 - 16 comments

Adrian Orr and Brian Fallow‘s pieces on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and the economics of long-term investment in a declining market. A+ The same arguments you’ve seen here and neat rebuttals of this ‘we’re borrowing to invest’ nonsense. Orr, the head of the Fund whose reputation is unquestioned, sums it up nicely by stating […]

Softening up

Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, March 5th, 2009 - 26 comments

A few points on the ACC issue and one on Kiwirail. Nick Smith says that, with assets of $10 and liabilities of $21 billion, if ACC were an insurance company it would have gone under years ago. But it’s not an insurance company. Because its costs can be met by the sovereign revenue raising power […]

Fiddling while the world burns

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, March 5th, 2009 - 79 comments

The latest New Scientist brings together the work of thousands of scientists to describe what would happen to the world if the global temperature rises by 4 degrees, which is the mid-range for the projected increases due to climate change. Many of you will simply continue to reject the notion of climate change and its […]

Worrying about the big stuff

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 pm, March 4th, 2009 - 12 comments

In the age of the media politician, where catch-phrases are given more attention than laws and good politics is awarded more points by the commentariat than good government, it’s not fashionable to worry too much about the health of our constitutional arragnements and our institutions. But I do. Here’s some of the things that have […]

Speculation laffs

Written By: - Date published: 2:08 pm, March 4th, 2009 - 2 comments

The Atlases shrug, ‘I dunno’

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, March 4th, 2009 - 14 comments

In the Dom yesterday, Hollow man star Richard Long was full of praise for the Key’s PR team, who managed the Jobs Summit. He was right to praise them, the media lapped it up –  ‘cycleway!’, ‘packed lunches, and no cream for the apple pie, how thrifty!’ (since when did you get get cream, or […]

Welcome to the real ACT party

Written By: - Date published: 12:34 pm, March 3rd, 2009 - 7 comments

This their slogan: “ACT – the liberal party” This is the reality: “We’ve got too hung up on people’s rights.”

National’s real rolling maul

Written By: - Date published: 6:16 am, March 3rd, 2009 - 40 comments

You know what we haven’t heard Key talk about in a long time? Closing the wage gap with Australia. Now he’s in power, is he going to do anything about creating a high wage economy? Doesn’t look like it. The truth is Key’s National/ACT Government is undertaking a rolling maul of anti-worker policies that take away our work […]

DL Christchurch, change of speaker, plus other DL events

Written By: - Date published: 3:33 pm, March 2nd, 2009 - 13 comments

Labour leader Phil Goff will now be speaking at DL Christchurch this Thursday. Therese Arsenau has moved to a later date. When: 7pm, March 5 Where: Goodbye Blue Monday Who: Phil Goff and a who’s who of Christchurch lefties and don’t forget DL Dunedin’s first event is tomorrow, March 3. When: 7pm, March 3 Where: The […]

Let the Nats know that women matter too

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, March 2nd, 2009 - 33 comments

National/ACT’s record for women so far has been dismal . Their work rights have been slashed by the Fire at Will law (women are disportionality employed by small businesses), they were all but excluded from the Job Summit (despite women being the most heavily affected by job losses and reduced hours), they got only a […]

Pragmatically, the tax changes need to go

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, March 2nd, 2009 - 17 comments

The debate around whether we should go through with National’s tax adjustments (they’re only cuts for the rich, they’re increases for middle and low incomes) has re-ignited as the commentariat suddenly cottons on that they are unfair and unaffordable, thanks largely to Fran O’Sullivan. As always, we at The Standard like to try to inject […]

You’ve got to know to understand (and be able to talk about it)

Written By: - Date published: 1:15 pm, March 1st, 2009 - 56 comments

In the greatest economic crisis in a lifetime, we remain the only country in the world whose government has done nothing to try to stimulate the economy. In fact, the net effect of National’s policies is de-stimulatory, taking money out of the economy when it most needs an injection of spending. And I blame the […]

Bottoms up, Bill

Written By: - Date published: 12:03 pm, March 1st, 2009 - 15 comments

It’s said that, once upon a time, Bill Ralston had a social conscience. He still claims to be a leftie at heart. If ever proof were needed that he’s become just another rich, detached elitist it’s this: “Before we all collectively slit our wrists it’s worth pointing out that unless you are a director of […]

Remember the big picture, Fran

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 pm, February 28th, 2009 - 66 comments

Fran, you’re pretty smart, you can do maths, and you understand the economy. You’re ideology is fundamentally flawed but at least you’ve got the analytical tools. So, how can you go and write something like this “It can cut a number of Labour’s own expensive prior election bribes, like making student loans interest-free.” Fran, think […]

Launch of DL – Dunedin

Written By: - Date published: 4:18 pm, February 27th, 2009 - 8 comments

I’ve just got an email on the launch of the Drinking Liberally chapter in Dunedin: Come raise your spirits as you raise a pint as New Zealand’s network of progressive drinking clubs arrives in Dunedin. Drinking Liberally is an informal, non-programmatic gathering of like-minded left-leaners, an opportunity to share you ideas while you share a […]

The praiseworthy and the pitiful

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, February 27th, 2009 - 4 comments

Trevor Mallard for getting himself into one of those complex, multi-blog conversations and pulling it off. A Started when he commented on a Kiwiblog post about the Backbenches show he was to be on that night. Mallard noted that, once again, no Nat was fronting on the show. Torrent of abuse from righties follows. Farrar asks people to […]

No, you leave YOUR ideology at the door

Written By: - Date published: 2:39 pm, February 27th, 2009 - 48 comments

There’s all this rubbish at the moment about people moving beyond ideology. At the Jobs Summit, attendees were harangued to ‘leave your ideology at the door’. Everything I’m hearing out of the Summit says they haven’t. The business leaders want weaker work rights, lower tax, and subsidies. The few workers’ representatives that were invited want […]

Emigration still trendy

Written By: - Date published: 1:15 pm, February 27th, 2009 - 23 comments

Herald: “Almost 1000 a week leaving for Australia. The flood of migrants across the Tasman continues unabated, with latest figures showing New Zealanders leaving at a rate approaching 1000 a week, breaking a 20-year record.” But, guys, come back. We’ve got a National government. No more of ‘that woman’, no more CFLs, no more nanny state and we’ve […]

The cost of doing (next to) nothing

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, February 27th, 2009 - 18 comments

Bill English is holding the country’s purse like an old woman on the subway. Far from doing what every other country is doing, injecting an adrenaline shot of spending into the economy to restore confidence by breaking the negative cycle, English is repeating the mistakes he made when he was Finance Minister during the Asian Crisis […]

Views from the Job Summit

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, February 27th, 2009 - 29 comments

– “Very clear that this is all about showing a consensus behind Key. That’s the mood among my colleagues. Seen some unionists about, their strategy seems to be to engage, rather than be left out” – “I saw a brown face. Turned out it was the cleaner. I hear Michael Jones is here too. So that’s […]

Previewing the jobs summit

Written By: - Date published: 5:50 pm, February 26th, 2009 - 19 comments

Tomorrow, John Key’s much anticipated jobs summit will take place. It’s a big deal, it’s got a logo and everything. Unfortunately, John seems to have left The Standard off the invite list along with all but a few unionists, the unemployed, women’s groups, and any party left of centre. If you’re going to be there, […]

A component of a component

Written By: - Date published: 4:14 pm, February 26th, 2009 - 12 comments

A regular reader of The Standard, Adders, has sent us in this cartoon, inspired by Key’s answers in the patsy interview with the Herald on the weekend, which reminded us of those classic Bush-isms


Written By: - Date published: 2:33 pm, February 26th, 2009 - 33 comments

If the 20 new elective surgery theatres Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced were going to be funded with new money, I would say ‘sounds good, let’s hope we can get the staff’. But Ryall is taking the money out of the existing budget and, so, I have a couple of issues to raise. Ryall continually says ‘the […]

Conferences are wasteful, unless you’re hosting

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, February 26th, 2009 - 15 comments

Lyndon Hood does it again: The National Government has cancelled another conference, with Prime Minister John Key describing it as “a waste of public money at a critical time”. During a line-by-line review of spending by the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Key discovered the so-called “Summit on Employment”, which was to be held […]

What’s Bill planning?

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, February 26th, 2009 - 9 comments

Yesterday, Finance Minister Bill English made a big deal over the loss the New Zealand Superannuation Fund incurred last year. When you don’t need the money for twenty years, the current value of your asset is irrelevant. When there’s a boom on the paper value of what you have will skyrocket, when there’s a bust […]

Don’t kill the Cullen Fund

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, February 24th, 2009 - 42 comments

Michael Littlewood has made a career of advocating superannuation privatisation and is part of an international organisation called Pension Reforms dedicated to the privatisation of superannuation. Yesterday, he was given a platform in the Herald and on the news (one or three, can’t remember), to argue the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (known as the Cullen […]

The ink’s red, there’s less of it, and no-one’s reading it

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 pm, February 23rd, 2009 - 17 comments

New circulation figures show that the number of papers sold by the major dailies continues to slide. In 2007, the big three (Herald, Dom, Press) published 384,037 papers a day on average each. Now, that’s down to 358,047. Last year alone, circulation fell nearly 24,000 or 6%. Of more importance for papers’ revenue than circulation […]

DL Wellington with Grant Robertson

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, February 23rd, 2009 - 3 comments

Under Patrick’s iron fist, things seem much more organised with DL Wellington. For just about the first time ever, there will be a DL a fortnight after the previous one, as they originally planned. This Thursday, Wellington Central’s new MP, Labour’s Grant Robertson will be speaking. So, if you like Wellington or you like drinking […]

Fitzsimons to step down from Greens’ co-leadership

Written By: - Date published: 1:54 pm, February 23rd, 2009 - 20 comments

Jeanette  has announced she will be stepping down at co-leader of the Greens. Technically, she will just not be putting her name up for re-election – the Greens elect/re-confirm their leaders at their annual conference (the only party that elects their leaders with the votes of the membership, not just the MPs). Jeanette has made […]

Being stupid on the economy

Written By: - Date published: 10:02 am, February 23rd, 2009 - 20 comments

Brian Fallow  has some extraordinarily good analysis of the economic situation in his piece today. Here’s some important passages (and my, unfortunately, extensive comments): “We are really talking about two recessions back to back,” AXA Global Investors chief economist Bevan Graham said. “Last year it was a domestic one, that we needed to have. There […]

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