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Conservatism and Progressivism

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, January 27th, 2009 - 99 comments
Categories: articles, labour, national - Tags: , ,

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Conservatism is all about maintaining the status quo. It assumes that the status quo is essentially ok, while change is best avoided. The idea comes from philosophers like Edmund Burke who figured the reason conventions and structures get to endure in the first place is because they work. Of course if you’re in the middle to upper strata of society and reasonably comfortable, then maintaining the status quo is more desirable than it is for those getting a raw deal. The Conservative position is comparatively easy to translate into political action because it concerns maintaining or removing influences to keep life as it is, or was. There isn’t a lot of philosophical disunity because the simple overarching rules are more individual liberty and less state influence: if in doubt, do less or nothing and ensure the status quo. Of course conservatives do changes things, but they usually cloak their actions in the rhetorical meme of ‘restoring things to how they were’. Overall Conservatism appeals to those who need or prefer simple answers to complex problems.

The weakness of a conservative position (apart from the obvious moral problem of disregard for those at the bottom of the heap), is that it doesn’t deal with change very well. Sometimes change comes from without, such as the effects of the Global Economic Crisis, and sometimes from within, when disaffected groups start do insist on change but either way trying to conserve the past isn’t often a very useful guide for how best to adapt. When the world insists on changing in novel ways Conservatives tend to be at a bit of a loss. The other obvious objection is clearly the past, or the status quo, hasn’t always been worth conserving: slavery, dowries and capital punishment spring to mind but there are countless injustices that have been abolished as societies have progressed towards civility.

Progressivism on the other hand takes the view that regardless of how things are now they can always be better, and that civilised societies have a duty to improve the lot of all their citizens, not least of which the weakest members. Progressivism is much more problematic as a guide for political decision making because it involves modifying existing structures, or making altogether new ones, to achieve a better state of affairs. It also provokes disagreements not only about how to achieve progress, but also more fundamentally, about what constitutes progress in the first place. This familiarity with change, ambiguity and complexity however gives an advantage to progressives when adaptation is the only option.

So Progressivism requires a lot more thought on behalf of its adherents, a lot more effort if you believe its harder to make something new than it is to keep things as they are, and often leaves progressives at odds with each other about what to achieve and how to achieve it. Fortunately on the whole it also seems to attract smarter, more compassionate people.

And then of course there’s Neo-Liberals, who pretend to be conservative while really seeking radical change, but that’s another story…

99 comments on “Conservatism and Progressivism”

  1. I don’t label people.

    Most people I meet are left on some issues and right on others.

    Gay rights, health care and education, some environmental issues, a person may swing to the left.

    That same person may swing to the right of issues such as Crime and economy, and Supporting our traditional allies.

    To make such a statement that conservatives like simple answers while progressives think more is a bit condensing.

    The statement that conservatives have a “moral problem of disregard for those at the bottom of the heap” is plain wrong.

  2. IrishBill 2

    Oh good lord. We invite the Sprout on board which results in an interesting analytical post about two predominant political ideologies and that’s the first comment. Brett, I think you are being willfully dunderheaded in a manner that can only be regarded as trolling. Consider this a warning.

    Sprout, good to have you on board, please ignore Brett.

  3. Scottish Fred 3

    IrishBill, you are a A grade ass… someone disagrees with the post, puts their reasons in a fairly clear manner and you give him a warning… you my friend, along with Eddy, Batman and a couple of the other occasional contributors to The Standard, are what gives this website such a bad rep… this is fast becoming the sewer to the KB sewer

    IrishBill: And you’re banned.

  4. Kevin Welsh 4

    So Brett, Jenny and Ruth were really about “tough love”?

    I feel a lot better now.

  5. IrishBill, I must say I think that was uncalled for, I disagree with Brett’s reply but I hardly think it was trolling.

    IrishBill: perhaps it was a little harsh but I have been watching Brett demolish perfectly good threads with what I am starting to suspect are deliberate attempts to threadjack.

  6. burt 6

    Shooting from the hip again IB ?

    captcha: constructed swamp

  7. vto 7

    At the risk of getting banned as well I have to say that Brett touches on a couple of good points that occurred to me when reading the topic as well. Generally it heads in probably the correct direction but it is littered with wobbly polemic (which could also be labelled bigoted in some ways – like a redneck in reverse). Brett pulls out two of the examples I noticed as well.

  8. BLiP 8

    Congratulations Sprout – well done. You’re braver than most of us who comment. But what actually is the point you are making?

    That to be a conservative requires nothing other than an immoral longing for the past and that to be a progressive requires intelligence and ability is, for goodness sake, a given in any politcal discourse.

    Isn’t it?

  9. Ag 9

    “Conservative” and “Progressive” are political, not scientific labels. There’s considerable empirical evidence that in our society, when people talk about left and right, that they are more than likely talking about authoritarianism. Conservatives are more or less authoritarians, while the progressives are anti-authoritarians. Of course there are some exceptions, but overall it comes out like that.

    It’s not polite to say such things, but that does not stop it being true.

    Google for “Altemeyer” and”Authoritarians” if you want to read a free eBook about it.

  10. vto 10

    Ag you said “Conservatives are more or less authoritarians, while the progressives are anti-authoritarians.”

    I must say that I disagree vehemently in that regard and that it is in fact almost the complete reverse. Witness the recent Labour govt here in NZ. And it is certainly the opposite to your description within the realm of my own experience over the years (tho perhaps it may be the way you describe when people are young / at university. But it certainly does not last).

  11. burt 11

    The Sprout

    The biggest defender of the status quo I have ever seen on a blog has always been rOb. Needless to say now that his party of choice is not the govt I suspect that he won’t be happy with status quo anymore.

    I think partisan people defend the status quo when their party of choice is in power and seek change when it is not. I genuinely (risking a ban from ban happy loose cannon IB) think that partisan people are that simple and being basically conservative or progressive has piss all to do with it when talking about status quo.

  12. TC 12

    Post a discenting viewpoint and get banned – now that’s “progressive”

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Hmmm… so if a progressive person resists those who would want to restrict their ability to be progressive, then the progressive person is conservative about their progressivism?

  14. How would one label themselves then? If your for stronger gay rights and believe in global warming, and you think that tax dollars should be spent on health and education, but you also believe the government should get tough on crime and stay the heck away from the economy, surly you couldn’t call yourself a conservative or progressive?

  15. IrishBill 15

    Brett, I think Sprout is not so much about labeling people as describing political positions. People can hold progressive and conservative views about different issues. For instance I hold progressive views about most things but am particularly illiberal when it comes to moderating the Standard.

  16. @ work 16

    “Brett Dale
    How would one label themselves then? If your for stronger gay rights and believe in global warming, and you think that tax dollars should be spent on health and education, but you also believe the government should get tough on crime and stay the heck away from the economy, surly you couldn’t call yourself a conservative or progressive?”

    Confused.

    Also sad that global warming makes it onto that list.

  17. grumpy 17

    As a few contributors have noted, labels such as Progressive and Conservative can be applied across diverse political groups, so that you can have conservative left wingers just as progressive right wingers.

    As IB has just shown, conservative left wingers can be every bit as repressive as conservative right wingers – so what does all this prove??

    Probably just that pigeon holing political beliefs is stupid!

  18. The arrows on the red square are pointing the wrong way, they should be pointing the same way as the blue.

  19. TC 19

    So it’s do as I say, not as I do – huh IB??

  20. Agreed IB – I’m just talking about political positions, not about tidy discrete labels for people – it’s all a lot messier than that. And as you say “people can hold progressive and conservative views about different issues”.

    Being Conservative doesn’t always make you right (although it tends to because preserving the status quo appeals more to the comfortable than to the disenfranchised), nor does being Progressive make you left (it just tends to because progress tends to imply changing the status quo away from those it already favours). Conservatism and Progressivism are useful terms for acknowledging these anomalies – Progressives tend to be more comfortable with these ambiguities than their counterparts who don’t care for blurry logics.

    The liberality dimension is another kettle of fish. Sometimes liberality can lead to profound conservatism if State intervention is needed for change. Sometimes liberality can lead to progressivism if it’s authoritarianism that’s keeping things from changing.

    btw, there’s nothing regressive about restricting those who try to derail a conversation.

  21. djp 21

    of couse this whole disscussion is a false dicotomy for those who believe that using force on another person violates that persons liberty…

    In short, there is a third way :)

    to all the conservatives and progressives “dont tread on me!”

  22. A firster from the sprout.. not too bad.. really.. even though my own query arising (qv below) would on sight appear to not agree with the assessment..

    The sprout wrote:

    Conservatism is all about maintaining the status quo. It assumes that the status quo is essentially ok, while change is best avoided.

    I would have to say how very 20th century(late) political language this is. Not a word on origin.. root/s.. which most lucidly explains much human behavior among adherents..

    No, not even a reference to Victorian Intuitionism—whose call to conduct and conscience dictated all to the forebears. Maybe the real or supposed lack of such things in modern political behavior explains the omission.. even so their existence cannot be denied.

    And, since the sprout kindly offered comparison with political Progressives allow me add how the above I-word movement found itself contended by Utilitarians— the “better” in sprout’s blog expressed as ‘good’ ie doing good not just talking about and intending uphold it.. just to clarify.

    [lprent: In about 400 words? I'd refer you to the About and/or Policy - but you already have your blog. Write something there and I could guest it here?]

  23. Quoth the Raven 23

    So Brett, Jenny and Ruth were really about “tough love’?

    Kevin, neo-liberals are all about tough love as Chomsky says love for the rich, tough for everyone else.

  24. TghtyRighty 24

    haven’t read other comments too busy. assuming that your definition of progressives is correct sprout, then Jim Andertons party can be found guilty of missrepresentation? he sure as hell didn’t improve the lot of the weaker members of society.

  25. Ari 25

    I must say that I disagree vehemently in that regard and that it is in fact almost the complete reverse. Witness the recent Labour govt here in NZ. And it is certainly the opposite to your description within the realm of my own experience over the years (tho perhaps it may be the way you describe when people are young / at university. But it certainly does not last).

    Both wings of Parliament in New Zealand have authoritarian tendencies. The left tends to regulate for social equality and to soften economic landings, while the right tends to regulate towards their own social ideals and in favour of business interests.

    ACT is the only party that comes close to getting liberal in the sense of not wanting many laws, but it still votes for a lot of pro-business and social conservative laws in order to broaden its base. (and because libertarianism seems to be lousy with conservatives who want an anarchistic corporate free-for-all)

  26. Redbaiter 26

    “Conservatism is all about maintaining the status quo.”

    No it isn’t. Its about preserving what is good in respect of man’s right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    The “status quo”?? When was that actually??? Can’t you see how illogical that claim is??? Good grief!!!

  27. tsmithfield 27

    There are some fairly major exceptions to the political dichotomy that is being argued for here.

    For example, communist China, an example of an extreme left-wing nation, is also very conservative. The conservatism has started to thaw after exposure to capitalistic (more right-wing) societies.

  28. burt 28

    Partisan people are particularly fond of the simplistic left vs right divide. It’s easy to motivate people for or against an issue if there is a simple divide. Educating people about issues and appealing to some form of moral right and wrong is too difficult for dim-bulbs. Look at Trotter for example, every time he puts his fingers to a key board he raves about left and right like it were some absolute.

    The tags left and right are just so obsolete but that won’t stop people trying to keep the simple divide alive by using other simple terms like conservative and progressive and trying to equate them with simple left and right.

  29. Felix 29

    burt,
    I don’t think the post was actually equating “conservative and progressive” with “left and right”. I can only find that parallel drawn down here, in the comments.

  30. the bean 30

    hehe, no better way to enliven the sprout than to compare him to chris trotter…

  31. burt 31

    Felix

    I guess it’s a coincidence that the sprout used red and blue symbols and discussed conservative and progressive in terms of left vs right over simplified ideology. A simple divide which just happens to fall pretty much into the same ideology of the dim-bulb left vs right divide used by so many partisan people in their over simplified positions.

    I guess I, like a few others, took the wrong inference from what the sprout had to say then – apologies to the sprout and to you for getting it so wrong.

  32. r0b 32

    The biggest defender of the status quo I have ever seen on a blog has always been rOb.

    No Burt, while I often defended the last Labour led government’s record from foolish and illinformed attacks (such as yours), I was not and am not a fan of the status quo. You’ll find I was also frequently critical of Labour for being too timid, and not left enough. I wouldn’t go as far as Anita in her recent post at Kiwipolitico, but there was a lot of truth in what she wrote.

    On the topic of this post there’s some interesting stuff on the psychology of liberal vs conservative personalities. I’m travelling at the moment and don’t have links to hand (or the time to find them in this little internet cafe), but some of it has been covered in earlier posts on The Standard.

  33. Felix 33

    burt,

    You’re couching it in those terms, not the original post and not I.

    The amount of ways to divide people into two broad groups is infinite. Left vs right is one (the one you chose to discuss). Progressive vs conservative is another (the one The Sprout chose to). Rich vs poor, smooth vs crunchy, smart vs thick, marmite vs vegemite, literate vs illiterate, people who like sitting on bath taps vs people who don’t etc.

    No coupling is necessarily either mutually exclusive or inclusive with regard to any other possible coupling.

    That you want to reduce everything to a yes/no answer which fits every possible situation really only speaks to your own simplicity and inability to comprehend the nuances of overlapping layers of ideas.

    So no apology necessary.

  34. lonelyavenger 34

    This is an interesting topic, but unfortunately Sprout’s analysis barely goes any further than “my beliefs = good, complex, intelligent… other beliefs are antiquated, simple, stupid”.

    For a far better, more balanced, evidence-based look at the moral foundations of liberals and conservatives that won’t dismiss either view with a wave of the hand and a few silly generalisations, I’d recommend this TED talk:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

    [lprent: There are limits with what you can do with about 400 words with a topic this large - try it some time. We rely on comments to add linked material. Don't criticize the format...]

  35. burt 35

    Felix

    You are a gem, the sprout is looking at this from a binary perspective, several other commentators including myself have said that is too simple and yet you think I’m trying to break it down into simple yes/no answers and that I can’t comprehend the nuances. Unbelievable.

  36. Ag 36

    I must say that I disagree vehemently in that regard and that it is in fact almost the complete reverse.

    It’s not. This is science, not opinion. Your opinion does not matter at all, as it has been proven over and over again. You can read the research for yourself. There’s over 30 years’ worth to go through.

    And it is certainly the opposite to your description within the realm of my own experience over the years (tho perhaps it may be the way you describe when people are young / at university. But it certainly does not last).

    That is one of the few places in our society you might find left wing authoritarians (radical Maoists and so on), but there are so few of them that they make no real difference. Right wing (supportive of the established authorities) authoritarians, however, are ten a penny. It was the same in the Soviet Union, where the right wing authoritarians supported the communist party to the hilt.

    Trying to define progressives and conservatives in ideological terms is pointless. One reason is that conservatism isn’t an ideology. The idea that you preserve things simply because they exist is ludicrous on the face of it, as is the caricature of progressivism as wanting change for its own sake.

    As I said above, if you want a scientific basis that cuts through all the BS and provides a better explanation of what is going on than ideological explanations. The authoritarianism test was given to a bunch of US legislators and you could have picked their scores with 95% accuracy. The Republicans were almost always more authoritarian than the democrats, and the only democrats that were to the left of Republicans were the Dixiecrats. The more “liberal” the state, the less authoritarian its legislators and vice versa. It’s far too much of a coincidence.

    People are wasting their time by cleaving to ideological explanations that just generate more and more hot air.

  37. rave 37

    Bit superficial Sprout.

    Conservatism under capitalism means keep the market and the family intact. eg patriarchy. The one supports the other. They are conserving the ownership and control of private property and male dominance therein.

    Progressivism means reforming the market and the family in keeping with the development of capitalism. Eg gender equality. Has a more specific usage in the US where it was a 19th century political movement to the left of today’s Democrats. Usually equated with Labourism or Social Democracy in Britain and Europe including Australasia. Doesn’t challenge private property but argues that the market needs the state to moderate its excesses like bursting bubbles. Usually held by bureaucrats who get jobs reforming things.

    Neo-liberals are just born again conservatives who had to go back to basics to throw out the progressives who interfered in the market during the post war boom. They are conservatives in a hurry because they fear the loss of everything they hold dear, namely their profits. While they might use so-called radical means their ends are conservative. eg Gordon Brown who belongs to subspecies of neo-liberals called Blairites or 3rd wayers who want to con us into believing that the state looks after us all provided we are good boys and girls and eat our sprouts.

    The real radicals go to the root cause the poor get rooted. They blame societies ills on the rich exploiting the poor by underpaying and overtaxing them. For them public ownership and production of public goods rather than private commodities is the answer. Usually workers or middle class bleeding hearts and ultimately reformers. The creeping nationalisations of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are like a dream come true. Viva Che!

    Marxists are nobody that anybody wants to hear about on this list as they are popularly associated with old books and prison camps rather than the workers. However, Wall St has occasionally tipped its hat at our Karl for being right about the inherent failures of capitalism and the inevitability of crises and massive destruction of capital. Funny that. A Marxist reading of the ecosphere is also pretty well bang on.

    Funnily enough Marxists are the only real conservatives because they are committed to revolutionising capitalism before it blows up or melts down and takes out planet Earth not mention our wages and pensions.

  38. vto 38

    It seems clear to me that over the many millenia of human existence both conservativism and progressivism have been essential to human survival and advancement. Conservativism has been at times essential, and similarly progressivism. One without the other would never work.

    Imo both have equal standing as components for human existence. For one to claim some form of superiority over the other is quite simplky foolish.

    Which is probably why most people (well, the wise ones like me anyway) have a mix of both and get annoyed at the silly labels and pigeon-holing that goes on. It may also point to why a large number of people swing vote. Etc.

  39. Felix 39

    No burt, The Sprout is looking at something from a binary perspective and you are talking about something else from a binary perspective and you don’t understand that they’re not necessarily the same thing.

    My point is that there are an infinite number of possible non-exclusive binary sets and yes, you are failing to grasp the nuances of this and demonstrating as much with every keystroke.

  40. Lew 40

    vto: Right. It hinges on the meaning of `progress’, which is a positive sort of change toward a goal. Try to bear with me, there are some tortured metaphors and linguistic entanglements in this post.

    In principle, progressivism selects only for `improvements’ thereby making society better (according to a given assessment of what the goal is), whereas conservatism selects for the status quo (thereby keeping society the same).

    Thus there are two aspects to conservatism: 1. skepticism about the means by which progressives aim to achieve the societal goal and 2. disagreement over the nature of that societal goal.

    So in the first place, conservatism acts as a sort of handbrake on the most enthusiastic forms of progress, ensuring that only those forms of progress which can prove their worth in practice over the relatively long term are adopted; and when it grudgingly accepts some aspect of progress, conceding that it has finally demonstrated its worth, it attempts to alter the direction, as it were, of that aspect to send it toward its own ideal society, rather than the ideal society posited by progressivism.

    So I’m what one might consider to be a conservative progressive; that is to say, I agree with the direction most progressives advocate, but not with the speed with which they want to operate. I’m a great believer in civil society’s ability to work things out, and I have a terrible fear of the law of unintended consequences. I often find progressives to be impatient, intolerant of stasis, and fearful of temporary regression – like economists chasing permanent economic growth, they seem to think that a year without double-digit profit growth is a failure. I’m very socially patient – I prefer progress built up gradually over a long time to that which falls swiftly to earth, but which evaporates in the next shower of conceptual rain.

    I place great value on the conservatism which advocates for skepticism; which aims to slow the advance of untried and potentially socially dangerous progress – the sea-anchor as Anita at kiwipolitico recently termed it. I don’t care so much for those who want to change the direction.

    L

  41. Daveski 41

    The weakness of a conservative position (apart from the obvious moral problem of disregard for those at the bottom of the heap), is that it doesn’t deal with change very well.

    There’s been plenty of evidence here that plenty of people here haven’t dealt very well with the change in November :)

    I struggle with the view that someone is better or worse than me because of what they think. People simply have different opinions. Some of the most bitter battles have been between groups who had slight differences in views.

    As many others have pointed out, labels aren’t all that helpful.

  42. Lew 42

    Daveski: Some of the most bitter battles have been between groups who had slight differences in views.

    I’d say almost all: Islam/Christianity/Judaism; the Stalinists v the Trotskyites; the Balkan adage “no war is a war until a brother kills a brother”; Obama v McCain; Clark v Key; Libertarianz v ACT; Chomsky v Lakoff …

    Add your own!

    L

  43. burt 43

    Felix

    No burt, The Sprout is looking at something from a binary perspective and you are talking about something else from a binary perspective and you don’t understand that they’re not necessarily the same thing.

    Oh god you are trying hard… the sprout filed this under the tags Labour & National – do you think he/she is saying that one is only conservative and the other is only progressive. Is that why he/she used blue and red tags while describing how one wants status quo and the other wants progress. Forward and reverse etc.

    Perhaps I was clumsy saying that he/she is trying to equate left vs right with conservative vs progressive when I was saying that dividing things along binary lines is a dim-bulb thing to do when it comes to peoples views on politics. What I was saying, and are still saying, is that the sprout has tried to classify things as being god/bad based on conservative/progressive just like other dim-bulb partisan hacks classify things as good/bad based on left/right or National/Labour.

    The sprout did the National/Labour = conservative/progressive thing, I pointed out how it was too simple just like left vs right.

    Take a deep breath Felix, you can understand what I’m saying if you think about it.

  44. burt 44

    Lew

    Don’t forget the Commando-Elite and the Gorgonites.

  45. Daveski 45

    Mensheviks v Bolsheviks

    What I like is that the Menshies (literally small/smaller) were actually much larger than the Bolsheviks (large/larger).

    With my boring music trivia and now Russian for Dummies, IB is likely to ban me for being a boring prick and he’d be well within his rights to do so!

  46. Felix 46

    You still haven’t got it, burt.

    It’s perfectly sensible to divide people along binary lines. You just need to understand that there are many different binary divisions which may be acting on each other. People are complex, societal groupings exponentially more so.

    I don’t see a good/bad value judgment in The Sprout’s post which is why I don’t see any meaning in your complaint.

  47. Quoth the Raven 47

    Conservatism versus Progressivism aside here’s an interesting piece on the larger political spectrum:Karl Hess: the Left-Right spectrum

    Once upon a time, I saw the political spectrum as a circle. At the top-center sat a gray zone of liberal-conservative welfarism. Moving further left or right, you entered areas of increasing statism (communism or fascism) until both “wings’ ultimately met in a broad region of libertarianism (voluntary, decentralized neighborhoods, both socialist and market). This circle helped me make sense of the world presented by modern politics and media — where both left and right extremes were bad, a mushy middle was the Establishment norm, and where I could call myself a radical right-wing libertarian and still link arms with many on the radical Left. Then Rothbard changed my notions of Left and Right. Konkin tinkered with my head. And in his 1975 book Dear America, Karl Hess pulled it all together. What follows is an excerpt from Hess’ book, unforgivably long out of print.

    “My own notion of politics is that it follows a straight line rather than a circle. The straight line stretches from the far right where (historically) we find monarchy, absolute dictatorships, and other forms of absolutely authoritarian rule. On the far right, law and order means the law of the ruler and the order that serves the interest of that ruler, usually the orderliness of drone workers, submissive students, elders either totally cowed into loyalty or totally indoctrinated and trained into that loyalty. Both Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler operated right-wing regimes, politically, despite the trappings of socialism with which both adorned their regimes. Huey Long, when governor-boss of Louisiana, was moving toward a truly right-wing regime, also adorned with many trappings of socialism (particularly public works and welfare) but held together not by social benefits but by a strong police force and a steady flow of money to subsidize and befriend businessmen.

    “The far left, as far as you can get away from the right, would logically represent the opposite tendency and, in fact, has done just that throughout history. The left has been the side of politics and economics that opposes the concentration of power and wealth and, instead, advocates and works toward the distribution of power into the maximum number of hands.

  48. burt 48

    Felix

    I think you stand in one half of a binary set when you say you don’t see any good/bad judgment in what the sprout wrote.

    When I read a post with the basic layout.

    Conservatism is all about maintaining the status quo…..

    The weakness of a conservative position…

    Progressivism on the other hand takes the view that regardless of how things are now they can always be better…

    So Progressivism requires a lot more thought on behalf of its adherents…

    And then in closing on Progressivism

    ….Fortunately on the whole it also seems to attract smarter, more compassionate people.

    That kinda gives me a hint of good/bad judgment.

  49. Felix 49

    Conservatism is all about maintaining the status quo ..
    An obvious and uncontroversial statement, provided that you know what the word “conservative” means. I don’t know why you’ve quoted it to be honest.

    The weakness of a conservative position
    Is discussed in the post, yes. That’s half a sentence.

    Progressivism on the other hand takes the view that regardless of how things are now they can always be better
    As opposed to a conservative position which takes the view that keeping things as they are is better. That’s what the words mean.

    So Progressivism requires a lot more thought on behalf of its adherents
    I tend to think this follows from the definitions given of “conservative” and “progressive”, but it’s definitely arguable.

    .Fortunately on the whole it also seems to attract smarter, more compassionate people.
    I agree with you here, I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

    Apart from the last quote, I don’t really see what you find controversial about any of it.

  50. ak 50

    Top post sprout – you’ve essentially nailed the nature of broad political evolution (carrying on from the last post I saw prior to hols, an invigorating 1st-world whistlestop tour) – a gradual but accelerating progress in the Christian/Marxist direction. True to form, conservatives will always attempt to “handbrake” such analysis by harping back to an individualist focus (witness comments above), but you only have to look at modern “right-wing” parties (including and especially our own ClarKey-Lite version) to see that the huge changes wrought by progressive parties over decades are now permanent.
    (On the other hand, such change can also occur in microcosym: witness our own burt’s now-comprehensible comments and the occasional embryonic original thought – leaps and bounds on from the obtuse rhetorical grasping and retrospective validation of his partisanship of the early Standard – onya burt :)

    Lew’s right too: Mao isn’t the only one that showed us it’s gotta be gradual and able to be aborted swiftly if necessary. Cue the progress towards the sea-anchor of community empowerment via education and a strong, independent media.

    On the other hand, as Karl noted, technology is the driver: and it continues to accelerate with vigor (e.g. – only three short years from Orewa One to the current tory/MP hongifest). Getting back to Darwin, the GFC can be seen as a mutant gene with promise for further political progression. Rudd’s floated a $30/wk increase in benefits, Brownie’s nationalising banks, and China and Obamarama are talking big internal “socialist” investment. You can bet your butt that little Johnny Mitu will tag along too. Sorry, Roger, but this time there are heaps of alternatives – (prediction: “closing the gaps” finally cemented into our DNA in the very near future)

  51. Tim Ellis 51

    This has been an interesting thread. Well done, Sprout, on provoking such a useful debate.

    I thought Daveski made an interesting observation:

    I struggle with the view that someone is better or worse than me because of what they think. People simply have different opinions. Some of the most bitter battles have been between groups who had slight differences in views.

    That’s what gets me a lot, too. I get frustrated by the tribalism of the two main political parties. In the past ten elections, I’ve voted for Labour five times, and National five times. The policy differences between the parties are often not very large, but from a lot of the rhetoric we get from the most partisan people, you would think that the world was going to end if their opponents maintained power.

    I get particularly annoyed with the attempt to demonise political opponents. I’m nominally reasonably conservative. I don’t believe that socialism works. I do believe that capitalism, with less state intervention, achieves better outcomes. There’s not really anything that somebody on the Left can say to make me change my mind. Likewise I don’t think there’s much I can say to move a socialist away from their beliefs. I don’t for a moment think they’re stupid, or attribute blind self-interest to their motives (although occasionally that’s true, as self-interest is a motive for both sides). I do believe that most people hold their political positions because they believe that their positions will achieve better outcomes than the alternative.

    A really constructive debate would acknowledge the other side’s desire for better outcomes and not try to demonise opponents while respectfully debating the mechanisms to achieve them.

    I do wonder whether too much of New Zealand politics centres on demonising opponents and their objectives, just to pander to core constituencies. I think by doing this a big bulk of voters caught in the centre, who aren’t partisan and care more about the outcomes than the means of achieving them, get turned off by the debate.

  52. Edosan 52

    Personally, I found the post an intersting one, though slightly biased if one were to perform some kind of content analysis on it (like burt above.. sort of).

    Sprout: above, you stated: “The liberality dimension is another kettle of fish. Sometimes liberality can lead to profound conservatism if State intervention is needed for change. Sometimes liberality can lead to progressivism if it’s authoritarianism that’s keeping things from changing.”

    It would seem to me that conservatism and progressivism are the more fluid concepts. To me, liberalism is a far more well defined philosophical position that involves the things you earlier ascribed to conservatism (e.g. individual liberty and less state influence). Those things only become the goal of conservatives if the society in question is a liberal minded one. And like someone mentioned above, China is a very conservative society, though that involves conserving a very pervasive state and limits on individual liberty. So in my mind conservatism and progressivism are more impulses than they are philosophical positions. I guess this is all very subjective though, and these words are used to describe very different things very regularly.

  53. wo .. Finally

    Fuken Finally an article with a few brains, gee I thought NZ was a complete bunch of idiots, but this is almost OK. Useless media here, I have wanted a good description of the Conservative / Labour approach to things. No doubt John Key little Homo do nothing, conserves his turds to make tea pots.

    I am a Act supporter by the way. And Labours still over controlling and too self righteous to be given power.

    But at least you have a nice article. PS. only half decent politician I think is Rodney Hyde. PSS: See ya. Anthony.

    PSS: yes John Keys a cok and I have a few you nat friends. Helen if constrained but a better budget – parliament constraints , Civil liberty , would be awesome.

    PSSS: Anyone mention Helens teeth agin on the Left I want to smack them.

  54. Tim Ellis 54

    Anthony, have you been drinking?


  55. [sprout: comment deleted, undue abusiveness to commenter. first warning]

  56. Felix 56

    Be precise, accurate, verbose. indicate your issue.

    Tim was very clear, Anthony. Are you Winston Peters?

  57. Winston was OK in someways I miss him. at least he had a opinion.

  58. Ag 58

    Neo-liberals are just born again conservatives who had to go back to basics to throw out the progressives who interfered in the market during the post war boom. They are conservatives in a hurry because they fear the loss of everything they hold dear, namely their profits.

    That’s not quite true. Neoliberalism aims to promote Berlin’s negative liberty and nothing else, for the simple reason that neoliberals think that the promotion of any positive conception of liberty inevitably leads to totalitarianism. This is more or less the Hayekian view. Profits are secondary to freedom, which is why some of them say that they’d take a much poorer but freer (in their sense) society than a richer but less free (in their sense) society. Sure, there are a lot of social dominators and businessmen who profess neoliberalism because they think it will benefit them financially, but financial profit is not really at the heart of the theory.

    Sure it’s nutty, but that’s what they believe. There’s an excellent Adam Curtis doco on Google Video about this, called “The Trap”. It’s probably the best short explanation of neoliberalism as an ideology I have seen.

  59. Ari 59

    For example, communist China, an example of an extreme left-wing nation, is also very conservative. The conservatism has started to thaw after exposure to capitalistic (more right-wing) societies.

    That’s funny, I’ve been viewing China as an increasingly right-wing nation- social orthodoxy coupled with communitarian values and an increasingly liberal economy driven by a sense of duty. I certainly wouldn’t call them communist anymore, they’re just social authoritarians in drag.

    But anyway, it’s highly irrelevant whether China is left-wing or right-wing. There’s a bigger difference which means they have less in common with any New Zealand political party than our parties have in common with each other: We believe in, to varying degrees, a pluralistic multi-cultural state with meaningful elections and debate. China believe in one-party monolithic state that can dictate whatever it likes. Let’s all be thankful for a minute that nobody who believes in that sort of BS is taken seriously in our country, because the idea of supreme centralised power, especially without debate or dissent, is the really conservative throwback.

  60. Ari 60

    Oh, and back on the main topic, I should point out that while the left-wing tends to be progressive, and the right-wing tends to be conservative, there are definitely notable politicians that cross those lines. Think of Katherine Rich, who was widely expected before her resignation to be in cabinet this time around, or Phil Goff’s views on prisons. There’s also issues-based divergence too: The Green Party’s view on local food could be described as conservative, ACT is often behind on civil liberties and to a minor degree supports queer rights, etc…

    Framing an issue as one of conservatism against progressivism is useful because it talks about an idealogical focus, not because the parties all fit neatly into those categories. It’s a question of whether you view society as capable of progressing or just degenerating.

  61. vto 61

    Lew, way back up there somewhere.. ta, I kind of hoped that someone would jump in and explain in more detail rather than try myself and mangle it up. As I said, both have been responsible and essential for basic human survival and growth since, well, probably Lucy and earlier.

    Interesting times right now with the global meltdown – are people becoming conservative or progressive? Somebody further up suggested progressive with some of Rudd’s actions, Obama’s election and the like. But equally, people I think are retrenching in reaction to the turmoil, which is entirely natural and to be expected. Things like planting vege gardens and putting money under the mattress.

  62. burt 62

    Felix

    Apart from the last quote, I don’t really see what you find controversial about any of it.

    It’s not controversial, it’s just simple and pathetic general nonense. Still it’s not about the content of thread for you is it?

  63. Daveski 63

    The thing that gnaws away at me about this post and some of the comments is the emergence of a form of left wing fundamentalism.

    Fortunately on the whole it also seems to attract smarter, more compassionate people.

    What worries me is that some here believe in the moral superiority of their views.

    As with other forms of fundamentalism, if you truly believe you are superior, that provides a moral and ethical justification to do whatever you think is right based on that superiority.

    Strangely, that’s not a very progressive attitude!

    Any view of the world that proclaims its own superiority over others based only on its own views should be eschewed by us all.

  64. Lew 64

    Anthony: So all that’s required is to have an opinion? Because, let me tell you, I have plenty of opinions about boneheaded confused homophobic pseudo-libertarians such as you seem to be. I’m sure a few others here do too.

    L

  65. tsmithfield 66

    That was my point. As I said in the portion you quoted from me, their conservatism has been thawing due to rubbing shoulders with western society which tends to be much further to the right.

    I think it is highly relevant. Communism shows the ultimate progression of socialism toward “the state will do it all for you”. Under this sort of system, those under the control of it have very little opportunity to be progressive, regardless of how progressive those in charge think they are. Surely, a truly progressive system is one that extends beyond political ideology and fosters the ability to be progressive amongst all its members. It seems that as socialism increases in intensity, the ability of those within the system to be think progressively decreases.

  66. tsmithfield 67

    Why is my previous comment awaiting moderation? While I take an opposing view, I don’t think I have been out of line.

    I notice this post has gone through fine, without the “awaiting moderation” sign.

    Also, a good portion of my post seems to have disappeared and I can’t edit.

    [sprout: sorry about that, not sure why but it's not intentional. appears to be displaying ok now]

    [lprent: There are a number of words that will cause comments to get auto-moderated. Typically deliberate misspellings of peoples names or words or phrases that consistently get over-used in out of context statements. It auto-moderates them so we can look to see if it should be handled as a comment by a troll.

    Have a look at your comment and you'll figure out the word pretty fast. Massively used out of context in 80% of all statements. Usually a pretty good troll indicator. You just happen to be the exception. But think of it as the cost of having minimal trolling here.]

  67. It’s true that my characterization of C and P is pretty superficial, so I’m grateful to those who’ve contributed some meat to the rather bare bones. Rather than being a high-brow philosophical thesis it’s meant to be a starting point for a consideration of the two positions. 

    I chose this dichotomy specifically because the terms themselves can be quite blurry, indistinct and at times paradoxical – which makes them unhelpful for the fruitless excercise of pigeion-holing, but useful as a starting point for discussion.

  68. Rob 69

    What I noticed in sprouts postings that there was only negatives on the C side of the ledger none at all on the P side

    .Is the world really like that? If the P side is so perfect why doesn’t the whole world change now? Or is sprouts objectiveness clouded perhaps by ideology

  69. Ben R 70

    “The weakness of a conservative position (apart from the obvious moral problem of disregard for those at the bottom of the heap), is that it doesn’t deal with change very well.”

    Interesting observation by economist David Friedman (Milton’s son) on the different approachs to evolution by Christian conservatives & those who I guess you’d say were progressive:

    “”And the religious right has been the chief force against teaching evolution.”

    (Quoted from Barbara Forrest, a Southeastern Lousiana University philosophy professor and prominent critic of creationist science.)

    It’s a widespread view, but true in only a narrow sense. People who say they are against teaching the theory of evolution are very likely to be Christian fundamentalists. But people who are against taking seriously the implications of evolution, strongly enough to want to attack those who disagree, including those who teach those implications, are quite likely to be on the left.”

    http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2008/08/who-is-against-evolution.html

  70. Redbaiter 71

    The political spectrum extends from big government to small government. That is the only distinction that really counts. Big government always brings the threat of totalitarianism. Its why I will always advocate for small government.

    Its that simple. Small government or big government.? Where do you stand? Ask yourself that question, answer yourself honestly (hard I know for the left) and you’ll know what you want politically.

  71. Felix 72

    burt I feel for you.

    Yes, you’ve interpreted the post in the most simplistic possible way because you’re a simple person.

    Which is like a colourblind man looking at a rainbow and saying ” Of course I see it – it’s black, white and grey and it’s boring.”

    You’ve superimposed your preconception that everything must be a party line onto your understanding of everything in the thread.

    And no burt, I haven’t been trying to wind you up. That’s paranoia. Get off the pipe.

  72. @ work 73

    Redbaiter:
    Its that simple. Small government or big government.? Where do you stand?

    Medium government.

  73. Redbaiter 74

    “Medium government.”

    Fine except that “medium” governments have a habit of becoming big governments. Just look at any western democracy today, and compare with twenty, fourty or sixty years ago, for an example.

  74. @ work 75

    Redbaiter
    January 28, 2009 at 11:39 am
    “Medium government.’

    Fine except that “medium’ governments have a habit of becoming big governments. Just look at any western democracy today, and compare with twenty, fourty or sixty years ago, for an example.

    Thats what people are voting for though?

  75. RedLogix 76

    Small government or big government.?

    Tired old false dichotomy. What people really want (as Mr Obama put it) is government that works. Size is simply a question of ‘how big a tool is needed to do the job’?

    Small govt is just fine in a small society with small needs. It’s a bit like computer OS’s, they start out small and compact, but demand always drives them to become larger and more complex. (As one product manager once told me, “I never get customers phoning me and demanding that I stop adding features”.)

    Now it’s perfectly true that Windows has become a bit of a bloated beast, so much so that the lastest incarnation Vista, has been pretty much rejected by the market and Microsoft have been compelled to rethink what they are doing with Windows 7… but there is no demand to throw it out and replace it all with DOS. (And for the purposes of the analogy I’m deliberately ignoring other OS’s like Linux.) What will happen is that with time, the redundant and inefficient bits will get pruned out, while at the same time new ideas and more powerful features will be added in. Some of these will be bits of ideological idiocy like DRM, and others will hardly ever get used or turn out to have unintended consequences (such as security holes)… but with time it will get patched up, and future service packs and releases all keep the monster creaking forwards in a direction that more or less keeps most of us happy.

    Is Windows perfect? No. Is it the best we can do? Of course not, but what will NOT happen is that it will ever get smaller and less powerful. As long as the underlying computer hardware continues to get bigger, faster, better linked and cheaper… the demand for more powerful and larger OS’s will remain.

    Now if you want to advocate the political equivalent of running everything on DOS with your small primitive govt concept… go hard young man…. but please don’t be so dissapointed if the rest of us think your retro-hobby quaint and rather cute… but hardly useful.

  76. Redbaiter 77

    “The rest of us”

    You people are so nauseatingly unable to think outside the frame of collectivism. Your imagined majority, even if real, would be no guarantee of your correctness.

    The point is, you do not test your theories with an opt out choice. Why not include within any taxation collection system, the opportunity for those who do not want to participate in collectivist social schemes, a simple yes or no tick box?

    You wouldn’t do it because you know as well as I damn well know, that nobody would tick yes. Your whole system is an exercise in compulsion and the kind of perversion of democracy that the founders of the US Republic were attempting to avoid when they authored the Constitution.

  77. Matthew Pilott 78

    How much more complex would any collective system be if it had to overcome economic fundamentals of free-riders and non-exclusionary goods? You are so nauseatingly simplistic in your anaylsis yet you wonder why you aren’t taken seriously.

  78. Redbaiter 79

    No problem. All wishing to partake of the socialist delusion would be given plastic ID cards for whatever facet they wanted to be part of. No card, no theiving socialism. It works for driving licences.

  79. Matthew Pilott 80

    Sure. Not carrying a card will automatically cut you off from street lighting, power, roads, footpaths, the courts, police protection, the tangible and intangibles of our diplomatic, trade and defence systems, health, education, welfare, sports, public advocacy, arts and anything else that taxes pay for. Just like magic eh, it really is that easy.

    It works for driving licences does it? So no one has ever used a motor vehicle in New Zealand, without the requisite licence? No one has ever driven a car without registering their vehicle or paying RUC? Or did you just miss the problem, and my point?

  80. Redbaiter 81

    No it wouldn’t. You see. You are the real dimbulb. I’d say that most people would tick the boxes associated with protection from criminals and international security. Not that such fundamental government services should even be included. The rest of your dimbulb blather is not worth responding to. Do away with driving licences should we?? Idiot.

    If ever I needed convincing that left wing politics attracts the stupid all I need to do is read a Matthew Pillock post.

  81. Pascal's bookie 82

    How many people ticked the Libertrianz box?

  82. Lew 83

    RB: Capital idea! Stand for parliament on this sort of ticket, I’m sure your idea will immediately garner the level of support it so richly deserves.

    L

  83. Lew 84

    PB, stop stealing my ideas. Again.

    L

  84. Tim Ellis 85

    Redbaiter, you really would do more to advance your ideas if you didn’t go around abusing people. From the looks of this thread, it doesn’t look like you’re baiting any reds successfully at all. They seem to be baiting you. And succeeding.

  85. Lew 86

    Tim: Well, it’s not like he makes it difficult.

    Perhaps instead of adding a certain prefix instead of `Red’, he should just swap the final `r’ for a `d’?

    On second thoughts, doing both could work.

    L

  86. @ work 87

    Pascal’s bookie

    How many people ticked the Libertrianz box?

    1176 people this time, and last time redbaiter stood he got 57 votes.

    Mind you with the ammount of tax fraud amongst ACT and Liberterianz supporters, it’s unlikely they woudl notice any difference if they were to opt out of paying tax.

    Redbaiter, what do you think would be a good way of getting every one to vote better next time?

    I assume the primary methods to choose between would be either compulsary re-education camps for those who dont vote correctly, or just wholesale disqalification from voting for those who voted wrongly in the past. Maybe a combination of those methods would be the best option do you have any other suggestions?

  87. Pascal's bookie 88

    1176 people this time, and last time redbaiter stood he got 57 votes.

    Oh dear. I guess there must be an awful lot of false consciousness about.

    Lew: Sorry. Fools have similar notions I suppose, or however that saying goes.

  88. Lew 89

    PB: Great minds think alike, dumb ones reckon the same. Clearly, we’s the VLWC.

    Mighty quiet around here now, innit?

    L

  89. Matthew Pilott 90

    So, Redbaiter, your form of ‘small government’ is all the socialism YOU want, excluding the socialism anyone else wants. Well spoken, tovarishch, I’ve never seen someone blend collectivism with individualism so effortlessly and cynically.

    Not that you have the intellectual honesty to follow an argument logically when it doesn’t suit you, but my point is that in not ticking boxes to certain ‘socialist experiments’ you are excluded from paying the taxes that fund them, but in reality could not be excluded from taking advantage of those services provided – the point being that unlicenced drivers still do drive, and people use roads in cars that are not registered.

    It’s a fairly simple analogy that still you still managed to miss, and prove so with the spectacularly irrelevant comment:”Do away with driving licences should we?? Idiot.

  90. Ari 91

    What I noticed in sprouts postings that there was only negatives on the C side of the ledger none at all on the P side

    .Is the world really like that? If the P side is so perfect why doesn’t the whole world change now? Or is sprouts objectiveness clouded perhaps by ideology

    Haha, fair enough ;) The plus to conservatism is that sometimes when we change things we get it wrong and make things worse. This is the issue with being open to change. However, usually progressives have a somewhat scientific attitude about these experiments, and just know that they want to improve on the current situation. It’s people who are driven by other ideologies that don’t let go of a particular solution.

    The left wing isn’t wholly progressive or wholly leftist, so there will be parts of it that support things that can be improved upon even when there’s the power to change them. Such is politics.

    In reality an extreme version of either ideology is transparently wrong- what we have are leanings towards wanting to improve society by trying new things, and wanting to improve society by returning to old solutions.

  91. Ag 92

    You wouldn’t do it because you know as well as I damn well know, that nobody would tick yes. Your whole system is an exercise in compulsion and the kind of perversion of democracy that the founders of the US Republic were attempting to avoid when they authored the Constitution.

    For over 10 years Redbaiter/Sovereign Individual has been in denial about market failure, which is in any good first year economics textbook.

    10 years of wasted rhetoric simply because of ignorance of a fundamental economic concept. Highly amusing.

  92. Redbaiter 93

    “Redbaiter, you really would do more to advance your ideas if you didn’t go around abusing people.”

    Who the fuck do you think you’re lecturing you pompous twat? You can tell me how to treat these braindead leftist fuckwits when you have some provable record of success in the methods of persuasion you claim should be used.

    You haven’t any such record of course, for on your watch, NZ has fallen deeper and deeper and deeper into the leftist chasm while nice little fellahs like you have sat around with your fingers up your arse, fawning over communism disguised as democratic socialism.

    If you think you’ve got a working remedy to the suffocating totalitarian social conditon that exists in New Zealand, then show me the evidence. I say that whatever method you have been using has been an abject failure. Never before has my country been held so fast in the grip of these dangerous bastards, and you should be shamefully silent about that rather than lecturing others on what you percieve as their faults.

    The left have oppressed and stifled political dissent in NZ for too long, and it is people like you Mr. Ellis who have allowed them to do this. The only thing that will ever have any real effect on their thinking is the anger of their victims. Wake up.

  93. Redbaiter 94

    “So, Redbaiter, your form of ‘small government’ is all the socialism YOU want, excluding the socialism anyone else wants”

    Providing a legal framework based on property rights and individual liberty and limiting the size and power of government through a Constitution is not socialism.

    Socialism is alll about perverting a non republic style democracy and then using government to promote socialism at the expense of all of these things. That is the difference between what you and your equally tyrannical and ignorant lackies support, and what Redbaiter supports, and its why what you cheer for is so utterly dangerous and evil. (as history has shown)

  94. Redbaiter 95

    More moderation? What now for chrissakes???

  95. Felix 96

    More moderation? What now for chrissakes???

    I dunno, maybe because you come across as a batshit insane raving drooling semi-literate crack addict with nothing interesting to say.

    [lprent: Yeah we all know that you know how to avoid the auto-moderation. No need to skite - there isn't any need to bait the animals...]

  96. Lew 97

    Actually, it’s probably just the choice of language. The mods normally give an explicit warning before auto-moderating, but there’s sometimes no helping peoples’ immoderate language.

    But damn, ain’t it cute when he gets riled like this?

    L

  97. Redbaiter 98

    “I dunno, maybe because you come across as a batshit insane raving drooling semi-literate crack addict with nothing interesting to say.”

    Naaah, can’t be that, or 99.9% of what you collectivists write wouldn’t get through.

  98. GPT 99

    The first few comments and the banning reactions sum up the differences between conservatives and socialists/progressives (or whatever the current label is): ‘agree with us b/c we’re morally superior – or pay the consequences.’ You warn a bloke for polite, reasoned disagreement? Unbelievable.

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    Pundit | 22-04
  • Here we may see what Men for Stealth and Robbing must endure …
    It seems a bit odd to be devoting a post to a policy proposal coming from a party with just 0.5% support in the opinion polls - a bit like taking seriously United Future's crowing over the victory it has just...
    Pundit | 22-04
  • Keeping up with the Joneses pretty damn hard actually
    28/3/2014: Editorial: can Shane Jones save the Labour Party? 13 hours ago: Nat man co-funded Jones’ Labour bid 6 hours ago: Shane Jones’ loyalties questioned 19s: Shane Jones quitting – National creating role for him ‘Pacific Economic Ambassador’ Seriously, the...
    The little pakeha | 22-04
  • John Key Aspires to Mediocrity
    The Prime Ministers of New Zealand who have had lasting respect are the ones who have stood up on the global stage on points of principle. While we may be a small country and almost insignificant in a population sense,...
    Local Bodies | 22-04
  • Photo of the day: Problem not a lack of roads
    This photo from Lennart Nout on Twitter today of the morning peak shows that the problem with traffic in Auckland isn’t a lack of roads. During the off peak and during times like school holidays there is more than enough capacity available...
    Transport Blog | 22-04
  • Climate dollars and sense – preventing global warming is the cheap option
    The IPCC has now released all three of the reports that comprise its 2014 Fifth Assessment of climate science. The first report tackled the physical changes in the global climate, while the second addressed climate impacts and adaptation, and the...
    Skeptical Science | 22-04
  • What ACT’s Jamie Whyte could learn from Albert Einstein
      stuff.co.nz   In a remarkable coincidence two Essex district court judges are arrested on the same night for riding their bicycles without lights. On the following morning they turn up at court to answer the charges. “Well, this is...
    Brian Edwards | 22-04
  • Australia’s lawless gulag
    When a reugee was murdered at its Manus Island gulag in February, the Australian government tried to blame the victims and pretend that its prisoners were responsible for the violence. Since then, we've learned that the opposite was the case,...
    No Right Turn | 22-04
  • John Key hates transparency
    Over the weekend, the Greens proposed greater Ministerial transparency, with quarterly public declarations of meetings, overseas travel, gifts and hospitality. Its a great idea, which would help restore confidence in our system of government. So naturally, John Key opposes it:Prime...
    No Right Turn | 22-04
  • Access: Who Are Disabled New Zealanders?
    Disabled people are part of every community and grouping in New Zealand. However, most surveys do not ask about us, and we’re poorly understood for various reasons. Let’s start fixing that together.How manyOfficial Census results every five years or so...
    Public Address | 22-04
  • The GCSB has a credibility problem
    Last month, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden gave evidence to the European Parliament, in which he revealed that the NSA were "advising" their "partners" on how to interpret mass-surveillance-enabling "loopholes" into their spy-laws. New Zealand was specifically mentioned as having received...
    No Right Turn | 22-04
  • Green bonds set to help finance green economy
    Twenty-five of the world’s largest banks – including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Morgan Stanley – recently released the governance framework for a green bond market which is seeing billions of dollars...
    frogblog | 22-04
  • Mahurangi Matters on the Puhoi Warkworth Board of Inquiry
    To date there has been limited media coverage on the Puhoi Warkworth Board of Inquiry. Fortunately Karyn Scherer, from the local Warkworth newspaper Mahurangi Matters, is one of the few reporters attending the BoI.  She writes in her opinion piece:...
    Transport Blog | 22-04
  • Porn and Politics in the US of A
    What is with Kansas? My former colleague at UCLA Seth Masket, writing at The Mischeifs of Faction, has published a graph he made which compares per-capita usage of online porn to vote shares in the last Presidential election. Because... why...
    Polity | 22-04
  • New Fisk
    Another ‘sham’ election is over, so what now for Algeria?The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money...
    No Right Turn | 21-04
  • Shane Jones confirms everyone’s suspicions
    So, it turns out that Shane Jones' campaign for the Labour leadership was funded by a Nat. Which is hardly surprising - the loudest voices talking up Jones' ability and "leadership potential" have always been on the right. But actually...
    No Right Turn | 21-04
  • Nerdy praise for The Nation
    A lot of the attention heaped on our current affairs shows is all about the interviews. But the investigative reports on TV3's The Nation are making really good moves to bring more actual evidence to New Zealand's discussion of current...
    Polity | 21-04
  • The Greens Stand Alone
    Earth's Last Champion: The history of the twenty-first century will be shaped by an increasingly bitter struggle between the two great remaining “metanarratives” – Neoliberalism and Ecologism. If the Greens did not exist as a political option we would have...
    Bowalley Road | 21-04
  • The Moral Challenge of Dangerous Climate Change
    The combination of a recently acquired desktop video magnifier and a kindle has for the time being restored some ease to my reading. Hence this review. I was drawn by the title The Moral Challenge of Dangerous Climate Change: Values,...
    Hot Topic | 21-04
  • Fluoridation: putting chemical contamination in context
    Anti-fluoridation activists often claim fluoridating chemicals used for water treatment are contaminated with heavy metals and radionuclides. I have written about this before in Fluoridation – are we dumping toxic metals into our water supplies?, Water treatment chemicals – why pick on fluoride? and Hamilton –...
    Open Parachute | 21-04
  • Hard News: Sorting out our thinking on drugs
    That we have a trade in synthetic cannabinomimetics is not, as most of the country currently seems to believe, a consequence of the Psychoactive Substances Act passing last July. That business existed before July and, indeed, was substantially larger and looser....
    Public Address | 21-04
  • Boyd-Wilson
    Don’t get raped. That’s essentially what the message has been, the last few days. The Boyd-Wilson path is pretty notorious in Wellington and it’s in the news again with two attacks committed there in as many days. The police response...
    The little pakeha | 21-04
  • I am still holding out for a three-way
    David, Winston, and the Greens up a tree. G O V E R N I N G. Some of the commentary over Easter has focused on a supposed strategic conundrum for the Greens. If Peters is in a position to...
    Polity | 21-04
  • How rail was saved in Auckland
    Next Monday will be a historic day for transport in Auckland as for the first time the city will have electric trains carrying fare paying passengers. Electrifying the rail network is something that has been talked about for 90 years,...
    Transport Blog | 21-04
  • What makes a national day? Not the Anzacs
    There will be much talk on Friday of “national identity”. Just one year short of the original baptism of the Anzacs, jingoism will be in fashion. Some will say, and many will think, it is our real national day. The...
    Colin James | 21-04
  • ‘What they see is what they get’
    What they see is what they get … “Part of it is, I think, is, I suspect … I’m a pretty laid back, sort of down-to-earth hopefully approachable guy, and, … and, I think kind of again, what they see...
    The Political Scientist | 21-04
  • Another report won’t help the East Coast
    The Government has a critical role to play in regional development on the East Coast says Gisborne-based Labour MP Moana Mackey “The release of the East Coast Regional Economic Potential Study highlights a number of areas of strength and weakness...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Another interest rate hike will punish mortgage holders
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says another interest rate hike on Thursday will cost home owners an extra $25 a month on a $250,000 mortgage, on top of the $25 dollars a month from the previous rates rise, and she...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Green Party launches Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill
    The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand's first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party.Members of the public will be invited to shape the proposed law, which will protect ten basic rights and...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Sanil Kumar has to leave New Zealand tomorrow
    The Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye’s decision not to intervene means kidney transplant patient Sanil Kumar must leave New Zealand by tomorrow, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Rajen Prasad. “Kumar, a plumber and sheet metal worker, was on a work visa...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Time to do the right thing for our veterans
    A Labour government will adopt the Law Commission’s recommendation to ensure all war veterans are eligible for a Veteran’s Pension, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Veterans are only eligible for the pension if they are considered ‘significantly’ disabled, or more...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Public servant is owed an apology
    Nigel Fyfe is owed an apology from the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “The former MFAT official has now been restored to a position in the Ministry...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Laws for enforcing not trading off
    The idea that a Government department can give a nod and a wink to traders that it won’t enforce shop trading laws and for a Government MP to then claim it as grounds for a review of the law is...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Kiwis still paying too much for ACC
    Kiwis are still paying too much for ACC so that the National Government can balance its books, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “ACC Minister Judith Collins told Cabinet levies were too high but ACC’s proposed cuts would impact the...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Collins’ memory recovery raises further concerns
    Judith Collins sudden memory of briefing the New Zealand Ambassador to China about her dinner with a Chinese border official and her husband's fellow Oravida directors raises further concerns about exactly what was discussed, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This...
    Labour | 21-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis,...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
    Mortgage rate rises are making life harder for homeowners, and many of them will be surprised the latest CPI figures show inflation would be zero were it not for tobacco tax hikes, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “New Zealanders...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Opportunity for new blood in Māori politics
    Labour MP Shane Jones’ news of retirement from Parliament yesterday got some korero happening alright. From his staunch loyal supporters ardently praising his skills to those in fervent opposition and refusing to let his hour of glory go without a...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • We need to protect our rights online
    New Zealanders deserve the right to a thriving, open Internet which supports economic development, innovation and free speech. The Internet over the last twenty five years has changed everything; from how we communicate, how we buy and sell products and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • Turning Shane: How Murray McCully deprived Labour of Mr Jones
    THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF TRAITOR. The first is the person who betrays his country for a higher cause. The second betrays his country for money. The third betrays his country for the wrongs it has done him. By far...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • Why NZ needs a Digital Bill of Rights
    I’m glad the Greens have taken on board some of my suggestions for a NZ Digital Bill of Rights. October last year I blogged… what should a NZ Digital Bill of Rights look like? -freedom of online expression -freedom of...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • The blue collar cred smoko room mythology of Shane Jones as told by the msm
    So apparently, Shane Jones leaving is the end of the Labour Party. Yawn. Vernon Small screams, “Disarray. There is no other word to describe the mess the Labour Party plunged into last night” while John Armstrong predicts “resignation couldn’t have...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Flockton Floods Again
    Last week the Flockton Basin flooded again – the second time in six weeks.  And not just roads and land, but homes and garages.  Some people have been flooded multiple times since the earthquakes.  One couple, after the March flood...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The PI vote and political stunts
    The mainstream media got quite excited a couple of weeks ago when a number of Pasifika church leaders were photographed at the Manurewa markets wearing blue, Key-people t-shirts. The clergy pictured in those articles said that they had changed allegiance...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • EDUCANZ / EDUCAN’T
    Oh hello, select committee … sorry to interrupt your tea and bickies, but I have something on my mind that I really need to talk to you about. You see, word on the street is that you are planning to...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Why Waiariki and Epsom are so important this election
    Two of the lynchpin electorates that need to go the Opposition’s way if there is any chance of a Labour led Government are Waiariki and Epsom. Epsom is the only lifeline for ACT and if the 6000 progressive voters in...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • TV Review: Seven Sharp: third strike lucky
     More prophetic than anyone could imagine – Jesse in a coffin  Jesse Mulligan was the last of the original ill-fated trio to be dumped from Seven Sharp.  This happened last week with little notice given and less notice paid.  His removal was more inevitable than the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The Liberal Agenda 23rd-27th April
    The week is dominated by the launch of the NZ International Comedy Festival – our picks for the week are… WEDNESDAY 23rdSunrise Yoga on Queens Wharf 7am-8.15am Queens Wharf, 89 Quay Street (bottom of Queen Street) Free ********************************************************************* THURSDAY 24th5...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Shane Jones caption contest
    Shane Jones caption contest...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Helping Simon Bridges find the forest he lost
    Helping Simon Bridges find the forest he lost...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • On climate change denial
    On climate change denial...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Labour on manufacturing
    Labour on manufacturing...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • When your National Party mates claim National are a better economic manager...
    When your National Party mates claim National are a better economic manager, show them this graph...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Introverts Unite (separately)
    Introverts Unite (separately)...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The problem with food
    The problem with food...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Why queues outside synthetic cannabis shop is proof regulation is working
    Latest moral panic on synthetic cannabis is that there were queues waiting for a store to open over Easter. Yawn. Before the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA), there were up to 6000 venders and hundreds of different brands. Since regulation via the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Shane Jones resignation: Labour dodge a bullet & the Greens smile
    Best Friends Forever now Thank God Shane Jones is selling out and taking a job for National… Shane Jones to leave Labour, set to work with Murray McCully Shane Jones is quitting Parliament and the Labour Party, and there is...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The only one happy with ACTs new ’3 strikes’ for burglary will be priva...
    The great scholarly Grand Cleric of the libertarian right, Jamie Whyte, has come down from the mount with two stone tablets and sadly all he has is 3 strikes, not 10 commandments… Jail burglars after third offence, says Act Party...
    The Daily Blog | 21-04
  • Trade and Investment Agreements: Human Rights For Sale
    On March 29, many New Zealanders took to the streets in defense of democratic rights by opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). A week earlier, delegates from dairy unions from around the world (including the NZ Dairy Workers Union...
    The Daily Blog | 21-04
  • Rest in peace Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – despite the disgusting polic...
    Rest in peace Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – despite the disgusting police racism and injustice you were undefeated...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Maori Party wine and dine invite
    Maori Party wine and dine invite...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • For Simon Bridges – here’s the forest you forget
    For Simon Bridges – here’s the forest you forget...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Never forget the GCSB lies
    Never forget the GCSB lies...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • The Empire strikes back
    The Empire strikes back...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • God bless capitalism
    God bless capitalism...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Drone killings erode social constraint on using violence
    The drone killing of an (unnamed) New Zealander in Yemen should prompt us to look at the ethics of this practice. We’re told from birth that murder is wrong. Yet drone killings (as conducted by the Obama administration) convey the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Labour’s first 100 days – where the messaging needs to be
    ‘The first 100 days’, an expression coined by President Roosevelt in 1933, is generally used to describe the successes and accomplishments of a government at the time when their power is greatest. During the 2008 election campaign, John Key issued...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Pharrell: a new brand of feminism?
    I think most people heard about how the song Blurred Lines featuring and co-written by Pharrell and performed by Robin Thicke (who has adeptly just been named “Sexist of the Year”) really pissed a lot of people off last year. ...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Why Easter holidays should always be mandatory and retail free
    The moaning from retailers that they can’t open the cash registers and worship the consumer culture of consumption over Easter bores me immensely because I’ve always believed that public holidays should be mandatory. It’s not that I really care about...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Why punish the parents of the disabled?
    Parents who have adult children with disabilities saw a glimmer of hope when the promise for payment for caring for their children was given. But like most things, the complicated and relentless bureaucracy of the whole process shows a completely...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Our government: still no idea
    Happy Easter everyone, bad weather aside. A previous post of mine was called “The Government with no ideas”.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of the piece was of a current government thoroughly absent of any creative ideas or solutions to assist more...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • 12 things Forbes has to say about NZs about to burst economic bubble
    Forbes is not known for their socialist or left wing activism, so when they predict a grim economic failure, we should should collectively poo ourselves a little. National often get given this perception that somehow they are better economic mangers....
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • That Sinking Feeling: Labour’s urgent need for persuasive words and coura...
    THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has Labour on 28.5 percent (down 3.5 percent) and the Greens on 11.5 percent (down 1.5 percent). At 40 percent, the combined vote of the two main centre-left parties has fallen 5 percentage points since...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Why the Labour movement should support a Universal Basic Income
    The Mana movement’s support of the idea of a universal basic income is a welcome development. It could become one of the litmus issues that define the party and prove extremely popular. If Mana are in a position to do...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Legal high and cannabis regulation
    I marched through Henderson last month with my fellow Westies to express our concern about the impact of so called “legal highs” on our community. Some people chanted loudly calling for banning, some expressing anger at the parliamentarians who voted...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • GUEST BLOG: Daniel Bruce – Internet Party: What Seems Ridiculous To The O...
    Imagine you’re a 18-21 year old, from a working class family. You’ve never had a landline phone at home, because your parents can’t afford the fixed monthly bills, so everyone in your familiy has a pre-pay mobile phone. Because of the same tight...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Total figures for campaign against alcohol fuelled violence
    The final total figures for the eighth police led Operation Unite: a Blitz on Drunken Violence was announced today by Jon White, CEO of the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA)....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • ACT’s proposal to further three-strikes policy short-sighted
    JustSpeak is calling out the ACT Party’s extension of the three-strikes policy as knee-jerk punitivism, political populism and based on a culture of fear, rather than evidence....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • InternetNZ pleased Green Party taking issues seriously
    InternetNZ is pleased to see the Green Party join Labour in having a serious discussion about online rights....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Age Concern calls for building accessibility for elderly
    Age Concern has made a submission strongly opposing the clause within the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill that exempts building owners from providing or improving building accessibility. The current Building Act 2004 clearly acknowledges...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Internet Rights & Principles Coalition: Internet Rights Bill
    The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRP Coalition) of the UN Internet Governance Forum applaud the release of the NZ Green Party’s Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill for public consultation. The IRF Bill is a pioneering project for the internet...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Gender quotas should be a last resort
    The Institute of Directors in New Zealand (IoD), says introducing gender quotas is not the best solution to increase the number of women directors on New Zealand boards....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Taika Waititi lends support to #BeefWithBullies campaign
    Even if Chardonnay doesn’t like your Michael Jackson dance moves, that’s no reason for you to be made fun of. Renowned Kiwi director, Taika Waititi has pledged his support to the Mad Butcher’s anti-bullying campaign #BeefWithBullies. With...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Commissioner proposes limit on credit reporting charges
    The Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, is proposing an amendment to the Credit Reporting Privacy Code that would limit what credit reporters can charge individuals wanting immediate access to their credit information....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Does ACC system provide access to justice asks UN
    The United Nations Committee responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ("CRPD") has formally raised access to justice and other issues with the New Zealand Government. The Committee considered a report submitted...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Iwi concerned over future of country’s oldest wharenui
    An East Coast iwi says they are concerned the Crown has not made good on its promise to return their wharenui – the oldest meeting house in the country. “The Government promised to return our wharenui, now they are reneging,”...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • NZDF-Supported Anzac Day Commemorations in France, Belgium
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will be increasing its support for official and locally-run Anzac Day commemorations in France and Belgium this year with a 10 person contingent, including a Māori cultural element, from New Zealand as well...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Third National Māori Housing Conference set to take place
    Success stories in Māori Housing developments from around Aotearoa will be shared at a National Māori Housing Conference, to be held in Whanganui from May 1-3. Conference hosts the Whanganui Iwi Housing Forum and national umbrella organization Te Matapihi...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Partnership targets visitor safety on New Zealand roads
    Partnership targets visitor safety on New Zealand roads Tourism New Zealand, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Air New Zealand have joined forces to target Chinese tourists with important road safety messages before they get behind the wheel. A...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Renewable energy in the Pacific under EU-NZ Partnership
    European Commissioner Piebalgs and New Zealand Foreign Minister McCully depart on 23-27 April on a joint mission to the Pacific to see EU-NZ renewable energy and energy efficiency projects....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Disabled Community Further Marginalised by Proposed Bill
    Disabled Community Further Marginalised by Proposed Building Amendment Bill for Earthquake Prone Buildings to the Building Act....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Home loan affordability worsens by most in 12 years
    Home loan affordability worsens by most in 12 years as interest rates and house prices rise...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • ACT should abandon Three Strikes
    Rethinking Crime and Punishment is urging right wing politicians to do their homework before coming up with one-off “tough on crime – high on vengeance’ sentencing policies for which there is no evidence of success. He was responding to the...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Noho Hewa’: Visit of Native Hawaiian filmmaker
    Native Hawaiian filmmaker, Anne Keala Kelly, will be in Aotearoa New Zealand for two screenings of the award winning documentary 'Noho Hewa: the wrongful occupation of Hawai'i', a powerful portrayal of the multiple links between militarisation and...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Rural Contractors NZ hits the road during May
    Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) will be updating its members on the latest changes in health and safety, transport and employment laws – as well as other topics – in a series of roadshows being held around the country during...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Landlord and tenant alarm at healthy homes bill
    Landlord and tenant alarm at healthy homes bill Landlords and tenants should be alarmed at Labour MP Phil Twyford’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill that would immediately impose stringent requirements upon rental properties without defining those requirements,...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • US/New Zealand relationship best in thirty years
    US/New Zealand relationship best in thirty years. NZ well qualified for UN Security Council seat...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Oxford University study says large dams are uneconomical
    Just in time for this week’s ASEAN Renewable Energy Week, new scientific results have questioned the economic viability of large dams. Calculations by the Bruno Manser Fund show that the Malaysian Bakun Dam scores even worse than the average large...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • ACT Speech: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail
    Last year there were more than 52,000 reported burglaries. According to the Treasury, for every 10 reported burglaries, there are another 12 that go unreported. This means there were more than 120,000 burglaries last year – or over 2000 a...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Derek Leask: Media Advisory Re: Nigel Fyfe MOJ Appointment
    Derek Leask yesterday 20 April 2014 made the following observations in response to a media enquiry about the recently announced appointment of Mr Nigel Fyfe, currently Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Justice (Legal and Operational Services and Legal...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Oceans In The Spotlight At Election Year Oceans Forum
    The marine environment will be in the spotlight at an ‘Election Year Oceans Forum’ at Kelly Tarlton’s SEALIFE Aquarium on April 27 from 10.30-12.30. A panel of non-governmental advocates and scientists will outline challenges facing our seas, and MPs from...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Himalayan Trust responds to Everest avalanche
    The Himalayan Trust has launched an appeal to help the families of the Sherpa climbers impacted by the recent tragedy on Eve rest, Nepal....
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Himalayan Trust responds to Everest avalanche
    The Himalayan Trust has launched an appeal to help the families of the Sherpa climbers impacted by the recent tragedy on Eve rest, Nepal....
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Tariana Turia: Labour doesn’t deserve our vote
    Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote. ‘I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more....
    Scoop politics | 20-04
  • Family Court Consumers Group appalled at legal rort
    Family Court Consumers Group appalled at Lawyer for Child's "1 meeting in 10 years" taxpayer funded legal rort...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Manufacturing Matters to New Zealand – 17 April
    The Labour Party announcement today recognises the simple truth that the manufacturing sector really matters to New Zealand’s economy as a whole, based on the part manufacturing plays in the growth of the added value element in the tradable sector,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum
    Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director, Aaron Hape, has been selected to represent New Zealand at 33Fifty, the Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei
    Greens propose new ministerial disclosure regime based on British rules, requiring quarterly declarations of ministers' meetings, travel and hospitality....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Politicians Should Maintain Workers’ Easter Break
    Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve a break to spend time with their families. “This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews experts on Antacrtica
    Lisa Owen interviews Chuck Kennicutt and Gary Wilson on Antarctica Headlines: Top Antarctic scientists warns New Zealand "not ready" for worst as ice shelves and sea ice in Antarctica retreat and the climate changes Gary Wilson: "Can...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Beyond the State – NZ State Houses from Modest to Modern
    As part of the our 'Active Hand of Government' series for 2014, we present Bill McKay, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, speaking to his new publication....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Global unions applaud NZ ‘slave ships’ progress
    Global unions the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) today applauded the steps forward made in preventing often shocking abuse of crews on fishing vessels in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Families before commerce at Easter
    Families before commerce at Easter The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions. "Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Easter trading laws archaic, in need of overhaul
    Press release: ACT New Zealand Easter trading laws are outdated and in need of a major overhaul, said ACT leader Jamie Whyte today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
    A 67-year-old former company director, convicted of stealing pokie machine profits, was today sentenced to six months community detention, 160 hours of community work and ordered to make reparation of $6,000....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
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