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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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  • $4.8 billion gone
    As readers know, the NZ Super Fund now contributes around $27 billion to our net position as a country, It will help us pay for the wave of baby boom retirements. Sadly, it is now clear that National's decision to...
    Polity | 20-11
  • Secondary teachers vote IES into collective
    21 November 2014 PPTA members have voted to include two teaching roles central to Investing in Educational Success (IES) in their collective agreement.At paid union meetings held throughout the country over the past two weeks 80.3% voted to include the...
    PPTA | 20-11
  • Labour’s Hercules?
    Hero? Saint? Both? Neither? In making Labour an electable proposition by 2017, Andrew Little faces a challenge of Herculean proportions. Then again, Hercules was presented with twelve impossible tasks. Little can succeed by successfully completing a more modest (but equally...
    Bowalley Road | 20-11
  • Roger Sutton and deja vu all over again
    What to say about the Roger Sutton story? Well, Andrea Vance has done some amazing work setting out the basic facts behind the carefully stage-managed whitewashing of Roger Sutton’s pseudo-departure. And stargazer at The Hand Mirror has responded to the...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • MoT acknowledge changing trends and future funding issues
    Last week the Briefings to government ministers (BIM) were published. I’ve already looked at what the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and NZTA have said about transport in Auckland and so in this post I’m going to look at some of the other points...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Why we need to talk about the scientific consensus on climate change
    An interesting sequence of events followed the publication of a scientific paper the Skeptical Science team published in May last year. The paper found a 97% consensus that humans were causing global warming in relevant scientific papers. Finding an overwhelming...
    Skeptical Science | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally
    . . Continued from: 2013 – Ongoing jobless tally So by the numbers, for this year, January OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies OceanaGold: 76 redundancies Tenix: 15 redundancies February Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-11
  • Stuart’s 100 #56: More Dignity for Daily Users
    56 More Dignity for Daily Users What if there was a moment of civic dignity outside the Auckland District Court? The Auckland District Court on the corner of Albert and Kingston Streets is I think at last count the busiest...
    Transport Blog | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    frogblog | 20-11
  • The greatest tragedy of our time
    This is going to ruffle a few feathers. We are parasites. Yes you read that correctly – humanity is a giant collective parasite sucking the life juices from dear Mother Earth. I’m not a nihilist. I still believe there’s plenty...
    On the Left | 20-11
  • Proving anecdotes are reliable
    Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  ...
    Open Parachute | 20-11
  • Proving anecdotes are reliable
    Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  ...
    Open Parachute | 20-11
  • Class warfare in the UK
    Surprise, surprise! An independent study has shown that the UK's conservative government has been driving a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich:A landmark study of the coalition’s tax and welfare policies six months before the general...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • That didn’t take long
    National's new teabreak law isn't even in force and employers are already abusing it:Yesterday a union member, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, emailed Hotel Organiser Shanna Reeder. “This morning in the briefing our manager declared that...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • Justice is more important than international relations
    Yunus Rahmatullah is a Pakistani citizen. In 2004 he was disappeared by British forces in Iraq. The British then gave him to the Americans who rendered him to Afghanistan and kept him there without charge or trial for ten years,...
    No Right Turn | 20-11
  • The Sutton debacle
    Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: it’s not a good thing, except when you’re playing Frank Zappa’s 1988 instrumental album Guitar, in which case ‘Sexual Harassment in the Workplace’ is the opening track, and it’s a stonker. However, setting aside the...
    Occasionally erudite | 20-11
  • The dangers of ignoring context
    Here’s a 22 point plan for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Entrench Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.Never let a chance go by to duplicitously conflate Hamas and some in Fatah with the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL so as to gild the imperiled-Israeli...
    Pundit | 19-11
  • Rapid transit has passed the acid test
    I recently ran across a New Zealand Herald article from 2000 on the region’s plans to start building good rapid transit infrastructure. (Which, as Patrick highlighted in a recent post, is exactly what is holding Auckland back relative to its...
    Transport Blog | 19-11
  • The week in politics vs. Gilmore Girls
    This week in politics: Andrew Little became leader of the Labour Party. Julia Gillard spoke at the University of Auckland about gender and politics. Gerry Brownlee was fined for breaching airport security. Tony Abbott threw down with Vladimir Putin at APEC....
    On the Left | 19-11
  • Whither the class line?
    In 1995 I published a book that explored the interaction between the state, organised labor and capital in the transitions to democracy in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The book was theoretically rooted in neo-or post-Gramscian thought as well as the...
    Kiwipolitico | 19-11
  • This video shows the pain caused by NZ’s current benefit system
    Darryn bravely talks about the stigma that comes with being on the benefit, and how that has affected his life. This stigma is just one of the many problems our current benefit system creates. These problems would be removed if...
    Gareth’s World | 19-11
  • Climate change: The cost of past inaction
    For the past 20 years, New Zealand's climate change policy has been one of inaction and delay. While we've seen no less than four failed attempts at putting a price on carbon (including the current ETS), we've never really tried...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • Policy of fear
    Community groups have a vital role in New Zealand. In addition to speaking out on social problems such as poverty, mental illness and addiction, they also often have a direct role in fixing them via government funding. Unfortunately there's an...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47A
    A carbon tax could bolster wobbly progress in renewable energy A dam revival, despite risks Congress is about to sabotage Obama’s historic climate deal David Cameron urges Tony Abbott to do more on climate change G20 pledges lift Green Climate...
    Skeptical Science | 19-11
  • ‘Consult on promotions policy’: TEU to Auckland VC
    TEU is asking the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland to engage in a process of consultation on the university’s Academic Grades, Standards and Criteria policy and other policies so the two sides can avoid further litigation. Earlier this month the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens | 21-11
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens | 20-11
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour | 20-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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