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Democracy is bad at hard problems

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, December 8th, 2010 - 71 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, electoral systems, superannuation - Tags: , ,

I think most lefties would agree that the market is bad at hard problems. It is focused on short term gain — quarterly profits — with little motivation to consider the long term. It concentrates power and wealth towards a few at the top, with little motivation to consider the good of the many. It can be very inefficient, competing where it should cooperate, and monopolising where it should compete. Most lefties recognise these deficiencies, and turn to government to try and address them by shaping the behaviour of the market.

The trouble is that democracy is bad at hard problems too. As currently practised it is focused on short term gain — re-election — with little motivation to consider the long term. It is too easily dominated by a few at the top, who can use their power, wealth and media access to shape public opinion and purchase political influence. It can be very inefficient, chopping and changing direction every electoral cycle or two, driven by personality and populism instead of facts and pragmatism. I think that most lefties recognise these deficiencies too, but have very little idea where to turn to address them.

A couple of current events have specifically prompted this post. Firstly on the world stage, is the failure of government, on an international scale, to address the oncoming bullet of climate change. Collectively, our governments are so dumb that we seem to be unable to agree to take the action necessary to preserve the environment that gives us life. It’s pretty much the ultimate in stupidity. And secondly here in NZ, the failure of government to address the inexorable landslide of population demographics. We need to take action now so that we will be able to support a much larger proportion of the elderly in our population over the next few decades. But it simply isn’t happening.

On our ageing issue, to be fair, Labour made a good start, with the Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver. Real forward thinking, albeit not yet on a large enough scale. But then we get one of democracy’s flip flops, and a National government who have been utterly hopeless. They cut payments to the Cullen Fund (thus costing us millions) and cut back on Kiwisaver too. And now they are paralysed by Key’s desperate short term populism. The Retirement Commission is pushing for the government to gradually raise the pension age to 67, but Key’s hands are tied by his very public pre-election promise to resign from office rather than change the entitlements or age of eligibility. The Nats are stuck, so the country is stuck, rabbit in the headlights, while the size of the problem continues to grow.

So back to the big question — what is a leftie to do? How should democracy be fixed? How do we improve it so that governments can think long term and make decisions based on evidence rather than ideology? I tried to set down my initial ideas but they turned in to such an embarrassing muddle that I deleted the lot (I’m no political scientist, and no great scholar of political thought). So over to you folks. I put it to you that democracy as currently practised in most countries is broken. How do we fix it?

71 comments on “Democracy is bad at hard problems”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    By becoming more democratic so as to prevent the levers of power being appropriated by the few as happens now. The majority of people around the world understand that we need to do something about climate change and yet the politicians are prevented from acting by the well off and business interests.

    • Jenny 1.1

      .
      I couldn’t agree more Draco.

      • Rosy 1.1.1

        Yes Draco. I don’t think working against democracy is the answer. That’s when you sack councils, isnore select committess and put in abusive levels of power. The question is how to make democracy better – not to bypass it for decisions that suit. The condition of liberty and all that …

  2. A 2

    It can’t be fixed. It is what it is. Just accept that it has its limitations, and that non-democratic action is sometimes necessary, which it appears to be in the case of the climate crisis.

    Making things more democratic is just exacerbating the fundamental problem, which is that the satisfaction of individual preferences is sometimes collectively self defeating. Making things “more democratic” in such a case is simply pouring petrol on the fire.

    Our political culture is almost universally populated by democratic fundamentalists. This is bad for the same reason that most forms of fundamentalism are bad. But, like all forms of fundamentalism, it is very hard for those on the inside to accept its deficiencies.

    And as for the question of “what system is best”, the only response is that the question is misconceived. There are optimal political systems for particular societies at particular times, and in the majority of cases this is a form of democracy, but that doesn’t mean that there must exist an optimal political system for all societies at all times.

    • Jenny 2.1

      Don’t give in A. Democracy is best.

      It only looks faulty because it has just seldom been given a chance to operate freely.

      As I have argued here in a previous post, anything worthwhile, that needs doing by human beings needs doing by many of us.

      (I challenge anyone to name a worthwhile project that doesn’t)

      The trouble is, we human beings all being individuals, all have many different ideas and thoughts on the best way of doing – anything.

      The herd of cats analogy. That is if you accept that human beings like cats have autonomy.

      There is two basic ways of handling this dilemma the first is imposed control and decision making from one individual or group over the rest. This is known as autocracy.

      The other is Democracy which is my favoured form.

      Though both methods have the benefit of getting things done there are three main ways why I favour democracy over autocracy.

      1/ Even when there is disagreement about the way to go forward. (Sometimes even vociferous disagreement), it is put to the vote. The understanding is that by partaking in the vote, the minority agree to go along with the majority decision. Therefore you get buy in from the dissenters to help with the task as well as the assenters, maximising the collective effort.
      The great thing is the submission of the dissenters is voluntary and is not imposed, unlike the Autocratic model where submission is imposed often under threat of some kind, against a minority of dissenters and more often than not against the majority as well.

      2/ Because majority wins things are decided by a vote.

      I have been on both sides of this equation many times. And even when I have been on the losing side of a vote, I have felt satisfied that I had got to have my say and had the chance to put my point the best way I could.

      This is the other great thing about democracy “free speech”.

      3/ Sometimes the majority is right, sometimes the minority is right.

      That is another great beauty of democracy. You get another chance, to discuss it, to vote on it, and in light of the facts, and even change the majority decision if you can, this is part of the joy and challenge of democratic politics.

      • A 2.1.1

        I’ve heard this before: if only democracy were freer, it would solve all our problems. Like I said, in some situations that is pouring gas on the fire. It’s the absolute last thing we should do in the case of the climate crisis.

        Sometimes democracy is the problem. Sometimes freedom is counterproductive. It is a form of fundamentalism to assert the opposite.

        We as a culture just lack the imagination to think otherwise, just as in former centuries people could not imagine objecting to the divine right of kings.

        • Rosy 2.1.1.1

          Smart thinking can overcome some of the democratic issues. Especially for social problems. Take homosexual law reform, MMP etc. The elected can be ahead of the public but work hard to work through the issues. Key is not even interested in trying with the retirement age. Thats the problem, not democracy

          • A 2.1.1.1.1

            I don’t disagree. My basic point is somewhat more… elemental.

            Markets fail because individually rational decisions are sometimes collectively self defeating.

            But democracy is really nothing more than a particular type of iterative market. Each person is given a vote to “spend” and spends it on what in their view is best. Again, individually rational decisions can be collectively self defeating (look at the housing bubble).

            I’m not relying on the claim that voters are ignorant or venal, even though they often are, but on the demonstrated fact that systems of aggregated individual choice often end up frustrating the preferences of their participants.

            You can’t make this “better”, since expression of individual preference is inherent to the democratic system. You can in some cases reduce the effect by having a system of soviets, but that causes other problems.

            Like the OP said, democracy has real trouble with certain sorts of problems. We can deny this as shrilly as we like, but it remains a reality.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Markets fail because individually rational decisions are sometimes collectively self defeating.

              The Irrationality of the Free Market

              But democracy is really nothing more than a particular type of iterative market.

              Yes but like the market it can be made to work if people are all working with the same information. That could be further refined so that people must vote within that information. I.e, we know that climate change is real and is caused by man as all the evidence points that way. We know that there are some things that need doing limit the damage caused by climate change. We then set up the voting so that the only choice is between those things that will limit climate change that can be done within actual physical resources.

              ATM, we don’t have that and so our democracy is just as irrational as the free-market paradigm that we live within. If people have the information and have limited but viable choices then democracy works. As the FFA that it is now it doesn’t and the only people it serves is the people who control the wealth and power – the capitalists who are mostly a bunch of psychopaths.

              • A

                Not sure I buy that. Markets are subject to irrationality even if people have perfect information. People know that climate change will be bad, but they will vote for people who promise to externalize the costs, usually on to future generations. That’s not a matter of ignorance, but of skewed incentives.

                What you are suggested is a managed democracy, which is fine by me, but I don’t think you’ll find takers elsewhere.

        • Jenny 2.1.1.2

          .

          “…if only democracy were freer, it would solve all our problems. Like I said, in some situations that is pouring gas on the fire.”

          A.

          I would like, to call you on that one A.

          And only, because I think this is such an important issue., I may be tempted to hound you till you respond.

          Give us all, just one example of a “situation” that you think, shows that when democracy was made freer, that it was alike to “pouring gas on the fire”.
          .

          • A 2.1.1.2.1

            I’ll give you a couple.

            In countries like ours there has been a movement over the past 40 years to democratise the education system in order to make it more accountable to the community. This was supposed to replace the old, hierarchical system with one that was fairer and more egalitarian. The result has been the opposite, with an unhealthy obsession with school league tables and unequal outcomes.

            John Key (whom I would never vote for) and the National Party, along with other parties, were absolutely right not to bow to public pressure over the smacking bill. Society is simply better off as a whole if individual parents are denied the freedom to beat their children (even if most parents would do so sparingly and in a restrained manner). Yet, in a free vote, a vast majority wished to have the right to beat their children.

            I could go on about the electorally powerful coalition of homeowners and its effect on the housing bubble and so on.

            • Rex Widerstrom 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Yet, in a free vote, a vast majority wished to have the right to beat their children.

              See, that’s why you don’t trust democracy. Do you really believe that all those people who voted were just itchign to grab their children, march them down the garden, and start using them as punching bags?

              The people who make headlines for child abuse generally tend not to be productive members of society, A. They therefore tend not to vote.

              The majority of people voted the way they did because:

              a) They don’t like social engineering on principle, and/or;
              b) They don’t want the police given the power to intervene for no other reason than they’re having trouble controlling their child, and/or;
              c) They might occasionally resort to a light smack, or understand why other parents might do so, and didn’t want to see that become a criminal act.

              In other words, it was the same instinctive common sense that saw people oppose the removal of provocation as defence just because of one extreme case. They knew that criminalising a light smack wasn’t going to protect kids from fence posts, jug cords, fists, boots, burns or being hung on clotheslines.

              Sure we can debate whether there are better means of communicating with a child than a light smack – and indeed that’s precisely what they should have done – but it’s wrong to characterise those who voted for the abolition of the amendment as “wishing to have the right to beat their children”.

              As Draco points out above, if people are clearly and calmly informed – to which I’d add “and if the question is drafted in an unambiguous way” – I trust them to make the right, rational decision.

            • Jenny 2.1.1.2.1.2

              I am not convinced A, Could I be so bold as to ask you give just one more clear example.

              that when democracy was made freer, that it was alike to “pouring gas on the fire”.

              This is because none of the reasons you gave are, in my opinion at least, any examples of this at all.

              For instance, by the so called movement to “democratise schools” that you talk about, I suppose you mean the Tomorrow’s Schools programme. Which was undemocratically imposed on communities and the education system by central government, and of which bulk funding was a part. Tomorrow’s Schools was in fact an undemocratic impost on communities driven by monetarist policy driving central government policy at the time, which actually made it harder for teachers and the communities they served to provide for their pupils adequately, especially at low decile schools. This was hardly an example of democracy at work, in fact the opposite.

              The 2nd example you gave was, actually an example of the abrogation of democracy where the results of a public referendum was over ruled. (Though personally I disagreed with the result, in that it was a referendum on whether the smacking children was a legitimate legal defence, able to be used in court cases involving assaults against children. Some thing I don’t support.)

              Your third example though vague, alludes to an alleged “powerful coalition of homeowners” and the affect of this alleged coalition on the housing bubble.

              What on earth has this got to do with democracy?

              This sounds more like a conspiracy theory. In fact it is widely accepted that the housing bubble was caused by unchecked and undemocratic market forces.

              On the examples you furnished, I can’t fathom your dismissal of democracy for authoritarianism. So if you could supply one more, example I would appreciate it.

              J.

          • Name 2.1.1.2.2

            An example of too much democracy?

            California.

            http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/18/opinion/oe-rodriguez18

            • Rex Widerstrom 2.1.1.2.2.1

              Interesting article, Name. The quote from American psychiatrist Isaac Ray (in 1863, no less!) that:

              “It is not for [the US citizen] to suppose, in any national crisis or emergency, that the government will take care of the country, while he takes care of himself”

              particularly resonated for me. Much as it goes against my instincts to say so, from a practical perspective I guess there is such a state as having “too much democracy”.

              People like myself, who tend to react to any move to increase civic participation with unabashed enthusiasm do so because we don’t trust government – of any hue – to “take care of the country” and the only peaceful means open to effect change is toward direct democracy.

              But in our enthusiastic rush towards a culture where everyone is expected to make the big decisions – even if they have neither the time nor inclination to absorb the facts on which to base them – it’s easy to overlook the fact that direct democracy wouldn’t be nearly so attractive if we could trust government.

              We need to be reminded to continue to perfect and reform what we have, and what’s worked over hundreds of years, as well as to examine what may be added. That was a timely reminder – thanks.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Much as it goes against my instincts to say so, from a practical perspective I guess there is such a state as having “too much democracy”.

                Nope. The bit you quoted is a reminder that the people have a responsibility to the society and not just to themselves.

                • The principled part of me agrees, Draco. But the bit that can barely spare the time to come here and spout barely-informed dribble let alone weigh the pros and cons of a multitude of issues says that, practically speaking, we simply don’t have the time to discharge that responsibility properly.

                  In my case, it’d mean I didn’t vote on issues about which I didn’t feel fully informed. But in the case of many, alas, they’d spend 10 minutes listening to Micael Lhaws spout bile and then log on to cast their “informed” vote.

                  That, alas, is the reality. And all the reminders that they have a responsibility to do better will fall on deaf ears.

                  That’s why (in addition to as much direct democracy as we can manage) I would like to see an MP acting as sort of a “chairman” of his or her electorate… taking as many soundings as possible, considering the evidence themselves, communicating that to the electorate and taking more soundings… and then making the best decision they can based on their honestly held opinion and cogniscent of what the informed part of their electorate seem to want.

                  An independent in permanent campaign mode, in other words.

                  edit: Bugger, now I’ve written all that I see Sanctuary has expressed it more succinctly below:

                  Leisure time is a factor of wealth, and information can only come from the media.

                  That’s the two factors we need to combat if we’re to achieve direct democratic utopia.

      • Lats 2.1.2

        In general I agree Jenny. However the problem with simple majority vs minority is that it makes a couple of basic assumptions which I suspect aren’t always true.

        Firstly, as you so rightly point out, the majority can be wrong, sometimes in a spectacularly bad way. My personal feeling is that current drug policy falls into this category (although many would disagree with me here) and other examples from the past would suggest that majority rule can be flawed. How long ought we have condoned slavery, or the criminalisation of homosexuality and prostitution, or the social and political oppression of women? These are fundamental issues which speak to basic human rights, and yet inhumane policies were allowed to continue for far too long because the majority decreed that this was “right.”

        Secondly, majority rule assumes people make rational decisions. This most definitely isn’t the case. Our decisions are not based on hard data, we are emotional creatures, and creatures of habit. The human decision making process is too often ruled by selfishness, preconceived notions, peer influences and irrational morality. It is, quite simply, unreliable from a policy setting point of view. I would rather trust the skills and knowledge of a select group of experts in various fields to suggest policy than to rely on the dubious collective wisdom of the general public.

        If the public could be relied upon to make rational unbiased decisions in the greater public good I would happily back true democracy to the hilt. Sadly, this doesn’t happen, and probably never will.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    The trouble with post is it assumes we live in a fully healthy and functioning democracy. We do not. Whilst New Zealand is not as bad as the United States, a system hopeless corrupt in a sea of money, our democracy isn’t as healthy as it has been in the past, and that is reflected in our politicians.

    Our politicians are also, in a sense, in a pure free market as well, where their considerations are around re-election and where the agenda is set by an irresponsible and profit driven media.

    Democracies rely on an engaged citizenry with sufficient leisure time to consider issues and make informed choices – Leisure time is a factor of wealth, and information can only come from the media. I would contend that without an engaged population and without significant reform of media ownership laws to encourage a fourth estate that fosters informed debate amongst that engaged population then we may have the MECHANICS of democracy but we lack the SUBSTANCE of democratic life – and hence proper democratic decision making.

    I believe, for example, that you should be able to qualify for a tax credit for volunteer community work. This could be anything, from running a boy scout troop to handing out leaflets for a political party. Once you’ve done a minimum – say, 200 hours a year – you could claim, say, $1500 back on your tax.

    I think newspapers and TV stations should only be owned by trusts or other not for profit business models.

    And I would like to see a fixed election date and that day to be a public holiday, where we celebrate democracy with community events and by voting.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Democracies rely on an engaged citizenry with sufficient leisure time to consider issues and make informed choices – Leisure time is a factor of wealth, and information can only come from the media. I would contend that without an engaged population and without significant reform of media ownership laws to encourage a fourth estate that fosters informed debate amongst that engaged population then we may have the MECHANICS of democracy but we lack the SUBSTANCE of democratic life

      Yes this says it all for me. I would add that people need to be informed of more than just the facts/current events, they also need to be fully aware of how the democratic system works and the role they play in its proper function i.e. civics education.

      And if at any stage the people are being frozen out of the democratic process to have the confidence to take that democratic process back by strong positive action.

      • Lats 3.1.1

        Civics education is an excellent idea. I assume that this is touched on a little in the current social studies syllabus, but don’t know this for a fact. If it isn’t, it certainly ought to be, the level of political ignorance in this country astounds me.

    • I believe, for example, that you should be able to qualify for a tax credit for volunteer community work… Once you’ve done a minimum – say, 200 hours a year – you could claim, say, $1500 back on your tax.

      Brilliant!!!

      *steals*

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    The first thing to remember is that we dont have ‘democracy’ we have its popular cousin ‘representative democracy’.
    We could have direct democracy with the population being asked to make important decisions regularly.

    Some are pushing for a return to ‘unrepresentative democracy’, being the FPP system we used to have. Looking at those people and groups will tell you why they want to do that.

  5. Key’s stance on superannuation is particularly hypocritical.

    He put up GST after promising not to but for some reason the retirement age is sacrosanct.

    He then guts the Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver and makes super less affordable.

    He then sits on his hand and says “not on my watch”.

    His actions are making an increase inevitable.

    He shows the short term vision of a money trader.

  6. I think if you deepen democracy you will change the way people think when they elect leaders.

    right now, democracy is something that exists at a distance from most people and they engage in it in a superficial way.

    the trouble is, the trend is in the opposite direction with fewer and fewer powers to more and more distant local authorities.

  7. Nick C 7

    4 Year terms might be a good start? Thoughts?

    Binding citizens initiated referenda?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Largely agree with both of those. Perhaps we could have referenda every 2 years, thereby bisecting the 4 year terms. That would hold the pollies accountable in the inbetween times.

      MMP also needs modifications, like a mild drop of the 5% threshold, and other steps. And my old favourite – civics ed, so people actually realise that democracy is much more than putting a paper in a ballot box.

      Also changes have to be made to ensure that pollies always represent the people not the industries or the resources.

      • Geoffrey 7.1.1

        In NZ I think it’s important to maintain 3 year terms in the absence of a federal system and/or upper house and a stronger constitution (e.g. in a single written document) with corresponding court challenges. As we’ve seen with CERRA in particular, democracy in NZ can be shaky. I see 3 year terms and MMP as the only two safeguards – if there were some reforms on other fronts it might make sense to consider a 4 year term.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.2

        Looks like you get your wish:
        “The size of Parliament, the length of government terms, Maori seats and the role of the Treaty of Waitangi will all come under the spotlight in a wide-ranging review of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements.”
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4434849/Review-of-New-Zealands-constitutional-arrangements

  8. tc 8

    “Key’s stance on superannuation is particularly hypocritical.”

    Sideshow john’s stance on most issues reflects the classic nat atitude of ‘Me and me mates are fine so F the rest of you suckers’

  9. Tigger 9

    Loving the ignorant comments around this.
    “Leave us alone. The generation approaching retirment over the next 8 to 10 years have probably been the hardest working generation in terms of achieving a standard of living for most only dreamed of by previous generations. Our thanks for this is to have people continually trying to change the rules on us.”

    Uh no, the suggestion was it be raised when those born in 1966 start hitting retirement age. Which is my generation.

    As for democracy – why don’t those affected make the decision? If you’re not affected then frankly you should shut up as it isn’t hurting your bottom line at all.

  10. Jum 10

    Women have never had democracy, because of religion, fear of attack or through government obstructing equality.

    • Vicky32 10.1

      Sorry, Jum, I don’t buy that, and I am a woman…
      Deb

      • Jum 10.1.1

        So, Deb,
        Let me see: religions all say that the woman is subordinate to the man as the final decision-maker.
        The only time many women go out at night is that special time when they walk the streets, en masse, on the evening of ‘taking back the night’ once a year.
        National in 1990 reversed the pay equity legislation.
        National in 2008/9 reversed the pay equity legislation.

        Women have the democratic right to go out alone at night and then get blamed if they get raped or attacked. Women have the democratic right to become leaders in religion if the men let them. Women have the democratic right to become a party leader and a Prime Minister such as Helen Clark did and face the worst attacks on her person, her politics and her personal beliefs that anyone in this country has had to face and none of that was anything to do with her as a person. It was all about her sex.

        Women have been ruled by physical fear for centuries, whether they admit it or not. The silly thing is the people who protect them are from the very sex that threatens them.

        You may say women make up their own minds in a democratic way but I am not convinced of that in NZ society or anywhere else in the world.

        Plus when they have children their personal rights disappear in the need to protect those children.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Jum: you are expecting way too much from what ‘democracy’ can deliver in terms of societal and personal change.

          • Bill 10.1.1.1.1

            I think Jum has pretty much got it right.

            What we have concentrates power. It doesn’t empower in the general sense and actively disempowers definable sections of the population more than others. The more disempowered can attain some measure of equal disempowerment through protest or whatever (e.g. Suffragette Movement). But they will still be subject to all types of systemic discrimination in spite of having won apparent equality in the democratic voting process.

            Maybe it would help to understand democracy as an interconnected web of autonomous decision making processes rather than as a singular attempt to bring organisational order to a clearly delineated whole?

            But those with their hands on the levers of power or control can’t allow for the decentralising effect of democracy; the dispersal of power. And among other things, that preserves all the systemic discriminations that bolster those at the top and that diminish, to different degrees, those below.

            And so an endless battle for equal rights for these people or those people in this situation or that situation just rumbles on and on.

          • Jum 10.1.1.1.2

            You’re right of course Colonial Viper. I have always expected too much of people, especially women.

            captcha: ‘death’ to expectations.

        • Vicky32 10.1.1.2

          Jum, I can’t speak for all women, only for myself. But your last line first : “Plus when they have children their personal rights disappear in the need to protect those children.”
          Personally, I didn’t mind that, when my children were young. There were no ‘rights’ I wanted that I didn’t have, when caring for them. Now they’re adults, I am pleased – I see the results, and they’re good.
          I have gone out at night, alone, from when I was 17 until now (40 years later), and I have never been in any danger. Maybe I have just been extraordinarily lucky, but the only time I came close to being molested at all, I was on my way home from an evening shift at an IHC home. I shoved the guy hard, threatened to knee him in the nasties, and made my escape when he fell over laughing (literally). I was 28 or so at the time, it was K Rd near the overbridge (if you know Auckland), and very well-lit which may well have made a difference, but still… The guy was as pissed as a newt, which was why he fell over! So, I suppose I *was* lucky.
          I have to agree with you about Helen Clark – the attacks on her were disgraceful.
          But as for women not making up their minds in a democratic way, I have to disagree strenuously on behalf of women such as my mother, my sisters and of course myself! You insult us.
          Deb

          • Jum 10.1.1.2.1

            Insult you Vicky32, and your family? No – you’re personalising it. But, if it is insulting to suggest that women are not fulfilling their role as lynchpins in this society on the one hand protecting children over their own needs (new partners) and in being equal partners in any relationship, which will result in a much stronger society because all parts of it are strong, then I have not yet begun. That ties in with The Spirit Level which outlines if one section is disempowered by another it reduces the strength of all society.

            Women have to understand how important their self-esteem is in making this society a stronger one.

            Plus, I think you mistook what I meant about giving up rights to protect children. Of course you put your own needs to one side to raise your children. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was that women lose rights often because of vulnerability, lack of jobsharing, ‘post baby blues’ etc. which weaken their ability to take equal charge. The democracy of the family can be greatly concentrated in one person which then makes the democracy of the family an autocracy.

            Cute attack story. I’m pleased you ‘saw him off’, but it also trivialises all the other attacks on people not as strong as you. They don’t have a ‘take back the night’ event for fun Vicky32.

            • Vicky32 10.1.1.2.1.1

              I just want to say that I am *not* strong! I am 154 cm, and currently weigh 40 kg. (Back then I probably weighed about 50 kg.)
              I am not particularly strong in other ways either… I think I was thinking something along the lines of “a soft answer turns away wrath” at the time, and so my attitude towards the guy was sort of “sod off or I will hurt you, but I would much rather not”…
              My father, who died when I was in my teens, had taught me all sorts of tricksy techniques to cripple or kill a guy. (He had 3 daughters and a much younger son, he was short himself, and very cynical about guys, maybe because he was one!) Problem is they probably won’t work for someone as short as I am! :) )
              Nevertheless, I sort-of get your points..
              Deb

              • Bill

                Vicky32 and Jum.

                You guys basically agree, yes?

                I mean, are women disempowered or disadvantaged (e.g. in the job market, in education etc ) by being the bearers and (generally) rearers of children?

                Do women walk home in the dark without having to give a second thought to the route they take?

                Do systems of patriarchy persist in our institutions?

                Are women paid less than men?

                Do women tend to fill less rewarding and less well remunerated jobs?

                Do Maori women or PI women have to contend with extra layers of codified disadvantage and discrimination? And so on.

                • Vicky32

                  I don’t wholly agree with Jum, I partly do…. I think s/he is too inclined to think that women are weaker than they are, and that their oppression is greater than it is or need be..
                  1. “I mean, are women disempowered or disadvantaged (e.g. in the job market, in education etc ) by being the bearers and (generally) rearers of children?”
                  Mostly, yes, but not all of them are!

                  “Do women walk home in the dark without having to give a second thought to the route they take?”
                  I can’t speak for all women, but I have never given the route I take a second thought. I am quite happy to walk home in the dark (I don’t drive and never have) and I have been accosted only a few times, the most recent time by a homeless woman!

                  “Do systems of patriarchy persist in our institutions?”
                  I don’t think so…

                  “Are women paid less than men?”
                  Indisputably. The question is why?

                  “Do women tend to fill less rewarding and less well remunerated jobs?”
                  They tend to, yes.

                  “Do Maori women or PI women have to contend with extra layers of codified disadvantage and discrimination?”
                  Possibly. Once again, not all of them.

                  • Jum

                    Women are not weaker; they seem to think they have to play the weak card. They are in actual fact a lot stronger than men. I personally think it unfair and calculating that women feel they have to pretend to be weaker. But, men favour women who pretend to be weaker than they are so the vicious circle and the nonsense continues.

                    Bill; I’m sure you’re enjoying playing the mediator and you’re right; essentially I’m sure Vicky32 and I agree in so many ways,but until all women in New Zealand accept the power along with the responsibility and build support systems which allow them to be the fallible human beings they are that like rock, like cooking, like engineering, like pink, like black, like men, like women, want children, don’t want children, like themselves, accept themselves, we will continue to have some sort of pretend society that ends up insulting all of us, men, women and children.

                    More importantly, Vicky32 you do disagree with me; that’s what personal esteem and self-acceptance is all about! (and even more importantly, I’ll give you the last word, heh, heh, heh…)

                    • Vicky32

                      Pink and black together, that’s what I like (and in spite of the fact that it’s “so 1982), pink and grey! :)
                      Thanks for clarifying, Jum…
                      I do know men seem to prefer stupid women! (Men in my cohort, prefer fat and stupid to thin and clever, absolutely).
                      Deb

  11. KJT 11

    Firstly we do not have a democracy. We have a dictatorship which we rotate every three years.

    These people have a democracy. http://direct-democracy.geschichte-schweiz.ch/

    How can you possibly assume that a genuine democracy could make worse decisions than the 120 self appointed incompetents we have at the moment. Politicians make rational researched decisions. Choke!
    Rushed legislation without proper consideration of the consequences is the norm. In Switzerland bad legislation is unusual because politicians know they have to justify it carefully or it will be voted out.

    Most objections to real democracy are not that we may make the wrong decisions. When you look carefully the objection is they may not make my decision.
    People, especially political types think they know better than everyone else.

    Why does everyone quote California. Why not Switzerland or Wisconsin.

    The objection about minority rights does not hold water in NZ. It was parliament who held up women’s suffrage and homosexual law reform in NZ, not the public.

    Just because, you personally, did not like the results of one CIR is no reason to oppose democracy. In fact if the voters knew they were binding they would think more carefully on the issues.

    At the end of the day it is our country, not the politicians, and even if it is wrong it is our decision to make.

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      Actually women’s suffrage passed in 1893 due to politicking in parliament. There was not a real majority in parliament in favour of it. From wikipedia:

      “From 1887, various attempts were made to pass bills enabling female suffrage; each bill came close to passing but none succeeded until a government strategy to foil the 1893 bill backfired. By 1893 there was considerable popular support for women’s suffrage, and the Electoral Bill passed through the Lower House with a large majority. The Legislative Council (upper house) was divided on the issue, but when Premier Richard Seddon ordered a Liberal Party councillor to change his vote, two other councillors were so annoyed by Seddon’s interference that they changed sides and voted for the bill, allowing it to pass by 20 votes to 18. Seddon was anti-prohibitionist, and had hoped to stop the bill in the upper house.”

      Everyone likes to pretend that women’s suffrage was some magnanimous decision by the forward-thinking NZ, but actually we just got lucky.

      • KJT 11.1.1

        “was considerable popular support for women’s suffrage”,

        What I said. It was parliament who held it up.

    • Bored 11.2

      Thank you KJT, just read the thread and noticed that everybody else (except maybe A) were dancing amongst the deck chairs on the Titanic. To have a democracy gone wrong is to not have a democracy. What we have is not a democracy, it is an elected administration that is severely compromised by corporate interest groups ability to influence public opinion through the use of money, especially via the media.

      I am not sure any democracy is free from being open to corruption by sectoral interest groups, the best I think we can hope for is to try and make “one person one vote” work with severe (almost total) limits on throwing sectoral money at the outcome. How money influences the Swiss example you give is unclear, but I like the model.

  12. Jum 12

    Half the population that are not women, being able to vote on whether women should have abortions? No.
    Especially if they have shares in a knitting needle company…

    The people who want to hit their children came out on to the streets to say so and wanted a binding referendum.

    We now have Key who is ‘enthusiastic’ about signing away by next November our rights as New Zealanders to America and American corporates who can get rid of Pharmac’s control over charges for medicines, sue the government (us) if we threaten their profit bottom line through our human rights demands, but nobody is out on the streets apart from a few protestors who need our countrywide support to save ourselves from Key’s betrayal.

    Binding referenda in a country that is naive in the extreme about politics and that voted in the smiling assassin; you’re joking of course. Ha, ha.

    Wrong about only parliament holding up women’s suffrage – Parliament had only men for some time who were following the dictates of most/all men and many women who did not want suffrage for all sorts of odd reasons. Parliament is now a microcosm of the public thinking, to a certain extent. We have currently, a selfish, greedy people who thought tax cuts were all they needed to be happy. They voted in a selfish greedy moneytrader who headed a bunch of selfish greedy men, backed by a rotundtable of selfish greedy men.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      In a democracy the mass of people get the Government that they deserve.

      So, you either improve the civics education/awareness/insight of the mass of people (OK, a yeah right moment perhaps) or you put the boot into democracy.

      Any other options? An enlightened dictatorship perhaps? Or a Council of Unelected Elders?

      Basically we need politicians who are willing to represent not just the people but also the interests of the people. And definitely not the interests of industries and capital.

    • KJT 12.2

      Those who think their individual opinion should prevail over the majority are guilty of hubris if not downright arrogance.

      Especially the ones who say the majority do not have sufficient knowledge, but they themselves have.

      The only reason Key was voted in was because they were not Labour who had ignored the wishes of the majority for long enough. The only choice people have is to vote for the lot they did not like last time to get rid of the present mob.

      Interesting that research shows if people are asked to vote for policy without telling them which party it is from, they vote mostly for Green policy.
      New Zealanders being a majority who believe in fairness.

      • Lats 12.2.1

        Interesting that research shows if people are asked to vote for policy without telling them which party it is from, they vote mostly for Green policy

        Can you provde a link to that research please? I’d be really interested to read that.
        If that is true it simply highlights that the public can’t be trusted to vote rationally, unless certain information is withheld from them. That opens a whole can of worms, such as who decides what information is made available to the voting public. To my mind a vote made in the absence of all relevant data is a useless vote.

        • KJT 12.2.1.1

          To me it shows that the public will vote rationally. For an environment that people can survive in even though it may not be in their short term interest.

          Unlike the irrational voting in Parliament to continue with short term gain for a few wealthy people until it is all gone.

          I can’t point you to the study because it has not been published yet. I saw the raw data while at Waikato last year.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.1.1

            Well, I hope like hell that it’s published before the next election.

            • KJT 12.2.1.1.1.1

              Would be good, but I think election results are going to be a part of it.

              • Draco T Bastard

                And they don’t want to stuff up the results of the research by publishing the interim findings. Damn cats.

                • KJT

                  I like the cat theory, :-) but I think its because they want to confirm the results so far on the dichotomy between the vote for a party and the policies voters actually want .Rather than fears of quantum entanglement.

        • Rex Widerstrom 12.2.1.2
          Interesting that research shows if people are asked to vote for policy without telling them which party it is from, they vote mostly for Green policy

          Can you provde a link to that research please?

          I think it came out of the results of a UK site called Vote For Policies which presented visitors with policies without saying which party they were from. The Green Party rated over 27 percent support while the Liberal Democrats got 18. Both were well ahead of Labour and the Tories.

          However, the results have come in for much debate with several commentators, including the nonpartisan YouGov site, calling its methodology into doubt.

          And, as can be seen by the UK electoral result, support for policies doesn’t translate into support for parties (though logic certainly suggests they should…)

  13. Bill 13

    We have democratic elections. But we don’t have democratic decision making processes. In other words we use a democratic mechanism to arrive at an undemocratic endpoint.

    Beyond considerations of representative parliamentary decision making, we might look for democracy at the various points where we interact with one another or with various structures…eg the workplace and the community.

    In the workplace we are subjected to a self appointed dictatorship and have no say in decision making.

    In the community, we democratically elect representatives to council or whatever. But there is no democracy in the resultant decision making processes.

    Which would all indicate that a lack of democracy is the problem and that using a democratic mechanism to legitimise undemocratic decision making processes is the problem.

    The only interaction we have with decision making processes is when we use the leverage of protest to engage in a power struggle with those making the decisions.

    And that is not democracy.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      And why do we not have more democratic processes in the private sector? In work places? Worker involvement and worker voices in corporations who have the same sway as the half dozen people in their executive management.

      Bring more democracy across the public sector, AND the private sector.

      • Bill 13.1.1

        If we are going to hang on to the tradition of having democratic elections to empower decision makers who make decisions on matters that do not directly affect them, then we won’t ever progress towards democracy.

        We’ll remain as disempowered spectators to the decision making processes that impact our communities and lives.

        The workplace; that bastion of dictatorial decision making, is different only insofar as the boss is appointed rather than elected.

        You might say that the workplace is the more honest expression of our power relationships. No pretence at democracy there.

      • KJT 13.1.2

        Straight from high powered management theory.
        Work places where decision making is devolved as close to the coal face as possible are proven to be more effective. Japanese Kaizen teams being a good example.
        Unfortunately the cult of managerialism requires the opposite to justify the high salaries and status.

        Should never have let them off their accounting stools in the back office.

  14. Expand real time Parliament TV viewing to commitee/sub-commitee hearings and tie it into public internet forums to allow on line submissions and voting for secure logged in users/voters/taxpayers.

    FFS, if we can online game with participants around the world we can sure as hell run our own lives and make decisions which affect us as responsibly as any politician.

    well, at least some of us can…

  15. KJT 15

    DEMOCRACY IS THE BEST THING WE HAVE FOR HARD PROBLEMS.

    IF WE ACTUALLY HAD DEMOCRACY.

    “Democracy is the worst of all systems of Government except for all the others”. Churchill.

  16. Stephen Franks said in late 2003 or early 2004:

    «The point is not that the events will not occur, but that the kinds preparations and precautions that a democratic government can take before the risk becomes so imminent that everyone recognises it, are so limited as to be a waste of time or worse.»

    Re peak oil.

  17. Jeremy Harris 17

    They cut payments to the Cullen Fund (thus costing us millions) and cut back on Kiwisaver too.

    Here’s what I don’t get about the majority of people who post on this board and it is evidenced by the above statement:

    - In general many posters here rail against the “Neo-Lib” global economy, that it is a bad thing, that it must end if we are to stop the rich ruling and save the planet, yet rail against the Nats for not borrowing billions of dollars to pump into this very same system, many talk about the inevitability of it’s collapse, yet again, still want this to happen… I know what the reply will be, we want the Cullen fund to invest in subsidising new NZ industries or some other such risky venture but neither Party is proposing this…

    - In a previous post one of the loudest “climate change and peak oil is coming to destroy us” screaming posters on this board stated that the NZ Government should buy back 100% of Air NZ… Now shouldn’t Greens, peak oil and climate change activists be screaming for Air NZ to be sold..? It is nonsensical to me to call for massive cuts in carbon emmissions yet advocate for the government to buy back a business completely, that has a majority chunk nationally of a carbon intense industry, especially if you think fuel price is going to skyrocket in a few years, the Air industry will be the first to go, so why not let “the greedy private sector” take on this risk and potential loss, surely the $1,300,000,000 tied up in Air NZ could be better spent..? The only response was Lprent calling me a dickhead saying air routes are strategically important, engines can easily be change to bio-fuel (which is incorrect and biofuels are already causing third world starvation) and no discussion of the cost or whether private companies would continue flying air freight if Air NZ was sold was entered into…

    It comes across as ideologically driven hypocracy, that it is okay to support the evil Neo-Lib economy as long as it is the result of the “good” action of the government increasing involvement in superannuation provision, similarly it is okay to pump taxpayer money into a heavily carbon intensive industry as long as it driven by a the “good” action of a government increasing it’s stake in a business…

    I don’t really care that much either way on either issue, I’d like to see Air NZ privatised in no small part because of the risk from “peak oil” but I’d love an explanation of these seemingly illogical ideologically driven positions…

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Look Jeremy there is no (hmmm not much at least) inconsistency in the things you point out. IMO it is actually practically driven not ideological.

      Lefties know we need to engage both personally and as a country with the capitalist financial system today.

      Capitalism and capitalistic/corporate diplomacy is the primary game in town. So right now we aren’t going to be closing our bank accounts, selling our share portfolios, liquidating our properties and stop participating in commercial markets just because we don’t like Chicago School neoliberalism. Why? Because we need to live in today.

      We know that the Govt cannot simply disengage from the international financial system overnight. But that does not mean that we will not propose ideas to begin to disengage from the system. Or at least reduce our reliance on it as a resource and as a decision making priority.

    • Bunji 17.2

      I suspect you’re being deliberately simplistic, and I’m sure you’re aware that neo-liberalism is but one school of (particularly harsh) capitalism. Getting the Cullen Fund to invest in the market does not a neo-liberal market make. Removing almost all regulation does that.

      You also groupthink all left-wing commentators together. There are quite a spectrum on the site from those who want the imminent overthrow of capitalism entirely to those who merely want a much more social version. There are quite a few in between who want to have the best version of capitalism in the meantime until something better can be organised. But I’m sure you can see that too.

      There’s nothing hypocritical about wanting a better version of a system with which you don’t entirely agree. Only the most ideological would advocate we go for an even more extreme neo-liberal version of capitalism so that people finally get pissed off enough that the revolution does happen. Lefties care too much about people to advocate that.

      Going on your example, an Air NZ where the profits of an unsustainable climate business at least go to the people/government so that that profit can be fed into climate-change reduction projects might be better than a private business where that profit goes into more climate-change hungry business. A state-owned business might be able to be directed to look at how to reduce impact on the climate, making planes more efficient and looking at the most renewable energy sources, instead of only looking at the financial bottom line (although long-term that might be a money-winner too). It might be more concerned with the wages of its subsidiaries’ staff being fair than maximising their CEO’s salary too, as a nice aside. Ideally we’d organise nuclear fusion powered planes, without emissions, but that’s not likely in the near future… So often it’s a case of best case we can make in an imperfect world.

      (and re: borrowing for the Cullen Fund: it returns more than it’s borrowing costs by some margin, people from the right who advocate a business model of the economy should understand that. And I tend to look at it that we’re borrowing a whole lot more to pay for the tax cuts for rich, with the nowhere-near revenue-neutral budget 2010 – and we’re not getting a return on that)

    • I agree ‘we’ should have sold Auckland Airport when they had a sucker to buy it (as I suggested to Labor at the time). ‘We’ should sell Air NZ as well, and ‘we’ should have never built Kerry’s Pumpkins.
      >engines can easily be change to bio-fuel< … yes a load of rubbish is that one … Virgin tried on one of their planes …. supposedly Richard Branson's experiment was a plane using bio fuel in one engine only, it failed ;)
      So now he knows we are neck deep in the brown stuff, and smoko is over … so back on ya heads.
      Richard Branson's report THE OIL CRUNCH – A WAKE-UP CALL FOR THE UK ECONOMY
      http://peakoiltaskforce.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/final-report-uk-itpoes_report_the-oil-crunch_feb20101.pdf
      The so called peak oil/climate change people who suggested not selling Air NZ etc must be greed party voters,,, they are that thick.

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    Kiwipolitico | 17-04
  • Photo of the Day: Lorne St
    A quick shot of Lorne St in front of the library. It appears Brobdingnagian gardeners have dropped by with some seriously big pot plants. I love them! About the only criticism I every heard about the shared space in Lorne...
    Transport Blog | 17-04
  • National: American lickspittles
    Yesterday we learned that America had murdered a New Zealand citizen in a drone strike in Yemen. Today, the government was closely quizzed about its views on this in Parliament. Steven Joyce (standing in for the PM) was very clear:...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • A $130 million gift to the rich
    When the government announced that it was selling off Genesis Energy, it deliberately underpriced it, with a discounted price, generous bonus scheme, and huge dividend. And today that has had the expected result, with Genesis shares leaping almost 20% on...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Defamation via Facebook and ‘a private website’
    This defamation case should be a shot across the bows of various internet wide-boys who think ‘defence of truth’ or ‘opinion honestly held’ is some kind of magic elixir or Get Out of Jail Free card. It’s worth noting the...
    The Paepae | 17-04
  • Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink
    It is three years and one day since Danyl wrote this blog post about South Canterbury Finance. I was re-reading it today, and something stuck out like a sore thumb: December 2008: SCF undertakes a high risk loan strategy, losing...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 17-04
  • Access: I Can’t See You, But You Should See Me
    Being lost for words when you’re a talkback host could hardly be considered ideal. But back in September of 1992, I was hosting an evening talkback show on a fledgling radio station in what was then a newly deregulated, highly...
    Public Address | 17-04
  • Judith Collins: guess who’s coming to dinner?
    Judith Collins, Justice Minister, is playing dumb in parliament at question time and avoiding media. Her patronising responses, or non-responses, to allegations of corrupt influence is not becoming of a Cabinet Minister.  Her abuse of the House by criticising questions...
    Tumeke | 17-04
  • Can fracking save the climate?
    Blogging is a great way MPs can communicate and engage with citizens about the issues facing us. I have joined The Daily Blog blogging team and have so far posted on Anadarko’s failure to find oil and a piece outlining...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • Kiwis still paying too much for ACC
    Kiwis are still paying too much for ACC so that the National Government can balance its books, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “ACC Minister Judith Collins told Cabinet levies were too high but ACC’s proposed cuts would impact the...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Collins’ memory recovery raises further concerns
    Judith Collins sudden memory of briefing the New Zealand Ambassador to China about her dinner with a Chinese border official and her husband's fellow Oravida directors raises further concerns about exactly what was discussed, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This...
    Labour | 21-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis,...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
    Mortgage rate rises are making life harder for homeowners, and many of them will be surprised the latest CPI figures show inflation would be zero were it not for tobacco tax hikes, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “New Zealanders...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Rest in peace Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – despite the disgusting polic...
    Rest in peace Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – despite the disgusting police racism and injustice you were undefeated...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Maori Party wine and dine invite
    Maori Party wine and dine invite...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • For Simon Bridges – here’s the forest you forget
    For Simon Bridges – here’s the forest you forget...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Never forget the GCSB lies
    Never forget the GCSB lies...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • The Empire strikes back
    The Empire strikes back...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • God bless capitalism
    God bless capitalism...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Drone killings erode social constraint on using violence
    The drone killing of an (unnamed) New Zealander in Yemen should prompt us to look at the ethics of this practice. We’re told from birth that murder is wrong. Yet drone killings (as conducted by the Obama administration) convey the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Labour’s first 100 days – where the messaging needs to be
    ‘The first 100 days’, an expression coined by President Roosevelt in 1933, is generally used to describe the successes and accomplishments of a government at the time when their power is greatest. During the 2008 election campaign, John Key issued...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Pharrell: a new brand of feminism?
    I think most people heard about how the song Blurred Lines featuring and co-written by Pharrell and performed by Robin Thicke (who has adeptly just been named “Sexist of the Year”) really pissed a lot of people off last year. ...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Why Easter holidays should always be mandatory and retail free
    The moaning from retailers that they can’t open the cash registers and worship the consumer culture of consumption over Easter bores me immensely because I’ve always believed that public holidays should be mandatory. It’s not that I really care about...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Why punish the parents of the disabled?
    Parents who have adult children with disabilities saw a glimmer of hope when the promise for payment for caring for their children was given. But like most things, the complicated and relentless bureaucracy of the whole process shows a completely...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Our government: still no idea
    Happy Easter everyone, bad weather aside. A previous post of mine was called “The Government with no ideas”.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of the piece was of a current government thoroughly absent of any creative ideas or solutions to assist more...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • 12 things Forbes has to say about NZs about to burst economic bubble
    Forbes is not known for their socialist or left wing activism, so when they predict a grim economic failure, we should should collectively poo ourselves a little. National often get given this perception that somehow they are better economic mangers....
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • That Sinking Feeling: Labour’s urgent need for persuasive words and coura...
    THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has Labour on 28.5 percent (down 3.5 percent) and the Greens on 11.5 percent (down 1.5 percent). At 40 percent, the combined vote of the two main centre-left parties has fallen 5 percentage points since...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Why the Labour movement should support a Universal Basic Income
    The Mana movement’s support of the idea of a universal basic income is a welcome development. It could become one of the litmus issues that define the party and prove extremely popular. If Mana are in a position to do...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Legal high and cannabis regulation
    I marched through Henderson last month with my fellow Westies to express our concern about the impact of so called “legal highs” on our community. Some people chanted loudly calling for banning, some expressing anger at the parliamentarians who voted...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • GUEST BLOG: Daniel Bruce – Internet Party: What Seems Ridiculous To The O...
    Imagine you’re a 18-21 year old, from a working class family. You’ve never had a landline phone at home, because your parents can’t afford the fixed monthly bills, so everyone in your familiy has a pre-pay mobile phone. Because of the same tight...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members’ ballot. “It’s...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | Press Release Christchurch cannot afford to lose this agency The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Resignation rates among cops soar The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Work visa problems need monitoring The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today. The report...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • The issues behind the possible MANA-Internet Party Alliance
      Last weekend Kim Dotcom spoke at MANAs AGM to discuss the possibility of the Internet Party and MANA Party working together to defeat John Key this election. As someone who knows both Hone and Kim, I have a unique...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Manufacturing Upgrade   Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.   – The claims and opinions...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Get work on 29th and the ANZAC spirit deserts the TPPA
      Groser and co would have been spitting tacks last week as the ANZAC spirit deserted the TPPA negotiations. Australia has done a deal directly with Japan which undercuts the demand for Japan to opening all agriculture in the TPPA....
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • No fracking solution to climate change
    Some British tabloids and oil lobbyists have jumped on comments made by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author that fracking could play a role in addressing climate change as an argument for it here in Aotearoa, so is fracking...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: At Last: A Manufacturing Policy Date of Release:  Thursday, April 17, 2014 Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • ACT Speech: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail
    Last year there were more than 52,000 reported burglaries. According to the Treasury, for every 10 reported burglaries, there are another 12 that go unreported. This means there were more than 120,000 burglaries last year – or over 2000 a...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Derek Leask: Media Advisory Re: Nigel Fyfe MOJ Appointment
    Derek Leask yesterday 20 April 2014 made the following observations in response to a media enquiry about the recently announced appointment of Mr Nigel Fyfe, currently Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Justice (Legal and Operational Services and Legal...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Oceans In The Spotlight At Election Year Oceans Forum
    The marine environment will be in the spotlight at an ‘Election Year Oceans Forum’ at Kelly Tarlton’s SEALIFE Aquarium on April 27 from 10.30-12.30. A panel of non-governmental advocates and scientists will outline challenges facing our seas, and MPs from...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Himalayan Trust responds to Everest avalanche
    The Himalayan Trust has launched an appeal to help the families of the Sherpa climbers impacted by the recent tragedy on Eve rest, Nepal....
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Himalayan Trust responds to Everest avalanche
    The Himalayan Trust has launched an appeal to help the families of the Sherpa climbers impacted by the recent tragedy on Eve rest, Nepal....
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Tariana Turia: Labour doesn’t deserve our vote
    Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote. ‘I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more....
    Scoop politics | 20-04
  • Family Court Consumers Group appalled at legal rort
    Family Court Consumers Group appalled at Lawyer for Child's "1 meeting in 10 years" taxpayer funded legal rort...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Manufacturing Matters to New Zealand – 17 April
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    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum
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    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei
    Greens propose new ministerial disclosure regime based on British rules, requiring quarterly declarations of ministers' meetings, travel and hospitality....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Politicians Should Maintain Workers’ Easter Break
    Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve a break to spend time with their families. “This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews experts on Antacrtica
    Lisa Owen interviews Chuck Kennicutt and Gary Wilson on Antarctica Headlines: Top Antarctic scientists warns New Zealand "not ready" for worst as ice shelves and sea ice in Antarctica retreat and the climate changes Gary Wilson: "Can...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Beyond the State – NZ State Houses from Modest to Modern
    As part of the our 'Active Hand of Government' series for 2014, we present Bill McKay, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, speaking to his new publication....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Global unions applaud NZ ‘slave ships’ progress
    Global unions the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) today applauded the steps forward made in preventing often shocking abuse of crews on fishing vessels in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Families before commerce at Easter
    Families before commerce at Easter The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions. "Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Easter trading laws archaic, in need of overhaul
    Press release: ACT New Zealand Easter trading laws are outdated and in need of a major overhaul, said ACT leader Jamie Whyte today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
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    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • “Legitimate purpose” provides no protection under 167 form
    On Radio New Zealand today, the Privacy Commissioner indicated that ACC could only request information that was "relevant" for a "legitimate purpose". His view was therefore that the ACC167 form is not a "blank cheque" or...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • State: still keeping you safe on the road this Easter
    The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Govt plan for community input into residential red zone
    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a community participation process for the public to have a say on the future use of the residential red zone....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Governor-General to visit Turkey
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Turkey next week to lead New Zealand’s representation at the annual Gallipoli commemorations....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Actions of Police prior to death in custody were justified
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority on the death of Adam Palmer while in Police custody found the actions of Police were justified during the arrest. The report also found that Police took all possible steps to try...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • New Electorate Boundaries Finalised
    New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. The 2014 Representation Commission has completed its statutory role of reviewing and redrawing electorate...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Save The Children Welcomes Strengthening Children’s Rights
    Save the Children New Zealand welcomes a new treaty which allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour takes manufacturing seriously
    Labour takes manufacturing seriously Manufacturing workers and employers will all benefit from economic policies announced today by the Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the announcement...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Manufacturing policy welcomed
    “Today’s announcement of Labour’s manufacturing policy is very welcome,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. “Just as many other developed countries are realising, having a strong manufacturing sector pays off in good jobs, retaining...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence
    New Zealand Police are hoping to reduce the number of victims from alcohol related crime by asking the public to say ‘Yeah, Nah’ more often this holiday weekend....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Dunne Speaks
    Dunne Speaks 17 April 2014 There have been a number of harrowing cases presented this week about the impact of psychoactive substances on vulnerable young people. At one level, the tales are deeply disturbing. It is awful to see anyone...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Research announcement welcomed
    A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    At Last: A Manufacturing Policy FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company,...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Republic campaigners still positive after royal visit
    "Campaigners for a New Zealand Head of State are still feeling positive after ten days of royal events" says NZ Republic Chair, Savage. "Our polling before the visit showed increased support for a kiwi head of state. We have a...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Selling homes to foreigners benefits New Zealanders
    Winston Peters has apparently convinced David Cunliffe that when foreigners buy New Zealand property they make New Zealanders worse off. Mr Cunliffe has announced his intention to adopt Winston Peters’ policy of banning foreigners from buying...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
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