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“Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one?”

Written By: - Date published: 9:54 am, October 22nd, 2013 - 68 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

Lord Nicolas Stern, who wrote a ground-breaking report on the economic costs of climate change against the costs of stopping it (conclusion: stopping it is cheap compared to the cost of not), has changed his mind. Climate change is getting worse, faster, and heading to worse results than he thought. It’s no longer a matter of avoiding disaster, but how bad it gets.

Stern’s quote in the title – “Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one?” – really hits me. He’s referring to the odds of catastrophic runaway climate change. This is the situation that we’ve put ourselves in: there’s a good chance it will happen, the only question now is how big we let the risk get.

If we care at all for our futures, and our descendents, we’ve got to act.

68 comments on ““Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one?””

  1. Ennui 1

    Why Lord Stern did not come to the immediate conclusion that climate change was a direct result (in economic terms) of NOT charging for the use of the commons? The question has always been who pays, or more precisely what are industry and consumers NOT paying for?

    Maybe looking at economics for a cure only teaches us a couple of things: that greed trumps reality, and that the Golden Rule applies (he who has the gold makes the rules). Consequently we might as well give up on economic solutions, it is like tax, nobody wants to pay.

    • karol 1.1

      Yes, this quote from Stern in the linked article:

      But he called for increased investment in greening the economy, saying: “It’s a very exciting growth story.”

      Contradiction, much.

      I saw a report on AL Jazeera this morning, on the pollution in some Chinese cities. This is what has been achieved by off-shoring production to places like China in order to maintain the ailing world industrial-capitalist system.

      • Tat Loo 1.1.1

        Corporate leaders and shareholders maintain the illusion of infinite growth for the well off western public by offshoring the pollution and environmental degradation which results.

        We get the benefits of cheap high tech mass production, Asia and Africa get the downsides of the mines, serf staffed factories, and environmental destruction.

        Fair deal?

      • greywarbler 1.1.2

        And in carrying that production from China to the purchasing country’s destination, bringing in foreign organisms that have escaped from the woodwaste, pallets etc. and have killed off practically all the ash trees in parts of USA and Europe. That is almost all of a large tree species that has evolved over aeons, which would be an important part of balancing global warming and climate change etc. Gone. They can’t save them. Scientists are trying to find a some from the Asian species that have a defence in their genes that enables them to co-exist with the pest. But this will take time, and the trees that have died were well grown ones probably hundreds of years old.

        Bloody free market capitalism, ruins ordinary people’s standard of living, by finding cheaper sources of labour, gives people there a little employment and money to survive on, then ruins their standard of living with practices that degrade their environment. And then moves on and leaves the poor people worse off and the finaglers with fat, smooth fingers. Indonesia – cutting down palm tree groves, spoiling water and people’s ability to live off the land, self-manage and be self-sufficient.

        Which incidentally in NZ was one of the comments that John Banks made about the way poor people should live. Yet he belongs to the $-eyeball group that squeezes all the juiice from the fruit and leaves the empty husk for the people. These money-hungry people have no scruples (a word that has changed meaning from being a very small amount to having doubt about the morality of an action) so everybody ends up with no scruples. Very sad.

        • greywarbler 1.1.2.1

          Thinking further about this business of main chance marketeers going into a place and utilising all the resources and leaving. There are succinct sayings about this – one would be Shoots, Roots and Leaves.

          A more Classical one would be I Came, I Saw and I Conquered which could be adulterated in a common way as I came, I saw, and I conked’er.

  2. Tat Loo 2

    If we care at all for our futures, and our descendents, we’ve got to act.

    Excellent sentiment, unfortunately the capitalist run, yield maximising, quarterly focused economic system disagrees. And to date, their advocates have proven more influential than any countering voices.

    For instance, look how many governments and major corporations around the world are pushing for a steady state economy, with no growth in resource, energy or carbon use. Not many, are there, I fear.

    • MrSmith 2.1

      “pushing for a steady state economy,”

      The current monetary system would soon collapse without growth and inflation, so we have designed a system which is now past it use by date, but unfortunately to many people are addicted to it now and will not go without there fix, well not without a fight.

      • Tat Loo 2.1.1

        Correct. Reminds me of:

        You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

        And a steady state economy is actually not sustainable at current levels anyways…2.9B short tons of coal used p.a., etc. But it’s a damn sight better than this exponential growth curve that we think we can manage.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          So instead of trying to get from Capitalist/perpetual growth-based Economy to a Steady State Economy, we need to find the stepping stone. Where is it that we can realistically get to from where we are now, that takes us in the right direction for moving on to a SSE?

          • Ennui 2.1.1.1.1

            Good question: I dont think people will be too keen to “regress” which is how they will take change. Maybe when the availability of things we take for granted is again in perpetual question their expectations may change.

            I have tried to envisage what the new resource strapped world will look like…if we took the major products of industrialization out of the mix and looked back at a craft based economy we could look a bit like early colonial NZ…not such a bad thing.

            • Tat Loo 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Good questions. All change has costs. The question is, what are the proposed benefits?

              Also think about the “regressions” brought about over the last 30 years. Twin income households which can’t make ends meet. Working poor. Cheaper goods but fewer jobs and lower paid. Ability to go out shopping 24/7 but less job security and more precarious employment. Small towns like Shannon and Oamaru hit by unrecoverable job losses, tearing the heart out of rural communities. Government and private debt levels inexorably climbing etc.

              Of course, the neolibs sold these changes with the promise of a “brighter future”. Bwahahaha.

              • Bill

                If discrete groups of people arranged their affairs and physical living spaces so that the group became the economically engaged unit as opposed to the exhalted individual as we have at present, then all types of consumption – from produced goods to electrical power, jobs, transport and fuels – all would plummet dramatically.

                But *you* want your punt at the kiwi dream with its whatever acres, beads, bangles and measures of success. And to throw your lot in with others, well…they’re all thieving bastards who’d rip you off, pull you down and hold you back, right? I mean we know this. It’s what Capitalist market economies openly encourage and reward..the selfishness and the cunning.

                And the simple step that would recognise those traits as mere cultural or economic constructs that would fade and wither under conditions where they weren’t rewarded is, for some reason or other, a step we are fearful to take. Maybe we secretly enjoy being selfish and cunning fucktards? That must be it I guess.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And the simple step that would recognise those traits as mere cultural or economic constructs that would fade and wither under conditions where they weren’t rewarded is, for some reason or other, a step we are fearful to take.

                  For some strange reason we believe the rich psychopaths when they say that they’ll leave and then we’ll have nothing rather than pointing out to them that if they leave they will leave with nothing.

            • MrSmith 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Yes the old standard of living must to keep improving mustn’t it, when we probably need to start with education revolving around things like you can’t have a better standard of living without first providing evidence it can be done sustainably, but of-course we could, as we are, all just get drunk on greed and fuck everyone else.

              Until we start honestly talking about humans self-interest I fear nothing will change, i always remember a trick we used to play on my grand father he was deaf as a post but whisper “here’s $20 granddad” and he suddenly could hear.

  3. muzza 3

    As long as those who control the monetary and financial systems are calling the shots, there is only going to the outcomes they decide and desire!

    Little to nothing is what it it appears to be, and carping on about the state of the worlds environment, as if the masses have the capability to influence it under current tact, is wearing thin.

    Evil is in control, lies and deceit, the go to plays…

  4. King Kong 4

    So I guess in order to show how seriously you take this you will have sold your car and refuse to travel by plane. New tech consumables would probably be a no no as well.

    If I truly believed something like this I would hope that I had the courage of conviction to live my life as an example for others to follow. At least it would be a demonstration of how serious I believed the issue to be.

    Not seeing much of this from “the believers”. And no, growing a stupid beard doesn’t count.

    • karol 4.1

      Really? How do you know?

      And it’s not about “never”, but about cutting back as much as possible. You should try it.

      • King Kong 4.1.1

        Well that is convenient.

        From now on in my house we will turn the oven off when we are am not using it. Maybe then my family can also walk around like these pious heal the world types (am still going to request that my wife waxes her clacker though)

        • Rogue Trooper 4.1.1.1

          something still stuck in your throat…

        • karol 4.1.1.2

          Oh, please. Again I say, what evidence do you have that many of us don’t use and/or buy material resources sparingly?

          You are shadow boxing with you own unreliable assumptions:

          eg. haven’t taken a plane ride since about 2006. Use my car only a couple of times a week, for some essential journeys. Walk a lot and take public transport. Don’t invest in a lot of hardware or other technological things. Grow a small amount of veges…. etc, etc.

          Could we do more? probably. Could more people do more to live environmentally sustainable lives? Undoubtedly.

          Instead of making diversionary arguments, maybe you should look at what could be done to make a positive difference.

          And your sexism isn’t appreciated.

    • miravox 4.2

      A while ago you said people on this site were middle-aged losers who still lived with their mums (so immediately that’s a smaller environmental footprint than your draughty old Thorndon villa, btw).

      Now we have the wherewithal to own cars and travel by plane. Make your mind up.

    • stever 4.3

      “The perfect is the enemy of the good” said someone…

      Just because we can’t be perfect (i.e. for example do nothing that emits any CO2) doesn’t mean we should not all try!!!!

      How hard is it to understand that?

      Unless, of course, all you want to do is a raise a false dichotomy in order to give a reason for doing nothing.

      • King Kong 4.3.1

        It is you lot that are giving the reason for doing nothing. “Catastrophe abounds but we won’t do anything drastic until everybody does”. Typical lefties, no personal responsibility.

        I recycle, have just installed an energy efficient central heating system and walk to work. Tell me what else I have to do.

        • McFlock 4.3.1.1

          vote for a government that will control emissions and limit fossil fuel mining, rather than encouraging both.

          • viv k 4.3.1.1.1

            You could advocate for a rapid change to a renewable energy powered society, instead of talking crap about expecting people who are trying to change the current system to exit the system.
            The ‘you use fossil fuels so no one should listen to you’ line is ridiculous. We have to do what we can to make it possible for society to run on renewables, then everyone can reduce their carbon footprint. And until Parliament is run virtually as a video conference, the Green MPs have to fly there.

          • King Kong 4.3.1.1.2

            In other words pay up in cold hard cash on artificially more expensive power and still consuming the same amount whilst the poor go without.

            Genius.

            • McFlock 4.3.1.1.2.1

              Well, more expensive power in the short term will make investment in developing alternative forms of power more attractive, and therefore cheaper, sooner.

              As opposed to your alternative which gives you a sense of moral superiority but in actuality is farting before a thunderstorm.

              more expensive power and still consuming the same amount

              Nice to know you believe that the supply/demand concept is bunk though, monkeyboy. Don’t tell your friends at the sewer that capitalism doesn’t work – they’ll call you a communist.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1.1.2.2

              Renewable energy is inherently cheaper because it doesn’t use up finite resources. The dollar value placed upon fossil fuels is, as matter of fact, many times below what it should be. This is another example of the free-market failing as it prices pretty much everything incorrectly.

        • captain hook 4.3.1.2

          stick you r head in abucket of water three times and only pull it out twice.

    • Rogue Trooper 4.4

      more than just beardies

  5. Bill 5

    Sitting waiting for a bus last week and became aware that all I could hear was the noise of engines burning petrol putting CO2 into the air. And it didn’t cease or abate – just kept going. And most of those engines were pumping CO2 in the interests of transporting one person, where? To the supermarket, dairy or some other incidental point on a circular journey back to square one?

    Maybe some were on their lunchbreak from a job involving a building needing heated or machinery run and CO2 produced so that they could ‘make money’ to pay a mortgage and bills because….well, why? Are we really so sunk in the mindset of economic enslavement that we are ‘content’ to spend time engaged in relatively meaningless, CO2 rich tasks just to get money; tasks and their associated activities that entail the shutting down ‘a million and one’ possible futures?

  6. Bill 6

    Is it worth pointng out that Stern is being far too rosy in his prognosis? The chances of avoiding really, really fucked up levels of warming are running, according to the science, at about 40/60. Which in Russian Roulette terms equates to about 3 bullets in a 6 bullet chamber, not 1 or 2.

  7. ghostrider888 7

    “If this is isn’t what you see
    It doesn’t make you blind
    If you don’t want to believe
    You don’t have to try

    Alive in the Superunknown

  8. johnm 8

    1970 2 bullets in the chamber of Climate Chaos Disaster.
    1980 3 bullets in the chamber of Climate Chaos Disaster.
    1990 4 bullets in the chamber of Climate Chaos Disaster.
    2000 5 bullets in the chamber of Climate Chaos Disaster.
    2013 6 bullets in the chamber of Climate Chaos Disaster.

    IMHO We are past the talk stage, now it’s how will we adapt to the inevitable?


    http://guymcpherson.com/2013/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/

    Look what’s happening to Australia now: severe bush fires in the Spring.
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/20
    So much for Tony (Ignorance is strength) Abbott’s famous statement “Climate Change is Crap” Mate! Keep rolling out the coal exports Feck the great barrier reef! Mate

    • Tat Loo 8.1

      Abbott just terminated the Climate Commission. And now he is dealing with fires on the scale of a state emergency.

      It’s this irrational decision making by and inability to respond of our ruling class which is leading us to disaster.

      And get this: Tony Abbott is a volunteer fire fighter and he’s been helping out on the front line. Looks like fighting fires will be the hallmark of his PM’ship.

      • joe90 8.1.1

        The Climate Commission wasn’t the only thing he cut.

        The Abbott government has tightened the eligibility requirements for bushfire victims to receive recovery funds in a move that Labor has described as ”heartless” and ”an absolute nonsense”.
        People who have been cut off from their homes or who have no electricity have not been deemed eligible in the first round of disaster payments determined by Justice Minister Michael Keenan.

        http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-limiting-recovery-funds-heartless-20131020-2vv36.html

      • greywarbler 8.1.2

        It gives you great photo ops standing beside a blonde female fire fighter? with long hair carefully arranged around her shoulders! and not a smut of soot on her face (what can be seen of it under the thicket of hair. But blonde tick, young tick, in yellow safety jackets tick, in front of fire service vehicle tick, great shot of Our Man Getting His Hands Dirty. I think he was backburning for quite a few hours.

        Anyway a better look than that dozy politician sheila last big fire. Sitting around watching it all on the tv or something giving the feeling that she wouldn’t be seen dead out there, though some public and firefighters were.

      • muzza 8.1.3

        Abbott will be the PM who signs Oz into the TPPA, by looks of it!

        Fire lighter, not fire fighter!

      • Murray Olsen 8.1.4

        Tony Abbott’s front line help consists of having his photo taken in a yellow coat, eating lunch, and disappearing. The firemen on the ground are fairly scathing of his efforts.

    • johnm 8.2

      Basically the Planet is fucked off with us and, and, and We may not survive its anger, keep talking suckers! We’re shooting ourselves with 6 full chambers bye bye Humans, but keep yacking on fools.

      • greywarbler 8.2.1

        johnm
        I’m worried that we will not leave the planet till we have destroyed it. We want to live on until our neurons melt. Unfortunately our blue planet and all the other living beings on it, with their own consciousnes, lives, beauty, purpose and their future populations may not survive us and our destructive, malicious thoughts as we compete for our last big olympiks.

        And the oil drillers cast the term ‘science fiction’ at Greenpeace scenario about our coast, just as they would say comic book. The speaker on Radionz this morning was so ignorant that he doesn’t realise that many of these stories, and comic books too, are outlining what will happen to people in largely unimagined but possible scenarios.

        The satellites now so common were an Isamov imagined story once weren’t they?

    • johnm 8.3

      How do we deal with inevitable Climate Chaos? Guy McPherson.
      Presentation at Boulder Colorado.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEGlYXumguI

      “I delivered a presentation on climate chaos in Boulder, Colorado on the evening of Wednesday, 16 October 2013. The result is embedded below, with thanks to hosts and facilitators Jenny Ferry, Carolyn Baker, Jenelle Green, Dan Green, Deanna Meyer, and Patrick O’Leary (and also thanks and apologies to those I’ve doubtless forgotten).”

      • Chooky 8.3.1

        cant hear the sound, not sure why….dont think it is a fault at this end ( however as I am a tech retard this is possible)

        ..if the sound on this presentation is fixable( and it is not just dummie me at this end) i would appreciate this being posted up again at a later date…maybe in Open Mike ?

  9. +1 Johnm

    But I think Guy McPherson would say that 2007 was the year of the full chamber…

    “…On the topic of tipping points, we crossed the Rubicon in 2007 at about 0.76 C warming. At this point, according to David Spratt’s excellent September 2013 report, “Is Climate Already Dangerous?” Not only had Arctic sea-ice passed its tipping point, but the Greenland Ice Sheet may not be far behind, as the Arctic moves to sea-ice-free conditions in summer. Glaciologist Jason Box, an expert on Greenland ice, agrees. Box was quoted in a 5 December 2012 article in the Guardian: “In 2012 Greenland crossed a threshold where for the first time we saw complete surface melting at the highest elevations in what we used to call the dry snow zone. … As Greenland crosses the threshold and starts really melting in the upper elevations it really won’t recover from that unless the climate cools significantly for an extended period of time which doesn’t seem very likely.”

    If you think we’ll adapt, think again. The rate of evolution trails the rate of climate change by a factor of 10,000, according to a paper in the August 2013 issue of Ecology Letters. And it’s not as if extinction events haven’t happened on this planet, as explained in the BBC program, The Day the Earth Nearly Died.

    The rate of climate change clearly has gone beyond linear, as indicated by the presence of the myriad self-reinforcing feedback loops described below, and now threatens our species with extinction in the near term. Anthropologist Louise Leakey ponders our near-term demise in her 5 July 2013 assessment at Huffington Post and Canadian wildlife biologist Neil Dawe joins party of near-term extinction in an interview 29 August 2013 and ** musician-turned-activist Sir Bob Geldof joins the fray in a Daily Star article from 6 October 2013. ** In the face of near-term human extinction, most Americans view the threat as distant and irrelevant, as illustrated by a 22 April 2013 article in the Washington Post based on poll results that echo the long-held sentiment that elected officials should be focused on the industrial economy, not far-away minor nuisances such as climate change…”

    http://guymcpherson.com/2013/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/

    • weka 9.1

      MacPherson’s prognosis of human extinction is theoretical. He claims evidence, but it’s not there any time I’ve gone looking for it. What I find is his extrapolations and projections from his own pain. He may very well be right, but he hasn’t proven that yet and he does the world a great disservice speaking as if he has. As do people who quote him as knowing the Truth.

      I’m also curious why you bother commenting on a political blog if we are all doomed. What’s that about?

      • red rattler 9.1.1

        Weka, what a ludicrous argument.

        “Extrapolations and projections from his own pain”.

        You think that McPherson is making this up because he feels bad about something?

        Speak for yourself.

        All scientific projections about the future are extrapolations on past and existing trends informed by what causes those trends. Anything else is superstition and ignorance.

        “…If you’re too busy to read the evidence presented below, here’s the bottom line: On a planet 4 C hotter than baseline, all we can prepare for is human extinction (from Oliver Tickell’s 2008 synthesis in the Guardian). Tickell is taking a conservative approach, considering humans have not been present at 3.5 C above baseline (i.e., the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, commonly accepted as 1850). According to the World Bank’s 2012 report, “Turn down the heat: why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided” and an informed assessment of “BP Energy Outlook 2030” put together by Barry Saxifrage for the Vancouver Observer, our path leads directly to the 4 C mark. According to Colin Goldblatt, author of a paper published online in the 28 July 2013 issue of Nature Geoscience, “The runaway greenhouse may be much easier to initiate than previously thought.” Furthermore, as pointed out in the 1 August 2013 issue of Science, in the near term Earth’s climate will change orders of magnitude faster than at any time during the last 65 million years…”

        McPherson thinks we cannot avoid 4.0 C. but that doesn’t stop him acting as if he could stop it. For him industrial civilisation has to collapse now. To me that is a euphemism for the fall of capitalism.

        So lets debate global warming, why would we shut up and wait till the end with our heads in the sand. We may not survive but lets give it a shot. I won’t go easily unless we take out capitalism on the way. Who knows if this will be enough, but it sure will be a consolation. Let’s die standing up fighting for humanity as part of nature and not homo stupidus in the fossil record of the Anthropocene.

        • red rattler 9.1.1.1

          Video of Guy McPherson’s latest talk addresses what do we do now?
          Act!
          http://guymcpherson.com/2013/10/presentation-in-boulder-colorado/

          • weka 9.1.1.1.1

            “All scientific projections about the future are extrapolations on past and existing trends informed by what causes those trends. Anything else is superstition and ignorance.”

            Maybe, but science is not value or bias free either. McPherson’s bias needs to be overtly recognised.

        • weka 9.1.1.2

          “You think that McPherson is making this up because he feels bad about something?”

          No, I don’t. I think that McPherson believes that humans WILL go extinct and that there is nothing that can be done to prevent this now. It’s fine he believes that, and his belief if based on intelligent analysis of the situation. But he’s not god, and there is no way for anyone at this stage to KNOW what is going to happen. It’s not fine that he presents impending extinction as fact. Which is what he does.

          As for projecting from his pain, he appears to be part of a movement that now sees our situation as irredemable and therefore best practice is to come to terms with this and prepare for our doom. Again, that’s fine for him to hold that view. I just think that people need to know that his arguments are theoretical, and that his view influences what he presents.

          I notice that you didn’t answer my question:

          “I’m also curious why you bother commenting on a political blog if we are all doomed. What’s that about?”

          I think that McPherson’s view, and people posting him as Truth, is a form of scaremongering that is counter-productive. Most humans will shut off in the face of a future that is hopeless and that they have no control over. AGW is hard enough for people to cope with mentally and emotionally, without also telling them that we are all going to die quite soon (plus their kids and grandkids). McPherson appears to have moved substantially from the “our actions might make a difference” to “it’s too late for our actions to make a difference”.

          It’s big of him for sure, to keep acting in the face of his belief in extinction. Most people don’t have that capacity and IMO what he presents will make it more likely for them to do nothing, or to party while the band plays on.

  10. tricledrown 10

    King Kong wow being reasonable.
    Well done you are doing well no doubt we can all improve.

  11. Philgwellington Wellington 11

    Xox
    I look everywhere and can’t find the door. It’s a nightmare and I can’t wait to wake up.

  12. karol 12

    Dr Salinger, Climate Scientist, is talking at Auckland Uni tonight, 6pm, Owen Glenn building.

    Also talking,Professor Glenn McGregor (Professor of Climatology, University of Auckland) and Dr Jan Sinclair (Massey University, Albany)

  13. Rhinocrates 13

    Ah, Russian Roulette – if you must play it, do it with a revolver and not an automatic. Now, however, it looks like we might be a arguing not about the number of bullets, but the calibre.

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    Last year, Nauru's government abused its parliamentary majority to suspend the opposition from Parliament on a spurious privilege motion. Its a disease which is spreading: last night, Fiji's "democratic" regime did the same, suspending an opposition MP for making a… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    8 hours ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    8 hours ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    9 hours ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    9 hours ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    10 hours ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    10 hours ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    12 hours ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    12 hours ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    14 hours ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    15 hours ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    15 hours ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    22 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    23 hours ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    1 day ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    1 day ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    1 day ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    1 day ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Fuck TV3
    TV3 has announced that they will be shitcanning Campbell Live. Oh, there'll still be a programme - but it won't have John Campbell, it'll only be four days a week, and it will almost certainly turn into the sort of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    4 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    5 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    5 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    8 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    8 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    10 hours ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    1 day ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    1 day ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    2 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    3 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    4 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    4 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    4 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    1 week ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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