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Evidence vs. hysteria

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, November 13th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: dpf, education - Tags: , , ,

Conversation in another post has brought home to me again how little some people know about the national standards debate. The Nats and their pet blogger DPF have some people believing their line that the opposition to standards is some kind of Labour / union “plot”. So even though I feel that I’ve said it before a dozen times, I want to point out just how ridiculous, pathetic, and indeed dangerous that spin is.

Opposition to national standards started with John Key’s hand picked education policy advisor, Prof John Hattie. Not Labour. Not a unionist. The Nats own advisor. From February this year:

… Hattie – Auckland University professor, student assessment expert and the man top politicians in this country see for advice about education … Ten days ago he was summoned to Prime Minister John Key’s Beehive office to explain what was going wrong with the Government’s grand plans for national standards in reading, writing and maths for all primary school children.

Education Minister Anne Tolley, stripped of her tertiary responsibilities the day before, attended the private meeting but it was Hattie that Key wanted to hear.

Both National and Labour have paid close attention over the last decade to this internationally recognised expertise on how to improve children’s learning. Bill English sought Hattie’s views when he originally developed the party’s national standards policy and Key took the same route, drawing inspiration from Hattie’s advice that a standards-based approach could work wonders in even the poorest schools. …

So it came as a shock when Hattie returned from a six-month study tour in the United States last July to tell the Herald that he was deeply concerned about the direction the Government’s policy had taken and worried that it could set back education 50 years.

In November he repeated his criticism, warning of a potential disaster with no improvement in children’s learning. A few weeks later he joined three other education academics in writing an open letter to Tolley, which pleaded with the Government to delay the introduction of the new system.

So what went wrong and where exactly does National’s education guru stand on the issue? Hattie says the Government didn’t consult him about the details, which were developed while he was out of the country. He adds that Key is right to say that he supports the idea but has concerns about its implementation. … Hattie insists the system can work but admits if he had the choice, he’d drop it and start again from scratch. …

Hattie’s first point is that, despite sweeping claims of failure by Key and Education Minister Anne Tolley, the New Zealand school system is in good shape, especially compared with the rest of the world.

National standards, he argues, are usually the catchcry of countries where the education system is in serious trouble. They have been introduced in the US, Britain and Australia but none of these countries have been able to show any overall improvement in student achievement.

Hattie believes national standards may lift the performance of a few children at the bottom of the educational heap but says the average will not change because bright children will be neglected. He thinks the policy threatens to destroy one of the great strengths of New Zealand’s education system, which recognises that children of the same age have different academic abilities and allows them to learn at the level of their current ability.

To repeat, Hattie is the Nats own education advisor, and he actually believes in standards (even though they haven’t worked in US, Britain and Australia). He helped the Nats design their policy. You won’t find a more pro standards expert anywhere, and it’s simply ludicrous to suggest that he’s singing a Labour or union song. But even he says that National have stuffed it up, they could set education in this country back 50 years.

Hattie was reporting on the American experience. The experience in the UK was just the same:

Tests blamed for blighting children’s lives

Landmark study of primary schools calls for teachers to be freed of targets

Children’s lives are being impoverished by the government’s insistence that schools focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of creative teaching, the biggest review of the primary school curriculum in 40 years finds today. …

Children are leaving school lacking knowledge about the arts and humanities having spent too many years “tied to a desk” learning times tables, the head of the review, Robin Alexander, said.

“Our argument is that their education, and to some degree their lives, are impoverished if they have received an education that is so fundamentally deficient,” he said.

The report says schools should be freed of Sats and league tables to allow them to make more decisions about what and how they teach. …

Independent of the government and funded through charitable donations, the review is based on three years of academic research, 29 research papers and dozens of public meetings around the country. It marks 40 years since the last wholesale review of primary education and presents a blueprint for a curriculum that would give teachers control of 30% of their time to teach what they want.

The international evidence is all against national standards. The government’s own advisor, who believes that standards could work in principle, wants to scrap the Nats’ system and is warning of disaster. Other experts agree, citing the probable harm to children.

Against the evidence and the experts there is only the fanaticism (Tolley) and propaganda (DPF) of those who are quite happy to damage children for political ends. With the welfare of our children at stake, who do you really believe?

33 comments on “Evidence vs. hysteria”

  1. With the welfare of our children at stake, who do you really believe?

    definitely not tolley or farrar !!!

  2. ianmac 2

    What makes this truly remarkable is that Hattie is brave enough to reverse his support for National Standards. As the chief adviser to the Government he has much to lose personally.

    Having read the pro-National Standards lobby they are very seldom in support of the actual National Standards, but very loud and accusatory of the area around NS like being obedient to the boss, claims of non-democratic decision making by BOTs, and alleged case studies of failures of the current system, re-quoting misinformation about failure rates. None of these things address the actual application of data to very woolly NS nor whether it would help kids if they did.

    I specially like the comment above from Hattie : “He thinks the policy threatens to destroy one of the great strengths of New Zealand’s education system, which recognises that children of the same age have different academic abilities and allows them to learn at the level of their current ability.”
    Hear hear!! We knew that!
    (My son has now an Honours BA degree, and now working on one in Law, and yet his ability to write anything right through Primary School was severely delayed. Different pace.)

  3. ianmac 3

    Rob: Brilliant post by the way. Thanks.

  4. Irascible 4

    Hattie’s remarks and recant echo those of the architects of much of the Bush era education “reforms” that included testing against “national standards” . The evidence has stacked up against the processes and results. The problem in the USA especially is that the financial “investment” in the processes along with advisors who, despite all evidence to the contrary, cling, like Bankers, to the belief that the are always right.

    • KJT 4.1

      There are actually several education advisors in the States, who advocated the “No child left behind” project originally, who were honest enough to say it had failed

  5. Fabregas4 5

    If I can be so bold … we do have a problem in our education system. It is highlighted by initiatives such as Kotahitanga and Ka Hikitia (both of which are now substantially on the back burner). Kids like everyone actually need to have good relationships with their teachers in order to be engaged in school and learn best. Evidence says Maori children in particular need to feel valued and close to their teachers. The structure in primary schools provides for this and engagement levels for all children are high – so are success levels. The problem comes with the change in structure in High schools where engagement drops rapidly (in particular for Maori who are always talked about when discussing educational failure). Sorry to take a while to get the point but Karen Sewell the 1/2 a million dollars per year Secretary for Education has a Secondary School background – she sees secondary school solutions (and old ones at that) such as labeling kids at success or failures as this is all she knows and she doesn’t know or probably care for the Primary School system which quite frankly I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t think does a great job for the kids overall – (before the manics post – please don’t expect any system to be 100% – there is no system on earth in any sector that is). Hence her desire to have a standard that sees 5 years not acheive – she was around for School C – remember that?

    • ianmac 5.1

      Two secondary teachers had a day for observation at a Primary school near here, where obviously they expected to watch teachers who had it real easy with just those little kids to bother with. Well. The two went away shattered ! They had no idea that kids could learn in a friendly busy multi-directional, selfmotivated, self-monitored, active learning classroom. They went back to College and after a try at breaking up their classes into three groups for discussion and problem solving, they gave up and returned to whole class lecturing. Teachers know their subjects but not how students learn. Pity.

  6. NZ Groover 6

    I’m surprised at how many times David Farrar’s name appears here. Do you consider him a threat or irrelevant?

    • lprent 6.1

      A symptom of a disease.. That is the simplest way of describing my attittude

      • jcuknz 6.1.1

        Just as rOb here is .. both pushing their particular barrow.
        I don’t think it matters which way we go so long as we are prepared to correct and fund that correction as we find the pitfalls.
        Hattie is a strong supporter of NS according to rOb, stated both here and in reply to me elsewhere, and seems to be saying the second part of what I suggest above.
        It is this God Dammed idiotic ‘black and white’ approach which is so wrong in this and so many arguments. We have a very good educational system with excellent results in the main, but there are some frayed edges that need to be looked at.

        • Joachim's 6.1.1.1

          “Hattie is a strong supporter of NS according to rOb, stated both here and in reply to me elsewhere”

          I think you just lied. For instance this quote:

          “So it came as a shock when Hattie returned from a six-month study tour in the United States last July to tell the Herald that he was deeply concerned about the direction the Government’s policy had taken and worried that it could set back education 50 years.

          In November he repeated his criticism, warning of a potential disaster with no improvement in children’s learning. A few weeks later he joined three other education academics in writing an open letter to Tolley, which pleaded with the Government to delay the introduction of the new system.

          So what went wrong and where exactly does National’s education guru stand on the issue? Hattie says the Government didn’t consult him about the details, which were developed while he was out of the country. He adds that Key is right to say that he supports the idea but has concerns about its implementation.

          But listening to his concerns (see story below), a different picture emerges. Hattie insists the system can work but admits if he had the choice, he’d drop it and start again from scratch. …”

          from this link (and the comments around it)

          http://thestandard.org.nz/nats-bullying-schools-again/#comment-269949

        • r0b 6.1.1.2

          Just as rOb here is .. both pushing their particular barrow.

          Yeah? So which disease am I a symptom off jc?

          I don’t think it matters which way we go so long as we are prepared to correct and fund that correction as we find the pitfalls.

          So given your new found caution, don’t you think it would be a good idea to test and validate the standards before insisting on their implementation in all schools? If not – why not?

          • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.2.1

            Hattie seems to think the correction needed at the moment is to scrap National’s scheme and start again from scratch. I guess that’s Jc position also, except not.

          • Joe Bloggs 6.1.1.2.2

            Yeah? So which disease am I a symptom off jc?

            A mis-spelt youth, evidently – forgive the pun

          • jcuknz 6.1.1.2.3

            I will not speculate since I’m not a doctor but it appears to be very similar to DPF’s, except in reverse, so maybe you are the cure or else DPF is? Maybe Lynne can help you here, since she made the original suggestion.

            Since I have recently been wildly attacked over at Kiwiblog and am being given similar treatment here I can only conclude that I am on the right track, with my common sense guiding me .

            I suspect that the majority of teachers and schools are getting on with it and it is just a few politically influenced are trying to block progress. It is a syptom of the foolish right wrong left right attitudes. The left have so little going for them they are struggling to make something out of nothing. Altogether rather sad that they are currently so ineffectual.
            It is nice for somebody to change their mind but not to expect after all the effort and expense has gone into setting the system up for it to be scrapped so they can invent something else.. I repeat that he seems to be in favour of NS, if not this one but another :-)

            • r0b 6.1.1.2.3.1

              Come come jc, if you’re going to insult someone you should have the courage of your convictions and say why.

              And I can’t help but notice that (surprise!) you didn’t answer the question, So I’ll ask it again. Given your new found caution about national standards, don’t you think it would be a good idea to test and validate them before insisting on their implementation in all schools? If not – why not?

            • felix 6.1.1.2.3.2

              jcuknz: “Since I have recently been wildly attacked over at Kiwiblog and am being given similar treatment here I can only conclude that I am on the right track, with my common sense guiding me .

              Having people from across a wide spectrum of opinion think you’re an idiot is not necessarily a sign that you’re on any sort of “right track”.

              Sometimes it’s just a sign that you’re a fuckwit with nothing to add, and that no-one can be bothered with you.

              • jcuknz

                Felix … So why are you commenting on what I say :-)
                tOb … As far as I can see the hysteria seems to be originating from you rOb with so many posts while none from DPF in the same period …I don’t visit other RW sites so my conclusion may be an error. While my contributions are a common sense moderation of the situation, though some might be trollish as I try to get reasons rather than statements out of you.
                Who am I insulting?
                Question was answered in my last post when I said that this is not the time to call a halt and my caution extends only to observing and correcting possible pitfalls if they eventuate. This may seem horribly luke-warm to an advocate but it is my ‘sitting of the fence’ position of being quite neutral to NS, not believing for one moment that hordes of children are going to suffer, or the hyperbole about ‘back 50 years’. Both are ludicrous.
                I have not read the original but from others reports it does seem that your worthy academic wants to have a second go at creating NS mark 2 … being unhappy with the or some of the detail worked out while he was away.
                ‘If not — why not’ …read my thread again because I answered it.with the reason..

                • r0b

                  While my contributions are a common sense moderation of the situation

                  You have far too high an opinion of your own “common sense”. Common sense is based on relevant knowledge or experience, of which you appear to have none.

                  I said that this is not the time to call a halt

                  So you disagree with every educational expert who has spoken on the matter, and you are quite prepared to damage the education of a generation of children. And that is “common sense” to you.

                  or the hyperbole about ‘back 50 years’. Both are ludicrous.

                  Why is that warning – from the government’s own education advisor – ludicrous? Let me guess – your “common sense” tells you so does it?

                  It was quite wrong of me to call you an idiot in the other thread. I do apologise to idiots.

                  • jcuknz

                    Oh rOb … I think you are descending from statements to abuse and completely loosing the plot thereby .. pity … though a source of amusement. LOL :-)

                    • r0b

                      And — brandishing his wounded dignity like a shield to hide the naked foolishness of his argument — jc makes a run for the exit, stage right. Curtain. Raise the house lights. Show’s over folks.

                      [lprent: ummm – perilously close to a pronouncement of ‘pwned’. ]

                      [Yeah, and I’m cross with myself too believe me. But this issue makes me angry like no other. — r0b]

            • lprent 6.1.1.2.3.3

              My view is that National’s standards show little thought about what they’re trying to achieve, and even less thought about how they’re going to achieve those desired results. I also think that DPF exemplifies the same lack of logic in the way that he tends to wander away into dog whistles about opponents of NS rather than discussing why they provide ANY useful purpose.

              I have a real problem with NS in that it looks like it is massively subjective simply because there is no effective validation on the measurements. Effectively it relies entirely on teachers making a completely subjective assessment without any significant normalization (eg the massive effort for NCEA). Quite simply the methodology is complete crap. What I see is a GIGO problem – garbage in and garbage out. Hardly what you require for the mythical market based system that seems to be all that the proponents seem to see operating.

              From the supporters of NS, I have yet to see a coherent description of what they are designed to achieve apart from some really vague “free market” waffle that doesn’t exist without an ability for parents to move their kids to other schools. That (dropping zoning) in itself is a solution that causes far more problems than it cures if you’re looking at getting a consistent education standard across the whole population of children. DPF in particular seems to be avoiding even looking at what you do if you find a “problem”. But it does exemplify his shallow standard of thought.

              I’d be more willing to consider something like NS if I could see what in the hell you do with the results. There is no hint of targeting resources towards kids or teachers that show up as being “problems”. Again there is some kind of mystical belief that the magic of the market will operate. Frankly that is a lazy cop-out that I can only see causing far worse problems impacting on generations of kids subjected to this bizarre experiment.

              The worst thing is that the whole thing to me appears to be a purely political exercise by the proponents including DPF. It was a few lines in the limited policy that National had before the election. The opponents are quite rightly asking what in the hell it is meant to achieve and the method that it will be achieved. To date all we’ve seen is some mystical semi-religious mumbo-jumbo in response with zero information content. You get the impression that its proponents don’t seem to understand the basis for their own support apart from some primitive authoritarianism.

              Implementing it appears to be being done to tick a box off – “policy achieved” – without considering what in the hell the policy is meant to achieve. That is completely idiotic.

              That is also what r0b’s post is about. It is the clear failure by National or the proponents of NS to say why it is required, what it is expected to achieve in terms of objective(s), how it is expected to achieve those objective(s), and how resources will be expended to achieve them. Instead we have the simple mindless authoritarianism of the idiot right that prefers instead to focus on attacking opponents for “political” reasons without bothering to try to convince them. It is hardly any surprise that this is causing an outright rebellion amongst school boards, teachers, principals, and parents. The effort and resources that are being put into ticking this National “policy checkbox” appear to be much better expended in a more productive fashion.

  7. Hamish Gray 7

    The only people against the “evidence” are Tolley and Farrar? Hardly.

    The left is shooting itself in the electoral foot if it really thinks parents don’t play a role in this. You’re not living in some electoral vacuum where the only people interested are in the beltway or running schools. I can’t claim a scientific poll, but a recent parental gatherings for school events at a very middle of the road (decile-wise) school confirmed an overwhelming desire to see the Standards implemented, with little belief in the “damage” it would do to students.

    But hey, if Labour wants to lose a ton of the electorate at the next election, be my guest.

    • NickS 7.1

      Yeah, because it’s not like evidence that Nat.Stands. are bullshit is actually real, and yes we should allow people with no expertise, but plenty of unintended arrogance to decide whether or not the vague descriptions of Nat.Stands given by Tolley amount to being beneficial to kids.

      • jcuknz 7.1.1

        The point is that NS is the concept of a respected academic to meet a problem of low achievement by some of our children. To I believe counter the play-way that seems to be advocated by educationalists these days instead of a firm grounding in the three R’s at primary levels. Something which seems to continue in its absence even to those admitted for university education and certainly noted by older employers.

        Lprent makes some good points [1.38pm] about how ineffectual the current system of both educationalists and politicians in correcting the problems of the existing system … given our political system I’m not confident there is ever going to be a solution … there are too many people scrabbling for a slice of the cake and unwilling to help make the cake in the first place.

        What support I have for NS, and I’m guessing many more are thinking like me, is that maybe, just maybe, it will result in primary children getting the essential grounding that I did in the old days [60+ years ago]. because of the need to pass the NS tests. Though if they are not independent of schools then the results are surely suspect. More dam beaurocracy, we need teachers not mark counters.

        This obviously doesn’t appeal to the educationalists with their ideals but while on one hand we are preparing these children to be bright and innovative in the future, they also need a firm groundwork in the 3R’s to satisfy their future employers. The sad thing as I see it is that those younger employers are no better educated these days because the rot has been going on for decades. Judging from what I’ve read about some reports written about children by their teachers it strikes me as a case of the one-eyed person is king in the kingdom of the blind .. so how on earth can they complete the assessments or parents understand them. But then this is not a new problem as teachers struggle to say something original, if they bother hoping reports will not be compared, about 30 or more children in their care.

        The more I see of the ‘free market’ the more I’m convinced it can be a good thing in moderation but definitely not in open slather, and certainly is not the end all and be all to running an ecconomy. As a parent I liked the voucher system as a way to apply ginger to the system and taking control away from politicians at all levels, though I doubt if at any stage would I and my wife would have had the knowledge to use this freedom properly for our son’s benefit.

        There is a continual demand for schools to teach more and more subjects to the extent that I wonder if essentials are not being skimped on and this raises the idea of longer school days as I believe happens in France. Maybe instead of getting the children home before ‘the workers’ go home but after is a solution to this … with a 9am to 6pm school day with many more teachers to cope with the workload.
        ..

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          …because of the need to pass the NS tests.

          What tests? There are none as far as I’m aware. Furthermore even if there were, there is no national moderation of the marking (or the required resourcing) that would be required to make them useful.

          Also as I understand it, the first parts of National’s standards is targeted at the primers. Not exactly a conducive environment for running tests if only because the differential between the kiddies is so extreme at that point based on family environments, it is hard to get kids at that age to be interested in competing in something so abstract as a test, etc etc.

          Besides, I was there over 40 years ago and I can’t remember having tests then. Since I was reading books and had a pretty good grasp of maths prior to entering primer 1, I’m sure I’d have remembered aceing them.

          • jcuknz 7.1.1.1.1

            Surely there must be tests if one is to report them for league tables so vehemently opposed? Surely I have not been mislead by DPF?
            I re-read rOb’s top piece again and since it was [ or is ] never my intention to make him angry it struck me that it is so full of holes I wish I had started on it instead of how I have. But I guess I had better leave well alone. I’m off out of town tomorrow so will not be contributing for a day or two at least … take care all and watch your boilers. :-)

            • jcuknz 7.1.1.1.1.1

              PS … because the programme won’t let me edit the above.

              I well remember [c.1940-41], in another country at the prep department of a Public School being tested every fortnight and because I usually came bottom or second bottom in my class I got two or one hits with a gym shoe from the Headmaster, he was an expert at inflicting pain. Grossly unfair I think because while I guess I was somewhat lazy my education of that period, two years, was interupted by thirteen spells in the school hospital with yellow jaundice. Until my guardian rescued me and I went to day school so she could feed me properly despite rationing and the war.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.2

            I remember having such silly little tests every week when I was at primary school. I usually got 100% whereas everyone else was struggling to get 80%. This, of course, taught me that school was easy and I stopped putting any real effort in to it which probably isn’t the lesson that you want children to learn before they’re 10 (Those who continuously fail also stop trying because they can never seem to get ahead).

            Children learn at different rates and that’s where NS falls down as it, ironically, gives a one size fits all answer to a complex problem.

        • NickS 7.1.1.2

          The point is that NS is the concept of a respected academic to meet a problem of low achievement by some of our children. To I believe counter the play-way that seems to be advocated by educationalists these days instead of a firm grounding in the three R’s at primary levels. Something which seems to continue in its absence even to those admitted for university education and certainly noted by older employers.

          Problem, NS as it stands has been trashed by the academic who National asked to create it in the first place, due both to changes National has made, plus further experience said academic had in England with similar systems*. Secondly, SATS are still in primary schools, meaning that the later years are already tested each year for their ability to do the three R’s, and as such, the present form of NZ primary level education has given NZ fairly high standards internationally.

          I also see the “play” that early years are involved in as actually important for developing social and civil skills developments, as the problem is kids do develop at different rates, thanks to the wonders of biological variation due to mutation, sexual reproduction and developmental environmental factors. Some might have reading difficulties early on, but get better by 6-7 years old, others issues with actually understanding basic maths (fuck memorising times tables, actually teach the fucking logic behind it /gumble ), or with social skills (potentially into early adulthood *cough cough*).

          Ugh, last bit before I run out of giving a damn:

          Lprent makes some good points [1.38pm] about how ineffectual the current system of both educationalists and politicians in correcting the problems of the existing system … given our political system I’m not confident there is ever going to be a solution … there are too many people scrabbling for a slice of the cake and unwilling to help make the cake in the first place.

          Lolwut? Methinks you have ironically failed to critically read that post, because nowhere in does he say what you claim he’s saying. Instead it’s clear the post is criticising National’s handling of NS, and their failure to even listen to concerns from those who do study primary educational systems.

          lawl.

          __________________
          * Nick tired, use the tags to find it on here. /sleeeeeeep deeeeeebt.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Hamish, why don’t you let Labour get on with winning in 2011, thanks for your heartfelt concern though.

  8. Fabregas4 8

    I have tried very hard to provide a balanced perspective of National Standards to my schools BOT. But short of Ministry publications pro National Standards literature is thin on the ground whilst anti national standards is covered by an ever growing list of experts and academics. This was the list back in July http://thestandard.org.nz/tolley-lives-behind-the-wall/ – plenty to add since.

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    Statistics New Zealand has published a new study on housing trends in Auckland. It is sobering stuff. Here are the core findings: Since the mid 1980s, home ownership has plummeted in Auckland even faster than across the rest of the...
    Polity
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    frogblog
  • An economic comedy in four acts
    Scene IBill English bounces out of his Beehive bed with a surplus of energy, yet feeling rather lacklustre can only pour himself a glass of milk and drag himself to the balcony looking out over central Wellington. He glances over at...
    Pundit
  • Ten best paid bosses in tertiary education
    And their lowest paid colleagues Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 44 Last week the State Services Commission announced the total remuneration for chief executives and vice-chancellors at public tertiary education institutions. Prof Stuart McCutcheon earned at least $660,000. That is...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten most popular stories of 2014
    This Tertiary Update’s top ten most read stories for the year included, at number ten, the massive job cuts at Manukau Institute of Technology and at number two the petition opposing those job cuts. Two more of our most read...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten branches that recruited the most new TEU members
    Waikato Institute of Technology – of 142 members in September 41 joined in the last 12 months = 28.9 percent Tai Poutini Polytechnic – of 54 members in September 14 joined in the last 12 months = 25.9 percent NorthTec...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten rights the government will take away next year
    …but that TEU plans to protect Next year several new laws will come into force that will remove some of your rights. It is more important than ever that you protect your rights by being active in a strong union...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten Te Kaupapa Whaioranga wishes for the New Year
    For the tertiary education worker who has already got a partridge in a pear tree, and a pair of socks, here are other ten things they’ll be looking for. Sadly you will need to campaign for them rather than be gifted...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten of our favourite TEU photos for the year
    ...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • City Centre Priority Cycle Routes
    An update to the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (page 25) provides some new information about improvements to cycling planned for the CBD and include some artist impressions of just what they might look like – although unfortunately because it comes from a...
    Transport Blog
  • TISA text: US threat to privacy, civil rights, data security
    Press Release – AFTINET Leaked US proposals in the Trade in the secret Services (TISA) negotiations include rules that would threaten privacy and civil rights protections for digital personal data Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and...
    Its our future
  • 2014 will be the hottest year on record
    For those of us fixated on whether 2014 will be the hottest year on record, the results are in. At least, we know enough that we can make the call. According the global data from NOAA, 2014 will be the...
    Skeptical Science
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland.17...
    Its our future
  • Males only?
    Like Vaughan Rowsell I get asked to facilitate or be on panels and speak at events a fair bit. Actually not quite like Vaughan – he’s incredibly popular, and for good reason. Vaughan’s publicly announced that he will not accept...
    Lance Wiggs
  • An OTL milestone
    I have no idea how this happened, but this is the 100th post on On The Left! Things are probably going to slow down a bit around here over the holiday break, but thanks to all our bloggers and readers...
    On the Left
  • It’s nearly Foodmass
    Christmas is coming. The halls are decked with boughs of holly (plastic), and decorated with snow (artificial). Tips for Christmas (stress-free) have been appearing since November. Children are over-excited and desperate shoppers are looking for the perfect presents for people...
    Pundit
  • No justice in the UK
    Four years ago, G4S guards killed Jimmy Mubenga by restraining him inappropriately during a deportation - effectively asphyixiating him. But today, a British jury refused to convict them:Three private security guards who restrained the Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga have been...
    No Right Turn
  • John Key wants arbitrary detention
    That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from his comments today about the need to lower the threshold for detention:Prime Minister John Key said the Sydney siege gunman highlighted the conundrum for authorities over protecting citizens against potential terrorism...
    No Right Turn
  • Futility: Educating an IED
    Through this year, I have sadly been lured into spending energy trying to teach Martyn Bradbury about modern political science, and what it means for modern politics. He appeared misinformed about what polls are and how they work, so I...
    Polity
  • The OIA Review
    Yesterday, the Ombudsman announced that they had begun their review of OIA compliance. They'll be looking closely at 12 central government agencies, and surveying 63 more, as well as all 27 Ministerial offices. They'll also be soliciting submissions from the...
    No Right Turn
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    frogblog
  • Equality, Efficiency and Economic Theory (Social Journal Europe)
    Dani RodrikIn the pantheon of economic theories, the tradeoff between equality and efficiency used to occupy an exalted position. The American economist Arthur Okun, whose classic work on the topic is called Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, believed that public...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon
  • New Fisk
    Peshawar school attack: Massacre of the innocents born of ambivalence towards Taliban...
    No Right Turn
  • How we pay for a universal basic income – Whiteboard Wednesday.
    Lots of people like the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI), but can we afford it as a nation? In this Whiteboard Wednesday Geoff looks at the three parts of the Big Kahuna package – Unconditional Basic Income, Flat...
    Gareth’s World
  • This will go down well
    Back in September, Mexican police arrested a group of 43 student teachers who had been travelling to Iguala for a protest against the local government. They handed them over to a local drug gang, who murdered them. Since the massacre,...
    No Right Turn
  • AT Metro Launched
    Last week we mentioned about how Auckland Transport was launching a new PT brand. That occurred yesterday and as well as new look buses, they have also launched a new brand for their public transport operations – AT Metro. Auckland Transport has...
    Transport Blog
  • Whales, dolphins, and ‘gunshots’
    I've just returned from seven days on board SV Vega as part of a small team monitoring the impacts of seismic testing on marine mammals off the west coast of Northland. No research has been done in this area, so...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • Meat workers need Jobs that Count
    The CTU is supporting todays Meat Workers Union campaign to combat insecure work in a core New Zealand export industry. Photo:  ...
    CTU
  • 2014: A Venture Capital Odyssey
    Fresh off the wire from Hong Kong, from your friends and mine at io9: Hong Kong based venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV) has appointed a machine learning program to its board. Called VITAL, it's an "equal member" that...
    Polity
  • Buzzfeed takes the Herald
    Here's a Herald article this week, titled (I kid you not): 20 somewhat horrible things I do to my kids that I don't feel guilty about [Facepalm] I want the Herald to be good. I really do. I know some...
    Polity
  • Sad
    There's a lot of non-cheery news out there in the lead up to Christmas. There's the Taliban school massacre, the Sydney siege, the US Torture Report, and - at a much lower level, and closer to home - the Treasury's...
    Polity
  • “I said surface, not surplus”
    Here are ten explanations, excuses or distractions Bill English might like to employ over the coming days in response to news that his long promised budget surplus looks to have disappeared....
    Imperator Fish
  • Talking terror
    [Content note: discussion of terrorism and violence] Last month I wrote about the aims of ISIS as NZ’s terror legislation ramped up, how their structure and organisation has become almost impossibly fluid, adapted to social media and the internet in...
    On the Left
  • Letter to the editor – Time to milk a tragedy again, by our Dear Leader
    . . from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com> to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz> date: Tue, Dec 16, 2014 subject: Letter to the editor . The Editor Dominion Post . Once again, predictably, our esteemed Prime Minister has exploited a tragic situation for his...
    Frankly Speaking
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement...
    Greens
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act...
    Greens
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki...
    Labour
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries...
    Greens
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    Greens
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It...
    Labour
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry....
    Labour
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    Greens
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its...
    Labour
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review...
    Labour
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining.   “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today so the...
    The Daily Blog
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
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  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban
    The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use ofglueboard traps in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today...
    Scoop politics
  • Review into Phillip Smith’s escape submitted to Government
    A multi-agency review on the escape of Phillip Smith to South America has submitted its initial report to the Government today....
    Scoop politics
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
    Scoop politics
  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
    Scoop politics
  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
    Scoop politics
  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
    Scoop politics
  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
    Scoop politics
  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
    Scoop politics
  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
    Scoop politics
  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
    Scoop politics
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
    Scoop politics
  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
    Scoop politics
  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
    Scoop politics
  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
    Scoop politics
  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
    Scoop politics
  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
    Scoop politics
  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
    Scoop politics
  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
    Scoop politics
  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
    Scoop politics
  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
    Scoop politics
  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
    Scoop politics
  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
    Scoop politics
  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
    Scoop politics
  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
    Scoop politics
  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
    Scoop politics
  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
    Scoop politics
  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
    Scoop politics
  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
    Scoop politics
  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
    Scoop politics
  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
    Scoop politics
  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
    Scoop politics
  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
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