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“Free” market? No: Tournament

Written By: - Date published: 1:56 pm, July 18th, 2012 - 50 comments
Categories: capitalism, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

There’s a great piece in Harper’s Magazine about modern day America’s monopolies and cartels.

Google, Apple, Intel, Pixar and other Silicon Valley corporations have formed a labour cartel, refusing to poach each other’s staff so that they can keep wage costs down and hours worked up.  Chicken giant JBS insists on selling feed and chicks to its supplier farmers, then weighing and tallying their produce behind closed doors and setting a price they have to accept or be damned to bankruptcy on their mortgage.  Anheuser-Busch InBev & MillerCoors control 90% of the beer market, and control virtually all distribution for any smaller players into bars and supermarkets.  Amazon has between 70 and 80% of online book sales (both e- and physical), and largely controls what publishers (and authors) will get paid.

And we have our own versions here in New Zealand.  Chorus’ engineers, many taxi and courier drivers are all contractors who cannot work for another company easily.  They only have one buyer of their labour who – rather than face labour law restrictions – makes them self-employed so there is no minimum wage, or maximum hours, or holiday/sick pay or…  We need to work out how to protect these workers.

Fletchers – which grew huge due to the first Labour Government’s house building programme – now largely controls our new house building supply, leaving us with much higher building costs than overseas, and a shortage of housing as people can’t fund that cost.  And in the Christchurch rebuild?  When they reduced the rate for each square metre of interior decorating completed (shared between contracting plasterer and painter) from $25 to $19 on Monday they claimed the new price was the market rate.  When you are the market, what ever you pay is the market rate…

In the old days monopolists JD Rockefeller and JP Morgan acknowledged their power openly and defended it: Yes, they had centralized control over entire industries, and yes, they ruled as despots; but they wielded such power to organise production and trade more efficiently.

Today, our overlords not only refuse to defend the power they hold—they deny that it is even possible for any American to accumulate such power. And to make such an absurd claim stick, they (or the more politically sophisticated of the academic economists in their employ) have undermined our language itself. Their most impressive act of lexical legerdemain was the coinage of various misnomers, some so audacious as to be worthy of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. Corporate monopoly? Let’s just call that the “free market.” The political ravages of corporate power? Those could be recast as the essentially benign workings of “market forces.”

The most important characteristic in markets

is an equality between the seller and the buyer, achieved by ensuring that there are many buyers as well as many sellers. Second is transparency. Everyone sees the quantity and quality of the product on offer, and the price at which each deal is done. A third characteristic is a tendency to deliver egalitarian outcomes. On any given day, once the supply of a product has been hauled to market and appraised, all sellers receive roughly the same price per unit. Offer a seller less than the prevailing price, and you walk away empty-handed. Demand more from buyers, and your goods sit untouched.

In tournaments, as devised and promoted by one of George W Bush’s top economic advisors Edward Lazear, the sellers of goods/services/labour have nowhere else to go, there is one buyer.  Transparency is removed for sake of efficiency.  And egalitarian prices are removed as we pay more (or more likely less) as “incentives”. You can deride the free market, but this isn’t even that.  The political aim of tournaments is the opposite of real markets:

Citizens structure markets, first and foremost, to protect individuals from massed capital. Lazear’s tournaments are designed to maximize return to capital. They do so precisely by setting individual citizens against each other, like cocks in a pit.

And that’s where we’re left – trying to slit each other’s throats, while the monopolists grow fat.

50 comments on ““Free” market? No: Tournament”

    • Bunji 1.1

      Great article!

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      ha, love the last two paragraphs:

      The USSR has been a historical dead letter for over 20 years now — but there are still plenty of earnest Fox-watching Americans for whom “communism” remains the most terrifying of all scare words. They’re vigilantly watching the leftward horizon, scanning for signs of government-inflicted socialism, ready to strip their own democracy of its very ability to thwart totalitarians if that’s what must be done to stop totalitarianism.

      Unfortunately, they’re facing the wrong direction. The real threat of dignity-stripping, liberty-destroying, soul-crushing oppression is coming not from government, but from the very corporations those same people believed were the key to our superiority over the Communist menace. Now that the government can’t protect us from rapacious businesses any more, the centrally planned authoritarian state they’ve feared is already coming to pass — privately, for the profit of the few, free from pesky accountability or oversight, and without a bit of resistance from the would-be patriots who have been on guard for decades to ensure it could never happen here.

      The totalitarianism that the right fear is alive and well – and supported by them.

    • Kevin Welsh 1.3

      Brilliant

  1. Tom Gould 2

    Regarding the Fletcher monopoly deal with the government in Christchurch, where trade rates have been reduced across the board to reflect market realities, can we be assured that the rumoured $200 an hour equivalent rates charged by them are reasonable and also reflect market realities?

  2. prism 3

    Just a quick comment. Chinese market gardeners used to sell their product through auctions – eg Turners and GROWERS, and had to accept what the market would pay. Now that has been shut down and supermarkets contract individually for a certain price, which may be low, and if there is scarcity where economics show the price goes up, the growers still get the contract price. Out of over 100 family growers in the Pukekohe area only under 20 remain. An interview heard recently on Radionz – Insight or Spectrum I think.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Yeah its crap. Around where I am there has been a noticeably decline in the numbers of market gardeners over the last 25 years. Much less money in it and the work is as hard as ever.

  3. Rusty Shackleford 4

    “Google, Apple, Intel, Pixar and other Silicon Valley corporations have formed a labour cartel, …”

    This will pass. All of those companies came to power (mostly) by inventing products that didn’t previously exist, or by taking a product and making it by far the best. They won’t be able to keep that up forever and when they can’t, others will come in and usurp them.

    The history of “protecting workers” has been pretty fraught with hurting workers.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Yeah very good Rusty. And who was doing the hurting? Why don’t you find a chart showing the divergence of US corporate profits and worker incomes over the last 20 years.

      Its pretty clear that corporate shareholders have been making ripper profits at the expense of paying their workers sufficiently.

      • Rusty Shackleford 4.1.1

        Can you put up that graph? It would be interesting. Then add in the subsidies, special treatment under the law and bail outs those firms receive.

        They probably have. Those big corporates (especially the banks) are govt guaranteed after all.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Who gives a fuck about your attempt at irrelevant distraction?

          The fact of the matter is that the lions share is getting bigger, and its going to shareholders not workers.

  4. captain hook 5

    so the firms can PLAN and combine and manipulate the market but the workers cant.
    oh just another case of corporate socialism where its do as I say and not as I do.
    and prism.
    the contract price has led to the production of fruit and veg that is tasteless, soggy and basically crap.
    Oh thats right its the invisible hand taking all the goodness for itself and leaving the used up husk for the prols.
    so where is the market in the contract price?

    • Rusty Shackleford 5.1

      Unions wield quite a lot of political clout in the states, if I remember correctly.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        About 1/3 of what they did 50 years ago.

        Today real political power rests in the investment banking sector.

        • Rusty Shackleford 5.1.1.1

          Don’t disagree. Let’s cut off the power at the source.

          • Rusty Shackleford 5.1.1.1.1

            “…the contract price has led to the production of fruit and veg that is tasteless, soggy and basically crap.”

            haha? What? I missed this before. What the fuck are you talking about?

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.2

            Don’t disagree. Let’s cut off the power at the source.

            What, cut off the arm which has the boil on it, instead of lancing the boil itself?

            Smart Rusty, real smart.

            • Rusty Shackleford 5.1.1.1.2.1

              Who gives a fuck about your attempt at irrelevant distraction?

      • rosy 5.1.2

        I saw a labour protest in New York earlier this year – a firm had shut down without paying their contracted painters and decorators (yep, the finishing touches to whatever project the firm hired the short-term staff for). The poor guys (about 10) were shunted to a corner of the footpath with signs on bits of cardboard boxes apologising to people for their presence and assuring the public that they were not targeting other firms, they just wanted their pay. All dreadfully sad and pathetically ineffective, there was no way they were going to get a cent.

        Meanwhile in Christchurch trades people have formed a ‘lobby group’ to protect their interests against the earthquake recovery version of tournament capitalism

        Tradespeople in Canterbury have formed a new lobby group amid concern the government’s management of the $20 billion-plus rebuild is slashing their earnings and favouring big business.

        Master plumbers, master painters and master builders have rallied together to form Can Trades, a group that chairman Lester Bryant says reflects their need to “create an entity to defend themselves.”

        “A number of members feel as though they have been disadvantaged” by the managers of the rebuild including Fletcher Building,” he told BusinessDesk.

    • Vicky32 5.2

      the contract price has led to the production of fruit and veg that is tasteless, soggy and basically crap.

      Tomatoes especially! Plus which, they’re all seedless!

  5. captain hook 6

    well do you?

  6. mike e 7

    Free Market won
    Humanity nil

    • Bored 7.1

      Thats the half time score, Extinction starts playing in the second half as a super sub for the Market, only the planet gets to know the end result.

      • Rusty Shackleford 7.1.1

        The end is nigh! Yet, life goes on.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Try to think outside of a quarterly perspective.

          • Rusty Shackleford 7.1.1.1.1

            There have been people like you since time began. The world is always ending, and you would be 100% right. But, that doesn’t prove anything, or help anyone.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              What do you care that the world is ending? There’s a lot of money to be made on the way.

  7. fnjckg 8

    excellent article thank you

  8. captain hook 9

    there is no such thing as a free market.
    if there is well then lets see it.

    • Rusty Shackleford 9.1

      100% agree.

      However, we have seen freer markets than others. Those that are freer are almost always more prosperous.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        No, the most prosperous nations are the ones who have engineered structural wealth pumps concentrating resources and money from their peripheries, onto themselves.

        • Rusty Shackleford 9.1.1.1

          haha, what the fuck does that mean?

          • Bored 9.1.1.1.1

            Rusty it means you have no concept of empire despite multiple examples in the historic record.

            • Rusty Shackleford 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Give an example, then.

              • Bored

                All empires extract wealth from the vanquished territories, think Rome. It flows from periphery to centre. Think British Empire. All known empires collapse when they can no longer extract efficiently from the periphery….which will be the American experience as their version of worldwide empire (free market globalcapitalism) fails.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  There is nothing free about the American version of capitalism. It’s propped up by govt owned armies and navies. Pretty much the opposite of freedom, at least for the crowd on the receiving end. Oh! And don’t forget the 20 year old kids from Kentucky and Nebraska who get thrown in the meat grinder. Not much freedom for them.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Thanks Bored.

                    Rusty, you say there is nothing free about US capitalism. Yet it is by far the wealthiest country in the world. And you go on to explain why. And its not because of free markets.

                    It’s propped up by govt owned armies and navies.

                    Yes, its because its an empire. Working in exactly the way that Bored said.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      It’s a bit of a paradox, I suppose. The foundations the States are built on are pretty strong. Read that. “THE STATES”. The USA is a grouping of largely independent states whose power has been usurped by one city.

                      Devolve power to the states and you get freedom, like which reigned through much of the 19th century. The century in which much of the capital formation, that led to prosperity in the 20th century, was formed.

                      I agree that much of the American strength in the 21st century stems from empire. That doesn’t mean they can’t go back to freedom, though. I hope they do.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So the US is a prime example of how empire, including a massive foreign based military, can become extremely wealthy by sucking in resources and money from the peripheries. With plenty of talk about free markets but only very limited instances of actual free markets, the ones which suit the requirements of the centre of empire.

                      It’s a bit of a paradox, I suppose.

                      No its not a paradox. This is how empires behave and this is how they work, and that’s always been the case. No contradiction there whatsoever.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      I haven’t disagreed with you at any point in this thread, fuckwit. I 100% agree the US has been a corporatist empire for, probably, the last 100 years. Certain businesses collude with the govt in order to hoard wealth and power. I’ve never at any point said anything less.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Without at all wanting to back up our bug killing friend Rusty, I’m not sure that the USA is the wealthiest country. Not even sure it’s even in the top ten. Guess it depends on how you define it, but I’d suggest most of the oil pumping Gulf countries would be way ahead. Still the largest economy for the next few years, but wealthy? No. Indebted up to their eyeballs? Yes!

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The US is not just a corporate empire, it’s also a military empire.

                      The mixed model of corporate and military empire seems to be far more economically and financially successful than the neoliberal free market model.

                    • McFlock

                      Devolve power to the states and you get freedom, like which reigned through much of the 19th century. The century in which much of the capital formation, that led to prosperity in the 20th century, was formed.

                      You mean the 19thC continental US that saw wars of expansion every few decades? The 19thC that saw continental expansion and resource expoitation as practically unlimited (think buffalo, silver and gold)? The 19thC USA that also kept slavery for decades after Europe? The 19thC USA that kept former slaves disenfranchised, largely exterminated native Americans, and was fed by working class immigrants from Europe?

                      Your idealised 19thC USA is as close to reality as “Oliver!” was to London’s Victorian East End.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      TRP: salient points.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Te Reo.
                      The USA is 6th largest in GDP per capita and has a much larger population than anyone in the top 5.

                      It has a larger share of world nominal GDP than its 4 next competitors combined.

                      It’s still number two in manufacturing, only just recently surpassed by China. And if you counted offshored American manufacturing in China, it would probably blow China out of the water in this category.

                      The USA is far and away the richest country in the world by any subjective measure.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      “The USA is far and away the richest country in the world by any subjective measure.”

                      I prefer my measures objective, Rusty.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      haha, I should stop trying to sound smart by using big words : D.

  9. captain hook 10

    who for?

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    Hone Harawira today called on the voters of Tai Tokerau to hold fast to their mana, and not be dictated to by those party leaders who have ganged together to tell them how to vote. “I call on our people...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Media Advisory – Interview availability
    This is to advise all media that Hone Harawira will be available in Auckland tomorrow, Friday the 19th of September from 7am to 4pm for interviews relating to his recent press releases. If you are interested in interviewing Mr Harawira on...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Labour stands on proud record on Suffrage Day
    Women have come a long way in the 121 years since New Zealand became the first country to give them the vote on September 19 1893, but there is still more to do, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says....
    Labour | 18-09
  • Polling Booths asked to treat Maori voters with respect
    “Polling booths without Maori roll voting papers, Maori people not being offered assistance to vote, people getting sent from Whangarei to Wellsford to vote, Maori people getting turned away from voting because they didn’t have their ‘easy vote’ card, Maori...
    Mana | 17-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Predators on Poverty – Harawira
    “As poverty has ballooned out of control, the Predators on Poverty have emerged to suck the lifeblood from whole families and communities” said MANA Movement leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “They are deliberately targeting low-income areas, particularly those...
    Mana | 11-09
  • MANA Movement Policy Launch
    Predators on Poverty (pokie machines, alcohol outlets and loan sharks) 1pm, Thursday 11th September Corner Great South Road and Criterion Street Otahuhu Shopping Centre...
    Mana | 10-09
  • Party members and affiliates – the real losers in Labour’s leadership f...
    Hey, wanna do a back room deal that cuts the members and affiliates out? Cunliffe must be reeling. He has lost failed Ilam candidate James Dann. It must cut as deep as the loss of Steve Gibson. Apart from providing Claire...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election res...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election result...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • The rich get richer
    Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman highlights the growing inequality in this article in the New York Times. The left wing slogan that the “the rich get richer” is a fact of almost perverse power. The most recent period of expansion in the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • A brief word on reinvading Iraq
    So after telling the country before the election that NZ would not send forces to Iraq, lo and behold now he’s won the election with a full spectrum dominance political majority, Key is suddenly now looking to join the re-invasion of...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • A brief word on the importance of ACT, Maori Party and United Future to Nat...
    I’m a far right wing clown who attacks tax money going on anything collective, gimmie some cash and privilege.  One of the great successes of National has been to implement hard right policy but have it sold as moderate. For some NZers,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Labour’s Angst
    Was Labour’s predictably low vote David Cunliffe’s fault? Was it policy? Was it something else that has aroused perceptions of electoral carnage? My analysis of the numbers suggests that, as uncertain voters made up their minds, there was a late...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Information wars: Gaza as “the last taboo”, the threat of mass surveill...
    “When the truth is replaced with silence” wrote the soviet dissident Yevgeni Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” There has been a silence these past months full of noise, static and sound bites of those in power justifying their violence,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
    I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics. I laughed. When the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG – P Campbell – To the Left with love
    A week after the general election results I feel wrung out emotionally, having been through the disappointment, depression and anger of seeing  another right wing government elected overwhelmingly by winning support from the parts of NZ that will never benefit...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – I will be the new Labour Leader!
    One week after the election, while I was still waiting to be consulted about contributing to the review on what went wrong, what do you know? There is a leadership challenge. So instead of opting for a united, thoughtful and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – A Prescient Post
    A very prescient pre-election post by Martyn Bradbury tells us why the Labour Party are at war now. “The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work” Despite Martyn Bradbury warning them this Right Wing strategy “Better Work”...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – W(h)ither Labour (!/?)
    There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the Labour Party, wherein soul-crushing defeat on a scale unseen since 1925 definitely has many fathers (and more than a few mothers and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • At the end of the day…
    At the end of the day…...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty
    Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Internet MANA the election and the media
    I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment. I wasn’t going to carry this further but was asked at the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Rachel Jones – A superficial discourse analysis of a superfic...
    On Sunday there was a story about Paddy Gower and his detached retina in the Herald on Sunday. Really? I hear you ask. Really? Yes, really. Pam Corkery will have sprayed toast crumbs over her dressing gown. The reporter has become...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Terrorising Australia’s Muslim population
    We should be suspicious when 800 police conduct “terror” raids across Australia, but only one person is charged with a relevant terrorism offence (of which we know few details). We should be suspicious of the lurid tales of terrorists planning...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its min...
    Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its mind. I know the Labour party has its problems and I’m not even going to try to prescribe what should be done about it. But what I...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA
    New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Reflecting on Elections Past
    There are a number of past elections that can give the left in New Zealand guidance and hope. Two major points though. Major parties require leaders who can bridge the political divide through strength of personality, vision of what it...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – The Reptile Room
    I stress, at the outset, that I’ve got nothing against reptiles. Some of my best friends are reptiles. Some say I am one, but I’m not really. I just emulate that ability to sit, stationary for hours in court, eyes...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • The success of right-wing counter messaging in the election
    One of the reasons National won the election was due to its success in counter messaging – and the way so many media commentators ran with th the right-wing spin. Here are some examples. Dirty Politics The original message was...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New Flag competition
    New Flag competition...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose”
    “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose” – Chris Hipkins Labour Senior Whip I would say to all of the caucus and all of the members let's actually hear the arguments from the people who want to be leader,...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Campaign to make Murder of Unborn ”Safe and Legal”
    The IPPF have launched an international campaign through its 161 affiliates including the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA] to make the murder of the unborn safe and legal and accepted as a human right. This is an acceleration of...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Grant Robertson Labour leader hopeful on TVNZ Q+A
    “Look I think what we need to be is relevant, clear and consistent with New Zealanders about the Labour Party's values,” said Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson on TVNZ’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour Needs to Get House in Order Before Deciding Leader
    Ex Labour party leader and possible repeat contender David Shearer says the Labour Party is going about the post-election period in the wrong way....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Hate merchants at it again with smear tactics
    “It’s disappointing to see the hate merchants at it again with yet another attempt to smear and silence a health professional who’s doing research they disagree with,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Women’s group heartened by response to promo girls
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    Scoop politics | 27-09
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    Lisa Owen interviews Jim Anderton, Helen Kelly and Selwyn Pellet ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
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  • Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto
    Lisa Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Prime Time on Labour
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  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau – Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 September 2014
    Saturday 27 September 2014 | One million people voted for National in last week’s election. Another million didn’t vote at all. In Kia Korero Mai this week, Eru Morgan talks to political commentator Henare Kingi about the figures and what...
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  • On The Nation this weekend: Labour, National, The Media
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  • Red Cross, Pacific leaders prepare for cyclone season
    The New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Advisory Group, met for the first time this week, to develop a disaster response plan for the upcoming Pacific cyclone season, which is forecast to be severe....
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  • Teachers support PM’s call for solutions to child poverty
    NZEI Te Riu Roa is pleased to hear that the Prime Minister is calling for new ideas to address child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • First batch of household protection kits arrives in Liberia
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    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Dr Paul Hutchison praised for work to reduce child poverty
    The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has thanked retiring National MP Dr Paul Hutchison for his work to reduce child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Bag snatch hero deserves a medal – McVicar
    The Justice Spokesman for the Conservative Party, Garth McVicar, is calling for the woman known as the bag-snatch hero to be awarded a medal for bravery....
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