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Greens Budget Alternative

Written By: - Date published: 1:11 pm, May 21st, 2012 - 68 comments
Categories: budget2012, Economy, exports, greens, infrastructure, Privatisation, russel norman - Tags:

The Greens launched their Budget alternative this morning. Titled “Smart Green Economics” it lived up to the billing, as did its Economic Policy launch before the Budget. Extra heft was provided by BERL economist Dr Ganesh Nana with a commissioned paper arguing that the Government’s asset sales programme leaves the government accounts permanently worse off, and may also worsen the country’s deficit, our “largest single vulnerability”. The BERL paper is here.

Russel Norman  argued our current account deficit is in decline, our net international investment position is declining and that manufacturing, 20% of our export economy, is being decimated. He also said  that the 2010 tax switch was not fiscally neutral as the Government promised, but has left us $2.2billion worse off. Spending $14 billion on roads when the real oil price is likely to double over the coming decade is also a poor quality spend.

Russel Norman didn’t just critique, but also pointed to the opportunities in smart green economics. Openings in the geothermal sector mean it would be tragic to sell off Mighty River Power. Other opportunities combining  economic rebalancing, fiscal resilience and the smart green economy include capital gains tax, reprioritised transport spending, putting a commercial price on water, extending the home insulation scheme and boosting research and development. More included setting higher standards for fresh water, higher mining royalties and royalties reserve fund, putting a real price on carbon, having a public option of Kiwisaver, supercharging our energy SOEs, and investing in our children.

Plenty of positive stuff to think about there.

Ganesh Nana explained the difference between Government debt and deficit, and external debt and deficit. The first may or may not be bad, the second is ll bad. He said lack of clarity in much media comment around the difference between these led to confusion, with which I heartily agree. The asset sales programme as stated does not address the Government’s debt, simply replaces one asset with another. He argued that with $100 billion sitting in term deposits in the banks there was plenty of opportunity for Government to borrow from New Zealanders at realistic rates without affecting our external deficit. Again, plenty to think about.

It was good to hear about opportunities and alternatives. We’ve heard enough of TINA.

68 comments on “Greens Budget Alternative”

  1. Carol 1

    The Greens launched their Budget alternative this morning. Titled “Smart Green Economics” it lived up to the billing, as did its Economic Policy launch before the Budget. Extra heft was provided by BERL economist Dr Ganesh Nana with a commissioned paper arguing that the Government’s asset sales programme leaves the government accounts permanently worse off, and may also worsen the country’s deficit, our “largest single vulnerability”. The BERL paper is here.

    Laila Harre earning her salary then?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10795565

    Former Cabinet Minister Laila Harre has taken up a senior policy position with the Green Party.

    The Greens announced Ms Harre’s appointment today, saying she would take up a newly-created advisory role of issues director for the party.

  2. Gosman 2

    Goodo. I’d expect Interest rates to rise significantly under any Green run economy then.

    • Dv 2.1

      Good to see careful reasoned analysis gosman.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        Please explain how the following statement doesn’t mean higher interest rates?

        “He argued that with $100 billion sitting in term deposits in the banks there was plenty of opportunity for Government to borrow from New Zealanders at realistic rates…”

        • Deano 2.1.1.1

          well, isn’t National saying that there’s plenty of money in term deposits for people to buy shares in the assets with? Wouldn’t that push up interest rates too, in your analysis?

          • Gosman 2.1.1.1.1

            I presume people will choose voluntarily to invest in the shares in the part privatised SOE’s because they are attracted by the returns they believe they are likely to be receiving. What will attract them from removing their savings from Term Deposits in Commercial banks and investing in Government Bonds?

            • Ant 2.1.1.1.1.1

              The fact that a nation state is generally more stable than a bank, also rational irrationality like patriotism.

              • Gosman

                The patriotism argument would apply equally to Kiwibank.

                Given that the Commercial banks have essentially an unwriiten guarrantee of protection for their deposits as a result of recent actions out of the GFC your security argument holds less sway.

                However technically there isn’t an awful lot stopping NZ people from investing in Government bonds now. They could pool their money and put it into an investment company that just buys NZ Government Bonds for example. The fact they don’t do so suggests they possibly would like the higher returns offered by the Commercial banks.

                To get more money from the people with 100 Billion in Term investments in NZ the Government will have to offer something more than just a combination of patriotism and security.

                On top of this fact is that removing a proportion of the 100 Billion will increase the cost of capital for the commercial banks who will then have to raise interest rates to raise the short fall.

                • Matt

                  The government could make interest on government bonds/notes tax exempt to attract more, ahem, interest.

                  • Gosman

                    So how will the Commercial banks make their term deposits more attractive to fill the gap caused by people leaving them to invest in Government Bonds?

                    • Ant

                      How do they compete with each other for deposits at the moment?

                      Commercial banks already exist in a climate of competition, what makes you think that a single new entrant into the market will cause such evil and horrible consequences?

                    • Matt

                      Gee I don’t know, how did they manage everywhere else tax exemptions on government bonds have been used as incentives. 

                    • Gosman

                      You really don’t get it do you? There is no such thing as a free lunch in economics. If the Greens wish to tap into the 100 billion dollars of Term Deposits to help fund their spending plans that will mean higher interest rates pure and simple. They either have to offer better returns for Government debt to tempt investors or even if they do it by reducing tax on returns they will reduce the overall capital available to banks who will have to raise interest rates on their deposit book to satisfy their needs. I am truly astounded by some leftists lack of basic understanding of finance and economics sometimes. The only way they could increase borrowing without this is via printing of money. For some reason they aren’t suggesting that.

                    • Matt

                      To satisfy their needs? Whose needs, the banks?

                      The phrase “fuck them” doesn’t begin to cover it.

                    • Gosman

                      As stated, you really don’t understand economics. At least you acknowledge that the policy will lead to higher interest rates.

                    • Matt

                      You may not be good for much (Soylent Green?) but you do have an elaborate fantasy life.

                • PaulB

                  Commercial banks do not have any sort of guarantee from the government. Get with the programme.

                  • Gosman

                    Given what happened in 2008 they have an implied guarrantee. That is the trouble when you provide it once. It becomes difficult to deny it when banks get in to trouble at a latter date.

                • Fortran

                  Only Kiwi Bank has a guarantee – the New Zealand taxpayer – which is why it has the highest security rating in the country, by Standard & Poors.
                  The overseas banks do not have that only Reserve Bank oversight.

    • Bored 2.2

      WTF have you been? Whole week somewhere else…..did you get somewhat world weary? Or was it that you had to do some “work”?

    • Lanthanide 2.3

      “Goodo. I’d expect Interest rates to rise significantly under any Green run economy then.”

      As well they should. National keep trumpeting how good it is that interest rates are low now and that they did it.

      Of course interest rates are low: the outlook for the economy isn’t great.

      High interest rates show a strong economy, low interest rates show a weak one. Of course the average idiot (and journalist) doesn’t realise this so buy into Nat’s spin 100%.

      Also nevermind that the reserve bank is independent of the government, and if the government actually had a credible economic plan I’m sure Alan Bollard would be itching to raise the rate. As it is, it’s expected it will be cut this year.

      • Gosman 2.3.1

        Not true at all. Many economies have had low interest rates on Government Bonds even when the economy was going great guns.

      • Bob 2.3.2

        In that case Lanthanide, you must have agreed whole-heartedly with Rogernomics? Intrest rates were through the roof in the late 80’s!

  3. Carol 3

    Nice slides & graphs from Norman. But I need more detail on the policies.

    What’s involved in the allegedly lucrative returns for “Green growth” and a “smart green economy”?

    How to improve the quality of water, invest in children, “supercharging our SOEs” etc?

    What is mean by a “Public option for Kiwisaver”?

  4. Peter 4

    Very nice to see it from the Greens. But again, Labour’s strategy is wanting, the major opposition party is missing in action over this Budget, at least thus far, and allowing the Greens to get all the air time. Maybe there is deep strategy in this that I miss, but I’m a bit more politically attuned than most, and if I can’t see it, the general public sure as hell can’t.

    • Ant 4.1

      Yeah Labour seems AWOL on this one…. The beauty of front-footing like the Greens have done is that it comes across as vision and not sour grapes.

  5. Liberal Realist 5

    Great to see some an alternative budget from the Greens.

    Doesn’t Russell Norman come across as a Prime Minister in waiting more and more as time goes on?

    No doubt CFM (“Corporate Fawning Media”) will not air this at all or it will be buried in the 6th page of the Herald…

    The BERL report should be the final nail in the coffin for asset sales but it won’t be. What I don’t understand is that poli pimp “The Hair” could shaft Nationals plans and be hailed as a hero for doing it. I would have thought “The Hair” would care about his political legacy? I guess not as he’ll be remembered as the Nact whoring pimp who’s vote allowed NZ’s strategic assets to be sold off…

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      I would have thought “The Hair” would care about his political legacy?

      I suspect at this time that he’s only concerned about the baubles of office and shafting NZ will give him those. Actually standing on principal and voting where the evidence tells him would be against giving him that sense of power.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    He argued that with $100 billion sitting in term deposits in the banks there was plenty of opportunity for Government to borrow from New Zealanders at realistic rates without affecting our external deficit.

    Governments should never borrow but print money at 0% interest. Yes, this means that the capitalists won’t have a government guaranteed income and will have to actually take some of those risks that they keep harping on about. I don’t have a problem with that.

  7. AAMC 7

    While the private sector is Deleveraging the Public sector needs to be borrowing and underpinning demand, this would seem perfect territory for the Greens as this Govt spending could be directed towards Green infrastructural development, creating jobs whilst improving the environment and boosting the economy and demand, leading to a natural reduction of debt due to an increased tax take and economic activity. Our central bank should print the money with which to achieve it.

    Yeah yeah Gosman, inflation inflation, seen any outta Japan in the last decade of stagnation and printing??

    Real problem though, the Greens won’t front foot this, the are caught up in the neo-classical narrative around debt in order to appear economically reasonable within the Orthodox framework that brought us the GFC and the GFC2 now rolling out.

    For a look at some stats on what happens to the private sector when the Public sector is in Surplus..

    http://www.slideshare.net/MitchGreen/mmt-basics-you-cannot-consider-the-deficit-in-isolation

    • Gosman 7.1

      I also haven’t seen much in the way of growth out of Japan over the past two decades despite massive investment in infrastructure projects by Government. However your linking to Japan isn’t a good fit anyway as the problem with Japan post the 1990’s has been deflation. I would agree that expansionary monetary policy would have less of a negative inflationary impact in such an environment. A more apt analogy to use is probably the UK at the moment where they have engaged in quantitative easing and also have higher inflation.

      • AAMC 7.1.1

        QE as euphemism for giving money to irresponsible banks.

        Self inflicted Austerity – like their parrots here in Nats – is what’s grinding the UK to a hault. Their QE hasn’t been invested by Govt into the economy, it’s been used to attempt to add some solvency to banks running enormous risk on re-hypothecated bubble money.

        How did you like what happened to the Private sector during Clinton’s surplus in those slides? I gather you likely didn’t look.

  8. Jackal 8

    My only real concern for the next election is that Labour will romp in and not really need to form a coalition with the Greens. But you know, we’ve had nine years of Labour where New Zealander’s standard of living declined, and now we’ve had National inflict even more damage on the country in less than half that time… so there really isn’t anything to lose in trying what the Greens are proposing. It couldn’t possibly be worse.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Bear in mind that western living standards are unsustainable without increasing availability of materials and energy, so those living standards are going to decline regardless of the party in power.

      The question is, whether or not it is organised to happen in a way which is socially sustainable and socially responsible.

      The NATs aren’t interested in any such thing, the many can starve while the few eat cake as far as they are concerned.

      And both the Greens and Labour think that “growth” will be back again tomorrow. Neither have the guts to tell the electorate the truth.

      • Lanthanide 8.1.1

        Was just about to make pretty much the same comment.

      • Jackal 8.1.2

        Agreed. I don’t mean to sound like a doomsayer, but even with an egalitarian system in place, our lifestyles are going to have to change and will in all likelihood get more difficult. It’s all about degrees of difficulty really.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2.1

          …and will in all likelihood get more difficult.

          It wouldn’t be a difficult lifestyle just one that has a lot less waste than the one we have now. What we’d be looking at is extending the life cycles of the products available, i.e, computers can only be upgraded every 5 years. Recycling would have to become the norm – if the product can’t be recycled then it’s not on the market. High density housing in walkable communities with buses and trains becoming necessary for longer distances.

          • Carol 8.1.2.1.1

            +1

          • Jackal 8.1.2.1.2

            You’re essentially talking about planned obsolescence DTB, which is designed into most items these days. Basically they’re designed to fail at a certain age, usually after the warranty runs out. With some things it’s a technical obsolescence, whereby new developments supersede the old. Computer and program manufacturers are some of the worst, often releasing developments slowly to maximise their profit margin.

            The problem here is that extending the life cycle of products comes at a cost to the manufacturer, so unless governments develop policy that ensures items are not designed to fail, the profit motive will continue to keep low quality products on our shelves. Government’s realize that they gain less tax if things are designed to last, so unless a new measurement of growth is developed, governments are caught in a catch 22.

            What I was talking about is the convenience of our modern lifestyles, whereby things like plastic packaging and cheap transportation will not be so readily available. The end of cheap oil and globalisation will cause a decline in availability of items because governments haven’t properly secured supply chains through localized production. The difficulty is in how fast people will learn to adapt, and to some extent, whether they can at all.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        +1

        Need a party which comes out with the truth rather than the comforting lies that the parties that we have propagate to sooth the populace.

      • AAMC 8.1.4

        I think it’s important to be honest on this point, especially for those of us who vote Green. They are as wedded to the narrative of growth as the rest, I understand their desire to appear mainstream, but as long as we tinker at the fringe of orthodox economics, it’s BAU.

    • Te Reo Putake 8.2

      “My only real concern for the next election is that Labour will romp in and not really need to form a coalition with the Greens.”
       
      Yep, I’m losing sleep over that possible outcome, too. Much rather have the Greens than Winnie, but, realistically, I think Labour will need both. You are completely wrong about living standards in the Clark years, by the way. Life got measurably better after a decade and a half of the ACT in disguise Lange government and the even worse Bolger/Shipley shambles. People had jobs, for starters.

      • Jackal 8.2.1

        While your essentially correct, and many indicators did improve, some did not. Gains in health look to be mainly a result of reducing smoking rates, particularly for females. The bad news is that Kiwi’s got more obese, drank more and became less physically active during the Clark years.

        However the amount of children living below the income poverty threshold halved and suicides also declined, which are often good indicators of how society (and the government) is performing. Government debt reduced and median household incomes increased under the last Labour government.

        Males lagged behind in most statistics and there were marginal lifestyle gains for females… so it’s a pass, but only just.

        Then John Key waved his shitty magic stick, and median household incomes are now in decline, Government debt has increased markedly and inequality and suicide rates are increasing. Home ownership levels are falling as well… so National gets a big fat F for fail.

        Time to give some Green policies a go methinks.

  9. I think all I can say is fucking idiot greens, they haven’t a bloody clue, they are part of the problem, and like every politician they are lying to ya.

    • Jackal 9.1

      About what?

      • AAMC 9.1.1

        About endless growth and the virtue of Govt surplus.

        • Jackal 9.1.1.1

          The old purest versus practical debate eh. Unfortunately the Greens have to work within the current system, whereby their policies will be judged to be competent if they break even or post a surplus… it’s not as simple as just dismissing capitalism. It’s pretty early days to see if there is any financial benefit to their home insulation scheme, but I expect there will be.

          The difference is where money is allocated and a clean green future in fact offers the best of both worlds. Firstly it reduces reliance on fossil fuels, which is important for our continued survivability. Secondly it means the economy will continue to function when the shit really hits the fan and we wont end up riding donkey’s to town.

    • weka 9.2

      No-one would vote for them if they told the truth.

  10. Peter in Papua New Guinea 10

    Smart Green Economics – the ultimate oxymoron.
    All the Greens want is tax tax tax and spend spend spend.
    Energy costs will jump 20% due to carbon taxes, lets see what happens in Aust in July. The polluter will pass on the cost and guess what, either demand falls due to lower spending power of inflation increases.

    • mike e 10.1

      so peter making the rest of us subsidize carbon is not a oxyoumoron

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      Hey Peter, you do realise the money taken from you in taxes is being spent on us, in our communities and in our cities?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      You have NFI WTF you’re talking about do you?

      Smart Green Economics – the ultimate oxymoron.

      Nope, the only rational option. Normal economics is delusional and probably psychopathic.

      All the Greens want is tax tax tax and spend spend spend.

      Nope, go read their policies.

      Energy costs will jump 20% due to carbon taxes, lets see what happens in Aust in July.

      An increase in costs isn’t an increase in inflation but an increase in costs. Sure, demand will fall but that’s normal economics. The whole point of the “free-market” is that it will adjust to the new normal.

      Of course, we don’t actually have a free-market as it’s owned, lock, stock and barrel by the 1% and a decrease in demand will see them lose a little income which is what they’re whining about and what you’re swallowing.

      • Colonial Viper 10.3.1

        Yeah Peter is locked in a stupid unworkable model of badly thought out and unrealistic neoliberal economics.

  11. Anthony 11

    I boastfully posted the other forums before. But I guess often in self righteousness. But the way I see it, as one of the ones who caused the problem.

    Don Brash was one of the few hopes for New Zealand he said at the time about 5 years ago it would be harder than the second world war to get New Zealand to a Growing sustainable country catching up with Australia. That was over 5 years ago and he was ignored along with many of Acts initial policy’s. So if was as hard as war then well.

    The Solution is:

    I really see it, first we need pleading to international help to help us recover and get international aid. We need to outsource Government departments such as entire health sector to Australia to administer. We need to have boarder-less “passport free” crossing to Australia, common currency just for start.

    We then need to remove RMA completely and privatize the Building Department and all associated acts.

    Sell the entire Tertiary Education sector.

    Reduce income tax to 10%

    Removed GST of all food, and basic living items.

    Introduce Capital gains tax

    Sell parts or New Zealand to Europe and America allowing them to create cities such as a French city in South island ran and administered by France.

    Increase school standards. (Longer Day- Real economic teaching learn anther language from early on.)

    Remove the treaty of Wiatangi form many government items.

    Put some Politicians in jail. ( And look at performance pay- Electronic Elections on the internet).

    Write a CONSTITUTION based on the American.

    Removed number of MPs make it 99 and fix MMP i.e. party percent list choice elected from public.

    Remove Government Standards: i.e allow cheap quality small electric cars on road. Allow Insurance companies to take risk analysis – not Government
    Increase tax on alcohol. Also other government arbitrary standards which may not have cost benefit logical ratio.

    Sell some roads completely.

    Remove many testing and certification schemes.

    Reduce all fines by 50%

    Sell ACC and allow privatization and suing

    Removed 50% of Government Agency’s and ministry’s.

    Stop putting money in the Rugby industry.

    Sue the transport minister for spending millionths on motorways for the Roading Lobby.

    Invest in heavy public transport and bike lanes for the big city’s.

    Gee its going to be hard for someone.

    Will put more later

    • fatty 11.1

      LOL…is this NZ committing a capitalist crucifixion?…I kinda agree with you cause we are so far up shit creek we may as well go out with some fireworks.
      When are you gonna post the rest Anthony? I wanna know how we should slaughter the babies? Is there a mass suicide pact for poor people too?

    • happynz 11.2

      Sell parts or New Zealand to Europe and America allowing them to create cities such as a French city in South island ran and administered by France.

      This is my favourite proposal. If it came to pass I’d be plumping for a Mexican city for my own selfish reasons. The Mexican food situation here is dire. ‘Decent affordable tacos for all!’ is my rallying cry.

      Seriously though (actually, I am serious about the dire Mexican food in this country), Anthony’s libertarian wish-list is more than a bit over the top.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    Anthony must be busy rolling the dice to see which neolib policies he can put in at random with other random nonsense. No vision, no philosophy, no sense of community: Anthony is a lost row boat in a big sea.

  13. ad 13

    I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Greens’ well orchestrated set piece, bothin the timing and in the supporting analysis from a good economist. At minimum, it drew the PM out on it.

    Great tactics and go the Green team.

    Sadly, after muzzling Cunliffe, Labour’s team remain quite on the defensive this week. Precisely the wrong week to be defensive. Giving Key a free hit on Shearer – ouch!

    Knock knock Labour – anyone home? It’s budget week.

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    Two pieces of news that are kind of a big deal, for me. Firstly, I’m ditching my landline! I’m not a student and I’m not in a low income band, so make of that what you will. Secondly, after 10… ...
    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    11 hours ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    11 hours ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    11 hours ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    11 hours ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    13 hours ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    13 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    13 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    13 hours ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    13 hours ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    13 hours ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    14 hours ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    14 hours ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    15 hours ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    15 hours ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    15 hours ago
  • Spend and Tax
    As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in… ...
    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    16 hours ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    22 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the rise of the far right, and battle bots
    In his victory speech at the Cannes film festival this week, the British film director Ken Loach warned that the rise of far right parties in Europe was being fuelled by the economic policies of austerity, and manifested in a… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Why Corrections prevented Tony Robertson from getting treatment in prison
    Tony Robertson was sentenced to eight years in prison for indecently assaulting a five year old girl in 2005. He was considered a high risk prisoner and the parole board declined to release him on four separate occasions.  He was… ...
    PunditBy Roger Brooking
    1 day ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Climate denial arguments fail a blind test
    As we saw in the recent legal ruling against Peabody coal, arguments and myths that are based in denial of the reality of human-caused global warming rarely withstand scientific scrutiny. In a new study published in Global Environmental Change, a team led by Stephen Lewandowsky… ...
    1 day ago
  • Palmerston North librarians gather to support UCOL colleagues
    At 5pm today at the UCOL Library, representatives of library staff from the City Library, Massey, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and local schools will meet in a show of support for UCOL Library staff whose jobs are threatened. “We all… ...
    1 day ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Not Quite But Getting There
    It seems that Labour might have finally gotten the memo about getting it’s A into G but perhaps not quite digested the content. Still it’s a start. The last month has seen a steady stream of both Labour and Little… ...
    1 day ago
  • Climate change: The latest inventory
    The annual inventory report [PDF] of our greenhouse gas emissions was released on Friday. The headline data: emissions are still increasing: There's been another "recalculation" in the last 12 months, making year-to-year comparisons difficult. Naurally, this seems to have shifted… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Climate change: The latest inventory
    The annual inventory report [PDF] of our greenhouse gas emissions was released on Friday. The headline data: emissions are still increasing: There's been another "recalculation" in the last 12 months, making year-to-year comparisons difficult. Naurally, this seems to have shifted… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Australia lets kiwi detainees literally rot
    What are our "closest friends" Australia doing to kiwis awaiting deportation? Letting them literally rot away in prison due to substandard medical care:A New Zealander held at an Australian immigration detention centre will find out today if his leg has… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Australia lets kiwi detainees literally rot
    What are our "closest friends" Australia doing to kiwis awaiting deportation? Letting them literally rot away in prison due to substandard medical care:A New Zealander held at an Australian immigration detention centre will find out today if his leg has… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
    The City Rail Link will be one of the most transformational projects Auckland has ever seen. Perhaps nowhere else will see experience that transformation more than the inner west of the isthmus which effectively gets picked up and moved much closer to… ...
    1 day ago
  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
    The City Rail Link will be one of the most transformational projects Auckland has ever seen. Perhaps nowhere else will see experience that transformation more than the inner west of the isthmus which effectively gets picked up and moved much closer to… ...
    1 day ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
    We all know that National works for the rich and screw over ordinary New Zealanders to funnel wealth upwards into the pockets of its rich mates. But how bad have they been? $13,000 bad:Yesterday, Mr Little said that since National… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
    We all know that National works for the rich and screw over ordinary New Zealanders to funnel wealth upwards into the pockets of its rich mates. But how bad have they been? $13,000 bad:Yesterday, Mr Little said that since National… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
    The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
    The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Review: The Block Party
    Did New Zealand’s 'premier urban music' event live up to the hype?   Photo: Nicole Semitara Hunt ‘Old school’ was the name of the game on Friday night at The Block Party, where several thousand converged on ASB… ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
    Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website… ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
    Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website… ...
    1 day ago
  • New research confirms water fluoridation does not cause bone cancers
    The most common type of bone cancer is Osteosarcoma. Image credit:  Osteosarcoma This time for Texas. A new study confirms what other researchers have found elsewhere. It is reported in this recent paper: Archer, N. P., Napier, T. S., & Villanacci, J. F. (2016).… ...
    1 day ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Selfie-takers think they’re the greatest
    Science says otherwise.  “People often perceive themselves as more attractive and likable than others [perceive them to be].” This is the cutting conclusion from a new study that has found you're probably not as great as you think you… ...
    1 day ago
  • UCOL cutting the staff who lifted student results
    UCOL needs to halt its proposed cuts to student support services now that it knows those services are improving student outcomes. On Friday, in an email to all staff, UCOL released its provisional 2015 Educational Performance Indicator (EPI) results which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Another Road Only Harbour Crossing on the Cards?
    The absence of rail as well as walking and cycling options to the North Shore has been considered an oversight by many probably ever since the Harbour Bridge was first approved for construction over 60 years ago. While Skypath will… ...
    2 days ago
  • Leaked UK Briefing Shows NZ-EU Trade Deal is a Sham
    Press Release – New Zealand First Party Rt Hon Winston Peters New Zealand First Leader Member of Parliament for Northland 23 MAY 2016 Leaked UK Briefing Shows NZ-EU Trade Deal is a Sham The Prime Ministers EU trade deal… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on bank scandals and air crashes
    Libor. It stands for the London Interbank Offered rate. Back in 2012, Libor became synonymous with a scandal involving the dodgy manipulation of how interest rates were fixed – during the years before and after the Global Financial Crisis –… ...
    2 days ago
  • March Against Monsanto
    Press Release – TPP Action Waikato March Against Monsanto (MAM)is a global form of action aimed at informing the public, calling into question the long term health risks of genetically modified foods and Roundup ready crops.Today Waikato people rally, at… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago

  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    6 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    7 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    7 hours ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    11 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    13 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    13 hours ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    13 hours ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    14 hours ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    1 day ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    2 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    4 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    4 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    4 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    5 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    5 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    6 days ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    6 days ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago
  • Under-reporting shows need to review quota system
    The Government must launch an independent review into New Zealand’s 30-year-old Quota Management System following a new report suggesting gross under-reporting of catch in the New Zealand fishing industry, Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker says.  “The Auckland University report found… ...
    1 week ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Law Commission speaks up for domestic violence survivors
    I want to give kudos to the Minister for Justice for getting the Law Commission to review options for how our justice system responds when victims of domestic violence kill their partners. This is a relatively discrete piece of work… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago

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