web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Ignoring the warning signs

Written By: - Date published: 10:01 am, November 6th, 2012 - 17 comments
Categories: disaster, john key, national - Tags: , ,

Our human cognitive systems are a flawed hodge-podge of evolutionary hacks. Among our many failures of reasoning, we tend to believe what we want to believe (irrespective of the facts), and we tend to be bad about taking future consequences into account (we focus on short-term factors). Put these two failures together, and we people, both individually and collectively, have an astonishing capacity to ignore “warning signs”.

Individually everybody does this to a certain degree. Collectively we see it in politics all the time. Both “Left” and “Right” are guilty, though study after study has shown that the Right / political conservatives are especially good at seeing the world through their ideological filters, ignoring the facts and warnings, hence for example their wide-spread refusal to accept the reality of climate change.

We’ve seen two particularly clear and strong examples of ignoring the warnings in NZ politics in the last two weeks. The MSD ignored multiple warnings about vulnerabilities in their computer security. And of course the Department of Labour ignored multiple warnings about mine safety.

There are plenty of other cases ongoing. The National government is determined to ignore warnings on the damaging effects of its economic “austerity” programme, “standards” in schools, the risks of off-shore drilling, the dangers of climate change, the unsustainability of superannuation, and so on and so on. In fact Key seems to make it a point of “pride” to ignore warnings from professionals and scientists (such a tough guy eh).

The legions of the dangerously deluded keep Key popular, so that proves that everything is fine, right? We can ignore all the warning signs, we can carry on with destructive economic, social and environmental policies. We can carry on with short-term, ideological thinking. Everything will be just fine and dandy. Right up until the point where it isn’t.

17 comments on “Ignoring the warning signs”

  1. Adrian 1

    About the deluded keeping Key in such an elevated underserved status my 18 year old made an interesting observation on the “gay” and Beckham remarks. His opinion is that it is that little personal stuff that will be his undoing particularily among the young. They are a generation who have been bought up on the non bullying regime, it won’t be the big ( to us ) issues of accountability and bullshitting because in their opinion thats what politicians have always done, so he’s just true to type.

  2. PlanetOrphan 2

    Healthy paranoia is a good thing, eyes open, well said Anthony.

  3. ianmac 3

    Yes Anthony. When you line up the series, and join the dots, a pattern has emerged. It may fit in with John Key’s declared “pragmatic” approach. This may cause the multiple contradictions as one position obstructs another.
    Freedom of choice + Trust = Leaky Homes.
    Self regulating + Hands off = Mine disaster.
    Self regulating + Economy = Polluted sick Rivers.

  4. Dr Terry 4

    Key assumes that everything that has been proven a disaster in other parts of the world will be different in his and his country’s case.

    Of course the Right generally pursue short term “solutions” which will mostly benefit the already powerful and rich.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Remember Key comes from a corporate executive class used to destroying the organisations they lead and clients they serve, and still walking away with massive remuneration in salaries and bonuses.

  5. I remember hearing an early news report on National Radio just after Pike River explosion that the Clark Government had signed off on plans to increase the air flow in the mine, but the incoming Government had put all assigned work on hold until they had accessed the situation.

    Only heard it once, but that often happens hearing something important on the early news then it is deleted or modified throughout the day.

    • burt 5.1

      I heard something like that and I though the Green’s had requested the new vent be scrapped for environmental reasons… Snails or something similar might have been upset by the process of installing a new vent….

      • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1

        Funny how the Royal Commission report fails to mention it. Perhaps you’re full of shit or something.

      • Rob 5.1.2

        Some people only hear what they want to!
        You are one of them you are in good company with John Key just keep clipping the ticket and don’t add any think of value.

  6. Good article thanks

    Incidentally, I find the link between the word ignoring and the word ignorance entirely profound.

  7. KJT 7

    Agree with most of this.

    However I am surprised at the equally ignorant repeating of the right wing meme, “we cannot afford super (the dole, welfare, social insurance, State infrastructure)!

    Code for we cannot afford to feed and house our elderly. Yeah right.

    In fact super has been so successful in removing poverty amongst the elderly it should be extended to everyone else.
    http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/on-new-zealands-retirement-income.html

    Stopping the 3.5 billion profit the banks take out of our economy would help pay for it.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Stopping the 3.5 billion profit the banks take out of our economy would help pay for it.

      Yep, the only reason why we can’t afford anything is because of a few people taking all the wealth and leaving the country with nothing.

  8. Lloyd 8

    How about increasing the time between WOF checks?
    Reminds me of how freeing up the sort of material you could build your house from would reduce the cost of building houses and help reduce bureaucracy…..
    Remind me how effective stretching out the time between WOF checks is when a car with bald tyre skids out in a storm and kills me…

  9. Glg 9

    You realise John Key wants no oversight of deep sea oil drilling. companies will only have to say they will adhere to ‘best practise’. No regulation at all.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • The 40 Percent Solution.
    Challenging The Conventional Wisdom: The Labour Right believes the party can only succeed by conforming to the prevailing political and socioeconomic orthodoxy; the Labour Left understands that the whole point of the party is to challenge and change it.PHIL QUIN writes a...
    Bowalley Road | 30-07
  • Who wins the Education Debate ?: UMR and Herald-Digi Polls on Quality Teach...
    Herald-DigiPollThe Herald have just released further results from a Herald-DigiPoll (part of their Mid July political poll), which finds that "New Zealanders would rather money was spent on improving teaching standards" - ostensibly National's position - "than on reducing class...
    Sub zero politics | 30-07
  • Hard News: The crybaby philosopher
    Earlier this week, Act Party leader Jamie Whyte notified the world that he had delivered a speech entitled Race has no place in the law and, it seemed, sat back in anticipation of plaudits for his tremendous argument.Sadly, the next...
    Public Address | 30-07
  • Policymaking in a hyperglobalised world
    Speech to a conference of the Industry Training Federation and Polytechnics, 31 July 2014 First, some context. We are living through a turbulent decade. One element is the coming of age of a disruptive technology, digital technology, which is turning...
    Colin James | 30-07
  • Scientists criticise National Science Challenges
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 25 Radio New Zealand has used an official information request to expose serious unrest among scientists this week over the way the government is handling its NationalScienceChallenges project. The...
    Tertiary Education Union | 30-07
  • League tables due out this week
    The TertiaryEducation Commission will publish 2013 educational performance indicators (EPIs) this week. The information ranks universities, polytechnics and wānanga institutions on their performance against the criteria, and inevitably morphs into league tables. However, TEU...
    Tertiary Education Union | 30-07
  • Joyce monitoring, not acting, on loan cuts
    The tertiary education minister Steven Joyce dodged a question last week about whether he would exempt medical students from the seven-year limit on student loans. Answering a written parliamentary question from Green MP Holly...
    Tertiary Education Union | 30-07
  • Whanganui prisoners want automotive course back
    Prisoners who want to study at UCOL are the subject of a fierce debate between TEU’s UCOL branch president Tina Smith and Whanganui MP Chester Borrows. Chester Borrows told the Wanganui Chronicle last week that...
    Tertiary Education Union | 30-07
  • Fascinating chart on global income change
    Last year Joseph Stiglitz, Prof James K Galbraith, and Branko Milanovic presented a paper that included the following graph, which set the economics world all a-twitter: It shows the change in income around the world in roughly the first 20...
    Polity | 30-07
  • Nurses celebrate partial victory for new grads
    Nurses celebrated yesterday when they learned their 7000 signature petition had helped pressure the government into funding a further 200 more positions in the nurse entry to practice (NEtP) programme for every new graduate...
    Tertiary Education Union | 30-07
  • Development opportunities after CRL: Will Newton become a second Newmarket?
    A couple of weeks ago Auckland Council quietly released a new version of its Capacity for Growth Study. The CFG study is an important and interesting document – it models the potential for future residential and business development under current...
    Transport Blog | 30-07
  • Novopay Exemplifies National’s Governance
    This National led Government is strong on ideology, weak on process and reluctant to accept responsibility. The Novopay debacle exemplifies all of these well.When questioned about Novopay, National Ministers will never accept full responsibility. Initially the Government blamed Labour because they...
    Local Bodies | 30-07
  • Labour’s living wage announcement welcome news for public servants
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Labour’s commitment to ensure all core public service workers are paid at least the...
    PSA | 30-07
  • Novopay debacle shows danger of contracting out public services
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says the Novopay debacle shows core public services are best provided in-house. Glenn Barclay, PSA...
    PSA | 30-07
  • Israel celebrates killing of children
    As the Israeli bombardment and occupation of Gaza intensifies with Unicef estimating that 230 Palestinian children have been killed to date, the international response to numerous Israeli war crimes appears to be floundering. Although an investigation will be conducted, without...
    The Jackal | 30-07
  • A video has emerged showing far-right Israeli protesters celebrating the death of children in Gaza in Tel Aviv this weekend.The protesters, who were picketing a much larger anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday night, can be seen...
    The Jackal | 30-07
  • Novopay triumph for government
    Today the National government announced the future plans for the troubled education payroll system Novopay. The system has had a rough ride since it was implemented almost two years ago. At parliament today the Cabinet Minister for Fixing Up Really Bad...
    My Thinks | 30-07
  • Stuart’s 100 #3: Plane Tree Avenues
    Stuart Houghton’s 100 ideas for Auckland continues 3: Plane Tree Avenues Franklin Road, with its historic plane trees, is one of the most loved streets in Auckland. What if plane tree avenues defined all the major city fringe streets? This...
    Transport Blog | 30-07
  • Too Much some recent articles on Inequality
    click here for these...
    Closing the Gap | 30-07
  • From truffle to light crude; oil doesn’t come cheap
    The Governments oil salesman Simon Bridges just can’t catch a break these days. Whether it’s having to admit that he’d never even heard of NZ’s largest forest park (Victoria FP) which he’d just opened up to drillers or getting stick...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-07
  • Submit on the Draft Parking Discussion Document
    Auckland Transport have had their Draft Parking Discussion Document (2mb file) out for consultation over the last couple of months, but this closes at midnight on Thursday. This covers the full range of parking issues around the city, including on-street, off-street and park...
    Transport Blog | 30-07
  • Reaching out to voters
    This is going to be the biggest grassroots campaign we’ve ever run. A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the stats from our voter outreach programme with the media. It’s campaign activity that’s often hidden from view, but...
    Labour campaign | 30-07
  • Scrapped
    Wellington City Council has scrapped its "alternative giving" campaign. Good. As the article notes, the campaign was an expensive failure, with $40,000 spent to raise just $3,500 for the homeless. But despite that, its architects are still trying to pretend...
    No Right Turn | 30-07
  • Following in illustrious footsteps
    Gaylene Nepia is campaign manager for both the national Māori campaign and for her brother Adrian Rurawhe - Labour’s candidate for the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate. Mr Rurawhe and Mrs Nepia are great grandchildren of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, founder of the...
    Labour campaign | 30-07
  • Seeing life through a Maori lens
    Meka Whaitiri, MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, is contesting the seat for the first time at a general election. She entered Parliament through a by-election in June last year, following the death of her predecessor Parekura Horomia....
    Labour campaign | 30-07
  • Bribery
    So, it turns out that the government blew $240,000 on hosting eleven oil company executives for a four-day junket during the 2011 rugby world cup. In Parliament today Energy Minister Simon Bridges admitted that $22,000 of that spending was on...
    No Right Turn | 30-07
  • All other things being equal… except they aren’t
    US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts likes to say that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race", a sentiment ACT leader Jamie Whyte would applaud going by...
    Pundit | 30-07
  • Celebrating a great talent pool
    I've been an MP since the 1996 election, first for Te Tai Hauauru and then for Tainui, which became Hauraki-Waikato after boundary changes. I'm seeing a real energy around Labour among Māori. The talent pool that Labour is fielding in both...
    Labour campaign | 30-07
  • Labour on wages
    Great to see positive, progressive policy from Labour on wages today. The core points are: Increase the minimum wage by $2 an hour in our first year, to $15 an hour in our first hundred days in government, and increased...
    Polity | 30-07
  • Inequality: Balancing the Extremes from Credit Suisse Research Institute
    click here for this youtube clip...
    Closing the Gap | 30-07
  • Labours policies a step change for working people
    “After six long years of working life getting tougher in New Zealand workers have been given a real choice today with the announcement of Labours Industrial Relations policy package.” CTU President Helen Kelly said...
    CTU | 30-07
  • Inequality and Its Consequences Stiglitz and Feldstein
    click here for this youtube discusioon...
    Closing the Gap | 30-07
  • Australia’s corruption cover-up
    Wikileaks strikes again:A sweeping gagging order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several international political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks. The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts...
    No Right Turn | 30-07
  • A bottom-up plan for inequality
    Labour released its "work and wages" policy today. The headlines? Abolishing the 90-day law and increasing the minimum wage by $2 to $16.25 an hour by April 2015. Those are fairly obvious ways of delivering to their core constituency, but...
    No Right Turn | 30-07
  • World News Brief, Wednesday July 30
    Top of the AgendaU.S., EU to Toughen Sanctions on Russia...
    Pundit | 30-07
  • Where are Labour’s billboards?
    On Sunday, I drove from Gisborne to Katikati, through Opotiki, Te Puke and Tauranga. Yesterday afternoon/evening, I made the return journey. One thing I noticed is that National Party billboards popped up regularly, mixtures of individual candidates’ billboards (simply stating...
    Occasionally erudite | 30-07
  • “Improving”
    End-of-Year process positive for Novopay, Steven Joyce, 17 January 2014:Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce says a 100 per cent completion rate for schools involved in the End-of-Year process and an accompanying low error rate are tributes to the hard...
    No Right Turn | 30-07
  • Farmers don’t set out to pollute our rivers
    It can be easy to vilify farmers. But no farmer sets out to create pollution, and the evidence suggests that many farmers are either already acting responsibly or that they are lifting their game. In particular, dairy farmers are acting....
    Gareth’s World | 30-07
  • Guide to economic evaluation part 3: What is agglomeration?
    Debates over major transport investments often get caught up in arguments over benefit-cost ratios, or BCRs. In recent years, projects such as the Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth motorways and the City Rail Link have been criticised for their...
    Transport Blog | 30-07
  • Where to now for Colin and the Conservatives?
    It’s (almost*) official – there’s no deal for Colin Craig in East Coast Bays. Murray McCully will not be knifed, thrown under a bus or given concrete shoes to go swimming in. Given that Mr Craig had already accepted he...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-07
  • Real men say sorry
    There are a couple of universal truths that all men should be aware of. Firstly, it takes a bigger man to walk away. Of course men can be accused of being weak if they don't confront their problems with violence,...
    The Jackal | 29-07
  • Why my children took part in a playful protest against LEGO’s partner...