web analytics
The Standard

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.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • The Grinch that stole the Waitangi Day public holiday
    It’s been a busy summer for AFFCO Talley’s as they toil away tirelessly in their attempts to bust the union at their Rangiuru site in Wairoa. Not content with locking out some of their employees who belong to the Meat… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 days ago
  • Waitangi 2016
    I have been to Waitangi every Waitangi Day except one since 2000. As usual, the good news and positive political events were ignored by many media. The Greens, for example, had a very good reception at Te Tii Marae. We… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 days ago
  • Waitangi 2016
    I have been to Waitangi every Waitangi Day except one since 2000. As usual, the good news and positive political events were ignored by many media. The Greens, for example, had a very good reception at Te Tii Marae. We… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    3 days ago
  • TPPA people power protests
    It was great to see such a big turnout – at least 15,000 in Auckland by some estimates. That’s a lot of people not buying the National Government’s spin on the TPPA. I was at the Auckland protests along with… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Ten Ways We can Honour Te Tiriti
    1. Learn about our history and current issues – Te Tiriti education is powerful, inspiring and available! 2. Learn about where you live and who the manawhenua are and what their issues in rebuilding their culture are. 3. Support manawhenua… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • “Not one more acre”
    The Public Works Act has too often been used to confiscate Māori land, and Members of Parliament will soon get a chance to vote to stop this. The original Public Works Act was developed in the 1860’s to facilitate… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Rules needed so we can swim in Canterbury rivers
    First published in The Press on 1 February 2016 A work colleague recently asked me which rivers and lakes I’d recommend she take her son and nephew swimming during an upcoming visit to Christchurch, somewhere handy to the city. I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Rules needed so we can swim in Canterbury rivers
    First published in The Press on 1 February 2016 A work colleague recently asked me which rivers and lakes I’d recommend she take her son and nephew swimming during an upcoming visit to Christchurch, somewhere handy to the city. I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Vulnerable women the victims of Govt inaction
    The Government’s failure to address the housing crisis and its refusal to steps to raise wages have led to vulnerable women being exploited, Labour’s spokesperson for Women Ruth Dyson says. “Reports today that women are being offered free rent in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vulnerable women the victims of Govt inaction
    The Government’s failure to address the housing crisis and its refusal to steps to raise wages have led to vulnerable women being exploited, Labour’s spokesperson for Women Ruth Dyson says. “Reports today that women are being offered free rent in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vulnerable women the victims of Govt inaction
    The Government’s failure to address the housing crisis and its refusal to steps to raise wages have led to vulnerable women being exploited, Labour’s spokesperson for Women Ruth Dyson says. “Reports today that women are being offered free rent in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vulnerable women the victims of Govt inaction
    The Government’s failure to address the housing crisis and its refusal to steps to raise wages have led to vulnerable women being exploited, Labour’s spokesperson for Women Ruth Dyson says. “Reports today that women are being offered free rent in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vulnerable women the victims of Govt inaction
    The Government’s failure to address the housing crisis and its refusal to steps to raise wages have led to vulnerable women being exploited, Labour’s spokesperson for Women Ruth Dyson says. “Reports today that women are being offered free rent in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vulnerable women the victims of Govt inaction
    The Government’s failure to address the housing crisis and its refusal to steps to raise wages have led to vulnerable women being exploited, Labour’s spokesperson for Women Ruth Dyson says. “Reports today that women are being offered free rent in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Arms Control a priority for the Pacific
    Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Chair of New Zealand’s Parliamentarians for Global Action says his priority will be getting the Pacific to sign up to the Arms Trade Treaty after being appointed by the PGA as… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Arms Control a priority for the Pacific
    Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Chair of New Zealand’s Parliamentarians for Global Action says his priority will be getting the Pacific to sign up to the Arms Trade Treaty after being appointed by the PGA as… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Arms Control a priority for the Pacific
    Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Chair of New Zealand’s Parliamentarians for Global Action says his priority will be getting the Pacific to sign up to the Arms Trade Treaty after being appointed by the PGA as… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Arms Control a priority for the Pacific
    Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Chair of New Zealand’s Parliamentarians for Global Action says his priority will be getting the Pacific to sign up to the Arms Trade Treaty after being appointed by the PGA as… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Arms Control a priority for the Pacific
    Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Chair of New Zealand’s Parliamentarians for Global Action says his priority will be getting the Pacific to sign up to the Arms Trade Treaty after being appointed by the PGA as… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Arms Control a priority for the Pacific
    Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Chair of New Zealand’s Parliamentarians for Global Action says his priority will be getting the Pacific to sign up to the Arms Trade Treaty after being appointed by the PGA as… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must listen to Maori TPPA concerns
    The National Government must listen to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it is to retain credibility with Māori, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Iwi Leaders Forum met with Trade Minister Todd McClay… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must listen to Maori TPPA concerns
    The National Government must listen to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it is to retain credibility with Māori, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Iwi Leaders Forum met with Trade Minister Todd McClay… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must listen to Maori TPPA concerns
    The National Government must listen to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it is to retain credibility with Māori, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Iwi Leaders Forum met with Trade Minister Todd McClay… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must listen to Maori TPPA concerns
    The National Government must listen to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it is to retain credibility with Māori, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Iwi Leaders Forum met with Trade Minister Todd McClay… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must listen to Maori TPPA concerns
    The National Government must listen to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it is to retain credibility with Māori, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Iwi Leaders Forum met with Trade Minister Todd McClay… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must listen to Maori TPPA concerns
    The National Government must listen to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if it is to retain credibility with Māori, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Iwi Leaders Forum met with Trade Minister Todd McClay… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bob Tizard’s passing an end of an era
    Labour Leader Andrew Little has expressed his deepest condolences to the family of former Labour MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bob Tizard who died this afternoon. Robert “Bob” Tizard was a Labour MP for 30 years, representing the seats of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bob Tizard’s passing an end of an era
    Labour Leader Andrew Little has expressed his deepest condolences to the family of former Labour MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bob Tizard who died this afternoon. Robert “Bob” Tizard was a Labour MP for 30 years, representing the seats of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bob Tizard’s passing an end of an era
    Labour Leader Andrew Little has expressed his deepest condolences to the family of former Labour MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bob Tizard who died this afternoon. Robert “Bob” Tizard was a Labour MP for 30 years, representing the seats of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bob Tizard’s passing an end of an era
    Labour Leader Andrew Little has expressed his deepest condolences to the family of former Labour MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bob Tizard who died this afternoon. Robert “Bob” Tizard was a Labour MP for 30 years, representing the seats of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bob Tizard’s passing an end of an era
    Labour Leader Andrew Little has expressed his deepest condolences to the family of former Labour MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bob Tizard who died this afternoon. Robert “Bob” Tizard was a Labour MP for 30 years, representing the seats of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Differing view on TPPA agreed
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has given dispensation to MP Phil Goff to take his own position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement due to his historic involvement in negotiating its predecessor, the P4. “Phil has had a longstanding involvement and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Differing view on TPPA agreed
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has given dispensation to MP Phil Goff to take his own position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement due to his historic involvement in negotiating its predecessor, the P4. “Phil has had a longstanding involvement and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Differing view on TPPA agreed
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has given dispensation to MP Phil Goff to take his own position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement due to his historic involvement in negotiating its predecessor, the P4. “Phil has had a longstanding involvement and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Differing view on TPPA agreed
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has given dispensation to MP Phil Goff to take his own position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement due to his historic involvement in negotiating its predecessor, the P4. “Phil has had a longstanding involvement and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Differing view on TPPA agreed
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has given dispensation to MP Phil Goff to take his own position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement due to his historic involvement in negotiating its predecessor, the P4. “Phil has had a longstanding involvement and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Differing view on TPPA agreed
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has given dispensation to MP Phil Goff to take his own position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement due to his historic involvement in negotiating its predecessor, the P4. “Phil has had a longstanding involvement and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on
    It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says. “More than $12 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on
    It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says. “More than $12 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on
    It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says. “More than $12 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on
    It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says. “More than $12 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on
    It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says. “More than $12 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scandalous Saudi sheep saga rolls on
    It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says. “More than $12 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika caucus visit as Kiribati water crisis deepens
    Water supplies are deteriorating in Kiribati as Labour’s  Pasifika climate change task force prepares to head there and Tuvalu, says Labour’s Pacific Climate Change Spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “There is a growing crisis on the atolls due to water supplies… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere