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Less (inequality) is more….

Written By: - Date published: 7:19 pm, January 25th, 2014 - 39 comments
Categories: capitalism, child welfare, class, crime, david cunliffe, democratic participation, education, election 2014, equality, health, john key, Metiria Turei, poverty, sustainability, workers' rights - Tags: ,

.….. more equality is  better for everyone.

 

With John Key misleadingly trying to deny the significance of the inequality gap,

and David Farrar falsely claiming that poverty doesn’t have a profound impact on education,

it looks like this is likely to be an important election issue.  Time to revisit the Spirit Level.    Back in 2010, Standard author Bunji posted a series of 6 “Digested reads” on the book, The Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2009).

1: The Problem:

Poverty profoundly damages lives. Adding to that high levels of inequality bring stresses that are bad for all of us.  In a hierarchical and overly competitive society we all suffer. Poverty results in poor health and this impacts on all areas of life. On top of that the stresses of inequality can be overwhelming. Bunji wrote:

The Spirit Level authors believe income inequality is largely important as it is our current way of measuring hierarchy in society.  Other forms of inequality are probably important too, but income is where the data and evidence is, and it is the way society currently values people.  A certain level of wealth is required

But, for everyone, even with a reasonable income, the stress of competition and “keeping up with the Joneses” takes its toll.

Having less than those next to us makes us anxious and stressed.  It affects our self-esteem.  We become self-promoting and insecure, as we are constantly in a race and scared of being found out as not as important (ie wealthy) as we make out to be.  We have less time to make and keep friends as we spend all our time trying to earn and spend our wealth to maintain our place.

In a more equal society the race isn’t so all-consuming, we have more friends, more trust, more community and more happiness.  But no less wealth.  He who has most toys doesn’t win, he just makes sure others lose out more.

Bunji followed this post with others elaborating on this main point:

2.  Inequality is bad for everyone’s health.

3.  Equality breeds trust; inequality breeds crime. (Or: Do you want to be a bonobo or a chimp?).

4. Equality: better education and social mobility. Inequality: more teen pregnancies.

5. Equality works better for a sustainable future.

Bunji explained it thus:

Equality does not equal sustainability, but it is much more suited to the task than our current system.  Without the constant need to consume more and more as we compete for status, we use up far less of the earth’s resources.

There is a strong link between inequality and consumerism.  Everything from advertising (NZ & USA spend twice as much on advertising as a percentage of GDP compared to Norway & Denmark) to working hours (there is a strong trend between average hours worked to how disparate middle and upper incomes are) reflects this.

[…]

But that is not sustainable.  Even if we develop better technologies, giving us, for example, more fuel efficient cars – we’d save money, and then spend it on more goods that consume more of the planet…

6. What we can do to embrace equality – through society and government.

Bunji concludes:

It won’t take a revolution to achieve greater equality… but it will take a transformation, with a sustained sense of direction and a strong view as to how to achieve the required changes.  […]

The fact that results of so many studies show better results for the rich as well as the poor in more equal societies definitely helps that goal.  Societies do better with a more income-equal framework, but also individuals do too.  The gifted get more chance to shine, not less, in a more equal society.  Equality does not mean we all become the same.

Bunji then goes on the discuss the above in detail, and provides some examples of ways to bring about a more sustainable and livable society.  Some of the ideas amount to more democratic processes, with more cooperative activities and more employee stakes in business enterprises.

It will be interesting to see the extent to which inequalities are addressed in the 2 State of the Nation addresses in the next couple of days:

Turei children

Metiria Turei at Picnic for the Planet: January 26, 2014 – 11:00am – 3:00pm – Waitangi Park, Wellington

Cunliffe Labour save our future

David Cunliffe - A Nation of Opportunity: Monday, 27 January 2014 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM – Kelston Girls’ College Auditorium, Corner Great North Road and Archibald Road, Kelston, West Auckland.

39 comments on “Less (inequality) is more….”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Re-read “The Spirit Level” recently, still a most persuasive work. In a New Zealand context until there is justice in all respects for colonised Māori descendants the negative experiences of that group drags everyone down. Not that racists will admit that.

    More patents are issued in more equal countries so thinking is likely improved not dumbed down. Equal does not mean the same indeed.

    Made me laugh in light of the “Left is dead” discussion in recent days that Cuba was the only country at time of TSL’s publication that met all the criteria for a sustainable economy combined with acceptable living standards using the UN Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint per Capita.

    • karol 1.1

      ntil there is justice in all respects for colonised Māori descendants the negative experiences of that group drags everyone down. Not that racists will admit that.

      Yes, and I noticed that the impacts of “other” inequalities, as explained by Bunji, are also likely to be damaging: eg those of ‘race’, gender, sexuality, disability, etc.

      But income inequalities are easier to measure.

      I did edit down one point of Bunji’s that I wasn’t keen on. He said in post #1:

      A certain level of wealth is required but in the wealthiest 50 nations virtually everyone has access to that.

      I do think there are a significant number of people in NZ, on the lowest incomes, who do not have that “certain level of wealth”. People who cannot afford sufficient, nutritious​ food and/or healthy and safe accomodation.

      They are obviously a relative minority, and their plight is not a great vote winner these days. But I do think we need to acknowledge their existence and their urgent needs.

      I didn’t want to take up space in the post debating that, but, I think many TS posts have/do argue for their needs.

      • Olwyn 1.1.1

        In response to both the quote of Bunji’s that you disagreed with and your answer to it, I think that poverty in a developed country takes its own special form. To begin with, the assumption that almost everyone has access to “a certain level of wealth” results in an expensive way of life – even at the most basic level. When you lack the income to meet its demands, your hardship is less visible than the third world variety, but is still very real hardship.

        • Indeed. A lot of the worst effects of poverty in New Zealand are caused by people trying to live like they’re not in poverty in terms of their luxuries, but shooting themselves in the foot by not paying attention to their real priorities. I don’t blame those people, it’s easy enough to understand, and a lot of the things that get decried as pure luxury by the Right are actually just lower-priority necessities to participate in New Zealand society as full citizens. (eg. cell phones, televisions, etc…)

          That’s not to say there aren’t a lot who just couldn’t feed their families on their incomes no matter what they do, but the number of people who have the symptoms of poverty aren’t the same as the number of people who have sufficient income to live a life without experiencing poverty.

          • Olwyn 1.1.1.1.1

            There is more to it than that. The actual necessities for life in a developed country are very expensive, and alternatives are not easily attained. Rent, power, travel costs and the dreaded water bill eat up a large portion of a small income, and food becomes the variable. It is very hard to do without the things listed in the kind of society we live in.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      In a New Zealand context until there is justice in all respects for colonised Māori descendants the negative experiences of that group drags everyone down. Not that racists will admit that.

      Umm – yes. Been good to get away from it all for a while this last year. It’s not until you hop out of the pot do you realise quite how hot it’s gotten.

      UN Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint per Capita

      Yes a rather remarkable intersection. Not too many people willing to think through all the implications of this fact.

    • karol 1.3

      What is TSL?

      • saarbo 1.3.1

        The Spirit Level

        damn TLA’s

      • Tiger Mountain 1.3.2

        The Spirit Level

        • karol 1.3.2.1

          :) Thanks.

          • fisiani 1.3.2.1.1

            Please keep banging away with the delusions of The Spirit Level which has been thoroughly debunked http://spiritleveldelusion.blogspot.co.nz

            • joe90 1.3.2.1.1.1

              Debunked by the tobacco industry’s galtian fuckwit, too funny.

              http://www.tobaccotactics.org/index.php/Christopher_Snowdon

              • fisiani

                Instead of attacking the author try reading. No one with a brain accepts the erroneous findings of The Spirit Level any more. That is why none in Parliament mentions it.It’s an embarrassment to the Left.

                • RedLogix

                  So exactly what is Snowden arguing?

                  1. That a world in which 85 people have more net worth than the bottom 3.5 billion people is actually not all that unequal?

                  2. Or that somehow this level of inequality is good for the world, and perhaps it would be better if the level of inequality was even higher? Maybe all the ills of the world would be solved if just one person owned everything?

                  3. Or that the level of inequality just does not matter? In which case why do you care?

                • gem

                  Our parliamentarians may not have read it, which is why they don’t, and as far as I know, never seriously raised it in Parliament or in the media.
                  The authors responded to their critics’ claims, and it seems those trying to disprove the thesis cherry-picked their own stats to suit their agenda.
                  The Spirit Level documentary is coming out later this year, which will I’m sure deal with those claims.

                  • karol

                    David Cunliffe has definitely read The Spirit Level. He mentioned it, for instance in the House in 2011.

                    As Wilkinson and Pickett in The Spirit Level pointed out, we are all in this together. When we share the gains and share the pain we are all better off than if we have a society of haves and have-nots, where a few at the top do better and better and most in the middle and the bottom do worse. It is not sufficient to rely on a relationship with a few well-placed mates—the Mark Weldons, the Rob Fyfes, the Fonterras, the Telecoms, and the MediaWorks of the world—to fill the gap, because it does not make the difference.

                    But it is more common for MPs to refer to recent NZ studies in the House. They have mentioned the increase in inequality in NZ a lot.

                    And Green MPs have referred to Rashbrooke’s book on the inequality crisis in NZ.

                    David Clendon, July 2013:

                    Some members may have seen a presentation earlier this evening on a new book, edited by Max Rashbrooke, that has been published recently called Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis . Chapter after chapter describes how across the board in society in all sorts of sectors and all sorts of ways that inequality gap is opening up in New Zealand. And now we are seeing unequal access to justice, and that is simply unacceptable in a modern, liberal democracy.

                    David Cunliffe mentioned The Spirit Level when he was doing a live commentary on Question Time, for The Daily Blog: – June 2013:

                    2:08 PM Martyn Bradbury: It’s not easy to hide the inequality that is tearing the egalitarian dream to bits, but Joyce does a pretty good job of it

                    2:09 PM David Cunliffe: JOyce puts down economists Hichkey and Oram… Parker questions whether OECD believes income inequality high in NZ… and getting worse …Joyce pressured, says it is about growing jobs …

                    2:09 PM David Cunliffe: Methinks Mr Joyce should read The Spirit Level

                • karol

                  I reckon Bryan Bruce, doco maker has a pretty good brain. He mentioned The Spirit Level in relation to his doco, “Mind the Gap”, which aired on TV3 last year. TV3 Reports:

                  In Bryan Bruce’s Mind the Gap, which screens on TV3 tonight, a number of the world’s leading economists say the trickle-down theory – which argues that to increase the lot of the poor, the rich have to get richer – is a fallacy.

                  “Every top economist I spoke to [said trickle-down economics] doesn’t work,” Mr Bruce said on Firstline this morning. “Ordinary people know it hasn’t worked.”
                  One of those economists, Prof Robert Wade of the London School of Economics, tells Mr Bruce there has instead been a “trickle-up” of wealth, from the poor to the rich.[…]

                  “You have less violence, less drug addiction, all those things. Prof Richard Wilkinson is one of the people I speak to – he wrote a book called The Spirit Level, and it shows all of these correlations between having a more equal society and a better life for all of us. It’s much better if we share.”

                  2 profs with better brains than many MPs.

                  • gem

                    Yes, Bruce’s doco was excellent. I watched it with two other people, and for one of them it was quite a revelation. This surprised me at the time, but we forget that many people aren’t exposed to these ideas. What I haven’t heard Labour/Cunliffe do is clearly explain the Spirit Level premise, i.e, that when we are equal we ALL do better in a whole raft of ways. Yes, Labour bemoans inequality, frequently; but it’s not just about lifting those at the bottom up to ”our” level, it’s the fact that the most equal societies are more successful all round.
                    If they are telling it, and I stand to be corrected if I’ve missed it, they aren’t doing a great job. Just bemoaning the state of affairs isn’t enough.
                    Appeal to Kiwi pragmatism that it actually makes sense, because it does.

            • Plan B 1.3.2.1.1.2

              I do not think you are correct in any way in making this remark. I read comments on the blog you mention and… nothing has changed, the book and the ideas behind it have not been debunked. Why would you say they have?

              http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/authors-respond-questions-about-spirit-levels-analysis

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      More patents are issued in more equal countries so thinking is likely improved not dumbed down.

      That may have something to do with it but, IMO, a lot has to do with the fact that the people having ideas a) don’t come forward with them because they know they’ll get ripped off and/or b) don’t have enough resources to develop their ideas themselves.

      As an example of a) the person who developed industrial diamonds did so in his spare time but he used [large companies] facilities to do it. Once he was completed the company took all the credit and the profit and gave him a $10 gift voucher.

      Another example was a contract I had where the IP clause in it stated that any ideas I had to do with the industry belonged to the company. There was no mention of extra compensation.

      There’s probably more problems of that sort of ripoff going around as well. It’s what happens when you cater to the greedy – the people at the bottom realise that they’re getting ripped off and stop. It’s not that they’re lazy, it’s that they’re sick of working hard and seeing other people benefit from it but not them.

      • Xtasy 1.4.1

        It is scientifically proven that FEAR and STRESS kill brain cells. So the neo liberal “Natzis” that love to instill the fear into every working and especially non-working person, they are doing endless damage to the health of uncountable persons. This will prove to be very costly for future generations, having to foot the health costs for treating the damaged.

        Only later generations will have to cover for that, the health costs, that will come as a result of draconian welfare reforms, of unjust, harsh working conditions and the like.

        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/08/30/2555601/living-poverty-effect-brain-constantly-pulling-nighters/

        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6149/976

        It is time the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) and Royal Australasian College of Physicians, same as local NZ science institutions accept and acknowledge this, not the crap of some NAZI like Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt, working for MSD and WINZ, or Mansel Aylward, present us, that “worklessness” is the problem.

        It is inequality and poverty that do the damage, and work may be good for some, may be ok for others, but it is rather a healthy, balanced, fair and decent life and society that delivers the best health outcomes, independent from paid work, voluntary work or anything else so conditional as this present NZ government wants to indoctrinate us with.

        Where are the “Down Under” scientists opening up for real, fact based, balanced and fair science? Or are they all on the payroll of UNUM and the likes?

        http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-controversial-bio-psycho-social-model/

        http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15188-medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-bps-model-aimed-at-disentiteling-affected-from-welfare-benefits-and-acc-compo/

        P.S.: Don’t know why this ended up under Draco’s comment, but I may have clicked the wrong template or what. Anyway, it is not so much about what Draco mentioned, but I hope it makes sense. Good night all!

        • Johnm 1.4.1.1

          Xtasy
          If you beat a person with the stick of poverty and hopelessness long enough and the inequality of contempt and powerlessness most may never get up again and indeed an underclass of the hopeless is truly created. Then continue demonising them through the media and idiot bigot jocks like Laws on Radio Live and you get a fascist circus of wretchedness of spirit both with the haves and the havenots. Also a predator class of get rich by capital gain landlords feeds off the poor and their meagre welfare benefits by supplying run down accommodation which is damp and mouldy and cold enter illness and depression. Then the hospital visits and incapacity, and the draconian response and homelessness and begging and deaths from exposure.

          A society that advances in a unified way without destructive inequality is the pattern for success where parasitical elements who prey on their fellow citizens are controlled.

  2. gem 2

    Good post. To counter the right this election, the emphasis should be the fact we have to have big government to deal with the social problems wrought by inequality/free markets/structural unemployment. This could act as a sort of triangulation against the right’s spin that big government is the province of the left. National is fond of telling us it is spending record amounts on welfare/health; turn it around on them.
    I can’t find the passage in TSL I wanted to quote on this point, but this is similar:
    ”If you fail to avoid high inequality, you will need more prisons and more police. You will have to deal with higher rates of mental illness, drug abuse and every other kind of problem. If keeping taxes and benefits down leads to wider income differences, the need to deal with the ensuing social ills may force you to raise public expenditure to cope.” (page. 246)

  3. Whateva next? 3

    …..but how to get the message to the great undecideds??

  4. James Thrace 4

    Max Rashbrooke’s book is a fantastic read.

    Particularly where he outlines that the shift has moved away from seeing the family as a social unit towards the family being seen as expendable units of labour and consumerism in an industrialised capitalist complex rather than as a community driven unit.

    It really does grasp the bare roots of the problem in NZ in that it has become all about Me, Myself and I.

    Thatchers claim that there is no such thing as Society was taken a bit too far. I posit that in NZ there is no such thing as an individual without Society.

    Society breeds the individuals we have. It does more to explain the various natures abundant in NZ and the lack of rational behaviour exhibited by certain members of the community towards the need to assist those around them, and only assisting themselves.

    The Spirit Level has no doubt opened the door for a lot of people into understanding and beginning to grasp the inherent ‘wrongness’ of one CEO being paid $4M a year while the backs of the workers upon which said CEO is paid exorbitant rates, are valued at little more than $45,000 per year.

    Unfortunately, I have yet to see this conciousness seep through into more than two of our political parties. Green and Te Mana both understand this. I wait with bated breath for Labour to finally understand that there is a need to introduce salary capping, or even bring in higher taxes for those most able to afford them, such as the aforementioned CEO.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      In the 1950’s and 1960’s the USA used income tax rates as high as 91% to effectively limit top salaries.

    • gem 4.2

      Labour is weak-willed and out of touch on CEO pay and tax. It will be interesting to see what’s in tomorrow’s speech, but Parker in the Listener this month said he wanted top personal rate of tax would be 39% (on incomes over $150k), and no change to the business rate. I think that’s the same as the 2011 manifesto.
      In Britain, Labour has just announced it will reinstate the 50p rate on personal income over £150k (it is 45p at the moment).
      And why isn’t Labour talking about a financial transactions tax? This could solve the dilemma of taxing overseas purchases. OK it’s not without its issues, but surely worth exploring.
      Did Labour MPs use their Opposition downtime constructively to seek out some new ideas?

      • greywarbler 4.2.1

        FTT – Tobin tax? A small one – is it less than 1% usually suggested – on each deal, then a lesser GST tax, suggest 10%. That would go a long way to achieving better tax takes, and it is really not fair to tax over 48% at the highest.

        And let’s have inheritance tax and Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty and those useful taxes that took money off those receiving dosh often on inflated profits as on property. Always wanting less tax and very simple tax is a twisted way for the wealthy who are anything but simple, to act when it comes to taxes.

        Complicated taxes to the rich are merely like cryptic crosswords, lots of people can handle them easily. For those that can’t there are people you employ to find ways round them and it creates a nice area of financial management that keeps semi-criminals happy. Meanwhile most people would be paying sufficient tax to run the country yet enable them to have a hefty whack left for themselves.

        By the way I was reading a 2005 Listener and it referred to certain people in the lower South
        Island as being the Tartan Mafia. Who are they?

        • gem 4.2.1.1

          Yes, FTT is also known as Tobin tax. There is no need to have FTT and GST; just have the FTT, the revenues could be huge. Unlike GST, FTT is progressive.
          The percentage take is tiny, for instance, less than 1%, more like 0.1% on each and every transaction; the level is flexible, depending on transaction type, volume of transactions etc.
          Jim Anderton’s New Labour and its successor entities all promoted it.
          ”Always wanting less tax and very simple tax is a twisted way for the wealthy who are anything but simple, to act when it comes to taxes.”
          Yes, I love it how the regressive things have to be universal, but entitlements have to be ”targeted” to those deemed needy.

        • Plan B 4.2.1.2

          I think they were people in money in Dunedin and Central Otago , associated or owning Forsyth Barr. People like Howard Patterson etc. Very rich and fingers in many pies down there.

  5. Bill 5

    Two quotes from a speech given in 1972 by Jimmy Reid that’s (sadly) as relevant today and half a world away as it was then.

    A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit.

    I am convinced that the great mass of our people go through life without even a glimmer of what they could have contributed to their fellow human beings. This is a personal tragedy. It’s a social crime. The flowering of each individual’s personality and talents is the pre-condition for everyone’s development.

    If you’ve never read his speech given to Glasgow University students in ’72, then here’s the link.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/still-irresistible-a-workingclass-heros-finest-speech-2051285.html

    • Anne 5.1

      Chris Hipkins goes some way to rehabilitate his reputation in my eyes:

      Labour supports Green’s Education measures

    • karol 5.2

      Ah. And he said all that in 1972. And he n=ends with a quote from the people’s poet, Rabbie Burns – (although I guess the patriarchal language was of its day – but otherwise, great sentiments).

      The golden age, we’ll then revive, each man shall be a brother,

      In harmony we all shall live and till the earth together,

      In virtue trained, enlightened youth shall move each fellow creature,

      And time shall surely prove the truth that man is good by nature.

      And tis around the time of Burn’s aniversary.

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    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • Policy of fear
    Community groups have a vital role in New Zealand. In addition to speaking out on social problems such as poverty, mental illness and addiction, they also often have a direct role in fixing them via government funding. Unfortunately there's an...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47A
    A carbon tax could bolster wobbly progress in renewable energy A dam revival, despite risks Congress is about to sabotage Obama’s historic climate deal David Cameron urges Tony Abbott to do more on climate change G20 pledges lift Green Climate...
    Skeptical Science | 19-11
  • ‘Consult on promotions policy’: TEU to Auckland VC
    TEU is asking the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland to engage in a process of consultation on the university’s Academic Grades, Standards and Criteria policy and other policies so the two sides can avoid further litigation. Earlier this month the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Asia-Pacific plans for gender equality
    New Zealand is one of the few countries who have not sent a government minister to an Asian and Pacific conference on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Thailand, but it has sent TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb.  The conference...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • TEC, Ministry and Treasury want new funding model
    The government should consider a radical shift in tertiary education funding policy according to advice from the Tertiary Education Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Treasury. All three agencies advise the government to shift tertiary education funding away from...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • The awkward question of New Plymouth
    It’s rather common knowledge that Andrew Little wasn’t exactly a star in New Plymouth. He stood in the former Labour Party seat in 2011 and 2014, losing ground in both the electorate and party vote on each occasion. Overall, the...
    Occasionally erudite | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Academics say academic freedom getting worse
    Nearly two-fifths of academic staff say that their level of academic freedom is worse than when they started work, according to a survey on the state of the tertiary education workforce. AUT’s Work Research Institute undertook a State of the...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas. Staff and South Auckland community members had been campaigning to turn around the polytechnic’s proposal for mass redundancies since they were announced last...
    Tertiary Education Union | 19-11
  • Proud’s Britain
    Alex Proud has a very good long piece in the Telegraph that is as disturbing as it is accurate. The subject? Baby-boomers, and the way they have blindly robbed the generations that came after them. He is writing about Britain,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • This year’s (super) model: visualising atmospheric CO2
    Here’s a superb high resolution supercomputer visualisation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center of the flows of CO2 in the atmosphere around the planet. Apart from being beautiful to look at, it shows the major sources of CO2 emissions in...
    Hot Topic | 19-11
  • Public Service Announcement: Advice to Andrew Little
    Over the last 48 hours absolutely everyone and his/her dog/cat has been publicly advising Andrew Little what he should with his front bench and much else decides. Good for them. Free speech is super. I won't be joining the chorus,...
    Polity | 19-11
  • Jordan uses Islam to battle ISIS
    My former UCLA colleague Larry Rubin, and my former Michigan colleague Michael Robbins, have a fascinating piece at the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog overnight, all about how Jordan is setting Islam against ISIS: Many people in the Hashemite Kingdom...
    Polity | 19-11
  • a respnse to robyn malcolm
    yesterday i had a brief exchange on twitter with robyn malcolm regarding roger sutton, and you can see the whole exchange from this tweet:A CERA employee with some humanity https://t.co/VgjwPhpUVz http://t.co/2Q9s8efQBx— Robyn Malcolm (@robynmalcolm) November 19, 2014twitter is unfortunately not...
    The Hand Mirror | 19-11
  • Gordon Campbell on the SAS role against Islamic State, and Podemos
    Could this news report serve to explain – in a nutshell – why Prime Minister John Key has not ruled out the SAS forming part of New Zealand’s contribution to the fight against Islamic State? From the New York Times...
    Gordon Campbell | 19-11
  • Support Andrew Little
    We need to get in behind the new Labour leader. Let's focus on the need to defeat National in 2017, and not concern ourselves too much with the utter destruction of everything we had ever hoped to achieve for this...
    Imperator Fish | 19-11
  • Marshall Islands takes on the nuclear-armed states, for all our sakes
    “The day the sun rose twice”. That's how 1 March 1954 was recorded in the history of Rongelap, a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Marshall Islands. Early that morning, shortly after the sun rose in the...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 19-11
  • Unwelcome prayer
    Parliament’s speaker has proposed a new prayer to open each sitting day in our House of Representatives. You might be reasonably surprised at that sentence – why, in a supposedly secular country, is each day in Parliament opened with a...
    On the Left | 19-11
  • Mill Rd update
    While it emerged the other day that AT are looking to cut back on rail to the airport due to it’s cost, a day later they announce they are seeking a designation for a $300 million mini highway through currently...
    Transport Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections On Andrew Little’s Narrow Defeat O...
    Bugger! Grant Robertson's and Jacinda Ardern's bitter disappointment was written all over their faces as the listened to Andrew Little fielding questions at his first media conference as Leader of the Labour Party. The extreme closeness of the result, however,...
    Bowalley Road | 19-11
  • Occupation is responsible for escalation in Jerusalem
    The following statement was issued by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on 18 November 2014. “The operation today in Jerusalem is a natural response to the ongoing racist policies and crimes of the occupation, and it is...
    Redline | 19-11
  • Occupation is responsible for escalation in Jerusalem
    The following statement was issued by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on 18 November 2014 in relation to the attack on a synagogue in the Har Nof area of Jerusalem. “The operation today in Jerusalem is a...
    Redline | 19-11
  • Turbulent week for global climate policy leaves many questions
    They came, they saw, they cuddled koalas and world leaders then largely ignored the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s instructions to ignore the global, intergenerational and morally challenging kerfuffle over climate change. All in all the last seven days have...
    Skeptical Science | 19-11
  • Andrew Little: A Man for the Time?
    In an ideal world good men and good women would be elected to government; the best would achieve high office and a few the highest office in the land. New Zealand, still one of the least politically corrupt nations in...
    Brian Edwards | 19-11
  • World News Brief, Wednesday November 19
    Top of the AgendaSynagogue Attack Heightens Israel Tensions...
    Pundit | 19-11
  • Free Trade, Or trading freedom
    New Scientist unpick the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) the other half of the worlds TPPA equivalent. How the world's largest trade deal affects you (here)Beware the treaty's empty economic promises (here)Healthy profits, but what about people? (here)These, and related...
    Watchblog Aotearoa | 19-11
  • Citi Bike Rides visualisation
    Citi Bike in New York has been spectacularly successful and incredibly popular since it launched in May last year. Just a few months later tens of thousands of trips per day were already being taken on the bikes. Below is...
    Transport Blog | 19-11
  • Neetflux: now syndicated to OTL!
    After too long an absence from our monitors, New Zealand’s premiere satirical political poster Tumblr is back, and we’re very proud to be syndicating Neetflux here at On The Left....
    On the Left | 19-11
  • What should replace Parliament’s prayer?
    While the current Speaker is trying to preserve it, given the changing religious landscape in New Zealand, its only a matter of time before Parliament's opening prayer is consigned to the dustbin of history. So what, if anything, should replace...
    No Right Turn | 19-11
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens | 20-11
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour | 20-11
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour | 19-11
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens | 19-11
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens | 18-11
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour | 18-11
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens | 17-11
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour | 17-11
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens | 17-11
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Wild West culture a result of gung-ho government
    Successive employment law changes over the last six years that have taken away work rights have led to a Wild West employer culture in many workplaces, Labour’s workplace relations spokesperson Andrew Little says. A government audit of 23 Christchurch building...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Dr. Kennedy Graham’s speaks in the 2014 Ministerial Statement –...
    I have listened closely to the Prime Minister's statement this morning and to this debate over New Zealand's engagement towards the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In my contribution I want to focus on the broader aspect...
    Greens | 05-11
  • Catherine Delahunty speaks on the Paid Parental Leave Bill
    He mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Thank you very much for allowing me to speak on this bill. As a grandmother, it is very close to my heart. I know there are many parents, uncles, aunties, and others in...
    Greens | 05-11
  • Pacific unemployment still hurting
     All New Zealanders will be bitterly disappointed that the Pacific youth unemployment rate (aged 15 to 24 years) is now 26.7 per cent, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio.  “Our young people are the future workforce of...
    Labour | 05-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Why lifelong prisoner surveillance is evidence of our failing prisons
    The intrusion of more and more State surveillance is easier to implement if the State begins with groups the populace are frightened of. Muslim radicals, Maori radicals, environmental radicals and prisoners are all easy fodder for ratings chasing media to...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • REVIEW: The Blind Date Project
    The Blind Date Project Silo Theatre 4-29 November The Basement  Part of the excitement of a live performance, be it music or theatre or a circus with trapeze artists and lion tamers, is the risk that it could all go...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • Good News For The Left!
    EVER SINCE the debacle of 20 September 2014, the New Zealand left has been hanging out for some good news. Today, thanks to Stephen Mills, the Executive Director of UMR Research, it has finally got some. UMR Research has for...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • The SIS won’t use 48 hour warrantless spying for ‘evidence’
    Let’s just slay one of the myths the Government are trying to use right now to justify the SIS 48 hour warrantless search fishing expeditions shall we? The Government has been telling all who listen over the weekend that the SIS...
    The Daily Blog | 09-11
  • There’s a better way of discouraging would-be jihadists
    The Prime Minister claims there is a growing threat from New Zealanders attracted to Islamic State and he wants to increase state powers to watch such people and take away their passports. I believe there is a better way to...
    The Daily Blog | 09-11
  • Nationwide Day of Protest Captures Public Attention on TPPA
    . . NZ, Wellington, 8 November 2014 – Wellington basked in a beautiful summers’ day with nary a breeze and only a few clouds in a clear, blue sky. The sort of summer day that we keenly await after months...
    The Daily Blog | 09-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Right to Life Congratulates the new Labour Leader
    Right to Life congratulates Andrew Little MP, on being elected as the new leader of the Labour Party. This is a very important election as Andrew Little is now a Prime Minister in waiting His election follows a line of...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Reply to open letter on earthquake repair in Christchurch
    You raise many points and I acknowledge the frustration some people are experiencing when their homes are still not repaired or rebuilt. We have consistently said that the scale and complexity of events has always meant that it will not...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little New Labour Party Leader
    In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Labour Party Caucus room at Parliament, it was announced Andrew Little had been voted in as Leader of the Labour party....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Liam Butler interviews Professor Jay Kandampully
    Jay Kandampully is Professor of Consumer Sciences in the Department of Human Sciences. He also serves as a visiting professor at University of Innsbruck, Austria; Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China; and Furtwangen University, Germany;...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Judge joins calls for tourist driver tests
    A district court judge has joined the growing number of professionals calling for tourist driving tests....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU congratulates new Labour leader
    The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union congratulates Andrew Little on his election as Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. “I have worked closely with Andrew and know he will be a strong and successful leader,” says Bill Newson,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Andrew Little elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • WHO Highlights Devastating Global Impact of Drowning
    The global drowning report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 372,000 lives are lost each year to drowning. Safekids Aotearoa, as a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, has joined the worldwide effort to focus more attention...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPA must refuse phosphate mining application
    Text of the Press Release issued by KASM (Kiwis against Seabed Mining), Greenpeace and Deep Sea Conservation Coalition on 17 November 2014: “EPA must refuse phosphate mining application” The New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency should refuse...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Compulsory smoke alarms needed in rental accommodation
    The tragic deaths of three young people during a house fire in Hamilton, hot on the heels of a 3 year old dying in a house fire the previous week, point directly to the need for compulsory smoke alarms in...
    Scoop politics | 17-11
  • CAA fines Minister for security breach
    The Civil Aviation Authority has completed its investigation into an alleged security breach at Christchurch International Airport by then Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee and two aides on 24 July, 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-11
  • Pacific climate funding must prioritise the poor
    Caritas supports the government’s prioritising of the Pacific for direct climate change related funding, rather than making a major contribution to the global Green Climate Fund....
    Scoop politics | 17-11
  • Stopping drink driving will take more than just lower limit
    Stopping drink driving will take more than just lower limit Stopping drink driving crashes is going to take more than just reducing the adult drink driving limit, says the Automobile Association. The adult (20 and older) limit will lower to...
    Scoop politics | 17-11
  • “Smacking” legal opinion hides real problem
    In seeking to challenge and clarify the legal interpretation of section 59, the conservative political lobby group, Family First, are once more attempting to deny the very real psychological impact of physical discipline on our children....
    Scoop politics | 17-11
  • Sutton Quits … The sorry saga of CERA
    President Truman described the MacArthur speech as horses..t. History has been kind to Truman on this issue....
    Scoop politics | 17-11
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