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Militarism and the NZ Left?

Written By: - Date published: 12:28 pm, February 28th, 2014 - 31 comments
Categories: afghanistan, education, military, newspapers, Public Private Partnerships, us politics - Tags:

I tend to be wary of militarism, while also recognising that there is an important role for the NZ military in the 21st century.  Necessary military services include practical provisions to deal with disasters at home and abroad, as well as to provide security for NZ.  In contrast, dubious militarism is a glorification of military power by an authoritarian state.  It is especially bad when harnessed in the interests of Empire as in UK and US imperialism.

So a couple of articles in the latest (Auckland) North Harbour News (Feb 28, 2014) have caused me to reflect a little towards a left wing understanding of the current state of the military in NZ.  Two of the articles have a presence on pages 4 and 5 of the North Harbour News.

The first article on page 4 is about a new Charter School that began operating in Rosedale on the North Shore of Auckland “2 weeks ago”: The Vanguard Military School.  Military charter schools have all the problems and down-sides associated with all charter schools, as well as the issues associated with an authoritarian culture that is strong on conformity and discipline. The article was published on Stuff a week ago.

The image with the article gives me pause because it looks a bit too much like authoritarian enforced conformity.  The article does endorse the positive side of such training for young boys, with the testimony of a parent:

One mother emailed to say her son is a different boy since he started classes.

“He is completely engaged at home and at school. He has a sense of self-worth, an understanding that he can achieve,” she wrote.

Mr Montgomery says he did not expect to have “100 per cent of the students paying attention in 100 per cent of the classes” so quickly, but they are “literally glued to what is going on.

“And this is only two weeks, imagine when it’s been two years.”

The Vanguard Military School has been operating for 13 years, but has only just begun operating a charter school.

Military public and private/charter schools have been on the rise in the 21st century US, with some associating this with neoliberalism and the US’s militaristic culture.

There is evidence that children of military families can be either positively or negatively impacted by their parents’ authoritarian style of discipline.

As a result of strict discipline, some children become well-mannered, obedient high achievers while others become rebellious or overly stressed.

It fits with the neoliberal agenda to have “obedient high achievers”.

The second North Harbour News article began as the headline article on the front page, and finishes with several accompanying colour photos on page 5: “Nations’ navies in excercise” (also available on Stuff – but with only the NHN’s front page photo). This is about a major international training exercise that has been underway in the Hauraki Gulf.

Six-hundred people from 14 nations have taken part in one of the largest military exercises held in New Zealand for decades.

The focus of their efforts was a national disaster hitting a fictional Pacific country that needs help.

[…]

The MCMEX14 exercise had Australians and Americans deployed at Army Bay practicing detonation techniques.

Chileans, Japanese, New Zealanders and divers from other countries jumped out of helicopters into the Tiritiri Channel. They were practicing swimming to sea mines and preparing to blow them up. For some, there was the chance to see the real thing – old World War II mines now sunk into the sea off Whangaparaoa.

There was also rifle range work for the participants. Its rationale was that in natural disasters, political tensions can rise. Aid operations need to be protected – in this case from the Samaru Independence League.

The top ranking man to visit was US Commander-in-Chief Pacific, four star Admiral Harry Harris.

“We are pleased to be part of this exercise and we are pleased at what New Zealand is doing.”

China’s People’s Liberation Army navy also took part in the exercise with a dive team.

Mr Harris says for the US to work with the Chinese Navy was a new move.

“We don’t operate with them much, we interact with them at sea on a regular basis, that is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing, and we are learning to operate together on the high seas.”

It’s not surprising that North Shore local papers would focus on local military activities.  The Devonport Naval Base and Hobsonville’s air Whenuapai’s RNZAF base are in the area.   And there is definitely an upside in having international cooperation in preparing for disaster relief.

The thing that I find a little disturbing is the impact of the two page spread taken up with images of militarism, albeit that some showing simulated rescue efforts.  But opposite the image of obedient young men at the Charter Schools are fairly glamourous action shots of military resources and power, including someone about to jump from a helicopter, and photo of a small naval craft racing away from a larger ship.

The unstated is the other kinds of activities our military engage in, in support of US militarism, as in Afghanistan.   The two newspaper articles promote both the Vanguard Military (Charter) School, and military training excercises, without providing a wider context or any critical analysis.

31 comments on “Militarism and the NZ Left?”

  1. BM 1

    It’s to do with discipline.

    Most boys respond better to a structured environment and knowing what the boundaries are.

    Military styled schools provide that enviroment, this is a good thing.

    • joe90 1.1

      Yeah, discipline is a wonderful thing.
      /

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      Nah. Close all Charter schools by lunchtime. Offer no compensation to investors. Do this every single time the National Party tries to privatise or otherwise interfere with education. For the children.

    • ianmac 1.3

      I was pretty defiant of school uniforms and authority as a teen. But had a fascination when doing school cadets. Short pants khaki uniforms, marching etc. The sounds of marching feet, the echoes of nearby buildings, turning in unison, military brass music and being out of the classrooms was all good. And yet I am a pacifist at heart decades later. I can sort of see that some teens might enjoy boot camps but for long term educational benefit? Doubt it.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    “…It’s to do with discipline.

    Most boys respond better to a structured environment and knowing what the boundaries are.

    Military styled schools provide that environment, this is a good thing….”

    I assume then you warmly endorse the warped products of Britain’s public schools who serially mis-managed the British economy, spied for the USSR and incompetently led their armies and all the while in private they loved cross-dressing and being spanked for being very, very naughty boys by men many years their senior??

    • BM 2.1

      Why would I endorse that?

      Remember different culture down here in NZ , so you won’t get that sort of perverted weirdness that you’d get in England.

  3. captain hook 3

    Militarism is a perjorative term coined by the comintern to beat the United States on the head with.
    The left is just a involved as the right in raising armies and dreaming of imperialism and subjecting the massses to taxation and hegemony.

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      So you reckon I could get funding for a military charter school where every day begins with a rousing rendition of the The Internationale’, where the red flag flutters proudly from every vantage point and where any eleven year you care to call away from small arms training is capable of offering a Marxist critique of capitalism?

      No?

      Didn’t think so.

  4. Pete 4

    I do remember getting a great deal out of the scouting movement when I was a kid – I did Keas and Cubs, I didn’t progress to Scouts and in retrospect, I kind of regret that. And Baden-Powell was quite explicit about the pseudo-militaristic nature of scouting. I knew other people who did Sea Cadets and got a great deal out of that.

    I’m opposed to charter schools, and I understand that military schools are significantly more involved in a child’s life than 90 minutes a week and the occasional camp, but I really liked that structure. I think it was an important part of my childhood.

  5. fender 5

    Oh silly me, I thought this was set up to produce private armies for protecting the gated communities of the fascist 1%ers as they become increasingly paranoid about the impending revolution…

    • McFlock 5.1

      god no – that level of training costs too much.
      The protection of the gated communities will be done by peons with only slightly more to lose than the peons they’re protecting the 1% from. Like the old Malcolm X house slave/ field slave distinction.

      Military schools are a fetish of folk who believe that people need to be subordinate to groupthink (sorry, “disciplined”) in order to function in society.

  6. deWithiel 6

    Not sure that there’s a military presence at Hobsonville any longer; it’s full of ‘affordable’ homes. Perhaps you meant the RNZAF base at Whenuapai?

  7. karol 7

    OK. Thanks de Withiel. Will amend.

  8. greywarbler 8

    The sort of parent who would send his/her son to a military school, is possibly a fearful one, and too I guess feels that following the rules and coping with stress and demanding schedules will make you stronger, (if it doesn’t kill you). I have always been interested in Ted Turner’s background. He was sent to a military school at 4 years old. He is still a tough guy, but less since he had a change of heart on marrying Jane Fonda. This, about him.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/17/us/ted-turner-profile/

    He was packed off to boarding school at the tender age of 4, and he spent most of his formative years at military schools. His relationship with his father, Robert Edward Turner II, was difficult, some would say abusive, although he does not describe it that way.

    The boy idolized the man, but the man had a weakness for alcohol, was prone to mood swings and often treated the boy harshly, trying to make him tougher. When the boy was defiant, his father beat him with the leather strap used to sharpen a straight razor, or with a wire coat hanger.
    “It wasn’t dangerous or anything like that,” Turner recalled. “It just hurt like the devil.”

    On one occasion, the father turned the tables on his son, ordering him to use the strap on him. Ted, tears rolling down his face, couldn’t do it.
    The verbal lashings no doubt hurt just as much, if not more.
    Turner remembers his mother as “a nice lady” and said he loved her dearly, but his father dominates any conversation about his early years. In a book about his life, he described how she stood outside the bedroom door and begged his father to stop spanking him.

    Even as a child, Turner loved nature and the outdoors. His first word was “pretty,” he was told. Yet at 4, he suddenly found himself alone, in a grim boarding school with no grass, only blacktop for a playground, while his father served in the Navy during World War II.
    The experience left him with lifelong abandonment issues, and Turner acknowledges in “Call Me Ted,” a 2008 book about his life, that he is not comfortable when left in his own company. He compulsively fills his schedule so he doesn’t have to sit still or be alone. His former wife, Jane Fonda, has said he lives his life as though he is trying to outrun his inner demons.

    And the US seems to have an aggressive authoritarian style embedded in the culture. I was reading a Bill Bryson book written in the 1990’s where writes about travels in Europe. He notes the
    sympathetic way that Danish police dealt with an addled, probably drugged teenager who had hurt his head. They were going to take him home – with the sensible thought that he needed his bed.
    Bill compared that with his memory of being ‘stopped by police in America, made to stand with my arms and legs spread against a wall and frisked, then taken to a police station and booked because of an unpaid parking ticket..when about seventeen.’ I also remember the authoritarian arrest that I read of in the USA. A mother, picking her boy up from sports, was stopped and didn’t have her seat belt on. She was arrested and held overnight in a cell.

    That sort of unthinking acceptance of draconian punishments by an authoritarian regime is not what we want strengthened, the tendency is already showing in NZ, and children regimented instead of schooled will increase the mindset and acceptance of control and violence in society more than the effects of smacking children.

  9. greywarbler 9

    I forgo to say that Ted Turner’s father committed suicide. So was he wise to send his boy to a military school which gave him the semblance of a regular schedule and permanency. Of course he didn’t see so much of his mother, and it probably broke her heart to see him go off on his own.
    I doubt that it was as enjoyable as Harry Potter’s school.

    If Ted had stayed at home with a father moody and on drugs, would he have been tainted with the same behaviour, and ending up hating his father. You would feel resentment at a man trying to set discipline when in his own life he was lost, a pitiable creature when down, and perhaps a shamed, or possibly an overbearing proesy preacher when he was lucid.

    • karol 9.1

      A bit of a sad case, Ted Turner’s father.

      The material I looked at reckoned individuals respond to militaristic discipline in different ways: some “” (learning to be obedient and/or self-disciplined), some “negative” (rebellious anti-social, disruptive, depressed). It depended a bit on an individual’s background, and personality.

      • KJT 9.1.1

        The “academy” could have been done under the State school system. Just like we had “trades academies” starting in some schools, under Labour, before National cut funding to Technology.

        I agree that there is the obvious problem. National used a school with goals that we could support, turning around children that have not been well served by conventional schooling, as a “wedge” to get charter schools on the agenda, and gain support for the eventual commercialisation of schools.

        And I agree about the issues for some children with militaristic type training.

        However it is not that “cut and dried”

        If done badly, it can be an authoritarian, soul destroying, mess.
        OR, If done well, can teach comradeship, care for other people, co-operation, respect for oneself and each other, consideration and protectiveness towards those who need it, and most importantly self reliance, competence and confidence.

        Many people thrive on it.
        Outward bound, Scouts, and other “boot camp” types of education, and even the military, have changed peoples lives around.
        Not just boys. In JOTC it is the young women who gleefully tell their male classmates to “take a concrete pill”.
        Military training, at least in New Zealand, these days is much less authoritarian and much more into building self reliance, confidence, self discipline, and thinking/decision making, under pressure.

        A big change from my young days, when it was all about drills and unthinking obedience.
        The PO’s who thought a good damage control course, was one where several of the class were hospitalised.

        By the way, it made me “high achieving”, perfectionist and “rebellious”.

        I think it tells us of the necessity for student centred learning, which takes account of a child’s abilities, learning styles and sensitivities. Which is what we were building towards with the new NZ curriculum, before it was sidelined by testing, testing, testing.

        And. This type of training and education requires very highly skilled and aware, teachers and facilitators. Not the self appointed, blowhards, that too often try and do it.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    Funny how getting together for disaster training involves shooting things and blowing them up – what sort of disaster do they envisage?

    Might have been a great deal more use if they had practiced urban search and rescue, building a house and some roads, dealing with a large number of displaced stressed unfed and homeless people people. But hey it’s easier to shoot them isn’t it?

    And they could have run a cake stall together to raise funds, now that would be co-operative experience.

    • karol 10.1

      RedBaron: Funny how getting together for disaster training involves shooting things and blowing them up – what sort of disaster do they envisage?

      Well, according to the article:

      There was also rifle range work for the participants. Its rationale was that in natural disasters, political tensions can rise. Aid operations need to be protected – in this case from the Samaru Independence League.

      The SIL is a fiction for the Auckland exercise, but is suggestive of the kinds of things this international collection of navies are training to deal with.

      I guess it’ll also come in handy if there are “political tensions” without any natural disaster accompanying it.

      • KJT 10.1.1

        It does get suspicious when so much police and army training is dealing with “civilian” dissidents.

        Fortunately for us, not many in the NZ military have much enthusiasm for shooting “civilians”.

    • KJT 10.2

      Shooting, at targets, playing with giant toys, and blowing things up, is fun.

      Ever watched myth busters?

  11. Twisty 11

    Mr Montgomery says he did not expect to have “100 per cent of the students paying attention in 100 per cent of the classes” so quickly, but they are “literally glued to what is going on.

    Did anybody else notice the use of the word literally? I did in our paper. I guess it’s not good english skills they’re being sent to the school to cultivate.

    Maybe that’s the secret of their success. They eliminated truancy by literally glueing students to their chairs.

  12. irascible 12

    Didn’t John “Brain Fade” Banks send his son to this Academy? I recall reading somewhere that there was a connection between the Military Academy and Banks. If my memory is correct then one must question the reasons why the Vanguard Academy secured Charter School Funding.

  13. Denny 13

    Arrh its about the 3 F’s … funding, funding and failure! Again, where in the world has this method of teaching worked in the last 10 years in the Western World?? $20k+ per head versus $3k – $9k for State school funding??

  14. Parent 14

    My son has just started at this school this year, he found the school and has choosen to attend. My son is not a bad kid, never has been, however, like most kids in public schools these days, he was falling through the cracks. My son was not a “front row academic teen” nor was he a “back row trouble maker”, he is a middle row teen who went to school but was not really paid attention to due to the large amount of students jammed in to one class. He is now year 11 doing his NCEA. Since he started at the school his entire attitude has changed, not only towards life in general but towards school. He has to wake up every morning at 6am, spend 2 hours on a bus to get there, then the same on the way back but because he is actually learning at school (and enjoying it) he makes this committment every day. Before this school opened I had concerns about charter/partnership schools, to some degree I still do with some but this school has changed so many teens lives already. It is not a sole destroying school, they do not run them in to the ground, they are however teaching them discipline, responsibility, camaraderie and how to have respect for not only themselves but others around them. I wish there were more of the military type schools around. It is easy to bag something when we don’t fully understand what it is or how it is run. My suggestion would be to wait until the results are out, wait until these teens are a bit older, follow their progress to see how they turn out. It can’t be any different to what we are producing now with our public schooling system which seems more about churning them through than actually giving a damn about them as a person and their futures

    • LadyMary 14.1

      My son has also just started at this school this year and, like Parent’s son, is not a bully, trouble-maker and had never been suspended from school. He was, however, failing at every turn despite being more than academically capable. For 11 years the whole public school experience for him has been like trying to push a square peg into a round hole. 30+ kids in a class hasn’t helped. I was tired of it, he was tired of it. Since starting at Vanguard, I am seeing his insecurities literally (there’s that word again) melt away and a sense of pride and self-worth emerging. So far he has shown no interest in joining the military – only in achieving his NCEA Levels 1 and 2. His teachers are strict and have no qualms about dishing out “consequences” for unacceptable behaviour but they are also encouraging, knowledgeable, approachable and fair. For the first time in a long time my son knows where he stands, where he fits into society and what he can contribute to school life. My son has always had a lot to offer – the public school system just never taught him to believe it.

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    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Free the Wicklow 2
    Protests around the imprisonment of these two activists are taking place around Ireland and also in Britain.  Anyone fancy organising something at the Irish embassy in Wellington  There is also an Irish consulate in Auckland. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • DIY Touring The World: New Zealand
    New Zealand has a small population, few places to play and not much money for touring bands - but you can’t beat the beautiful landscapes, hidden gem venues and fantastic audiences. Music impresario Ian Jorgensen has been touring bands… ...
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protected: Tributes to Dame Margaret Sparrow
    This post is password protected. You must visit the website and enter the password to continue reading.Filed under: Uncategorized ...
    ALRANZBy ALRANZ
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.In places… ...
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
    Your right to swipe for threesomes is under threat.    Some clean-cut millennials enjoying the 3nder afterglow. 1232RF Those for whom three is the magic sex-number should know that one's right to swipe one's way into a six-limb circus is… ...
    2 days ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    2 days ago
  • Some big news, for me
    Two pieces of news that are kind of a big deal, for me. Firstly, I’m ditching my landline! I’m not a student and I’m not in a low income band, so make of that what you will. Secondly, after 10… ...
    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Spend and Tax
    As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in… ...
    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago

  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    14 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    15 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    15 hours ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    16 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    18 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    6 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    7 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    7 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago

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