web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Nats’ fossil fuel bet & culture of excess bankrupted Solid Energy

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, February 22nd, 2013 - 162 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war - Tags:

A look at Solid Energy’s books highlights the diseased culture of the corporate elite in this country and National’s failed bet on fossil fuels. The blistering pace that executives’ ridiculous paypackets rose at shows a culture of pocket-lining in the company. The massive expansion of liabilities in the lignite bet, which has crippled the company, was part of National’s fossil fuels strategy.

In a decade, the board’s pay rose from $200,000 to $360,000 – a 80% increase, twice the increase in household incomes over the period. The CEO is worse: with pay rising from $380,000 in 2002 to $1,350,000 in 2012 – a 255% increase.

The number of Solid Energy employees earning more than a Cabinet Minister rose from 6 in 2002 to 39 in 2012 (a further 250 were paid more than an ordinary MP). Just those 39 and the board were paid $15.5m a year – the equivalent of 310 average wages.

It’s evident that this culture of excess really took off in the past four years under National. In 2008, the CEO earned half what he did in 2012 and there were 9 people on more than a Cabinet Minister’s pay, not 39.

And the debt, Jesus, the debt. Governments encouraged SOEs to have a more ‘active’ balancesheet – ie. to take on more debt and use that money to pay larger dividends, rather than have reserves of cash – and Solid Energy happily complied. It’s that crazy capitalist thinking that the golden days will last forever. Solid Energy’s liabilities rose from $88m in 2002 to $743m in 2012 – a 744% increase.

Nearly half a billion dollars of debt was taken on in the past four years as National cheered on Solid Energy’s crazy (economically and environmentally) plans to turn lignite into diesel, briquettes, and fertiliser. Hey, times were good for coal, and the Nats wanted to see more fossil fuel exports. And if there was one lesson any businessperson should have taken from the Global Financial Crisis, including the CEO of a public asset getting paid over a million bucks a year, it’s that good times never end.

Of course, the good times did end. The price of coal has collapsed, the exchange rate went up, the lignite dream is dashed, hundreds of jobs are on the line, and the taxpayer is left holding the sooty baby while Don Elder and all the wide boys stroll off with millions of dollars of our money in their pockets.

The massive bet on fossil fuels that National has made by placing them at the heart of its economic agenda has failed to deliver once again only this time it’s not a matter of foreign oil companies wasting their money and walking away, it’s one of our SOEs up to its eyeballs in debt.

(btw, why the fuck is Solid Energy’s website coalnz.com? What a pretentious, confusing thing to do)

162 comments on “Nats’ fossil fuel bet & culture of excess bankrupted Solid Energy”

  1. This is yet another ‘told ya so’ moment for Afew and I

    • ropata 1.1

      if/when we do run out of oil, coal prices will shoot up and the steam engine will make a big comeback..

      • Robert Atack 1.1.1

        Yeah and we will be able to transport it all over the world with coal fired ships, it will take half the cargo to deliver it )

      • Afewknowthetruth 1.1.2

        Widespread use of coal-fired steam engines = largely uninhabitable planet by 2030 instead of by 2060.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1

          The planet will be plenty habitable by 2060 on our current trajectory.

          • Bill 1.1.2.1.1

            Might I suggest you give up on the faith based assertions and go read the science Lanth? Try the recent report put out by that esteemed conservative institution the World Bank. Even their report summarises into three words should we continue on our present trajectory – “We’re fucked”.

            Seriously. Go read it. And when you’ve done that, try Pricewaterhousecoopers…or the International Energy Authority. Both conservative institutions. Then read the scientific prognosis for civilisation in a world with surface temperatures elevated by 4 degrees C.

            Will the world be habitable? Yes. But then, it’s been habitable in all types of conditions – just not necessarily habitable for us. Or for mammals in general. But hey. Oh. And last time CO2 levels were what they are at present (with the concommitant surface temperatures that have yet to feed through)? Humanity didn’t exist. And only very small mammals existed – something to do with the ability to regulate body heat.

            • Bill 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Bloody edit function. International Energy Agency – not ‘Authority’.

            • McFlock 1.1.2.1.1.2

              But then, it’s been habitable in all types of conditions – just not necessarily habitable for us.
              So when do you predict human extinction will occur?

              • Bill

                So when do you predict human extinction will occur?

                That’s really infantile McFlock. Fuck off if you’re unable to make meaningful contributions to the discussion.

                • Rogue Trooper

                  + Lynn (and BLiP) have compiled comprehensive CC Posts for TS

                • McFlock

                  Your fiddling over the definition of “habitable” pissed me off equally.

                  • Colonial Weka

                    Lanth says “plenty habitable”, Bill says not very habitable if at all, and backs it up with lots and varied support. How is that fiddling?

                    • McFlock

                      well, he didn’t back it up. He name-dropped and said to do your own research. And he seemed to intentionally used “habitable” in a different meaning to that used by lanth, but without flagging it or even saying why or what his specific meaning applied to – amoeba? But he was apparently implying that human extinction was likely sometime in the nearish future. And he didn’t even bother to say what definition he thought would apply in 2060.

                      Yeah, and my question about what Bill actually thought wasn’t a “meaningful contribution”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So we’re all clear an 80% reduction in the human population does not mean we’ll be extinct.

                      It’ll mean we’re totally fucked as a civilisation and a culture, but you pedants can be self-satisfied that you are quite right: we won’t be extinct, and the earth won’t be “uninhabitable”.

                    • McFlock

                      80% by when? 2060?

                      Then yeah, we’re all fucked. Might as well eat, drink and be merry.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And I believe that is exactly the observation that others have made.

                      What is the moral imperative however? What is our duty? Is it truly to keep ordering cocktails even as the bow begins to slide into the Atlantic? In her own way, I believe that is what Jenny has actually been asking.

                      What is our moral imperative and duty as citizens, and of our political “leaders”.

                    • McFlock

                      Depends if you’re a consequentialist or not.
                      If we’re all fucked, it’s a zip game. Business as usual is as good as any other option.

                      If, on the other hand, we’re prepared to take a punt on it not being so catastrophic (probably at this stage due to a massive tech step-change), then we might as well work to change society in the ways that we can towards more sustainable living (food and energy are still issues even if climate change is addressed, and that’s without factoring a midrange “solution” that addresses warming but not the wider carbon-cycle issues) and removing inequality.

                      80% is still a big call. And even then, it’s not the end of history. Pandemics have literally decimated (and worse) regional and global populations in the past, and low-tech humans who blamed devils, humours and bad air still recovered within a century or two.

                      We still need to change, but my position is that those who suggest not bringing children into the world miss the primary lesson from history: humanity works to survive. And is good at it. We adapt to changing environments, and tool on again. It isn’t pretty, but it’s not the end of history.

            • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1.1.3

              If the earth is truly going to be “uninhabitable by mammals in 2060″ due to climate change, most of which we’ve already committed, then there doesn’t seem to be any reason to change what we’re doing because we’re already fucked.

              • Wow we agree .. we are fucked no mater what we do…..
                That is why I keep on about not having children, if we are screwed so are the bloody kids.
                And also how much BS Kiwi Saver is, and that every politician that stands by the KS scam is full of shit. Which seems like all of them.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Given the major issues of human civilisation as we know it ending in less than 100 years (through a combination of climate change and energy depletion), maybe you could give the ‘Kiwi Saver is a political scam’ thing a break as there appears to be far bigger coming crises to deal with.

                  • Yes CV
                    But all you fools keep backing the liars that bought you this BS scam, if they can’t come clean on this they will not come clean on what truly matters.
                    KS is the smoking gun and shows what utter scum we have as so called leaders, and how stupid ‘the people’ are … well 2 million of them anyway.

          • McFlock 1.1.2.1.2

            not after the catastrophic economic collapse into a pre-industrial condition we’ll experience in 2012 – oh, wait…

            • Ennui in Requiem 1.1.2.1.2.1

              Flocko, Im with Bill on your contribution to climate, and on finance ditto.

              • McFlock

                It was more a contribution on the reliability of AFKTT predictions, if they were the commenter who a year or two back predicted the complete collapse of the global economy in 2012.

                Premature doomsayers do as much to muddy the waters and delay action on climate change as much as the Koch brothers do, in my opinion.

                We are headed for famine and water wars, food source depletion and increased severity and frequency of catastrophic weather events, as well as longer term threats from ocean acidification and stagnation. Human extinction because the planet is “uninhabitable” is not very likely.

                • Ennui in Requiem

                  Fair enough, I don’t do deadlines much either. Having said that the likelihood this year of catastrophic collapse is high for the world banking system, the only thing holding it together is the preference of the populace for believing in smoke and mirrors as opposed to reality. And sentiment is everything with money.

                  • McFlock

                    That’s been capitalism for the last 200 years, though. It’s a pyramid scheme that periodically collapses as a result of a panic. But that’s a design feature, not a fault, because it starts up again and slowly recovers.

                    Now, the more [i.e. cheaper] energy into the system, the quicker it recovers and overtakes its previous point. Our economic trouble is a hit in the cost of energy into the system, particularly regarding transportation energy. But that just means the we could well end up in an ever-decreasing cycle of production, like storms will be ever-increasing in severity.

                    We won’t get a massive collapse mad-max style (barring a decent nuclear war). But we might be gobsmacked at what our great-grandchildren are prepared to put up with, just as we look at 19thC folk and wonder why they didn’t just whack themselves. But a large chunk of people will just put up with it, because the alternative is even more work (even though the outcome might be better).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      But a large chunk of people will just put up with it,

                      Yes, certainly, the lucky ones in selected places will be able to put up with it, Children of Man style. The others in less fortunate locales will die.

                      We won’t get a massive collapse mad-max style (barring a decent nuclear war).

                      Well, the Mad Max scenerio does require a nuclear war IIRC

                      Greer believes that de-industrialisation will be gradual as well. However, there will be massive dead zones across the planet. A combination of climate change and a couple of hundred nuclear reactors (or their spent fuel) going out of control.

                    • McFlock

                      dead zones?

                      Sterile, or just no humans because we’re worried about cancer?
                      The latter is actually good for trees & wildlife.

  2. It blows a rather big hole in the Government’s books because apart from the bail outs there is no way that Solid Energy could now be partially privatised for the price they expected.

    And there is no way the books are going to be balanced by 2015.

    • saarbo 2.1

      Yes, I suspect that National were relaxed about Solid Energy and its huge growth in overheads due to the fact that it formed a cornerstone of their mining policy.

      Commodity businesses turn, I witnessed this when I worked for Tasman Pulp and Paper in the mid 90’s, from 1996 to 1997 its profit turned south by around $200m to 250m, from an exceptional profit to an exceptional loss, I learned an important lesson…treat commodity businesses with real care and caution. That is the nature of commodity businesses, you have zero control over the sale price.

      I suspect that Joyce, English and Key took the huge profits that SE was making at the top of the cycle and extrapolated them out, thinking they could grow the business by X% and thought they were onto a winner.

      Amateurs!!!

    • McFlock 2.2

      ah, but they weren’t going to sell solid energy, were they (or was it just UF against it)?

      So they have a big company with massive debt but ongoing assets (aka “coal mines”). Asset stripping, not asset sales, is the name of the game. Hillside was the first – who really thinks it’ll be the only one?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        Yep, we’ll see asset stripping from this government to try and fill the holes in the budget that their policies have created.

    • That’s the national accounts.
      But its a way of avoiding the whole partial asset sale swamp and setting a precedent for the other SOEs.
      A bankrupt Solid Energy assets will be stripped by the private sector.
      This is the rip, shit, bust method in operation.

    • xtasy 2.4

      Quote from the above story:
      “And the debt, Jesus, the debt. Governments encouraged SOEs to have a more ‘active’ balancesheet – ie. to take on more debt and use that money to pay larger dividends, rather than have reserves of cash – and Solid Energy happily complied. It’s that crazy capitalist thinking that the golden days will last forever. Solid Energy’s liabilities rose from $88m in 2002 to $743m in 2012 – a 744% increase.”

      I am not so sure whether it can simply be blamed on “capitalist thinking”. It rather sounds like governments made sure to get the dividends they wanted, for investment, for paying other expenditure, for filling other gaping holes, or whatever.

      So Solid Energy being state owned, this is just a diversion tactic, to make the state’s books look better, while the SOEs perhaps carry more debt than was good to let them carry.

      The main issue for Solid Energy was investments in new ventures, that cost more than expected and returned little or nothing (so far at least).

      What all this shows, how vulnerable a very commodity export dependent economy is! With primary products making up nearly two thirds of exports, NZ as an economy is living a life like a door to door salesman.

    • AmaKiwi 2.5

      As if they ever gave a sh*t.

      I’ll be they are more worried about how to find cushy jobs for their overpaid mates who used to work there.

    • It appears that part of the problem was National’s demands for dividends – $129.5 million since 2009 – on TOP of company tax paid by Soild Energy. Plus add $23.5 million in bonuses paid over the past two years to 950 employees, and we’re starting to see a corporate culture and excessive bleeding of cash, resulting in the inevitable…

  3. ropata 3

    more proof that privatisation and even the SOE business model is crap.
    SOE’s need more than a board of directors, they need regular reviews by the State Services Commission

    oh thats right the nats got rid of the SSC

  4. Ennui in Requiem 4

    WTF, Performance bonuses paid when making a loss. My wages come out of profit, when we make a loss I have e no wages. It is a pretty simple principle, yet the Nats, champions of free enterprise seem to think otherwise. And Labour are not clean here either, half the damage was on their watch.

    • AAMC 4.1

      Can we all come to the realization please that The Nat’s are not pro free enterprise, they’re Statists who favor Crony Capitalism but sell it as the Invisible Hand. Their hands are all over everything!

      Clever of them to have put an Authoritarian Tory at the helm of ACT eh. Shouldn’t Rodney be writing op-ed’s berating the Nanny State picking winners.

      • aerobubble 4.1.1

        Worse. Key delusion. That the market would turn upwards again.

        That coal was ever a long term prospect not dependent on sequestration tech.

        That demand would crash as people go energy efficient to cover their petrol costs and/or debt.

        And what’s worse. The same small minded denialistic National party rump still thinks
        selling dams is a good idea, when investors will rightly be wondering where’s the
        loses and debt hidden they will be buying into. Key can’t believe that wishfully
        selling a company that comes up a giant dub doesn’t reflect on his ability as a trustworthy
        seller of state assets.

        National wishful exterior is once against exposed for the reckless disregard of basic common
        sense business and economic analysis that it is.

  5. Grumpy 5

    When a CEO is paid such a huge amount he should accept ultimate responsibility, but it never happens.

    Obscene remuneration and an obscene result. Reflects badly on any company stupid enough to give him a directorship.

    Where the fuck was the oversight???

  6. …so let me get this clear:

    While those without employment & their partners are being expected to be increasingly accountable, (“we are in a Global Financial crises after-all”),

    …it is perfectly o.k for others in better circumstances -whom have employment-

    …to be doing their jobs so ineffectively that a large business will go bankrupt if it doesn’t receive a bail-out and such people walk off with millions leaving a large debt in the taxpayers name (& more for the bailout)?

    What happened to “we have to tighten our belts”?

    Or was that only a message for those who can least afford to do so?

    (Yeah, that makes sense )

    What terrific double-standards laid out for all to see.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      What happened to “we have to tighten our belts”?

      Or was that only a message for those who can least afford to do so?

      That’s only a message for the majority of people. The ones at the top of the pyramid will always be rewarded even when they screw up – as we’ve seen across the world after the GFC.

  7. Salsy 7

    But how about each company getting broken up and sold by National? Perhaps Shanxi Coal (bidders on the sensitive asset Pike River) and the Quinghua group (who apparently had 10 billion to spend on lignite in 2011) finally get what they have been patiently waiting for…

    Perhaps this was the plan all along..

    • vto 7.1

      Yep, watch it happen.

      There are major assets in Solid Energy. The company is just topsy turvy due to mismanagement and the dumb-arse debt countering those assets.

      Wait for the split.

      This leads to another suggestion I often make …… why don’t all the greenies and those opposed get hold of those assets themselves and then not use them, or somehow lock them up? Buy the mining permits and leave them dormant. Buy the land, or the access, and lock it up forever. Get hold of something that will thwart ‘them’. Play their own game straight back at them.

      Same can be done for rivers – apply for a resource consent to leave all water in the river before someone applies for a resource consent to take all the water from the river. Voila!

      • geoff 7.1.1

        why don’t all the greenies and those opposed get hold of those assets themselves and then not use them, or somehow lock them up?

        Where would they get the money to do that?

      • Peter 7.1.2

        It’s a nice theory, and I actually know some people who do aspects of that with mining permits to stop the damming of wild rivers for hydroelectricity, but it’s a marginal game at best. Most resource consents have use it or lose it clauses, so that approach doesn’t really work in the long run.

        There is a better way – it’s called a Water Conservation Order. Start applying for more of those around NZ if you are worried about rivers, or pour the money into planning processes and court action, as is the current strategy by environmental groups (hint, it works).

        • vto 7.1.2.1

          Hi Peter, yes I am aware of those issues and have some secrety ways of dealing with them ……. if I ever get around to it.

          As for water conservation orders, this current treacherous government unilaterally altered the Rakaia Water Conservation Order just a couple of weeks ago to allow more exploitation, as I understand it.

          And geoff above; that is never the way to approach these things. The right answers need matching to the right questions,otherwise one never gets anywhere. Asking “where is the money” at the start of anything is entirely the wrong approach. Sure, it is a legit question but only at a certain stage. Not this stage.

          • Peter 7.1.2.1.1

            It wasn’t unilateral actually, the affected parties actually settled without taking the thing to the Environment Court. There was a clear threat over it though that legal action wouldn’t be favourably looked on by the govt. The current WCO will be reworked to allow for more use of Lake Coleridge as a water storage reservoir for irrigation (assuming that a smaller version of the Central Plains scheme goes ahead).

            In other areas, such as the Nevis River, legal action on WCOs is (so far) delivering positive results, but the final decisions haven’t come out yet.

            My answer to the question of getting plans right is quite simple. We need to resource the NGOs to have the fights when needed, and power up DOC’s advocacy capacity again. I work in this field professionally, and there aren’t very many of us.

    • yeshe 7.2

      Jenny Shipley must be thrilled ….. how will we charge her with treason ?

      • Trickledrown 7.2.1

        old fossil Shipley should be exported as everything she has anything to do with has the stench of corruption or goes belly up!

  8. tracey 8

    Remember Paul Collins? Ran Brierley’s down to about .27c a share, got paid about $4m to go and now taxpayers pay him to be on numerous boards as directors.

    Didn’t Joyce say again only recently that we need mining to thrive as a nation, to get jobs etc?

    “More than 200 mining jobs could be created on the West Coast if opponents to the Bathurst Resources’ escarpment mine withdrew their court action, says the Economic Development Minister. ”

    So Bathurst Resources can “do” coal mining but solid energy can’t make a go of it because coal prices have dropped by 40%.

    • Afewknowthetruth 8.1

      Economic Development = euphemism for Loot and Pollute.

      Ministry of Economic Development = Ministry for the promotion of Looting and Polluting

    • geoff 8.2

      There needs to be an internet database of all the rent seeking parasites in NZ and details of their dirty deeds.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1

        +1

        But you won’t get it as they’d all scream about breach of privacy despite the fact that it needs to be done to protect everyone else from their deprivations.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.2

        There needs to be an internet database of all the rent seeking parasites in NZ and details of their dirty deeds.

        Buy a copy of the NBR

    • xtasy 8.3

      More mining, more drilling, more intensive primary production and exports of minerals, raw materials and low or no value-added products, yes, NZ is racing fast towards joining other so-called “developing” countries, formerly known as “3rd World countries”.

      While some of Asia is moving in the other direction, NZ is moving towards a more “basic” form of economic activity.

      To console the hearts: I hear the Flight Centre has some real good specials on at present, for flights overseas!

  9. AAMC 9

    And I wonder how demand will look if China enacts this Carbon Tax?!

     http://qz.com/55276/china-worlds-largest-emitter-of-greenhouse-gasses-will-tax-carbon/

    • Bill 9.1

      Nice to see from that link the admission that carbon trading isn’t working and that a tax is back on the agenda in Europe too.

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    It’s been loot-the-till-and-run since the turn of the century, along with bugger the long term chances of survival for the next generation. Greed, greed, greed, greed.

    Of course we were told that ‘Greed is good’.

    I might add stupidity, stupidity, stupidity, since everything in this insane economic system is about short term gain and long term loss.

  11. tracey 11

    Perhaps Denniston Plateau has a chance to survive yet…

    • It must seem so, Tracey.

      After all, if Solid Energy can’t sell it’s coal, it’s hard to see how Bathurst can do any better.

      Unless they’re planning on some accounting trick to offset losses against some other Bathurst asset?

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        How much subsidy are they counting on from the government? is the question that needs to be asked.

        • tracey 11.1.1.1

          well, the starting point is Warner Bros and after that the Sky is the limit I would think ;)

  12. karol 12

    Relevant Simon Caulkin article from November 2012, on how management theory was hi-jacked by the Chicago School in the 1980s, and we are still suffering because of it:

    The irony is that we know what makes companies prosper in the long term. They manage themselves as whole systems, look after their people, use targets and incentives with extreme caution, keep pay differentials narrow (we really are in this together) and treat profits as the score rather than the game. And it’s a given that in the long term companies can’t thrive unless they have society’s interests at heart along with their own.

    So why do so many boards and managers, supported by politicians, systematically do the opposite – run companies as top-down dictatorships, pursue growth by merger, destroy teamwork with runaway incentives, attack employment rights and conditions, outsource customer service, treat their stakeholders as resources to be exploited, and refuse wider responsibilities to society?

    The answer is that management in the 1980s was subject to an ideological hijack by Chicago economics that put at the heart of governance a reductive “economic man” view of human nature needing to be bribed or whipped to do their exclusive job of maximising shareholder returns. Embedded in the codes, these assumptions now have the status of unchallenged truths.

    And it sounds very much like part of a “Bully camp” culture.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Yep its the hyper-financialisation of the economy away from real productive activities. The M&A craze of the 1980’s, followed closely by the S&L scandal, massively pumped tech bubble circa 2000, and the financial derivatives/securitised debt bubble of 2007.

    • Poission 12.2

      The overlying problem with the Chicago Biz theory and its prodigy is it invokes a command and control structure.ie top down where decision making is made on the basis of too little information ie risk.

      The bottom up approach which is deeply enriched in some organizations works far better as the flow of information is in an inverted hierarchical pyramid eg Kaizen

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen

      The SOE model is broken in sofar as it does not identify the real reason for their implementation (usually natural monopolies) and their ROI can be less as there is NO benefit in rearranging the deckchairs persistently to avoid tax liabilities ie they can pay a maximum corporate tax and the real ROI is unchanged.to the shareholders (us)

      • Gosman 12.2.1

        Why is coal mining a natural monopoly?

        • RJL 12.2.1.1

          Small country, fixed number of commercially viable sites for mines (i.e. you can’t just mine anywhere), high capital cost to build a mine, and small number of customers for coal (mostly power stations and some big industry).

          • Gosman 12.2.1.1.1

            All you have highlighted is some difficulties of the Coal industry in NZ. It is hardly unique and doesn’t mean a natural monopoly exists. The fact that other players can and do exist in NZ and the largest player has failed would support the view that a natural monopoly doesn’t exist.

            • geoff 12.2.1.1.1.1

              What a load of hooey. I don;t know about coal but many industries in NZ are dominanted by a small number of producers who have captured the market and can overcharge.
              Supermarkets, electricity, petrol etc.
              Which is exactly why NZ needs strong and transparent regulation to stop these pricks having us over a barrel.

            • Poission 12.2.1.1.1.2

              Usually means just that.The SOE models are based on that they require a greater ROI of Revalued assets not historical values ie a bookkeeping goal.This has required SOE to pay a higher dividend and accumulate greater debt to pay the dividends.This is not unusual Rio Tinto has to borrow to pay dividends whilst writing off the values of recent acquisitions.or to put it another way the debt fueled growth model.

              The NZ pension fund does not include taxation in its ROI as they state it is a zero sum game for a GVT org.

            • RJL 12.2.1.1.1.3

              No, those are the reasons why there is a natural monopoly in coal, and Solid Energy is (as you say) the monopoly player. The existence of a few smaller players doesn’t really mean anything. 59% of NZ coal comes from one of two mines, 82% comes from Solid Energy mines.

              The failure of Solid Energy has nothing to do with whether or not it is in a monopoly position (natural or otherwise). It is about mismanagement of the company (by a combination of its executive, board, and shareholder), in the entirely predictable context of a fluctuating coal price. Which flucutates because while Solid Energy has a monopoly in NZ it does not have a monopoly over the global coal trade.

        • Rusty Shackleford 12.2.1.2

          “Natural Monopoly” is a good thing to yell if you believe a certain sector of the economy should be controlled by your favorite politicians. The problem with it is you can apply the natural monopoly definition to every sector of the economy and to every industry. It fits them all.

  13. infused 13

    [sorry you’re on a one week ban. r0b]]

  14. clashman 14

    I can see the nats using this as a justification to continue with asset sales;
    a) we dont have the money to cover the losses the only way we can get it is to monetize some assets
    b) We can halve the countries exposure to this type of risk by selling 49% of as many state owned assets as possible
    c) Govts shouldn’t be in business, this would have never happened if solid energy was privately owned.
    And the sheeple will lap it up.

    • muzza 14.1

      Thinking Clash!

      You gotta crash the lot, so the remains can be hoovered up cheap, then when the real global suck does come about, anything which is necessary to provide life sustainging requirements, will be owned by very few entities.

      Own the debt, own the stuff, thats the way its playing out!

  15. Skinny 15

    The excessively overpaid Don Elder & his  Management team have benefited nicely out of all this & have been paid handsomely on their way out the door. Meanwhile the blue collars & the taxpayer are paying the price as a result. Now National will mothball most of the mines, cutting hundreds of more jobs pretty quickly. This is the corporate model, introduce mechanization improvements so the business runs leaner, with a quarter of the previous workforce. Do this while the coal price cycle is down, never mind the years of record profits or the social costs to small communities. The flow on will be savage cuts elsewhere health, education, public service etc, we all know what’s coming as National head towards a ‘landslide’ loss ( and it will be a landslide) at the next election.

    • tracey 15.1

      and all those hankering to breathe the rarefied air of the $1m earners stand by and vote for the continuance of this appalling state of affairs. God how the top earners must laugh at how others enable and protect them.

  16. Bill 16

    At the risk of being slammed as being naive….why bail it out? If bailing it involves clearing 3/4 Billion of debt, why not just shut it all down? Why not spend time on some lateral thinking and some money on creating infrastructure and jobs for Solid Energy employees and their families/communities?

    Fossil industry has no future – cannot be allowed a future according to the best science we have. (That’s that 4 degrees C warming by 2040-50 again. Minor detail…a mere annoyance, I know).

    But anyway, why not grasp this as an opportunity to begin the fundamental and radical shift we urgently need to make with regards our economy and the way our society interacts with it?

    • AAMC 16.1

      Exactly, this is an interesting dilemma for both Left and Right no?

      Perhaps we should listen to the market and instead of spending money on bailing out a dying and destructive industry, put that money into some forward thinking / green infrastructure. The rest of the world is adding renewable capacity at an increasing pace, why not follow suit, utilize the high dollar and China’s solar trade war.

      But likely, the Left will want to save the jobs to prevent the short term pain, and the Nat’s’ll prove that really they don’t believe in creative destruction when their mates are involved.

      And both will prove themselves worthy of the dictionary definition of Conservative.

      • blue leopard 16.1.1

        This is interesting. Seems to be illustrative as to why none of the main issues that need addressing ever do.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1

          So Jenny gets her wish after all.

          Good on ya Jenny.

          btw every single coal mine in this country will be open and pumping coal out at max rate again within 10 years.

        • Andre 16.1.1.2

          Coal Is Dead…. The idea was carbon sequestration Clean coal the 10 year plan .. Well who thought that would work? 1200 men with a pick and shovel . Labour needs a plan for them..

          • Frank Macskasy 16.1.1.2.1

            “Labour needs a plan for them..”

            I concur, Andre.

            If employees from a SOE are made redundant, I believe the State must show moral leadership in assisting workers to re-train and if necessary, assist financially to re-locate.

            It’s an ongoing problem that in good times, private (and State) enterprises get the benefits/profits from the productivity of the emnployees.

            But in bad times, those employees are shed as ‘surplus to requirement’, and the cost of assisting unemployed workers is socialised. Ie, welfare.

            Privatised profits; socialised losses
            .

            That’s becoming a common refrain these days…

            • AmaKiwi 16.1.1.2.1.1

              “the State must show moral leadership”

              In on Planet Key “moral leadership” means I continue to prosper unobstructed by competition, taxes, and regulations.

          • Tim 16.1.1.2.2

            Perhaps tunnel building in various places? Metropolitan and rural tunnels with the medium to long term goal of decent rail/commuter transport

      • Gosman 16.1.2

        Scary. I agree in principle with both Bill and AAMC. What is happening to the world?

        • AAMC 16.1.2.1

          You’ve realized your Free Marketeers are really just using Austrian arguments to help them plunder and concentrate and that they too are Central Planners?

    • Afewknowthetruth 16.2

      Bill, I think you are being naïve.

      The world is run by corporations and money-lenders for the short term benefit of corporations and money-lenders. their forward thinking extends 2 years into the future at best.

      The entire economic system is predicated on looting and polluting, and transferring the costs to coming generations. When the world population was relatively small and the industrial economy was relatively small compared to the natural economy ‘they’ could get away with it, because there were plenty of fossil fuels with high EROEI available and cumulative environmental damage had not accumulated much.

      Now that world population has exploded and the industrial economy dominates the planet the old paradigms (which will render the Earth largely uninhabitable over the coming decades, despite what Lanthanide thinks because she has done NO research) are as firmly entrenched as ever. The system REWARDS looting polluting, so that’s what we will endure until it all collapses. Indeed, the worse matters get, the greater the incentive for the Orcs to loot and pollute: just look at what is happening in Athabasca!

  17. Rogue Trooper 17

    talk about the pits!
    RNZ et al; 18000 manufacturing jobs bled in Five years (now there is a Five Year Plan), flowing into 60,000 capillary jobs (High Track); 23000 jobs lost in construction ’till now, but not to worry, there is life to be squeezed and pumped in insurance, financial and property services roles as

    Solid Energy begin to exit from “non-core” rails like lignite (tf)

    “boards in expansion mode slow to react to world context’ (stockpiles for eg.)
    “the International commentary signaled a cyclical downturn up to a year ago”
    “In NZ, the bigger companies get, the slower they are to change”
    “Don Elder stuffed up, anticipating carbon-capture technology not available and there is apparently a pessimistic outlook for sequestration developments”
    “MRP displays the same expansion pathology
    -“speculative investments, siphoned funds from core business”
    -“write-offs”
    -“U.S tax-dodge incentives”, eg, California Dreaming
    -“following a herd mentality”
    -“highly paid executives and glossy brochures”

    -Bertram

    (and as for the “phosphorescent green Canterbury rivers? your descendents thank you very freakin much!) :(

  18. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 18

    I heard on radio someone saying that making pellets for pellet burners is not profitable and that gave me a bad moment as like many I have installed one of these, as demanded by the country’s air pollution clean-up legislation.

    Then I heard Solid Energy is involved in this seemingly wise forward looking and ongoing business.
    Today I heard the Mayor Tony Kopsthorn from the west coast talking about how they should stick to coal their core business. Sounds like a voice from the 19th century. What’s going on? They are losing money.
    http://solidenergy.co.nz/index.cfm/1,234,0,0/Renewables.html

    Then you read about the salaries that the business has to bear on its shoulders, the weight would stagger any business. And I think it is largely a result of a stupid, sneering attitude to fully government-run businesses by business people who want to be tycoons. They are sure they can run things exponentially more profitably, and then give themselves the salaries set on some supra-government scale, nothing tied in with their actual achievements of good business outcomes.

  19. Treetop 19

    I would like to know how viable it is to keep Solid Energy?

    The outcome may be death by a thousand cuts.

    Ongoing for the Pike River families in having any hope of the mine ever being entered.

  20. Gosman 20

    “In a decade, the board’s pay rose from $200,000 to $360,000 – a 80% increase”

    Does anybody else see a problem with this comment in relation to tying the problems at Solid energy to National?

    • vto 20.1

      It is not being tied wholly to National, clearly

      • Gosman 20.1.1

        And there I was thinking that the title of the piece “Nats’ fossil fuel bet & culture of excess bankrupted Solid Energy” somehow did.

        Where does the article mention the previous administration?

        • Frank Macskasy 20.1.1.1

          “And there I was thinking that the title of the piece “Nats’ fossil fuel bet & culture of excess bankrupted Solid Energy” somehow did.”

          No, but excessive demand by National for dividends might not have helped.

          • Gosman 20.1.1.1.1

            I think you will find the previous Labour led government was just as greedy when it came to demanding dividends from SOE’s. Or do you have evidence to the contrary Frank?

            • freedom 20.1.1.1.1.1

              yes, but the scale of the largesse is somewhat obviously tilted one way, to the Nacts

        • vto 20.1.1.2

          It ties it to National and the corporate culture. Re-read the headline and the first sentence silly.

          What has the previous admin got to do with your point? Or anything? Is it a “they did it too” argument you are putting up?

          • Gosman 20.1.1.2.1

            No, the point I am making is that the problems with Solid Energy are hardly related to National. Trying to tie it to them is silly. Any policies that contributed to the current problems have been followed for longer than 4 years. The issue is really the fact that Government has no business owning coal mines in the first place.

            • RedLogix 20.1.1.2.1.1

              While Pike River Coal Ltd did?

            • vto 20.1.1.2.1.2

              That’s one way of viewing it sure, if it helps people feel better about the useless Nats currently in power.

              As for being in the business of owning coal mines – that is an entirely different issue and a very big one. The way you frame it is simplistic in the extreme.

              How should New Zealanders as a whole (via government in this instance) provide for the well-being of NZers? Should it own some fundamentals, like water supplies so everyone has unrestricted access to water for drinking? Should it own undies factories so everyone has a clean pair of undies each week? Should it provide for a communcal form of power such as electricity so that everyone can be assured of heaters to keep them warm at night? Should it provide for health care to all?

              Once you have answered those big questions gosman, then you can answer a specific question within that, such as energy supply and natural resources (here coal).

              • RedLogix

                I’ve generally found that the simplest way to answer that question vto is to ask another one …”what happens if this enterprise fails in any way?”

                If the answer is that the government would have to bail it out, for whatever reason, then it should have always been a public entity. This tells us that the water supply should be public, while the underwear factories can be private.

                Solid Energy is a marginal case. It could be allowed to fail, but the government may decide to bail it out for political reasons.

                • vto

                  Yes, well put. Solid Energy fits within the energy supply question partly though too. This makes it a more difficult one as you say.

                  If the energy supply fails then old people die from cold, hence it should be owned by the public, as you say. Coal is an energy supply.

                  What say thee gosman to RL’s “what happens if this enteprise fails in any way?” and its relation to ownership of assets in the wider context?

                • RJL

                  RedLogix, I agree with vto, that is very well put.

                  vto, coal’s use as an energy source is not critical. Good old Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_New_Zealand ) tells us that 7% of energy and 18% of electricity is coal sourced. It wouldn’t be a massive crisis to shift out of coal entirely.

                  Also, the financial situation of Solid Energy (or whomever controls the mines)doesn’t change the amount of coal in the mine, or the state of the mining systems. If Solid Energy collapsed, the government could easily continue to mine and gradually phase out production.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I prefer the question: What is the purpose of the economy?

                Answer that question and we can then start questioning what should be done by government and what should be done by the private sector. I tend to think that all those things that everyone needs (Demand monopoly) should be done by government so that they will always be available and to prevent private monopolies from developing.

              • Gosman

                The state owning commercial enterprises is no guarantee that people will access a good or service any better than if they were all provided by the private sector. There is a multitude of examples from history, and currently, that provides evidence for this.

                • Bill

                  So develop a non-ownership economy that is run by a democratic interaction between those providing goods and services and those using them. (note those are overlapping groups and not distinct – ie, users of goods and services are also providers of goods and services)

                • RJL

                  Gossman: state owning commercial enterprises

                  The idea is that they shouldn’t be run as commercial enterprises…

                  Anyway, of course, the state doing something is no guarantee of access or success.

                  However, that’s not the point. The point is to remove some of the risks associated with commerical enterprises, removing some of the costs that commerical enterprises impose (i.e. private profit) and removing some of the barriers to access that commerical enterprises create. You do, of course, end up trading these problems for a different set of problems faced by state run sectors. The argument is that for some services/industries the problems of a state run sector are preferred to those of a commerical one.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The private sector owning commercial enterprises is no guarantee that people will access a good or service any better than if they were all provided by the state. There is a multitude of examples from history, and currently, that provides evidence for this.

                  FIFY

        • geoff 20.1.1.3

          The last Labour government is partially to blame for this, Gosman. Is that what you wanted to hear? Helen Clark’s government did pursue some stupid rightwing policies. But let’s be clear, it is the stupid rightwing policies that are to blame so don’t feel too smug because, as more and more of this sham economy collapses, actual leftwing policies will eventually be implemented. Much to your chagrin, I am sure.

          • Gosman 20.1.1.3.1

            I very much doubt it. In the short term I would love more actual left wing policies. When they fail miserably they are unlikely to ever be repeated for a long time.

            • geoff 20.1.1.3.1.1

              Great so you’ll be voting for the Green party?
              I really don’t get rightwing trolls. They must either be very stupid or getting paid to type their dreck.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Research shows that they’re very stupid.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Correct. You could not pay for this level of stupidity, even if you wanted to.

                  • You could not pay for this level of stupidity, even if you wanted to.

                    …Ouch… pretty strange thing to say while we have this current Government, please remember we are paying* for their level of stupidity and still polling them highly to boot.

                    *(in both senses of the word)

                    :)

            • tracey 20.1.1.3.1.2

              and yet the opposite seems true of right wing policies, probably because they dont fail for the 1% at the top… and so many more seem to hanker to be in the top 1% so they are happy to be thoroughly fucked in the hope of a chance of a fleeting glimpse while the 1% laugh

          • tracey 20.1.1.3.2

            agreed. Continuing the right wing mistakes of its predecessor doesn’t make the policies right or workable

    • marsman 20.2

      @ Gosman. From the above post:

      ‘It’s evident that this culture of excess really took off in the past four years under National. In 2008, the CEO earned half what he did in 2012 and there were 9 people on more than a Cabinet Minister’s pay, not 39.’

  21. vto 21

    This whole suggestion of a bailout proves completely the fallacy that SOE’s operate on a free market commercial model. If they did then the company would be left to sink as shareholders would not put any more money in. Government shareholders however operate under a completely different game-plan and abnormal parameters.

    Private owners would let the banks get what they could and not give a shit if the bank risk materialised. Government owners on the other hand never let the bank risk materialise.

    The same with local government. Christchurch City Council ceo Tony Maryatt said, of Council-owned event centre operator V-Base, “we cannot let one of our companies fail”, so of course they get the little old lady ratepayers to cough up to cover up the incompetence.

    This fact means that SOE’s should abandon their current stated approach and amend it to better reflect the reality. That reality being that the shareholder will always put more money in. They has substantial and very material implications, especially in the way SOE’s are owned, oeprated and managed for the benefit of NZ.

    • Draco T Bastard 21.1

      This whole suggestion of a bailout proves completely the fallacy that SOE’s operate on a free market commercial model.

      South Canterbury Finance.

      Actually, the actions of the governments around the world and especially the EU and US proves that the entire capitalist system doesn’t work on the free market commercial model. If it did then all those banks would have collapsed.

  22. vto 22

    sheesh, the failing edit function leaves posts looking shoddy and ungrammatical….

  23. DH 23

    I had a look through the 2012 accounts and it doesn’t look that bad to me. The loss was due to writing down the value of assets according to IFRS rules(*), to the tune of $150million. That looks bad on the books but if coal prices go back up those writedowns will be reversed and turn into a profit in future years. It’s paper losses & gains.

    It made a reasonable trading profit of over $100million. What is a concern is the amount of financing and accounting profits & losses, the accountants seem to have more of an impact on the business than the mining operations. Another concern is the payment of a $30million dividend to the Crown that left only $2million cash in the bank.

    (*) IFRS requires assets to be in the books at ‘fair market value’. The earnings potential of the asset affects the market value so when coal prices drop the value of the mine gets written down. Opposite happens too, they hike up the value on good years & call it profit.

  24. tracey 24

    “Telecom says there will be job cuts “well into the hundreds” this year as it seeks to reduce costs across its business.

    The company this morning reported adjusted net profits of $156 million for the six months to December 31, up 57.6 per cent from the year before.”

    So, even though they still made a profit this year… they have to sack hundreds of people. Unless they are doing a Steven Joyce and saying well into the hundreds so that 150 or 200 will seem “better”?

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      It’s about reducing the share of money which goes to labour (yes you idiot white colour managers, you too are ‘labour’) in order to increase even further the share of money which goes to capital (i.e. shareholders).

      $156M in Telecom profit is sufficient to hire a couple of thousand workers on $60K pa salaries.

  25. Afewknowthetruth 25

    Solid Energy sounds too dull for the times we live in. When the revamped company resumes looting and polluting the planet it should have a new name suited to the Orwellian times we live in: Clean Energy, Green Energy, Progress Energy etc. After all, a few years ago we were told there would be a big movement towards ‘Clean Coal’, whatever that might be -something to do with changing the laws of chemistry and physics, I believe.

    • xtasy 25.1

      What about “Power Glow” or “Ener-shine”?

    • johnm 25.2

      Hi AFKTT
      When someone replies to your comment you should put aside your pathetic arrogance and give them a reply otherwise you are just another piece of internet fluff. Get It! F.U.

      • xtasy 25.2.1

        To be fair, if every commenter would comment back on every comment made that follows their own, this would somehow lead to a fair bit of endless “chain reactions”, which seems to happen in some threads, where the limited “reply” options soon get used up, so it is hard to keep track on who commented on what previous comment.

        So perhaps take it a bit easy on certain commenters not responding all too much.

        I feel that some may just wish to say their bit, and do not necessarily want to engage in lengthy exchanges. Others do, so it is a bit live and let live, I suppose.

        To some degree I can share the grim views of AFKTT, but I am trying to still search for some constructive solutions to the challenges humans face, be this the looming energy crisis, or whatever.

        • Murray Olsen 25.2.1.1

          Some of us only come here once a day and don’t even know whether we’ve had any replies or not. Internet fluff? I’ve been called worse.

          • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 25.2.1.1.1

            Murray Olsen
            I think it would be more efficient of and for commenters if the persona they are replyiing to is referred to in the first few words. Then abuse advice additions agreement etc can be picked up by doing a search on one’s pseudonym. And sometimes it’s helpful, because of the way that time sequence of comments is pushed to a distance, by a thread that takes precedence (pushy so.s) there may be eventually twenty comments between the initial one and the reply comment.

  26. ianmac 26

    On Campbell Live last night, first item, John had OIA notes which said that $12million was paid out in bonuses in the year before last and last year $12million in bonuses. Justified in hindsight or in foresight or just no-sight?

  27. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 27

    Don Elder and all the wide boys stroll off with millions of dollars of our money in their pockets.
    I haven’t read all the comments yet so someone might have supplied the names of these so often reclusive directors and consultant helpers who manage to channel cash and assets to destinations that are not helpful to the company they ostensibly serve.

  28. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 28

    10.12 am comment locked in moderation. Why?
    Edit function still supplies box empty of text.

  29. Colonial Viper 29

    Nearly half a billion dollars of debt was taken on in the past four years as National cheered on Solid Energy’s crazy (economically and environmentally) plans to turn lignite into diesel, briquettes, and fertiliser. Hey, times were good for coal, and the Nats wanted to see more fossil fuel exports.

    When was hundreds of hectares of that lignite containing farm land purchased? Ah yes, during a Labour Government.

    And I’d say that it was the right move then, and remains the right move now, as a long term store of energy for the country not for short term utilisation.

  30. Rusty Shackleford 30

    “The massive expansion of liabilities in the lignite bet, which has crippled the company, was part of National’s fossil fuels strategy.”

    This pretty much demonstrates the moral hazard of govt owned businesses. They can make bets like this because they are doing it with other peoples money.

  31. Rich 31

    In that capitalist haven the United States, the Vice President’s salary (USD 230k) sets a cap on public sector pay. http://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=4499

    Nobody is allowed more, including people like the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  32. Afewknowthetruth 32

    The COEs of councils in NZ are given more than $230k a year (note I did not say they earn more than that) for producing dysfunctional community plans full of mutually exclusive statements and fabrications that destroy local and global environments, and for organising meeting that promote dysfunction. .

    And people talk of there being hope. NZ society is well and truly fucked. It’s just that most people still haven’t realised because the shit has only just begun to hit the fan in large amounts.

    I see that US oil consumption is down to 18 million barrels a day, from a peak of 21 barrels a day, despite a significant increase in population …… a sure sign collapse of the sick and evil dominant culture is underway. Shame about all that radioactivity leaking into the Columbia River. .

Links to post

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Ruins of our present future
    A friend of mine used to own a house in an abandoned village. It was a symbolic kind of ownership: he paid no rates nor taxes, because there were no services and the place had no value. He just had...
    Bat bean beam
  • The Gwyn Report
    This is the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security’s inquiry into how Cameron Slater obtained classified SIS documents that embarrassed then-Labour leader Phil Goff. It gets released tomorrow but some media have been briefed on some of the contents, presumably by Goff. So the...
    DimPost
  • Hard News: Prague
    There are always candles at the memorial to Jan Palach and Jan Zajic, who immolated themselves in protest at the forcible ending of the Prague Spring in 1968, but there were more there than usual last Thursday when I walked to...
    Public Address
  • Carbon News 24/11/14: penny-pinching on climate funding
    Govt slammed for weak climate fund contribution The Government is under fire for the size of its contribution to a global fund to help developing countries to combat climate change. New Zealand last week agreed to donate $3 million to...
    Hot Topic
  • Are New Zealand Economists Going in the Right Direction?
    In a speech to economics teachers  earlier this month, the Secretary of the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, argued for a different approach to economics from the one which dominates the profession in New Zealand....
    Pundit
  • Stuart’s 100 #58: Four Seasons in One Year
    58: Four Seasons in One Year What if we made more of seasonal change in Auckland? Auckland does not, despite what many of us say, have a tropical, or sub-tropical climate, but a temperate maritime one. All the palm trees...
    Transport Blog
  • More rubbish stupid Tories
    Back in 2010, George Osborne made some rather stupid promises:The formal mandate we set is that the structural current deficit should be in balance in the final year of the five-year forecast period, which is 2015-16 in this budget.And:In order...
    Left hand palm
  • Tories admit they are stupid liars
    From the Guardian:Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, May said: “It is of course unlikely that we are going to reach the tens of thousands by the end of the parliament. Why is that? It is because we...
    Left hand palm
  • Labour the winner on the day…
    After The Nation's Labour leadership debate in Hamilton a few weeks back, I said to some of my colleagues, 'if Little doesn't win this, he should be given the strategy job of making Labour relevant again, that's what he seems...
    Pundit
  • How to get rid of the State Services Commissioner
    Over the wekeend, Andrew Little effectively called for State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to resign over his mishandling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment claim. I'm inclined to agree. But as DPF points out, the SSC can't just be sacked,...
    No Right Turn
  • How British
    How corrupt is the British establishment? This corrupt:The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed. Two...
    No Right Turn
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    frogblog
  • Labour’s front bench: Demographics
    When he became Labour leader last week, Andrew Little promised a front bench that was representative of New Zealanders' background aspirations, and also promised a front bench that represented New Zealand's future aspirations. Here's how he did: The average age...
    Polity
  • Was Auckland’s motorway network built on “strategic misrepresentations...
    Last week, I took an empirical look at construction cost overruns for recent road projects in New Zealand, concluding that NZTA and regional transport agencies systematically underestimated the costs to build roads by an average of 34%. These findings are...
    Transport Blog
  • New Fisk
    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf...
    No Right Turn
  • New Labour lineup: 8/10
    As readers will have seen, Andrew Little has announced Labour's new lineup. Overall, I think this is a pretty shrewd list, seeking to build a united caucus team after the very close leadership election. It is not exactly what I...
    Polity
  • Labour’s exciting new line up
    New Labour leader, Andrew Little, announced Labour's exciting new line up today. Check it out now!...
    Labour campaign
  • A war on judicial oversight
    In response to a leak, the government has been forced to release its "temporary" anti-terror legislation - and reveal that its a lot less temporary than they said it would be. Rather than a one-year patch-job pending a review, John...
    No Right Turn
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process on Terrorist B...
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill...
    CTU
  • Hard News: Team Little: pretty good
    New Labour leader Andrew Little has announced his first caucus lineup and, with one or two questions, it would seem to be pointing the party in the right direction. A clearout of a few of the usual suspects is offset...
    Public Address
  • Class of 2008
    Labour announced its new lineup today, and the change in leadership has led to a significant change: their top 10 are now absolutely dominated the Labour's class of 2008, while the old guard of Mallard, Goff etc have been shuffled...
    No Right Turn
  • Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
    Dental fluorosis is really the only “negative” side effect of community water fluoridation (CWF). It occurs in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas but is often a little more common in the fluoridated areas. However, there is a lot of...
    Open Parachute
  • Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
    Dental fluorosis is really the only “negative” side effect of community water fluoridation (CWF). It occurs in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas but is often a little more common in the fluoridated areas. However, there is a lot of...
    Open Parachute
  • Funding system pushing tertiary institutions towards fraud
    Pressure for funding is driving institutions to take illegal shortcuts says TEU national president Lesley Francey. News that the tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is investigating alleged fraud of at least $10 million from public tertiary education is shocking, but...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • GOP gulp
    The Daily Kos in the US is solidly on the liberal left side of the spectrum, so to see them declaring trouble for the Republicans despite their midterm win isn't much of surprise. But the source they are quoting is...
    Polity
  • 2014 New Zealand River Awards
    The second annual New Zealand River Awards will be announced this Thursday evening in Wellington. The Awards recognise the most improved river in each region where there’s robust data, and also identifies the three most improved rivers in the country....
    Gareth’s World
  • Economy, effectiveness and efficiency – yeah Right
    So - Gary Romano who took the fall for the Fonterra botulism scare was head hunted by Shanghai Pengxin -http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11226262the company which bought the Crafar farms (the original purchase of which was financed by loans made to Crafar by Fonterra) and which are...
    Te Whare Whero
  • Christmas singles and the White Saviour Complex
    In light of Sir Bob Geldof’s recent re-recording of ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’, controversy around the so-called ‘white saviour complex’ continues to grow. Naturally, I thought I would add my two cents to the debate surrounding the song and...
    On the Left
  • New Bus Priority coming
    Auckland Transport want to roll out 40km of new bus priority measures over the next 3 years to speed up buses, make them more efficient and support the new bus network being rolled out across the region. This is fantastic news as the...
    Transport Blog
  • Gordon Campbell on Rick Ellis as Te Papa’s new CEO
    The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial...
    Gordon Campbell
  • 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #47
    SkS Highlights President Obama's climate leadership faces the Keystone XL challenge by John Abraham attracted the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Coming in a close second was John Cook's Why we need to...
    Skeptical Science
  • Andrew Little as Labour Leader
    So Andrew Little is the new Labour leader. I don't particularly agree with him axing capital gains but entirely agree Labour should ditch raising the retirement age. Andrew needs to handle the members better. Cunliffe ditched some policies such as...
    Topical
  • Hard News: Music: Watching on Twitter from afar
    TV3's decision to broadcast the Vodafone Music Awards live to air was a great call. Not that I was able to actually watch it, but being able to read tweets both from Vector Arena and the living rooms of home certainly...
    Public Address
  • Sunday music: Talking Heads on cities
    A blast from the past: the Talking Heads’ ode to urbanity, “Cities”. This is from the band’s fantastic concert film Stop Making Sense: The Talking Heads emerged from 1970s New York. The city itself wasn’t doing so well at the...
    Transport Blog
  • Our social betters
    by Michael Roberts In a great new book, Billionaires: reflections on the upper crust (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120092/billionaires-book-review-money-cant-buy-happiness), Darrel M West outlined various social surveys that show the richer a person is, the less likely they are to redistribute some of their wealth...
    Redline
  • More details on the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr path
    Auckland Transport have released more details about the route for the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr shared path that they and the NZTA are going to build over the next few years. The $30 million path will be built between 2015 and 2018 in four...
    Transport Blog
  • Headline of the week
    Original. To quote our very own Lamia, “Maybe the Maori Party should have included a history lesson in their confidence and supply agreement.”...
    On the Left
  • Who or What Was Onboard MH370, That Someone Doesn’t Want Found?
    239 people (including crew) were onboard MH370 when it mysteriously disappeared on March 8th this year.  Not one single piece of confirmed wreckage has ever been found, nor has a definite crash area been identified. I, like I am sure...
    An average kiwi
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47B
    Acid maps reveal worst of climate change Buffalo mega snowstorm tied to climate change? China will place a limit on coal use in 2020 Climate change investment falls for second year in 2013 Fossil-fueled Republicanism  House Republicans just passed a...
    Skeptical Science
  • For oil companies, our rights are just another obstacle
    Once upon a time fossil fuel exploration took place far away, out of sight and out of mind. But as oil and gas giants become ever more desperate for new reserves they’re prepared to drill in places that were previously...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • The Arctic Sunrise, her journey continues
    Last Saturday, the ecologically pristine area around the Canary Islands was the watery stage of the next chapter in the story of the Arctic Sunrise. Last year, she carried Greenpeace activists across icy waters North of Russia, where they protested...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • New Wynyard Hotel disappointing
    More details were released yesterday surrounding a new luxury hotel – to be known as Park Hyatt Auckland – that is going to be built on the waterfront, on the site that currently houses the Team New Zealand headquarters.   The...
    Transport Blog
  • Guest post: what should Andrew Little learn from Ed Miliband?
    John tweets at @mrduttonpeabody. A Labour leader being elected on the back of an election loss, through a system of weighted bloc votes, is familiar to anyone who follows UK politics. The 2010 UK Labour leadership election saw Ed Miliband...
    On the Left
  • October 14 Patronage
    October’s patronage results show Aucklanders are continuing to flock to buses and trains. It’s especially true for the rapid transit network which is seeing staggering growth, up over 20% compared to the same month last year. It’s showing that the public...
    Transport Blog
  • Hurray for “Hurray For The Riff Raff”!
     FIRST RATE AMERICANA came to Auckland's Tuning Fork venue last night in the form of the Alt-Country, Indie-Folk roots band Hurray For The Riff Raff. Led by Alynda Lee Segarra, the 27-year-old Peurto Rican singer-songwriter out of New Orleans via New...
    Bowalley Road
  • Capture: Movement
    It felt like we were overdue for a post, and when I took the time to look back at what had come before, I realised yesterday we turned three. So before we get into it, thanks once again for another...
    Public Address
  • Saturday playlist: new Labour leader
    It was difficult, but we managed to restrain ourselves from only posting songs with “Little” in the title … Add your (nice) suggestions below!...
    On the Left
  • Stuart’s 100 #57: Grow your own
    57: Grow your own What if supermarkets could grow their own? Supermarkets, like service stations, are in that category of activities that are of such necessity and ubiquity to our daily life that they cumulatively have a very large footprint...
    Transport Blog
  • The best of Neetflux (so far)
    A selection of our favourite Neetflux posters to date. Here’s to more awesome political satire to come! (Click through for full-size on Neetflux’s Tumblr)...
    On the Left
  • Chipping away at police unaccountability
    Traditionally, our police have enjoyed a wide discretion over who to prosecute and how. Sometimes, this is a good thing - it means that the time of the courts is not wasted on minor crimes. In other cases, its use...
    No Right Turn
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere