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On Best Start

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 pm, January 28th, 2014 - 95 comments
Categories: Left - Tags:

So Labour has launched the Best start policy and the criticism from National and its followers has been swift and well coordinated. And, like the bulk of National’s attacks on it opponents, it also has no basis in reality.

The criticism of Labour’s Best start policy is essentially falling into two categories.

The first is that it will encourage irresponsible parents to breed children just for the extra $60 per week.

There are many good reasons why this is a bogus argument but rather than wade into that it’s much faster to simply look at the evidence:

Australia has had a similar policy since 2002. The following graph (hattip to pete), of Australian fertility rates, demonstrates that this policy has had a negligible effect on the  population.

NZ Aus fert rates

The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a tsunami of ‘bene breeders’ are talking complete and utter nonsense.

The other common criticism of the policy is that the cut-off limit ($150k) for the weekly $60 is too high. That it is rewarding those who already have enough money and don’t deserve assistance.

Of course the reality is that in low-wage NZ there will be relatively few families who are in this privileged position and that the vast majority of families that receive the $60 will be low to middle income families who really will find the extra money helpful during what is a very financially strained time.

The high cut-off limit also means that ‘Best start’ is, for all intents and purposes, a universal policy like NZ super. You wont hear the right calling for the end of super because a few millionaires get it. Seems their preference is for kicking poor kids over rich grannies, go figure…

geoff

95 comments on “On Best Start”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Thanks Geoff.

    The criticisms are starting to really annoy me and you have addressed their main criticisms.

    The third one, that Labour has not funded the proposal is also bollocks. Between CGTs and increased tax for the wealthy it and other policies can be funded.

    • karol 1.1

      Then there’s Gower’s beat up on TV3 tonight. As if it wasn’t very clear yesterday, on Labour’s FAQ Best Start page, that people getting PPL wouldn’t get the Best Start payment for new borns.

      • newsense 1.1.1

        That was on TVNZ as well. In a mostly good piece from Corin Dann the line was allowed that Cunliffe was deceiving New Zealanders or something like that and then Dann said that Cunliffe had allowed Key a line of attack, without assessing the validity of that line of attack.

        eh.

        Thick skin time!

        And the “Labour blindsided” from TV3 by National doing its own PPL. Surely that should read champagne corks off for the opposition as National forced to adopt a popular Labour policy in another successful campaign advanced by a Labour-sponsored private members bill.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        “As if it wasn’t very clear yesterday, on Labour’s FAQ Best Start page”

        It might have been very clear on their FAQ. But it was NOT clear from Cunliffe’s speech.

        It would not have taken much to mention it: announce paid parental leave first, then add the $60 payment for those not receiving paid parental leave.

        Simple. But he didn’t do it.

        Yes, the media are way over-reacting, but the point is, Cunliffe gave them an opening.

  2. tricledrown 2

    The funny thing about the Australian baby bonus it was put in place by the right wing Howard govt which makes Nationals criticism Ironic.

    • McFlock 2.1

      … as well as moronic

    • chris73 2.2

      Even funnier it was the Labor party that ended it…

      • Tamati 2.2.1

        Exactly –what was the ALP’s justification for ditching it?

        I think the Aussies also did it better with the one off lump payment. Cunliffe can’t really say that he’s opposed to “nanny state vouchers” but doesn’t trust parents with a lump sum. It would probably be easier to administer than weekly payments too.

      • karol 2.2.2

        Actually, I don’t think it’s been axed (by the Labor government last year) so much as cut back in Aussie – there will be fewer families getting it. But that also gets Family Tax benefits.

        The thing called “Baby Bonus” has been axed, but some families will still be getting some money for their new born children.

        So it’s a more targeted system, with various kinds of benefits for specific groups of families.

        • Tamati 2.2.2.1

          From that article it seems that the Aussies have a lower threshold, despite a significantly higher wage economy.

          I still think a lump sum option would be more appropriate.

      • joe90 2.2.3

        Even funnier it was the Labor party that ended it…

        But not as funny as you being too fucking stupid to use google to find out that eligibility has been tightened but reduction in the bonus will be compensated for by an increase in the family tax credits for those who qualify.

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/excessive-baby-bonus-scrapped/story-fnhi8df6-1226642532079

        edit: now this is a baby bonus

        By having two children, a middle-income Singaporean household may receive various incentives which are equivalent to S$166,000.[9]:14 For third and subsequent child, the household will get an additional S$8,000 as Baby Bonus[10] and S$20,000 as Parenthood Tax Rebate

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_bonus#Singapore

        • jbc 2.2.3.1

          edit: now this is a baby bonus

          Don’t bring Singapore into this debate. The far right would love a scheme like theirs.

          Not available to illegitimate children (Singapore Govt’s terminology) unless the “natural parents become lawfully married before the child reaches 6 years old.” Also: absolutely no welfare and very low tax.

          edit: Colin Craig would love that.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.3.1.1

            And lots of mistreated poorly paid immigrant workers who keep the place running. Nice little workers riot they had a month or two ago.

            • jbc 2.2.3.1.1.1

              Absolutely. Disneyland with the death penalty.

              I lived there for 10 years and can say that is more than enough to cure anyone of their right-leaning tendencies. Provided of course said person brings some sense of humanity / compassion with them.

              • KJT

                Not sure the right would like the Singapore Governments participation and regulation of business and the economy.

                The land rents, that allow them to charge low taxes otherwise, are worth thinking about.

    • Matt 2.3

      The baby bonus was then revoked when the costs grew to 1.1 billion. Where will the money come from for this policy?

  3. chris73 3

    You wont hear the right calling for the end of super because a few millionaires get it. Seems their preference is for kicking poor kids over rich grannies, go figure…

    – This one from the right thinks super should be means tested…

    • McFlock 3.1

      kids don’t vote. Pensioners do.

    • mac1 3.2

      Considering the amount of people who underdeclare their income to avoid taxation, means tested super would just give another justification for that dishonest and antisocial practice, and add to the bureaucracy for no real benefit.

    • KJT 3.3

      That is because tax fiddling right wingers still expect they will get it when it is means tested.

  4. joe90 4

    Meanwhile, over at the sewer the penguin conducts the mob.

  5. Tamati 5

    You can’t simply compare two time series graphs and claim that this proves a lack of causation. Chances are a few parents will choose to have additional children, because of the payment.

    What the graph does show is that any effect will be minimal.

    What’s wrong with having more children anyway? Someone needs to pay the taxes when we all retire.

    • geoff 5.1

      What the graph does show is that any effect will be minimal.

      Yep, that’s all it needs to do. I’m sure a baby bonus does cause a certain percentage of people to decide to have kids but, as the graph shows, that certain percentage is very small.

  6. Bill 6

    What was it with the b/s being carried on Radio NZ ‘news’ reports today essentially sanctioning peeps on +$150k to rort the whole thing? Anyone care to explain that hypocritical, non-sensical and illogical piece of misanthropy? Have people really internalised the null morality of corporate $$$ thought to such a degree?

  7. The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a tsunami of ‘bene breeders’ are talking complete and utter nonsense.

    It doesn’t make that clear at all. If we assume the Aus baby bonus scheme was similar to Best Start (which I’m going to do because I can’t be arsed looking it up, and if they aren’t similar the graph would tell us nothing anyway), then what it does make clear is that the scheme had little or no effect on overall fertility at the population level. For all this graph tells us, the Aus baby bonus scheme may have had no effect on birth rates of people on benefits, may have made them fall, or may have made them rise. We don’t know because it’s population-level data, not beneficiary-specific data.

    • geoff 7.1

      Argh, not you again! I spent all day patiently trying to reason with you. Someone else please berate Psycho Milt, I need some sleep.

      • miravox 7.1.1

        “Someone else please berate Psycho Milt, I need some sleep.”

        Many have tried, and all have failed ;-)

        I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

        I think – with just as much evidence as as those who think the poor will have more children – people will have the same number of children, but they will make the decision to have them earlier.

        The decision to have the first child is pretty much done and dusted, it’s just timing that is the issue – almost everyone has one (although childless choices are becoming more popular). Subsequent children are a result of lots of factors with the personal ability (physically and mentally) to manage the next one quite high on the list for women who have social, educational, cultural, financial and relationship freedoms to make that choice.

        Encouraging women to have children earlier (in the 20-30s) is a good thing, imo.

        • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1

          The Australian scheme appears to have increased the fertility rate from 1.7 to 2.0 between 2001 and 2008, with the biggest increase among women aged 35-39. For quick summary, see http://mccrindle.com.au/the-mccrindle-blog/the-baby-bonus-generation

          • mickysavage 7.1.1.1.1

            Where is your proof of causation Matthew?

            New Zealand had a similar increase during this time without the benefit of a package.

          • geoff 7.1.1.1.2

            Looked at your link, it’s just opinion without raw data to inspect.

            As the graph above in my post demonstrates, they have merely chosen convenient end points in the data for their analysis, ending it in 2008 and ignoring the decrease and flattening off in fertility rate after that point.

            Essentially they’re trying to say that the noise is the signal. It’s the same bogus trick as the climate-change deniers do.

            Nice try, Matthew.

          • miravox 7.1.1.1.3

            Without further evidence, I suggest the gradual increase in delayed motherhood is largely responsible for the higher birthrate in the 35-39 age group. It will be interesting to see if there was a dip in 20-35 age fertility in the decade previously. The article alludes to this also.

            The trend over the last decade has been increasing fertility rate amongst older women. Over the last decade, the fertility rate of women aged 35-39 has been greater than that of women in their early twenties. The fertility rate of a 32 year old woman is ten times greater than that of a 17 year old!

            otoh hand at least the article provides no evidence that teens used it to ‘breed’ for cash.

          • bad12 7.1.1.1.4

            Hooton, have you an opinion here, do you consider the 03% raise in the Australian fertility rate to be ‘breeding for money’…

            • BM 7.1.1.1.4.1

              The fertility rate rate between 2001 and 2008 increased by 17.5%

              That’s quite significant.

              • miravox

                “The fertility rate rate between 2001 and 2008 increased by 17.5%”

                Although there was an increase in fertility it doesn’t follow that this was a result of the baby bonus.

                For example – were there any other demographic trends that could account for the increase (e.g. increased immigration of women who would be of child-bearing age in 2001? ‘Catch up’ fertility of older women? (the tables suggest it might be), a previous ‘baby bump’ generation reaching adulthood?

                Were the fertility patterns any different to those in other similar countries? The graph on the post suggests some similarities between the NZ and Aust fertility rates, for example.

                • BM

                  Although there was an increase in fertility it doesn’t follow that this was a result of the baby bonus.

                  It does seem a bit of a coincidence that the fertility rate spiked after the start of the baby bonus scheme, but I get what your saying.

                  • felix

                    It might seem “a bit of a coincidence” if you were so dishonest that you didn’t consider any factors other than the ones you wanted to link (like Matthew, above) or if you were so thick you swallowed such an obvious line of bullshit unquestioningly (like you, always).

              • geoff

                17.5% of fuck all is still fuck all.

                So no, not significant at all.

                Just like the drop off after 2008 wasn’t significant.
                Just like the similar percentage increase in NZ around 2009 with no baby bonus wasn’t significant.

                Noise isn’t signal.

                Except in your brain, BM.

          • Chooky 7.1.1.1.5

            @ Possum Hooton …well women aged 35 to 39 will be more likely to be well educated women with careers who have been reluctant to have children because they will lose their economic independence…..if this is the case that some State money goes towards babies and their Mothers well-being then all the better! ….we need well educated financial feminist New Zealand Mothers to bring up future generations….for the sake of New Zealand….well educated Mothers bring up well educated children and young adults

            …..anyone who argues otherwise is a misogynist and a sexist

            …..and as well does not have the interests of children and New Zealand’s future at heart

          • Puddleglum 7.1.1.1.6

            Matthew,

            Have a look at New Zealand’s birthrate as compared to Australia’s and Iceland’s.

            Declining birth rates are widespread in developed economies since the 1960s. Financial incentives vary from country to country but the trend is the same. Something much, much more influential on birth rates is determining that trend.

            It’s hopeless reasoning to conclude that we should fear spikes in birth rates as a result of such a policy.

            Please read the downloadable pdf from this site on birth rates. It includes discussion of birth rates by age, region, etc.

        • geoff 7.1.1.2

          I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

          this!

        • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.3

          I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

          I wouldn’t consider myself someone who argues with “venom,” but as the comment is addressed to me:

          The logical inconsistency is in your imagination. Consider:

          We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies, because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.

          Two things to note:
          1. It’s a fairly small proportion, because the taxpayer isn’t generous so to become someone who doesn’t care whether they make babies, you have to really have no prospects.

          2. Because the taxpayer isn’t generous, increasing numbers of children results in increasing financial difficulty, so it’s an even smaller proportion that doesn’t find it within themselves eventually to care about whether they make more babies.

          In light of those, what effect could we reasonably expect a sudden increase in generosity by the taxpayer to have? There’s plenty of room for argument over what level of increase in not giving a shit about making babies would result, but that there’d be an increase? No-brainer.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1.1.3.1

            Ah, logic sophistry. So much more persuasive than facts

          • miravox 7.1.1.3.2

            “I wouldn’t consider myself someone who argues with “venom,” but as the comment is addressed to me:”

            The comment was addressed to Geoff and was a general observation. But anyways…

            From the perspective of a ex-teen mother, I do feel you argue with venom. I also feel I know a bit about the motivations (or lack of) for having children at a young age. Not ‘giving a shit’ is not one of them. Also, a lack of awareness of future prospects does not equal ‘no prospects’.

            We’ve argued this before, so lets agree to differ here, if that’s ok with you.

            Because I don’t agree with your number 1., your number 2. makes no sense at all to me.

            The Best Start package, from my point of view, would have very little to do with the decision-making process about how many babies a woman may bear (however young or unaware of future prospects they may be). There are far too many other factors that take precedence over $60 per week for 1 to 3 years. I do believe, however, that it may have an effect on the timing of pregnancies. That’s the no-brainer, imo.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1.1.3.3

            @ Psycho Milt

            We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies, because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.

            Alot of assumptions here Psycho Milt – how about applying some reason?

            The case may be that there are a) some men don’t give a shit about whether they make a woman pregnant or b) some women who don’t consider the consequences of falling pregnant or c) people who fall pregnant unexpectedly and yet there is certainly d) women that get pregnant under such circumstances do give a shit about babies and because of that will have them if they fall pregnant regardless of their circumstances -financial or otherwise.

            Should our economic/political system take reality into account? – or keep bumbling along based on notions on how those with their heads up their arse think people should be?

            I personally think all people should be honest and fair -if this was the case very few laws whatsoever would be needed – yet because I know not everyone is honest and fair I support laws that protect people from others’ dishonesty and poor intentions.

            A grasp on reality needs to be included here – one could outlaw having children if one falls under a certain income level – yet what about people who were in better circumstances – whom have children and whose circumstances degenerate? – and even if such an outrageous law existed there would still be babies born illegally. The problem isn’t solved by such a law. You have to address reality – not ‘the way things should be’.

            The reality, also of this situation is that no such law would ever be passed – because those people running the show here and abroad would know that people would quickly realise that there is something seriously wrong with an economic system that leaves 25%plus of the population not ‘allowed’ to have children.

            “…because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.”

            This is an assumption. I really believe you are incorrectly concluding causation where none exists . Where do you get this notion of people calculating such a thing? This is pretty pivotal to your argument – yet what evidence exists that there is a connection between a persons choice to have a child and welfare?

            An argument could in fact be made that if there was no welfare in this country – more people in poor/insecure circumstances might actively choose to have more children – there is historical and current evidence (other countries) for this argument – in such circumstances the more children one has the more chances one has of an income that covers living costs – child labour is usually involved with this option.

            Nowhere in this argument, either, is the notion presented that having children is a service to society and just because it isn’t a ‘profession’ it could be considered a most worthy activity

            • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.3.3.1

              Alot of assumptions here Psycho Milt – how about applying some reason? The case may be that there are a) some men don’t give a shit about whether they make a woman pregnant or b) some women who don’t consider the consequences of falling pregnant or c) people who fall pregnant unexpectedly and yet there is certainly d) women that get pregnant under such circumstances do give a shit about babies and because of that will have them if they fall pregnant regardless of their circumstances -financial or otherwise.

              Yes, let’s apply some reason. Reason tells us that the statement

              We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies…

              specifically allows for other proportions of the population who make a baby because accidents happen or for a range of other reasons, and doesn’t attempt to assess the sizes of the different proportions.

              I really believe you are incorrectly concluding causation where none exists . Where do you get this notion of people calculating such a thing? This is pretty pivotal to your argument – yet what evidence exists that there is a connection between a persons choice to have a child and welfare?

              What evidence indeed? Shit social scientists we have in this country, let me tell you. The evidence is anecdotal, but it could be reasonably inferred in any case from the fact that we now have something like 40% of Maori babies being raised on welfare within the year of their birth.

              An argument could in fact be made that if there was no welfare in this country…

              No doubt, but who’d argue that there should be no social welfare, apart from a few ACT and Libertarianz nutters? I don’t see any need to take them into account.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                specifically allows for other proportions of the population who make a baby because accidents happen or for a range of other reasons, and doesn’t attempt to assess the sizes of the different proportions.

                I really don’t get what you are trying to say here at all.

                What evidence indeed? Shit social scientists we have in this country, let me tell you. The evidence is anecdotal, but it could be reasonably inferred in any case from the fact that we now have something like 40% of Maori babies being raised on welfare within the year of their birth.

                You have come some way in this paragraph to accepting that there is a certain proportion of children in poor circumstances – albeit with a racial slant.

                So, what do we do about it? Sterilize them? [exaggerated argument not to be taken seriously!] Or deal with the reality – ensure that these parents have a bit more to provide for these children so these children get more of a chance to grow up without a feeling of alienation – that they feel a welcome part of society - this is important re alienation and then do we follow through with a better economy that actually encourages the creation of jobs and better wages & working conditions – things that Mr Cunliffe’s speech has mentioned is the intention.

                Or do we simply watch what is going on from our moral and idealistic high-ground wishing others weren’t ‘more like us’ (i.e. perfectly correct in everything we do and our lives are perfect – all due to our own marvellous characters and let us not forget to mention hard work) and berating those that come from different backgrounds and make different choices to those ‘we’ do (I mean, diversity isn’t a strength in the world – we really must all be exactly the same).

                We can create the world we wish for as long as we are realistic and can separate our ideals from reality enough to find the path toward making our ideals into reality – there is more chance for this occurring with what Labour have proposed than Key’s create-more-small-groups-of-highly-paid-bureaucrats-who-will-vote-Nat-and-create-a-self-perpetuating-already-failed-approach-to-politics proposal.

                No doubt, but who’d argue that there should be no social welfare, apart from a few ACT and Libertarianz nutters? I don’t see any need to take them into account.

                You have been arguing the point specifically against welfare – it appears you do not want the DPB to be raised –

                [Ask yourself what is the point of welfare that does not ensure that those on it with children are able to raise their children in a manner that puts their children in good stead to get the opportunities that everyone else has, rather it perpetuates a cycle of welfare dependency - due to the payment being too low.]

                • I really don’t get what you are trying to say here at all.

                  Then I’ll put it more simply: you seem to imagine I’m saying that all DPB (or whatever the fuck they’re calling it now) recipients are people who are careless about contraception or simply don’t give a shit; I’m not.

                  So, what do we do about it?

                  1. Give them more money. (Cunliffe seems to have figured this bit out.)
                  2. Take steps to discourage carelessness about contraception or just not giving a shit. There’s no end of options, varying in feasibility, usefulness, expense, compliance with basic human rights etc – I don’t recommend any particular one, but then I’m not running for office. (Cunliffe seems to have missed this one, which is a problem).

                  You have been arguing the point specifically against welfare…

                  Not so. A comprehensive social welfare system is an essential feature of a modern democracy, and I’d never argue we shouldn’t have one. I’ve spent a lot of time here arguing against inviting and encouraging the abuse of welfare, though.

                  • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                    @ Psycho Milt

                    O.k, I hadn’t realised that you were merely objecting to the strength of strategy being applied toward National’s fake-arguments. You could have made this a lot clearer.

                    This ends up being like shadow boxing, Milt – attempting to argue fallacious points with someone who when pushed doesn’t actually agree with the arguments – yet somehow argues these fallacious points anyway – yet believes the spin enough to not accept any of the arguments saying there is no causation between giving people $ 60 of welfare support with people choosing to have more babies – there are plenty of other factors that lead to people having babies and ending up on welfare that contribute to this outcome

                    How many times does someone have to be given free contraceptives to satisfy your particular concerns?

                    How many times does someone have to say that the problem with high levels welfare in this country is not due to the victims of it?

                    It is due to the policies that successive governments have been following which have had zero focus on 100% employment and all the focus on interest rates so that people already in debt don’t have to pay so much on the houses that they haven’t noticed they actually can’t afford because work conditions have got horribly bad – specifically wage rates – and this being because of governmental policies that only focus on interest rates and not a bigger picture [please go to start of paragraph if you wish to experience an infinite loop].

                    How many things did Mr Cunliffe say in that one speech alone that directly addresses your concerns – in reality – if you weren’t playing chase-the-Nat-created-delusions- and – shadows-of-distraction?

                    In that speech I heard raising wages, creating a job focussed economy, redistribution of wealth, and a move to curb price-raising speculation to name a few – all these things will discourage unemployment and poverty – i.e. welfare. All these policies will lead to less people being forced to lead lives dependant on government hand-outs – and to belabour a point this joblessness and ensuing welfare has been created by government approaches to our economy that omits to take into account the effects these have on peoples’ livelihoods and how missing this point effects society as a whole.

                    Is THAT enough to allay your Nat-spin-created-fears Psycho Milt? Or are you really like the right-wing spin creators and fearful that these policies of Labour might actually work?

                    • geoff

                      This ends up being like shadow boxing, Milt – attempting to argue fallacious points with someone who when pushed doesn’t actually agree with the arguments – yet somehow argues these fallacious points anyway – yet believes the spin enough to not accept any of the arguments saying

                      And you’ve come exactly to the place I got to with him, BL.

                    • It feels like shadow boxing for you because you’re starting from the principle that there’s no such thing as wasters, or people who don’t give a shit about contraception because it doesn’t matter if they make a baby. Given the non-existence of such people, arguments based on their existence seem bizarre and unreal to you, and arguments that increasing the payments made to such people is likely to increase their number just deranged gibberish. That’s OK, though – there are plenty of people out there who get the point.

      • McFlock 7.1.2

        According to the psychomilt-blatter beast of traal, if it refuses to look up and see if its assumptions match reality, then it’s nightmare of an outbreak of peonic reproduction might still be true.

      • Ross 7.1.3

        Actually Psycho is correct. There may have been a sharp increase in Aussie beneficiaries having kids after their baby bonus scheme, but maybe there are so few beneficiaries relative to the population that it doesn’t show up on the graph. The point is that the graph doesn’t tell us a lot.

        However I do agree that we’re unlikely to see a massive increase in the fertility rate if Labour’s policy is implemented. It costs about $250,000 to raise a kid to the age of 18. Labour’s policy will alleviate that cost by about $10,000. It’d be a dumb decision to spend $250K to get $10K.

    • Blue 7.2

      Why would you need beneficiary-specific data? The graph clearly shows that overall, there was little to no effect on fertility. Unless you have some reason to assume that rich people stopped having as many kids in response to the baby bonus, thus compensating for the imagined increase in poor people having kids.

      A much simpler explanation is that people who were going to have kids anyway had them, and those who weren’t, didn’t. The baby bonus had little to no effect on their decisions. As you would expect. Human reproduction isn’t about spreadsheets for most people.

      Even if you try to be a totally cynical asshole about it and assume that some people have kids solely and specifically to con money out of the state, the introduction of a baby bonus would not be expected to have much impact on their decision, because those people would be aiming to collect the DPB. The baby bonus would be nice for a few years, but that’s icing, not cake.

      The idea that a $60 per week payment for a maximum of three years of a child’s life is going to lead to a dramatic increase in the birth rate is totally illogical.

      • geoff 7.2.1

        Exactly.

      • Rosie 7.2.2

        “The idea that a $60 per week payment for a maximum of three years of a child’s life is going to lead to a dramatic increase in the birth rate is totally illogical.”

        Indeed Blue. The freak out line coming from the Right is head scratchingly inane in it’s assumption. I’m not sure how tard you have to be to think a parent would benefit beyond providing the basics out of $60 extra per week. Geez, the two of us can barely look after ourselves on one good income so I take my hat off to parents who must budget like fiends to make their children’s live’s healthy and happy. Children deserve more than the anger and jealousy that is being directed at them by the squawking “adults” that would deny them just a little more in life.

        As Cunliffe said “Paddy, no ones going to make a profit out of it”

    • If I’m reading Milt correctly – “then what it does make clear is that the scheme had little or no effect on overall fertility at the population level” – then he’s actually saying that Labour Best Start policy won’t encourage people to have more children. At least, not for the “princely” sum of $60 a week…

      Am I getting that right, Milt?

      • Psycho Milt 7.3.1

        I said nothing beyond the fairly obvious point that the author’s conclusion about what this graph demonstrates is unjustified. It does seem to provide evidence that paying people to have children didn’t significantly affect the overall population fertility rate in Australia, and I’d expect the same outcome here, as you say.

        However, that’s of little relevance to the policy’s weakness of being open to attack for the incentive effect on children being raised on benefits – it tells us nothing about that, contrary to the author’s claims.

        • geoff 7.3.1.1

          Why would the incentive to breed only effect the beneficiary population and not the rest of the population? Surely the incentive effect would have an equal effect on non-beneficiaries and we would see a rise in the overall population rate, which we do not.

          Why not just admit that you don’t like people who are on benefits? It would save us all a great deal of typing.

          This sort of policy is always going to come under spurious attack from bigotry on the right. That doesn’t mean the policy is flawed, it means the bigots are.

          • Lanthanide 7.3.1.1.1

            geoff, you can come up with whatever justifications you like for why the policy does or does not encourage specific segments of the population to have or not have babies, but the simple fact is, as Psycho Milt is pointing out, the data you are relying on is for the entire population, not any specific segment of the population.

            The graph simply does not support the claim you are making.

            You may still make that claim based on other evidence, logical deductions, suppositions, whatever you like, but the graph does not (by itself) support what you are saying.

            • geoff 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Be specific Lanth, which particular claim that I am making? That I said the graph shows the policy won’t create a tsunami of bene breeders?

              Perhaps I should have used less florid language, perhaps I should have not used the kind of rhetoric that the tories themselves are using in their attempts to smear this policy.

              Perhaps I should have instead said “The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a significant increase in the fertility rate are talking complete and utter nonsense.”

              Would that have satisfied the pedant in you? :roll:

        • Frank Macskasy 7.3.1.2

          I agree; ” It does seem to provide evidence that paying people to have children didn’t significantly affect the overall population fertility rate in Australia, and I’d expect the same outcome here, as you say. “

          I think you’ve sussed that bit nicely.

          By the way, despite not agreeing with you on many issues, I unreservedly apologize for referring to you in the past as a Right Wing Nut Job. Your views are more diverse to merit such a simple label.

          We will have to debate each issue on it’s merits.

  8. Mr Tank 8

    5k a baby was the lump sum in Oz. Yes it did lead to some poor and/or too young people having babies, I know as I knew some of them. It was an example of the typically thick headed blunt instrument approach of the likes of John Howard. Labour’s $60 a week is a helping hand not an invitation to intergenerational stupidity. It’s a wonderful policy that will mean a lot to many of us. I look forward to more of Davo’s clever and compassionate policy making and politicking. Go hard comrade!

  9. Philj 9

    Xox
    I enjoy the rationality of some thought. We should have kids to pay taxes in the future! Hahaha

  10. vto 10

    Cut the superannuation to those on over 50k per year.

    Greedy wankers.

  11. Ad 11

    Oddly I don’t mind if there’s a bit of a lift in fertility, because of this policy. Most of New Zealand’s regions are depopulating.

  12. bad12 12

    i was more than happy with David Cunliffe’s announcement of ‘Best Start’, the breeding for money whine from the wing-nuts has been more than answered by the graph attached to this post,

    As a committed Socialist i had initial disquiet about how far up into the income levels ‘Best Start reached after all Socialism would demand that those with the least receive the most help,

    Such disquiet has been put to rest by the unveiling of the actual ‘nuts and bolts’ of the ‘Best Start’ program, the system of ‘claw-backs’ involved ensures that those with earnings below $50,000 annually will benefit the most,

    For a better explanation of how such ‘claw-backs’ will work the Herald online has an entirely innapropriately headlined article: ‘Labour’s baby bonus may produce less work, more babies:economist says’,

    In answer to such a piece of fatuous bullshit that ‘Best Start’ will produce less work, said to be the quote of an ‘economist’, if anyone moves from the work-force in order to have a baby and considering that She would have had to be producing something in a job of work that was ‘necessary’ then any reasoning person would have to assume that someone else previously not in employment would of necessity have to be hired albeit on a temporary basis to do that job of work,

    Considering the carefully targeted nature of ‘Best Start’ benefitting those with the least the most i have to give a round of applause to David Cunliffe and Labour for a great start to this election year…

  13. fisiani 13

    Labour will just try to bribe voters with a $60 baby bonus. Cash in hand. Not vouchers for baby food or baby shoes just cash in hand. A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope. Another typical Labour bribe. Throw my money and other peoples money at voters and expect them to tick Labour. How does that help a single child? The borrowed money puts up interest rates and that shoots up mortgage rates and rents.
    Notice how National do not fritter away public money. National are happy to target spending whilst Labour just throw money away.

    • felix 13.1

      “A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope.”

      “National are happy to target spending “

      Really? I’m relieved to learn that when National “targeted” 1.8 BILLION dollars of my money to the wealthiest people in the South Island, none of it was spent on gambling drinking smoking and drugs.

      Phew.

      :roll:

    • Hayden 13.2

      A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope.

      Citation needed.

      • fisiani 13.2.1

        The sun rises in the East. The Pope is a Catholic. Citation needed?

        • Hayden 13.2.1.1

          So you don’t have one then? About how many new parents are currently splurging on “the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the (sic) dope”?

          Hardly surprising.

    • Chooky 13.3

      @fisiani re: “Notice how National do not fritter away public money. National are happy to target spending whilst Labour just throw money away.”…..This is bullshit !

      Labour should AXE the super toll motorways proposed by John Key ( no one wants them except John Key and his ‘ Chosen’ cronyist Capitalist mates….to line their pockets

      …eg from what I have heard at least one of these motorways is proposed to be constructed by an Australian company ….AXE them !

      …….. and and put the money into:

      1.) free university education for young New Zealanders up to and including PhD level ( these young people are NZ’s future!)

      2.)…..reinstating Continuing Education around the country( a great way for adults..from school leavers to 90 year olds….from Maori to Pakeha….from country to city….from new- comer immigrants to generational NZers to learn new skills and meet people…. and make life -long friends)

      ( John Key’s NACT axed Continuing Education!….. and gave the $90 million dollars directly to private schools… SHAME ON THEM!)

      3)…..Free polytech education, apprenticeships and internships ( we owe it to our young to look after them and help them into employment…before allowing in workers from overseas)

      ( Hear that Winston….no dirty deals with the Key NACT desperate Banksters…as John Armstrong suggests!)

      4) pour money into our starved STATE SCHOOLS ( better pay for All teachers not just John Key’s Ponzi few bullshit so called ‘excellent’ Principals)…Bring back the State School Inspectorate with very little extra cost ….Make all NZ schools genuinely run and funded by the State! ….not done on the cheap by unqualified, struggling and stressed parents

      ….Teaching is a Profession like Law and Medicine …..TREAT EDUCATION and TEACHERS with the RESPECT they deserve.!!!!!…this will raise education attainment levels to world class as in Finland)

      These policies would be a huge vote winner for Labour/Greens from young New Zealanders ( our future) and their parents….as well as every other New Zealander who values education and social cohesion.

      New Zealand has a proud record in Education which has been undermined by monetarism , Neo Liberal economics and John Key and his mates who would split it, undermine teachers and unions ……and privatise it a la USA charter school businesses and religious organisations…..This is not the New Zealand way! Hands off our New Zealand State Secular education system for ALL New Zealanders! ( the unions should be fighting for this)..

      • KJT 13.3.1

        “3)…..Free polytech education, apprenticeships and internships ( we owe it to our young to look after them and help them into employment…before allowing in workers from overseas)”

        Plus 10. About bloody time someone on here mentioned that tertiary education is not just learning 10000 new words and an arrogant attitude, at university.

    • miravox 13.4

      That’s the funniest bit of rubbish I’ve read all day, fisiani. I bow to your awesome evidence-free shill skills.

    • Chooky 13.5

      Note fisciani’s use of the words and concepts ‘TARGET’ and ‘WASTE’ when applying them to Labour or the Greens policies

      fisiani’s NACT friends TARGET :

      …. their own wallets ……and Trusts and Bank Balances and Property aquisitions, developments, speculations, companies …..and businesses (now they want to get into the education ‘business’)

      …..with New Zealanders hard earned cash and assets.

      ….They are spending our NZ birthright and bankrupting our New Zealand financially and morally

      for fisciani’s NACT friends WASTE :

      ……is spending any State money on New Zealand babies , children , youth, Mothers , families , the elderly …in education, health care, social welfare , employment and retirement

      In Government and NACT they are the weasels , stoats and ferrets …..without compassion, ruthless , determined and plundering…..they should be exposed and thrown out !

    • bad12 13.6

      fisiani, i refrain from calling most ‘wing-nuts’ that appear here on the Standard ‘Dick-Head’, but, your comment is just that, the words of a dickhead without a single shred of evidenc to back up such stupid assertions,

      National not frittering away public monies, that’s a pretty sad pathetic f**king joke with Slippery the Prime Minister being quoted in news reports today that 1 billion dollars of the proceeds of the sell off of State assets will be spent this year,

      National cannot yet say exactly how they intend to ‘blow’ that 1 billion dollars presumably because in the face of David Cunliffe and Labour’s ‘Best Start’ policy they only decided as early as last night to use the proceeds of the asset sales as,(in your words), an election bribe…

  14. Pete 14

    For a more in-depth analysis on the Austalian baby bonus and fertility rates, this article will help (pdf).

    The results from the logistic regression model (Table 2) show that the effect of the changes which coincided with the introduction of the Baby Bonus has almost certainly been very small: the coefficient is very small in magnitude and not significantly different from zero. (p.228)

    Parr, N., & Guest, R. (2011). The contribution of increases in family benefits to Australia’s early 21st-century fertility increase: An empirical analysis. Demographic Research, 25, 215-244. doi: 10.4054

    • miravox 14.1

      Thanks Pete, spot on.

      Quite a bit of talk about delayed fertility of educated, professional women and national economic prosperity in the conclusion. This seems to fit with international trends.

    • geoff 14.2

      Pete, you’re a fucking treasure.

      • Pete 14.2.1

        I aim to please :)

      • KJT 14.2.2

        Well, as you would expect, extra money for parents changes the timing of having children, not how many.

        I would have thought RWNJ’s would like “breeders” getting having children out the way, before, their “prime” earning/contributing to RWNJ’s fortunes, years.

  15. geoff 15

    And here’s a 2013 article from that old tory, John Howard, lamenting that the baby bonus was being reduced.

    http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/wheres-the-national-aspiration-howard-20130516-2jo0m.html

    As part of a response to a question about benefits to middle class in terms of the economy he said he was critical of the decision to reduce the baby bonus.

    Just shows how rabid the right are in NZ when they make John Howard look like a raving socialist in comparison.

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  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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