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Only greed can save us

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, December 3rd, 2010 - 62 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Environment, sustainability, uk politics - Tags: , ,

As a society we can’t seem to bring ourselves to take action on climate change. Despite ever more cogent and apocalyptic warnings that we’re going to destroy the environment that gives us life, we aren’t going to do anything about it. The failure at Copenhagen, and the non event that is Cancun, are in the process of proving that.

It looks like only greed can save us.

Greed (as a convenient shorthand for “wanting more stuff than we need”) is what drives us. Not all of us, but collectively. Greed is destroying us. Perhaps only greed is a strong enough to save us too. I have believed this for quite some time now, but I was utterly surprised to find this view so clearly and strongly articulated by none other than Britain’s PM, David Cameron:

Use the profit motive to fight climate change

The prime minister argues that there are huge gains to be made from a green economy

Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen the devastation that unchecked climate change could bring – floods in Pakistan, forest fires in Russia, mudslides in China. And yet over the same 12 months we’ve seen a growing despondency about international efforts to protect our planet. Copenhagen was a disappointment for everyone who cares about climate change. …

The second reason to take heart is that there is a compelling economic case to be made for fighting climate change that is barely out of the blocks yet. The green effort should not be downgraded or swept under the carpet because of spending cuts and austerity. On the contrary, both developed and developing countries have the potential to make massive gains from a green economy; the low carbon market is already worth up to £3.2 trillion and is forecast to grow by around 4% a year over the next five years.

I passionately believe that by recasting the argument for action on climate change away from the language of threats and punishments and into positive, profit-making terms, we can have a much wider impact.

If Cameron follows though on those fine words, if he can remake Britain’s economy so that the right incentives foster a green, sustainable future, then dammit I’d vote for the Tory git, welfare cuts and all.

But of course these ideas have been round a lot longer than Cameron. I wrote last year about a UN report: “Green Economy: A Transformation to Address Multiple Crises”. Here in New Zealand some of our smarter entrepreneurs and commentators have been saying more or less the same thing for a while. And of course the Greens, although they don’t frame it in terms of profit and incentive, have a detailed alternative vision for the economy, The Green New Deal.

So, National and Labour. Your move. Unless we make significant changes there is disaster ahead. Since we can’t motivate those changes through an appeal to reason, we must make it happen via an appeal to greed. As simple and as stark as that of Britain’s PM. Someone needs to pick up The Green New Deal, or something very close to it, and sell it in the only language that will make it work. Who is going to lead the way?

62 comments on “Only greed can save us”

  1. A 1

    “As a society we can’t seem to bring ourselves to take action on climate change.”

    This is true, but merely changing how the problem is described is not going to solve it. In the absence of regulation, the profit motive operates to destroy the environment, and, unless transactions are heavily regulated, it will continue to do so. But, as everyone is aware, the short termism of the profit motive works to fight against increased regulation. The Green New Deal is a non-starter because nobody has explained how anyone can get into a position to bring the necessary regulations into existence.

    There appears to be no voluntary solution (market or democratic) to the climate crisis, so if there is to be a solution, then both society and the market will have to be compelled by some other power to adopt it. Short of the military threatening the rest of us into it, I can’t see what would work, and the military will probably be compelled by events to do that as things get really bad.

    Democracy and free markets cannot solve the climate crisis. “Solutions” that appeal to them are a waste of time. This is just one of those things that requires mass coercion to fix.

    • jcuknz 1.1

      A typical left wing approach, more regulation … completely misses the point that rOb is making that the way to help in a capitalistic ecconomy is not more regulation which only stifles things and irritates people but to point out the profit/benefits to be made from the green approach. Regulation is the equivalent of the stick while most people react much better to the carrot.

      • jimmy 1.1.1

        Or maybe regulation is the rules of the game that the government lays out for people and then alows for the profit motive to do its thing within the bounds of the aformentioned rules of the game.

        Think of strong labour laws giving incentives to invest in plant and machinery (Germany, Japan)rather than weak labour laws giving incentive to inefficiently allocate labour (New Zealand, Haiti).

        In the case of green business we need to reward people who contribute ecosystem services (i.e. a farmer with a hill covered in bush) and punnish those who deminish ecosystem services (a farmer who doesnt fence off a stream).

        But then again the fundamental theorem of welfare economics doesnt count externalities so theres no point in trying to fix something that doesnt exist huh?

      • A 1.1.2

        I don’t think you’ve thought through your reply. If there were was more money to be made from the green approach, then it would already be dominating. The reason it isn’t is that “bad” sources of energy like coal are the means to short term profit. The idea that businesspeople have failed to tap a source of sure and obvious profit by not investing en masse in green tech is ridiculous. All they think about is making money.

        If you don’t like sticks, then subsidise alternative energy. It makes no real difference, since we will still be imposing costs on people for using fossil fuels, and the stick will merely be applied to someone else (either the general public, or in taxes on fossil fuel consumption).

        Whichever way you look at it, a transition to a green economy is going to involve considerable sacrifices in the short term for long term benefit. Both democracies and markets are notoriously bad at doing that, and that is why neither democracies or markets left to themselves are going to solve the carbon problem.

        To put it another way: both democracies and markets, while good at dealing with all sorts of difficulties, are hopelessly weak when it comes to certain sorts of problems. In the case of markets, it is things subject to market failure. Normally, democratic control corrects for market failure (e.g pollution controls). However, the one thing that democracies cannot deal with is a slow burning catastrophe where the evidence is non obvious. The classic example is the rise of fascism. The democracies stood around holding their knobs because voters did not want to endure the short term pain of dealing with the fascists. We now know what an appalling decision that turned out to be.

        You don’t appear to me to be even close to understanding the problem, which makes your reply miss the mark.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Ensure that people have the knowledge and education to understand what’s happening around them and that they need to work collectively rather than individually and democracy can work. Of course, the RWNJ will try to prevent this from happening as their power comes from people being uninformed and atomised individuals.

      • A 1.2.1

        Won’t work.

        Ask yourself how many people continue to believe in astrology and psychics, despite having the wonders of a first world education.

        The only solution is for carbon controls to be forced on the populace by political elites. There isn’t any realistic alternative, and once the transition to a green economy is complete, nobody will care anyway.

  2. burt 2

    If Cameron follows though on those fine words, if he can remake Britain’s economy so that the right incentives foster a green, sustainable future, then dammit I’d vote for the Tory git, welfare cuts and all.

    Ha, The means always justifies then end.

  3. “Greed is destroying us. Perhaps only greed is a strong enough to save us too.”

    I agree that greed is destroying us – but it won’t save us. While greed is exhalted in our society there will be no rescue – only increased suffering and misery.

  4. Bill 4

    Here’s some green and greed for you.

    Oil companies aren’t going to give up their market share or their wealth or their power just because of climate collapse. When recovery of 1 barrel of oil gets too marginal in energy terms, oil companies will begin to augment their energy inputs from renewable sources. So green or renewable energy technology could allow for a growing number of barrels of oil equivalent energy to be expended on getting one barrel of oil. I don’t imagine we will still use oil in quite the profligate way we do at the moment by then. But we’ll still use huge quantities. In the interim, oil companies will push to have access to oil in all types of dangerous or delicate environments.

    So greed will drive the oil companies to defend their positions in the market system. And green technology will allow them to do it. .

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      You’re correct. This is why the EROEI idea is misunderstood, with some people saying that as soon as EROEI for oil gets too low, or below 1, all oil extraction will cease.

      Yes, it will probably get to the point where you get less energy out of the ground than what it cost to extract it. But as long as the energy you’re extracting is in a more useful form, eg liquid oil that is very energy dense and portable vs inconvenient and sporadic sunlight/wind energy, then extracting that liquid oil will continue. It’ll be very expensive, but until such time as a cheaper alternative is available, oil extraction will continue.

    • Jenny 4.2

      Don’t think that when the oil runs out, the oil companies will go green. The opposite is proving to be the case with the exploitation of oil shales.

      Even here in Green New Zealand, plans are afoot to mine coal for refining into petroleum products, a hugely wasteful and polluting, but highly profitable business .

      So much for Greed Saving us.

      Like most other industries the oil companies are autocratic plutocracies, they operate only in their own interest, and behave as if they are a law unto themselves, to save the planet they will have to be brought under some sort of democratic control.

      Capcha – “resources”

      • Bill 4.2.1

        Yup. We agree. The oil industry will essentially run on greenwash, but only as a last resort.

        Meanwhile, I’d have thought it more pertinent to shine a spotlight on the constructs that systemically reward behaviours such as greed rather than lend credence to the notion that we are driven by greed as though it’s a naturally pre-eminent facet of our condition. And if that spotlight lent us insight to how and why particular constructs and their reward systems result in undesirable behaviours being fostered and promoted, that we could debate changing or replacing those constructs so that other, more desirable human traits were fostered and promoted instead.

        I’m disappointed that an undesirable trait that is clearly fostered and promoted through the impact of certain orthodoxies ( yawn – the market) is taken as being inevitable and then further promoted as a solution rather than a problem to be solved.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1

          So lets not run society on greed any more. Lets run it on honesty, compassion and principle.

          Frak may be I’m thinking of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. (Not that round table).

          • Bill 4.2.1.1.1

            It’s not society that is run on greed. Our economy rewards it. And the economy shapes and dominates society. If we develop economic strategies that don’t reward greed and selfishness or that even renders them a liability in economic matters while nurturing and promoting other more desirable aspects of our natures…economic structures that are predicated on substantive democratic control could do that.

            • M 4.2.1.1.1.1

              ‘Our economy rewards it.’

              Bill, yes but the prevailing opinions of the well to do/successful as well. I’m so tired of hearing the at phrase ‘the politics of envy’ or ‘tall poppy syndrome’ which are just used to blindside any calls for people to be less selfish or to moderate their behaviour, a prime example being the obscene salaries paid to executives while they screw down the pay of their lowliest workers,.

              Only when greed and selfish behaviours are viewed as fundamentally flawed and those that promote them are made pariahs will anything change.

              This Greenpeace ad does it for me re greed and selfishness:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45idgCylhaw

              Anti spam: small – yes, beautiful – if anything is to be big, make it your conscience

  5. randal 5

    people are adventitous to the system not vice versa.
    when germany suffered inflation in the 1920′s they turned it off just as suddenly as they turned it on.
    now the problem is of a higher order and magnitude altogether but the solution is still in our hands or is it?
    when the chinese government is still pandering to stupid old men that they can obtain virility by slaughtering the remains of african megafauna then there is not much hope about anything.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      when the chinese government is still pandering to stupid old men that they can obtain virility by slaughtering the remains of african megafauna then there is not much hope about anything.

      I do believe that those “stupid old men” have led China for two decades with an average 9.3% economic growth rate per annum, have given the country a treasure chest of US$2.5T in foreign currency reserves, put a man in orbit, monopolised the world’s accessible stores of rare earth elements, positioned the country to be the global leader in green technology – so much so that US officials are publicly voicing their fear at falling behind irrecoverably. And of course designed a protective shield that the US cannot penetrate. Not a military one, but an economic one which relies on a sure factor: the greed and political influence of US corporates.

      But yeah I guess you might be right and they are “stupid”.

  6. john 6

    I think I’ll join ACT, Climate Change is unproven and doesn’t exist because it can’t be privatized and money can’t be got from it,no worries Wodney mate!

    • BLiP 6.1

      Lets not be so hasty. I can see ACT running on a “Privatise the Sun” policy. Just like water meters, we could all have sun meters fitted to our roofs. The more heat we receive, the more tax we pay. Then, just like the radio spectrum, we chunk it up into regions and then sell them. I mean, we all need light and sunshine, don’t we, especially those pesky home gardeners and the like. I can see BP, Mobil and the rest of the “energy” companies lining up with their chequebooks open in their hands outside the minster’s office in a flash. All we need is for the government to claim ownership of the sun – no belligerent indigenous inhabitants to be worried about – sell it to the highest bidder, and we’re away!

    • john 6.2

      An amazing satellite photo of the UK carpeted in snow from Scotland to the Channel!
      Speculation is that climate change has interfered with the warmer winds coming off the Gulf Stream allowing Arctic cold to come south!? I wonder what the Gnome of Epsom would say about this?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1335216/Britain-blanketed-snow-end-sight-fury-grows-gritting.html

      [lprent: And that comment is on climate. Well done... (but you're actually wrong, it is still weather) ]

      • Jenny 6.2.1

        These photos remind me of the computer generated images used in the speculative (and overly dramatised) movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. Based on the worse case scenario of the Gulf Stream failing completely due to Global Warming.

        The movie depicted (through computer trickery) the Northern Hemisphere, (including England), coated in ice and snow as seen from the International Space Station.

        The Gulf Stream is reputed to bring as much heat energy from the tropics to the Northern Hemisphere in Winter as this area receives directly from the Northern winter sunlight.

      • john 6.2.2

        Hi Iprent this link better, Much less cloud cover mostly in the south east: Does appear UK all covered by snow can’t prove for S.E. as there is cloud over it.
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8447023.stm

        I certainly think on a heating planet which is showing more climate chaos, and an atmosphere able to hold up to 20% more moisture compared with prewar, this snow fall certainly indicates climate change. Also the Gulf Stream could be being slowed by melting fresh water from Greenland’s surface snow and ice,this is one of the dire scenarios feared could happen. If it did England’s climate would become like Newfoundland’s(If the GS stopped completely). I think Lovelock’s right: It’s out of our hands because of positive feedbacks ,whatever we do won’t make any difference. So, we have to adapt:getting into Robert Atack’s territory here, we must voluntarily start to humanely reduce our population and prepare for a very different World Post Peak Oil and greater variability of climate. Stop all Immigration and start learning to be self sufficient as the global trade era is now in permanent decline. I think we can cope with climate change if we can be mean and lean,but not cruel,again.

        • john 6.2.2.1

          These are some of Lovelock’s opinions they’re apocalyptic, but this respected scientist probably knows what will happen better than I.

          “Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.

          Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem – the bigger challenge will be food. “Maybe they’ll synthesise food. I don’t know. Synthesising food is not some mad visionary idea; you can buy it in Tesco’s, in the form of Quorn. It’s not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it.” But he fears we won’t invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects “about 80%” of the world’s population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. “But this is the real thing.”

          “There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that’s just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we’ll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That’s the source of my optimism.”

          What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”

  7. The indigenous caucus formulated a statement that they presented at the opening session in Mexico

    “Market-based mitigation strategies such as the Clean Development Mechanism, and carbon offsets, including forest offsets and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) further threaten our human rights, including our right to free prior and informed consent among many others. Our land and territories, food sovereignty, bio-diversity, cultural practices and traditional life ways are being placed in further jeopardy, and we reject these false solutions.”

    http://mother-earth-journal.com/2010/12/29-climate-summit-day-one-indigenous-peoples-stress-need-for-participation/

    • Jenny 7.1

      The fact that the struggle against global warming is being spear headed by the international indigenous movement is interesting. And has been shaping my ideas for some time now.

      That;

      The struggle to alleviate poverty

      Plus preserve the environment

      Plus the struggle for indigenous people’s rights

      Are all inter-linked.

      That you can’t achieve one of these objectives in isolation from the others, particularly in the settler countries like the US, Australia and in particular here in New Zealand.

      These three issues are like the legs of a stool, with out one the other two fall over.

      This is why I was a little disapointed in ‘Climate Justice’ who seems to have developed a blind spot to indigenous issues.

      Not even bothering to forward his ideas for resolving the Seabed and Foreshore issue.

      Climate Justice

  8. more_ben 8

    The very fact you live in a first world economy typing all this tells me you’re a hypocrite. As a first world consumer you are a guilty as anyone in environmental destruction.

    Hey, you’re not alone The entire environmental movement is an exercise in hypocrisy. The product of a latte sipping wealthy elite who are quite happy to explain to everyone else why its wrong to have what they’ve already got. Al Gore is among the wealthiest people on the planet, and among its biggest consumers.

    Now all of this would be fine if the solutions offered by environmentalists actually helped solve environmental problems. But they don’t. Again and again and again policy fails, or has unintended consequences that overwhelm any environmental benefits. The main effect of environmental policy has been either to appropriate benefits that would have happened anyway (e.g. Clean Air Act) or leave millions of poor people starving (e.g. ethanol) or dying (e.g. DDT ban).

    • r0b 8.1

      The very fact you live in a first world economy typing all this tells me you’re a hypocrite. As a first world consumer you are a guilty as anyone in environmental destruction.

      You talking to me? Yes, I know and quite agree. I have cut my footprint down quite a bit over the last few years, but I have a lot further to go.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      The entire environmental movement is an exercise in hypocrisy.

      It is possible to maintain a first world standard of living while also living within environmental limits so not hypocrisy at all.

      Again and again and again policy fails,

      And the policy fails because capitalists don’t like being told the truth because it stops profits – we cannot maintain growth. We must decrease population and fossil fuel use as well as protecting and renewing the environment. This will happen one way or another but the governments are deciding the hard way rather than the rational way.

      The main effect of environmental policy has been either to appropriate benefits that would have happened anyway (e.g. Clean Air Act) or leave millions of poor people starving (e.g. ethanol) or dying (e.g. DDT ban).

      The increase in fuel efficiency and probably a few others wouldn’t have happened without the Clean Air Act. In fact we even have proof of that – cars made in the US are now the most inefficient in the world. Without the standards that other countries have they haven’t needed to push the development as hard.

      Millions of people are starving because the world is over populated and the push to use ethanol is more due to the capitalists needing the energy and wanting the subsidies. Anyone with half a brain would have realised that ethanol from corn was a bad move and not put the subsidies in place. Considering that they were put in place despite the figures showing that it was stupid we can only assume that there was pressure from somewhere (BTW the green movement actually opposed them) to put in place such subsides.

      As for the ban on DDT? If that hadn’t happened even more people would be dying. It is, after all, a poison that doesn’t break down and accumulates in the food chain.

  9. ho hum

    The road to the future leads us smack into the wall. We simply ricochet off the alternatives that destiny offers: a demographic explosion that triggers social chaos and spreads death, nuclear delirium and the quasi-annihilation of the species… Our survival is no more than a question of 25, 50 or perhaps 100 years.

    – Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997)

    Stop dreaming it’s over. :)

    • john 9.1

      This brief potted history animation of our Industrial Era now in its end game created by Richard Heinberg. Refer link:
      http://www.postcarbon.org/video/175694-the-ultimate-roller-coaster-ride-a

      Of course Climate Change is a by product, an externalized cost of all that fossil fuel we’ve burned.
      We can adapt otherwise,probably too late now, we will “ricochet off the alternatives that destiny offers…”

      Jacques Cousteau was horrified at the destruction of the Oceans,the overfishing, the pollution. He thought if the Oceans die,we die. The great Whales are a symbol of that precious life giving Ocean and its health,their persecution a symbol of our destructiveness of converting life into commodities useful to us without respect for their intrinsic beauty and value.We all should be vegetarians.

  10. vto 10

    Greed is just another word for..

    Let’s forget the herd..

  11. clandestino 11

    You’re right. In a free society people will act in their/families interest and that always means getting the most out of life be it material or otherwise. This is the profit motive and/or greed. It works. Has worked for a while now. We just don’t seem to like that it does. Let’s design the rules of the game to fit this fundamental law and allow human ingenuity to create a better way.

    • Bill 11.1

      That’s b/s clandestino. Here’s why. If getting the ‘most out of life’ means people ‘acting in their/families interest’, then all you get is cut throat competition and winners and losers. That’s what we have now. You say it’s indicative of greed being a successful strategy.

      But the losers…and that’s the vast majority in any given population…are worse off in all manner of ways than if greed wasn’t rewarded via market competition.

      They are worse off, not just in terms of their share of material resources, but in terms of their potential to realise their talents or dreams. To paraphrase Jimmy Reid, there are many poor people who are among the best astro-physicists, and the best doctors, artists or whatever, but they and we will never have access to their talents or gifts because of (among other systemic reasons), the narrow competitive nature of the market and the location in society they were born in to. They are discarded from the get go.

      They have no, or diminished access to educational opportunities and not enough access to the free time required to develop their talent and so on. The circumstances that are created and constantly re-asserted by the market, whereby it produces concentrations of wealth and power, dictate they wind up spending their lives in jobs that at best do nothing to encourage the realisation of their potential at at worst diminish and crush them.

      But if our economy, and by inference our behaviours, were geared towards enhancing society rather than the individual, then all the current losers (the vast majority of us) could be much better off than at present.

      But then, you reckon greed is a ‘fundamental law’ that ought to be pandered to. And that means you’ve blocked any understanding of greed as merely one undesirable aspect of our make up among many desirable and undesirable aspects of our nature. Greed needn’t be economically rewarded in such a way that it becomes an elevated trait that gets embraced for the sake of ‘getting ahead’ or avoiding penury.

      • KJT 11.1.1

        How do you explain my class of Teachers. All forgoing reasonable well paid jobs to take up teaching.
        High level graduates like my Parents who chose to do social work for a quarter of the pay.
        Professional people who volunteer for VSA.
        Business mentors.
        The old lady down the road who still delivers meals on wheels even though she can barely walk herself.
        People who do charity work for their community.
        Volunteer sports coaches.
        Writers on here who advocate a fairer society even when it will result in a reduction in their personal standard of living.
        The many people who do a good job, not because it pays well, but because they feel they are making a positive difference.

        Even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet giving away a major part of their fortunes for charity.

        Many people are not motivated by greed, a lust for power or possessions.

        It is co-operation not greed that makes a society work.

        • Bill 11.1.1.1

          There are many decent people KJT. And you give some examples of decency. That’s not the issue here. The issue would be that , as you indicate when you say “forgoing reasonable well paid jobs to take up…”, that being decent all too often and due to systemic factors, attracts degrees of disadvantage in a market scenario.

          Do you consider it reasonable or desirable that systemic economic disadvantages get conferred on people who act reasonably…that they should accept a degree of sacrifice to ‘do the right thing’… while people who act unreasonably, often and systemically, attract increasing levels of economic advantage and reward?

          • KJT 11.1.1.1.1

            It is not desirable, as you put it that people who do things that are detrimental to a large part of society are dis-proportionately rewarded.

            That is why externalities such as social deprivation have to be factored into costs and our present economic system has to be changed so a steady state sustainable system is possible.

            • Bill 11.1.1.1.1.1

              So we agree.

              Only I’d maintain that our present economic system needs to be replaced rather than changed, if by change you mean reformed.

              • Colonial Viper

                One issue is that the mechanics and tools of a new economic system would need to be developed and refined over time. This makes it very difficult to just replace the existing system holus bolus i.e. you can’t just wipe Windows off the hard drive and install Linux or Mac OS in its place.

                The underlying mechanics of capitalist freemarkets are well developed now, everything from managing financial transactions to the workings of a stock exchange.

                My view is that any ‘new system’ to replace our present economic system is going to have to use adaptations of current day tools and technology to begin with. There will also be many points of social and economic dislocation which need to be identified and managed.

                • Bill

                  Any new economy will have to gain ascendency over time. Short term it would have to survive within an overarching market context. Then alongside a market context. Before it becomes the new context.

                  There are already examples of participatory workplaces. They embody the principles of a participatory economy in their internal structures ( democratic decision making, no vertical division of labour, mixed job complexes etc). And they are surviving and thriving in an environment that is inimical to their existence.

                  As more such workplaces come into being, further opportunities arise with regards them trading with one another using the principles of participatory economics rather than being forced to trade for resources etc with market orientated workplaces.

                  And that’s the thing about participatory economics. It builds from the ground up. It can’t be any other way is concepts of democracy are to be preserved. ( Forget about government or state action. Because unless the state is committed to distributing its economic and political power outwards and downwards…essentially nullifying itself [not many examples of that!], it leads to the undemocratic anomaly known as ‘democratic centralism’…a political dictatorship.)

                  Because participatory economics progress by way of ‘natural buy in’ as opposed to compulsion; and because it can continue to develop and mature even as the market economy persists, instances of social and economic dislocation need not necessarily arise.

                  • just saying

                    Short term it would have to survive within an overarching market context.

                    Which is why involvement in the ugly reality of present-day capitalist politics is important. An environment can foster and nurture or it can punish and destroy.

                    • Bill

                      I’m sure what you’re saying there js.

                      Are you suggesting that it’s important to be involved in parliamentary representative politics on the premise that voting in the ( as yet non-existent) party with the most sympathy for, say a participatory economy could lead to politicians tweaking the political and economic landscape in ways that would encourage participatory projects?

                      If I’ve picked you up right, then I’d caution against relying on government or state action as that top – down approach tends to create the political dictatorship of democratic centralism.

                      But if you are meaning that it’s important to get politically involved a grass roots or community/workplace level, then sure. Creating a participatory workplace (for example) is a highly political act. And without such acts, no democratic alternative to our current economy will ever eventuate.

              • KJT

                For change to work it has to be supported by the ones who are changing.
                The power that banking and finance and a few wealthy people needs to be reduced first so change is possible.
                Taking back the control of finances so they are controlled democratically for the benefit of the many and not a very wealthy few is the first step.

                In New Zealand that could start by using Government bonds for financing Kiwibank To take over the banking functions of issuing money and financing sustainable business for the future within New Zealand. Re-nationalising finance.

                We need to actually have democracy, then public control of the issue of means of exchange.

                Then it could be possible to address the present systems reliance on constant unsustainable growth, the commodification of money, and the inequality of wealth distribution towards those who contribute nothing but accumulated money capital.

                An environmentally and socially sustainable society cannot occur with a financial system which relies on exponential growth.

                • just saying

                  A belated reply to Bill 12.57pm – didn’t catch it at the time.

                  I was talking about national politics, but of course grassroots/community/workplace apply as well – I just wouldn’t necessarily refer to these as “dirty”.

                  But its not about relying on state or government action, its about political action to minimise the power of the state to oppress us as and, as things get worse, prevent the sorts of fundamental changes we agree, could save us.

                  It’s about making sure as best we can, that our political and cultural landscape, especially in the next five to ten years, is as conducive to positive change as we can make it. It seems to me that the very opposite of this happening and the elites are getting ever more powerful.

                  If I’ve made myself clear, and I probably haven’t, both kinds of action are necessary now – creating and nurturing participatory workplaces and communities and political engagement to fight elite control.

                  Some people (not you I think) seem to be almost glad to see life get harsher and crueller for ordinary people because they see severe mass suffering as being the only catalyst that can change the system. I think such a revolt (of those that survive to do so), is more likely to result in a Hobbesian nightmare than a sustainable, cooperative, democratic and just new world. We need to have time and space to evolve into what we need to be IMO.

                  • Bill

                    “Dirty”?

                    I don’t think national politics or parliamentary politics are “dirty” so much as simply think that such avenues cannot logically deliver the results we desire.

                    In my mind….vote to mitigate some of the worse potentials of particular parties assuming power, but don’t expect much more than things, at best, to be slightly less worse than they might otherwise be under market dominated parliamentary rule.

                    heh – that a torturous enough sentence?

                    As for revolt. I prefer a scenario whereby there is a gentle collapsing of the old order brought about by the gradual ascendency of a new order rather than some cataclysmic jolt. Cataclysmic jolts (if history is to teach us anything) result in ‘a new boss, just the same as the old boss’ scenario; a simple transfer of power from an old elite to a new elite.

  12. john 12

    Two good links on the dire Climate Change situation:

    We’re Toast
    When people tell me the dire messages about which I write don’t resonate with other people, I struggle with a coherent response. Would you prefer continued overshoot on an overshot planet? Would you prefer we keep heating our overheated home? Would you prefer we ignore the most important issues in the history of our species? Party on, brothers and sisters, when you bother to extract your head from your asses the sand. As long as we ignore reality, it’ll all be fine.

    http://www.countercurrents.org/mcpherson031210.htm

    http://www.countercurrents.org/connor301110.htm

    ‘Crop Failures And Drought Within Our Children’s Lifetimes
    Children today are likely to reach old age in a world that is 4C warmer, where the 10,000-year certainties of the global climate can no longer be relied on, and widespread crop failures, drought, flooding and mass migration of the dispossessed become a part of everyday life.

    http://www.countercurrents.org/connor301110.htm
    ‘Crop Failures And Drought Within Our Children’s Lifetimes
    Children today are likely to reach old age in a world that is 4C warmer, where the 10,000-year certainties of the global climate can no longer be relied on, and widespread crop failures, drought, flooding and mass migration of the dispossessed become a part of everyday life.

    http://transitionvoice.com/2010/12/the-road-to-nowhere/
    Another link

    • john 12.1

      The road to nowhere
      Guy McPherson
      “When I wrote about the topic of global climate change in this space a mere two months ago, the situation was dire.

      Each of a series of assessments indicated an increasingly disturbing outcome for global average temperature. The latest of those assessments, based on more data and more sophisticated models than prior efforts, suggest we have passed tipping points that may lead to the extinction of our own species, along with many others. A global average increase of two degrees Celsius likely leads to runaway greenhouse. This means destruction of most human habitat on Earth.”

      “About six weeks after my brief review graced Transition Voice, the situation took a turn for the worse. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook was released in early November. It contains a shocking assessment: We’re headed for a global average temperature increase of 3.5 C by 2035. If an increase of two degrees spells runaway greenhouse, you can bet the consequences of a 3.5 degree increase within 25 years is catastrophic.” This would check in with Lovelock’s estimate we have about 20 years before the proverbial hits the fan. As a scientist Lovelock says he may be wrong and hopes he is! But that’s how he sees it from the evidence.

      http://transitionvoice.com/2010/12/the-road-to-nowhere/

  13. Jenny 13

    .
    What a Greed fuelled Feeding Frenzy looks like.

    capcha – “streams” (forget about them) (unless it’s streams of money, of course).

    • Bill 13.1

      And of course, there is no mention in that article of the Commissioner for the Environment’s “Lignite and Climate Change: The High Cost of Low Grade Coal” report whose release was put back.

      So the ‘free run’ continues.

      If Brownlie and English are meeting with the Qinghua Group before Xmas and that report still isn’t out to provide context, then it will that much easier for the government to sell the whole lignite to diesel caboodle back to us as a ‘good thing’ and economically necessary given the state of NZ’s finances.

  14. john 14

    Not an exaggeration! This is mega extreme weather for so early in the Winter!

    Cancun is heating up but the next ice age is beginning in Northern Europe!

    The next Ice Age perhaps started this week, as a few scientists have warned might be coming. It might be an early call but certainly it’s an early winter. I would bet the barn that it sure is going to feel like the beginning of an Ice Age in Europe and probably the entire northern hemisphere these next months. Though this winter might be catastrophic in terms of heating costs and more dramatic rises in food prices, on top of what we are already suffering through, the real threat, that they are probably trying to hide from us, is the cold getting worse each year.

    People have no idea how vulnerable modern civilization is but I imagine we are going to get some severe lessons in this regard. Personally I already have tears in my heart and dripping down my face for those who will freeze to death and for all the children who are going to be cold and go hungry.Refer link:

    http://theintelhub.com/2010/12/03/i-keep-telling-you-it%E2%80%99s-getting-colder/

    • lprent 14.1

      Please, please, refer to it by it’s correct name. It is a glacial not a ‘ice age’.

      The world moved into an ice age more than 40 million years ago when antarticia drifted into the southern polar region. That caused an overall decrease in the earths average tempatures. We evolved during this cooler period and are still in that ice age.

      Since then various geographic regions have had significant glacials. We have been in an unusally climatic stable period for the last 10k years in a interglacial since the last northern glacial. Our civilization has evolved during this period of stability.

      There is appears to have only been a moderate level of correlation between the timing of the northern and southern hemisphere glacials, or even in some of the glacial areas in the same hemisphere. That is why ice age to refer to glacials is quite misleading. The changes in gulf stream give a relatively regional effect around the atlanic seacoasts

    • john 14.2

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html

      The mail on line speculates Europe in for extreme cold weather for a long time to come!

  15. john 15

    Published: 04 October, 2010, 07:20
    Edited: 22 October, 2010, 17:34

    Coldest winter in 1,000 years on its way

    The change is reportedly connected with the speed of the Gulf Stream, which has shrunk in half in just the last couple of years. Polish scientists say that it means the stream will not be able to compensate for the cold from the Arctic winds. According to them, when the stream is completely stopped, a new Ice Age will begin in Europe.
    At last – it is starting to dawn on some observers – forget the scientists, they will always find duality and argue about it, a kind of intellectual masturbation. Just look at what’s happening and apply intelligence to the observations. Never mind the causes for a moment. Global warming is clearly happening. We only have to look at the retreating glaciers, the shrinking Arctic ice cap, the huge ice sheets breaking away from Antarctica, the melting of the Greenland ice cover. Never mind statistics and scientific opinions – we can see this all on our TV screens, computer screens, through satellite photography, and so on. In the northern hemisphere the catastrophic effect on the Gulf Stream is starting to be recognised – it should have been headlines years ago! As the Gulfstream declines, global warming will make Northern Europe, and the UK, much, much colder from hereon, not warmer. And this winter will be the first to really emphasize that; but there will always be many who prefer to keep their heads in the sand, or should I say the snow!

    http://rt.com/news/prime-time/coldest-winter-emergency-measures/

    • john 15.1

      Report on a scientific study on whether the Gulf Stream is slowing or not

      Alarm over dramatic weakening of Gulf Stream
      The Guardian, Thursday 1 December 2005

      The powerful ocean current that bathes Britain and northern Europe in warm waters from the tropics has weakened dramatically in recent years, a consequence of global warming that could trigger more severe winters and cooler summers across the region, scientists warn today.
      Researchers on a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean measured the strength of the current between Africa and the east coast of America and found that the circulation has slowed by 30% since a previous expedition 12 years ago.
      If the current remains as weak as it is, temperatures in Britain are likely to drop by an average of 1C in the next decade, according to Harry Bryden at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton who led the study. “Models show that if it shuts down completely, 20 years later, the temperature is 4C to 6C degrees cooler over the UK and north-western Europe,” Dr Bryden said.

      Refer link

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2005/dec/01/science.climatechange

      • john 15.1.1

        Re Above startling conclusion

        Most of the cooling would be in the winter, so the biggest impact would be much colder winters,” said Tim Osborn, of the University of East Anglia climatic research unit.

    • felix 15.2

      FFS! Can someone revoke john’s mark-up privileges?

      So annoying.

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    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis,...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
    Mortgage rate rises are making life harder for homeowners, and many of them will be surprised the latest CPI figures show inflation would be zero were it not for tobacco tax hikes, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “New Zealanders...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Whare of Cards – It’s a shame that Shane sold out to keep up with the J...
    I love how the mainstream media claim Cunliffe is a political charlatan who isn’t really left wing, yet the leader of the right wing faction of Labour leaves because Shane knows the change in direction beneath the surface is real....
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • Opportunity for new blood in Māori politics
    Labour MP Shane Jones’ news of retirement from Parliament yesterday got some korero happening alright. From his staunch loyal supporters ardently praising his skills to those in fervent opposition and refusing to let his hour of glory go without a...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • We need to protect our rights online
    New Zealanders deserve the right to a thriving, open Internet which supports economic development, innovation and free speech. The Internet over the last twenty five years has changed everything; from how we communicate, how we buy and sell products and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • Turning Shane: How Murray McCully deprived Labour of Mr Jones
    THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF TRAITOR. The first is the person who betrays his country for a higher cause. The second betrays his country for money. The third betrays his country for the wrongs it has done him. By far...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • Why NZ needs a Digital Bill of Rights
    I’m glad the Greens have taken on board some of my suggestions for a NZ Digital Bill of Rights. October last year I blogged… what should a NZ Digital Bill of Rights look like? -freedom of online expression -freedom of...
    The Daily Blog | 23-04
  • The blue collar cred smoko room mythology of Shane Jones as told by the msm
    So apparently, Shane Jones leaving is the end of the Labour Party. Yawn. Vernon Small screams, “Disarray. There is no other word to describe the mess the Labour Party plunged into last night” while John Armstrong predicts “resignation couldn’t have...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Flockton Floods Again
    Last week the Flockton Basin flooded again – the second time in six weeks.  And not just roads and land, but homes and garages.  Some people have been flooded multiple times since the earthquakes.  One couple, after the March flood...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The PI vote and political stunts
    The mainstream media got quite excited a couple of weeks ago when a number of Pasifika church leaders were photographed at the Manurewa markets wearing blue, Key-people t-shirts. The clergy pictured in those articles said that they had changed allegiance...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • EDUCANZ / EDUCAN’T
    Oh hello, select committee … sorry to interrupt your tea and bickies, but I have something on my mind that I really need to talk to you about. You see, word on the street is that you are planning to...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Why Waiariki and Epsom are so important this election
    Two of the lynchpin electorates that need to go the Opposition’s way if there is any chance of a Labour led Government are Waiariki and Epsom. Epsom is the only lifeline for ACT and if the 6000 progressive voters in...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • TV Review: Seven Sharp: third strike lucky
     More prophetic than anyone could imagine – Jesse in a coffin  Jesse Mulligan was the last of the original ill-fated trio to be dumped from Seven Sharp.  This happened last week with little notice given and less notice paid.  His removal was more inevitable than the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The Liberal Agenda 23rd-27th April
    The week is dominated by the launch of the NZ International Comedy Festival – our picks for the week are… WEDNESDAY 23rdSunrise Yoga on Queens Wharf 7am-8.15am Queens Wharf, 89 Quay Street (bottom of Queen Street) Free ********************************************************************* THURSDAY 24th5...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Shane Jones caption contest
    Shane Jones caption contest...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Helping Simon Bridges find the forest he lost
    Helping Simon Bridges find the forest he lost...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • On climate change denial
    On climate change denial...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Labour on manufacturing
    Labour on manufacturing...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • When your National Party mates claim National are a better economic manager...
    When your National Party mates claim National are a better economic manager, show them this graph...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Introverts Unite (separately)
    Introverts Unite (separately)...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The problem with food
    The problem with food...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Why queues outside synthetic cannabis shop is proof regulation is working
    Latest moral panic on synthetic cannabis is that there were queues waiting for a store to open over Easter. Yawn. Before the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA), there were up to 6000 venders and hundreds of different brands. Since regulation via the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • Shane Jones resignation: Labour dodge a bullet & the Greens smile
    Best Friends Forever now Thank God Shane Jones is selling out and taking a job for National… Shane Jones to leave Labour, set to work with Murray McCully Shane Jones is quitting Parliament and the Labour Party, and there is...
    The Daily Blog | 22-04
  • The only one happy with ACTs new ’3 strikes’ for burglary will be priva...
    The great scholarly Grand Cleric of the libertarian right, Jamie Whyte, has come down from the mount with two stone tablets and sadly all he has is 3 strikes, not 10 commandments… Jail burglars after third offence, says Act Party...
    The Daily Blog | 21-04
  • Trade and Investment Agreements: Human Rights For Sale
    On March 29, many New Zealanders took to the streets in defense of democratic rights by opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). A week earlier, delegates from dairy unions from around the world (including the NZ Dairy Workers Union...
    The Daily Blog | 21-04
  • Rest in peace Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – despite the disgusting polic...
    Rest in peace Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – despite the disgusting police racism and injustice you were undefeated...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Maori Party wine and dine invite
    Maori Party wine and dine invite...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • For Simon Bridges – here’s the forest you forget
    For Simon Bridges – here’s the forest you forget...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Never forget the GCSB lies
    Never forget the GCSB lies...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • The Empire strikes back
    The Empire strikes back...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • God bless capitalism
    God bless capitalism...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Drone killings erode social constraint on using violence
    The drone killing of an (unnamed) New Zealander in Yemen should prompt us to look at the ethics of this practice. We’re told from birth that murder is wrong. Yet drone killings (as conducted by the Obama administration) convey the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Labour’s first 100 days – where the messaging needs to be
    ‘The first 100 days’, an expression coined by President Roosevelt in 1933, is generally used to describe the successes and accomplishments of a government at the time when their power is greatest. During the 2008 election campaign, John Key issued...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Pharrell: a new brand of feminism?
    I think most people heard about how the song Blurred Lines featuring and co-written by Pharrell and performed by Robin Thicke (who has adeptly just been named “Sexist of the Year”) really pissed a lot of people off last year. ...
    The Daily Blog | 20-04
  • Why Easter holidays should always be mandatory and retail free
    The moaning from retailers that they can’t open the cash registers and worship the consumer culture of consumption over Easter bores me immensely because I’ve always believed that public holidays should be mandatory. It’s not that I really care about...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Why punish the parents of the disabled?
    Parents who have adult children with disabilities saw a glimmer of hope when the promise for payment for caring for their children was given. But like most things, the complicated and relentless bureaucracy of the whole process shows a completely...
    The Daily Blog | 19-04
  • Our government: still no idea
    Happy Easter everyone, bad weather aside. A previous post of mine was called “The Government with no ideas”.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of the piece was of a current government thoroughly absent of any creative ideas or solutions to assist more...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • 12 things Forbes has to say about NZs about to burst economic bubble
    Forbes is not known for their socialist or left wing activism, so when they predict a grim economic failure, we should should collectively poo ourselves a little. National often get given this perception that somehow they are better economic mangers....
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • That Sinking Feeling: Labour’s urgent need for persuasive words and coura...
    THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has Labour on 28.5 percent (down 3.5 percent) and the Greens on 11.5 percent (down 1.5 percent). At 40 percent, the combined vote of the two main centre-left parties has fallen 5 percentage points since...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Why the Labour movement should support a Universal Basic Income
    The Mana movement’s support of the idea of a universal basic income is a welcome development. It could become one of the litmus issues that define the party and prove extremely popular. If Mana are in a position to do...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Legal high and cannabis regulation
    I marched through Henderson last month with my fellow Westies to express our concern about the impact of so called “legal highs” on our community. Some people chanted loudly calling for banning, some expressing anger at the parliamentarians who voted...
    The Daily Blog | 18-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • GUEST BLOG: Daniel Bruce – Internet Party: What Seems Ridiculous To The O...
    Imagine you’re a 18-21 year old, from a working class family. You’ve never had a landline phone at home, because your parents can’t afford the fixed monthly bills, so everyone in your familiy has a pre-pay mobile phone. Because of the same tight...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Evidence lacking for Northland council amalgamation
    The Public Service Association has told a Local Government Commission hearing in Kaikohe that there is a lack of evidence supporting a proposed amalgamation of Northland councils....
    Scoop politics | 24-04
  • Foreign Influence Plays Key Role in Housing Debate
    At his weekly press conference in Wellington last week, Prime Minister John Key was questioned about the idea of reducing or slowing the rate of housing prices by limiting foreign purchases. His response revealed a gap in the New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • iPredict Ltd 2014 Election Update #15
    iPredict’s 7000 registered traders continue to believe Winston Peters’ NZ First party will hold the balance of power after the election and allow National to govern. There has been a small gain to Act and the Conservatives over the last...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Have your say on regional council Draft Annual Plan 2014/15
    Submissions close on Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Draft Annual Plan at 4pm on Monday 28 April, so there are just are five days left to make your voice heard....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Citizens denied access to public space for Hamilton J Day
    The Hamilton branch of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ request to use the Hamilton Lake Domain Stage to hold its annual J Day gathering in Hamilton has been denied by the Hamilton City Council....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Progress made to prevent another Rana Plaza tragedy
    One year on: progress made to prevent another Rana Plaza tragedy An official from one of the two global union bodies that negotiated the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety , currently visiting New Zealand, says that the Accord...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Another hike delivered, with more to come
    The RBNZ increased its cash rate by +25bp to 3.00% today, as expected. The economy is picking up strongly and the RBNZ has continued on a path to return rates to more normal levels, to keep inflation contained. The central...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Focus on housing costs, raise wages not interest rates
    Focus on housing costs, raise wages not interest rates "The increase in the Reserve Bank's interest rate, while expected, shows little imagination and will raise mortgage costs for home owners," says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg. “The focus...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • ACT fabricates 3 strikes claim
    “Jamie Whyte’s claim the UK 3 strikes legislation in 1999 has reduced burglary by 35% is a fabrication” says Kim Workman, spokesperson for Rethinking Crime and Punishment. “Since last Monday, Mr Whyte has constantly claimed a connection between...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Students believe forging links with Australia has benefits
    University of Canterbury history and anthropology second year students mostly believe forging links with Australia has benefits but sharing the same currency was not an option....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Anti Fluoridation Advertisements Rejected
    Over the past week, the Advertising Complaints Authority (ASA) has upheld three complaints made against the anti fluoride group (Fluoride Action Network of NZ) FANNZ. The complaints involved several advertisements authorized by FANNZ and placed in...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • SAFE Slams Lab Animal Cruelty
    SAFE Slams Lab Animal Cruelty On World Day for Laboratory Animals (24 April) animal advocacy group SAFE has slammed the Government for failing to reduce the number of animals being used in experiments....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Dunne Speaks – Anzac Day
    24 April 2014 Tomorrow morning, rain or shine, thousands of New Zealanders will gather at dawn and throughout the morning to commemorate the disastrous Allied landings at ANZAC Cove, on the Gallipoli Peninsula, nearly 100 years ago. They will do...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Visit to New Zealand by Major General David Cullen
    Britain’s Assistant Chief of the General Staff Major General David Cullen will arrive in New Zealand today (April 24) for high level Army-to-Army talks and a number of other military-related engagements....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Shane Jones ‘right to go’ – Labour Rotorua candidate
    The Labour Party’s Rotorua candidate Tamati Coffey says Shane Jones is best off to leave if his heart’s not in the party....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Total figures for campaign against alcohol fuelled violence
    The final total figures for the eighth police led Operation Unite: a Blitz on Drunken Violence was announced today by Jon White, CEO of the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA)....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • ACT’s proposal to further three-strikes policy short-sighted
    JustSpeak is calling out the ACT Party’s extension of the three-strikes policy as knee-jerk punitivism, political populism and based on a culture of fear, rather than evidence....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • InternetNZ pleased Green Party taking issues seriously
    InternetNZ is pleased to see the Green Party join Labour in having a serious discussion about online rights....
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Age Concern calls for building accessibility for elderly
    Age Concern has made a submission strongly opposing the clause within the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill that exempts building owners from providing or improving building accessibility. The current Building Act 2004 clearly acknowledges...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Internet Rights & Principles Coalition: Internet Rights Bill
    The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRP Coalition) of the UN Internet Governance Forum applaud the release of the NZ Green Party’s Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill for public consultation. The IRF Bill is a pioneering project for the internet...
    Scoop politics | 23-04
  • Gender quotas should be a last resort
    The Institute of Directors in New Zealand (IoD), says introducing gender quotas is not the best solution to increase the number of women directors on New Zealand boards....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Taika Waititi lends support to #BeefWithBullies campaign
    Even if Chardonnay doesn’t like your Michael Jackson dance moves, that’s no reason for you to be made fun of. Renowned Kiwi director, Taika Waititi has pledged his support to the Mad Butcher’s anti-bullying campaign #BeefWithBullies. With...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Commissioner proposes limit on credit reporting charges
    The Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, is proposing an amendment to the Credit Reporting Privacy Code that would limit what credit reporters can charge individuals wanting immediate access to their credit information....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Does ACC system provide access to justice asks UN
    The United Nations Committee responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ("CRPD") has formally raised access to justice and other issues with the New Zealand Government. The Committee considered a report submitted...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Iwi concerned over future of country’s oldest wharenui
    An East Coast iwi says they are concerned the Crown has not made good on its promise to return their wharenui – the oldest meeting house in the country. “The Government promised to return our wharenui, now they are reneging,”...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • NZDF-Supported Anzac Day Commemorations in France, Belgium
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will be increasing its support for official and locally-run Anzac Day commemorations in France and Belgium this year with a 10 person contingent, including a Māori cultural element, from New Zealand as well...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Third National Māori Housing Conference set to take place
    Success stories in Māori Housing developments from around Aotearoa will be shared at a National Māori Housing Conference, to be held in Whanganui from May 1-3. Conference hosts the Whanganui Iwi Housing Forum and national umbrella organization Te Matapihi...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Partnership targets visitor safety on New Zealand roads
    Partnership targets visitor safety on New Zealand roads Tourism New Zealand, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Air New Zealand have joined forces to target Chinese tourists with important road safety messages before they get behind the wheel. A...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Renewable energy in the Pacific under EU-NZ Partnership
    European Commissioner Piebalgs and New Zealand Foreign Minister McCully depart on 23-27 April on a joint mission to the Pacific to see EU-NZ renewable energy and energy efficiency projects....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Disabled Community Further Marginalised by Proposed Bill
    Disabled Community Further Marginalised by Proposed Building Amendment Bill for Earthquake Prone Buildings to the Building Act....
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • Home loan affordability worsens by most in 12 years
    Home loan affordability worsens by most in 12 years as interest rates and house prices rise...
    Scoop politics | 22-04
  • ACT should abandon Three Strikes
    Rethinking Crime and Punishment is urging right wing politicians to do their homework before coming up with one-off “tough on crime – high on vengeance’ sentencing policies for which there is no evidence of success. He was responding to the...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Noho Hewa’: Visit of Native Hawaiian filmmaker
    Native Hawaiian filmmaker, Anne Keala Kelly, will be in Aotearoa New Zealand for two screenings of the award winning documentary 'Noho Hewa: the wrongful occupation of Hawai'i', a powerful portrayal of the multiple links between militarisation and...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Rural Contractors NZ hits the road during May
    Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) will be updating its members on the latest changes in health and safety, transport and employment laws – as well as other topics – in a series of roadshows being held around the country during...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Landlord and tenant alarm at healthy homes bill
    Landlord and tenant alarm at healthy homes bill Landlords and tenants should be alarmed at Labour MP Phil Twyford’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill that would immediately impose stringent requirements upon rental properties without defining those requirements,...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • US/New Zealand relationship best in thirty years
    US/New Zealand relationship best in thirty years. NZ well qualified for UN Security Council seat...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Oxford University study says large dams are uneconomical
    Just in time for this week’s ASEAN Renewable Energy Week, new scientific results have questioned the economic viability of large dams. Calculations by the Bruno Manser Fund show that the Malaysian Bakun Dam scores even worse than the average large...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • ACT Speech: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail
    Last year there were more than 52,000 reported burglaries. According to the Treasury, for every 10 reported burglaries, there are another 12 that go unreported. This means there were more than 120,000 burglaries last year – or over 2000 a...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Derek Leask: Media Advisory Re: Nigel Fyfe MOJ Appointment
    Derek Leask yesterday 20 April 2014 made the following observations in response to a media enquiry about the recently announced appointment of Mr Nigel Fyfe, currently Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Justice (Legal and Operational Services and Legal...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Oceans In The Spotlight At Election Year Oceans Forum
    The marine environment will be in the spotlight at an ‘Election Year Oceans Forum’ at Kelly Tarlton’s SEALIFE Aquarium on April 27 from 10.30-12.30. A panel of non-governmental advocates and scientists will outline challenges facing our seas, and MPs from...
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Himalayan Trust responds to Everest avalanche
    The Himalayan Trust has launched an appeal to help the families of the Sherpa climbers impacted by the recent tragedy on Eve rest, Nepal....
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Himalayan Trust responds to Everest avalanche
    The Himalayan Trust has launched an appeal to help the families of the Sherpa climbers impacted by the recent tragedy on Eve rest, Nepal....
    Scoop politics | 21-04
  • Tariana Turia: Labour doesn’t deserve our vote
    Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote. ‘I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more....
    Scoop politics | 20-04
  • Family Court Consumers Group appalled at legal rort
    Family Court Consumers Group appalled at Lawyer for Child's "1 meeting in 10 years" taxpayer funded legal rort...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Manufacturing Matters to New Zealand – 17 April
    The Labour Party announcement today recognises the simple truth that the manufacturing sector really matters to New Zealand’s economy as a whole, based on the part manufacturing plays in the growth of the added value element in the tradable sector,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum
    Young Kiwi to Represent New Zealand at Premier Youth Forum FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director, Aaron Hape, has been selected to represent New Zealand at 33Fifty, the Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei
    Greens propose new ministerial disclosure regime based on British rules, requiring quarterly declarations of ministers' meetings, travel and hospitality....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Politicians Should Maintain Workers’ Easter Break
    Family First NZ is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve a break to spend time with their families. “This is not an issue about choice as has been argued. For many workers,...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Lisa Owen interviews experts on Antacrtica
    Lisa Owen interviews Chuck Kennicutt and Gary Wilson on Antarctica Headlines: Top Antarctic scientists warns New Zealand "not ready" for worst as ice shelves and sea ice in Antarctica retreat and the climate changes Gary Wilson: "Can...
    Scoop politics | 19-04
  • Beyond the State – NZ State Houses from Modest to Modern
    As part of the our 'Active Hand of Government' series for 2014, we present Bill McKay, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, speaking to his new publication....
    Scoop politics | 19-04
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